Blog Masonry

Bymapfinancesadmin Posted May 2, 2018

How Professionals can use the MAP Franchise

We have had quite a few enquiries from accountants over the years for our franchise, and the occasional lawyer as well. Many professionals however see barriers to operating our franchise when there isn’t really any there.

What would happen in reality is that any MAP franchise would be set up as an LLP running alongside your current firm/partnership. Any referrals to an outside IFA can then be stopped and dealt with by yourself, and in many cases this is better because only you will know all the clients details anyway – whether tax or legal. Who better to advise a client than yourself because you should know exactly what that person needs and already have a working relationship with them, and this is the basics for giving financial advice.

The franchise is operated as a stand-alone entity, and MAP ensures all work done by franchisees is compliant and within FCA rules. Franchisees must be qualified to diploma level and full training support will be provided to help franchisees achieve this as quickly as possible. If any specialist advice is needed, MAP has those specialists on hand as well to support you. MAP also provides full compliance support and checks on all business written before it’s submitted.

All of this will ensure you give your clients the best service possible, since you will be in control from start to finish.

Alternatively if you didn’t want to get too involved and set-up a franchise, why not act as an Introducer to MAP and receive a percentage of any case earnings, for minimal effort.

If you would like to find out about the Money Advice & Planning franchise or would like to work alongside us, please visit us at www.mapfinances.co.uk and use the contact form. Alternatively, call Andrew Singleton on 0345 241 1808.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Links to external sites are for information only and do not constitute endorsement. Always obtain independent professional advice for your own particular situation. Money Advice & Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Bymapfinancesadmin Posted May 2, 2018

Divorce and how it can affect income and future prospects

Divorced client strugglingA leading insurer who has analysed the divorce market recently said that divorcees can expect just under £4k less per year than before. In fact there is even a growing percentage of people who will have no pension savings at all after divorce, and that is very worrying.

Divorcing couples may have concentrated on building up their joint retirement income at one stage, only for this to be cast aside when splitting things up. Any such splits would then possibly be used for essential items like heating, electricity, food and clothing and so any retirement savings have no chance of survival.

MAP as a company has always said the best way to plan pensions is to do as much 50/50 between husband and wife; this in itself would help people a lot more. It is far better if a couple go into retirement with roughly equal pension pots, as this reduces taxation. This same outlook would also help any divorcing couples as well, as they would each have their own pot to use. There would still be additional expenditure of course because you would have two houses to be paid for whereas before it would only have been one, but at least each party would have their own pension pot to utilise. Something is better than nothing!

Divorces can also cause other problems later on in life as well, especially where someone remarries or enters into a new relationship, and forgets to do a new beneficiary for a pension. There are quite a number of people who forget about this until it is too late. And of course after death, nothing can be done.

It is reckoned that people can have up to 11 different jobs over their lifetime and needless to say they can have as many pensions, which are then difficult to keep track of and monitor. Bear in mind that trustees of pension schemes can only allocate pensions according to the written wishes of a member, and if that member forgets to update things, money could end up in the wrong place altogether.

This is where advisers can come in and tidy things up for clients, because IFAs can consolidate a client’s pensions, but only if it is in their best interests to do so, thus keep things tight and manageable. MAP do this for a number of clients but we also monitor what funds are used in any investments, to try and maximise returns and therefore help the retiree.

If you would like to find out how Money Advice & Planning can assist with divorce settlements for any clients, please visit us at www.mapfinances.co.uk and use the contact form. Alternatively, call your local MAP adviser at a time which suits you.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Links to external sites are for information only and do not constitute endorsement. Always obtain independent professional advice for your own particular situation. Money Advice & Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Bymapfinancesadmin Posted May 2, 2018

Family Lawyers – how MAP can add value to you and your clients

Judge gavel, scales of justice and law books in courtFrequently, family lawyers will refer their client to an IFA once a divorce settlement has been finalised; the sooner the client is referred, the better it is for everyone involved.

There are a number of areas our advisers can assist a family lawyer with in a divorce settlement. Listed below are a few of those areas where we can work alongside the lawyer.

Gathering and assessing financial information

A financial adviser can assist in gathering all relevant financial information required, as this is a natural part of the advice process they would carry out with their own clients. Areas they would cover are:

  • Income & Expenditure – what will the impact of the divorce have?
  • Savings and Investments – are they joint and therefore need to be split?
  • Pension holdings – do they need to be split or transferred?
  • Protection cover – are they joint and therefore need replacing?
  • Mortgage – is it in joint names and need to be assessed?
  • Assets – what is their value and do they need to be split?

Cash Flow Forecasting

It is important for the client to know as soon as possible the financial impact the divorce settlement will have on them. The IFA will be able to put a forecast in place to project what this could look like. 

Dividing Assets

Who keeps the house, the pension, or other assets? The IFA – based on the financial information they have gathered – will be able to offer advice and options based on the client’s goals, priorities and objectives.

Dealing with financial products

Whatever needs to be done with pensions, protection products, savings and investments, mortgages or other assets – as part of the divorce settlement – the IFA will be able to advise on the best way to proceed and then can carry out the work which needs to be done to make the changes happen.

 

Dealing properly with a client’s financial situation as a result of a divorce is crucial as it can have a major impact on their lifestyle both now and in the future. It is vital they understand all the legal and financial options presented to them, and are able to make informed decisions as soon as possible.

If you would like to find out how Money Advice & Planning can assist with divorce settlements or any other financial issues for any clients, please visit us at www.mapfinances.co.uk and use the contact form. Alternatively, call your local MAP adviser at a time which suits you.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Links to external sites are for information only and do not constitute endorsement. Always obtain independent professional advice for your own particular situation. Money Advice & Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Bymapfinancesadmin Posted May 2, 2018

Accountants, Lawyers and IFAs – A Team Approach

Business people making introductionsFinancial, legal and tax advice are areas conducted by professionals adhering to their own sets of standards and qualifications, with their own professional bodies and regulators.

These advice professions are no different to other business sectors though when it comes to facing growing pressure to retain their existing clients, and more importantly, to win new clients and discover sources which will provide those new clients.

Legislation such as the Legal Services Act (LSA) and the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) has forced the legal and financial advice professions to introduce more client centric business models and, at the same time, become more competitive. This in turn has created a growing pressure for these advice professions to diversify and expand their business propositions in order to be more competitive.

Working more closely and proactively with a professional IFA can provide a very simple but effective solution to this problem.

Given the overlap between many areas of tax, legal and financial advice, a number of firms have seen the potential for Accountants, Solicitors and Independent Financial Advisers to work together to leverage each other’s client relationships. It provides those clients with a more holistic, joined-up and value-added approach to advice, and at the same time resolves the challenges of retaining existing clients and finding a source of new clients.

If you would like to find out how Money Advice & Planning can add value to your business and your client relationships, please visit us at www.mapfinances.co.uk and use the contact form. Alternatively, call your local MAP adviser at a time which suits you.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Links to external sites are for information only and do not constitute endorsement. Always obtain independent professional advice for your own particular situation. Money Advice & Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Bymapfinancesadmin Posted Mar 29, 2018

Tax Year-End Tips

Planning can save you moneyPart of any planning is to take the relevant steps at the right time. We don’t intend to give you lots of words on each and every thing you need to look out for, although we do list them below.

The main thing is that if you don’t plan, it could cost you a lot of money. A survey done recently by a firm – Dunstan Thomas – found that those who had professional help with retirement planning were £13k better off than those who went alone. So on that basis, let us put some other planning issues to you.

  • ISAs: If you regularly save through ISAs, you are unlikely to have any Capital Gains Tax issues. After the first £11,300 of gains are counted, it is then taxed at 18% if you are liable at 20% income tax, and 28% if you are liable at 40% income tax.
  • Pensions: When affordable, always pay into a pension, but don’t exceed the annual allowance of £40k or the lifetime allowance of £1m. Under the new pension freedom rules though, when you reach the age of 55, you can take out up to 25% of your total pension fund tax-free. This could be worth a lot of money and is not to be ignored; you could use it to repay a mortgage or at least put a big dent in one, for example.
  • In Retirement: If you planned your retirement using both pensions and ISAs, you could have the best of both worlds. Admittedly you don’t get tax relief when paying into an ISA, but you don’t get taxed when withdrawing from it either. In retirement, you could take out £11,500 a year from your pension fund, and you could take £13,500 from your ISA. This would leave you with £25,000 income per year with no tax to pay. Now that’s planning!
  • Married Couple’s Allowance: If you plan things between spouses, you can utilise everyone’s tax-free allowance and so could withdraw £11,500 x2 = £23,000, meaning you would only need to take out £2,000 per year from ISAs to have the same income as in the above scenario.
  • Marriage: The marriage allowance is worth £200 a year; as a well-known actor said, “Not a lot of people know that”.

The bottom line is that you need to plan things out – failing to plan is planning to fail after all. Planning can save you money or make you money; failure to plan on the other hand can cost you money. So do even a small bit of planning as every little bit helps.

If you would like some advice on planning, then why not contact Money Advice & Planning. Visit us at www.mapfinances.co.uk and use the contact form. Alternatively, call your local MAP adviser at a time which suits you.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Links to external sites are for information only and do not constitute endorsement. Always obtain independent professional advice for your own particular situation. Money Advice & Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Bymapfinancesadmin Posted Mar 29, 2018

Why getting the right advice is so important

Speak to a financial adviser who can help youEstablishing a relationship with an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) you can trust to handle all of your financial needs is critical to achieving your financial goals. Not all Financial Advisers are the same, so you must beware!

The two main types of financial adviser are those who are independent and those who are not. All advisers must tell you what services they offer from the outset. To be called an Independent Financial Adviser, they must be able to offer a broad range of retail investment products, and give consumers unbiased advice based on a comprehensive analysis of the market.

Restricted or tied advisers on the other hand can only recommend certain types of investment products or products from a limited number of providers (possibly only one if tied). It is important to establish at the outset what type of advice an adviser can offer, to ensure you get the best investment(s) to suit your needs and requirements.

All advisers must be properly qualified to give financial advice and hold the Diploma in Financial Planning, or an equivalent qualification. Advisers must also prove that their knowledge is up-to -date through continual professional development (CPD).

Some types of advice require an adviser to have specialist qualifications – pension transfers and equity release for example. Any companies offering these services should have advisers within their ranks who are suitably qualified to provide advice in these areas.

Advisers must also be transparent in the fees they charge for both initial and ongoing advice and services.

As a valued client of Money Advice & Planning Ltd you can rest assured in the services we offer:

  • Non-restricted advice and planning – no matter what financial advice and products you need, we can help.
  • Face-to-face advice from UK-wide trusted advisers – irrespective of where you are in the UK, one of our advisers will be happy to meet you and discuss matters face-to-face.
  • Fees structured to suit requirements – financial advice should never take on a ‘one size fits all’ approach and our fees will be structured and mutually agreed to suit your needs.
  • Tailored service packages – we don’t believe in one-off financial advice and have several service packages available, so your financial affairs are reviewed throughout your journey with MAP.
  • Whole of market non-discretionary investments – our bespoke investment strategy will cater for your needs and requirements, and give you an investment right for you.
  • Quarterly investment reviews – our proactive analysis of fund performance ensures you are always invested in the best areas to suit your attitudes to risk.
  • Recommended funds – we invest using recommended fund lists, which have been tried and tested to deliver successful returns for our clients.
  • Transparency and peace of mind – clients have 24/7 access to their investments through the MAP portal, so they always know how their investment is performing.

Perhaps most importantly of all, we come tried and tested. Read the reviews of just one of our advisers and see for yourself.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Links to external sites are for information only and do not constitute endorsement. Always obtain independent professional advice for your own particular situation. Money Advice & Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Bymapfinancesadmin Posted Mar 29, 2018

Defined Benefit Transfers and Pension Freedoms

Obey pension and tax rules and be logicalOne item to make the headlines recently, for all the wrong reasons, was the transfer out of British Steel pensions (a defined benefit or DB scheme) into Personal Pensions (PPs) or Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs). The reason they hit the headlines was because the regulator – the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – said that a lot of these transfers were not compliant; or at least the paperwork wasn’t.

When an adviser transfers any pension today, he must specify why it is being transferred, based on factual information. The adviser needs to show the client has a need to move the money and that this need can only be satisfied by transferring the pension to a different provider. Now this can cover a whole raft of scenarios, but it will never include transferring a pension because the client thinks it might be helpful, even when a client gives their approval.

Death benefits is a good example. Let’s say someone has £250k in a DB scheme, and would like to ensure their children benefit from this when he/she is dead. If this pension was transferred solely for this reason, it would be the adviser who would get into bother, as there is no need to move it; it would only be a “nice thing to have”. If in the same scenario, the person had a critical illness and perhaps didn’t have long to live, there is then a need to transfer it sooner rather than later, before it dies with the individual.

The problem here is that a lot of DB schemes have such big transfer values, they are turning people’s heads and not making them think logically. That’s where an adviser comes in – to provide logic (hopefully). People fail to realise that such pension funds are meant to last a lifetime, and in a lot of cases might fritter this away very quickly, long before they should. The adviser should be the voice of reason.

Someone may in all eventuality be far better off taking the pension over their lifetime as it was intended, and not transferring it, only to blow their 25% tax-free cash on luxuries that they otherwise wouldn’t have bought, and then taking out more each year than is logical. Think twice when transferring a DB scheme, as you will need to be able to afford a long and healthy retirement.

You should also think twice about what you do with your pension when you retire, as you can only spend your money once. When you reach the age of 55, you can take out 25% of your fund as tax-free cash, and anything withdrawn thereafter is liable to tax at the highest rate applicable.

So if for example you earn £30k p/annum and are thinking of taking £40k out of your pension fund, you might need to think again – the first £11,500 is tax-free, the next £33,500 is taxed at 20%, and the remaining £25,000 is taxable at 40%. If you only got tax relief at 20% when you paid it in, it is daft (to say the least) to take it out and pay 40%. You need to watch what tax rate is applicable when you take money out. You can take out what you like when you like but you must pay the tax that goes with it.

If you would like some advice on your pensions, whether DB (defined benefits) or DC (defined contribution), then why not contact Money Advice & Planning. Visit us at www.mapfinances.co.uk and use the contact form. Alternatively, call your local MAP adviser at a time which suits you.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Links to external sites are for information only and do not constitute endorsement. Always obtain independent professional advice for your own particular situation. Money Advice & Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Bymapfinancesadmin Posted Feb 23, 2018

The Markets

The Stock MarketsWhen we were about to start writing this piece about the stock markets, we were going to talk about how placid they had been for some time, and had been showing good growth.

Then they fell…a lot! On January 15th, the FTSE100 reached a high of 7,777, and now at the time of writing this (February 8th) it has fallen to 7,195; a whopping 7% reduction in a matter of days.

From what we can see, there appears to be no logical conclusion for this, but there were some bad economic factors coming from the US, so people have basically panicked.

The overall outlook isn’t bad. Some emerging nations like Brazil (for example) are doing well and coming out of quite a long recession. Japan and the US are doing well, Europe is doing OK, and the UK is doing OK, albeit not as good as the rest of Europe.

We categorise investment funds by risk, and the three main levels are low, middle and high. There is also very low and very high risk, but none of our clients tend to want to use them.

Low Risk Funds

There are quite a few global funds that we recommend; two of the most consistent ones are Royal London Sustainable World Trust, achieving 20.5% over the last year, and Premier Multi Asset Growth & Income, achieving 14.3%.

Middle Risk Funds

There are more global funds in this category than any other, e.g. Old Mutual Global Equity, giving 18.5% growth, which is the most consistent one. One of our long-running excellent performers is Lindsell Train UK Equity, giving 20.7%.

High Risk Funds

The most consistent fund in this category is AXA Framlington Japan, giving 23.4%, but Unicorn UK Growth, giving 36.1%, has done very well recently. High risk is the category where you get a wider variety of funds, and is currently populated mainly by Asian (in particular Japanese) and Technology funds. UK Mid Cap also seems to be making a comeback here as well. As you might guess, there is less consistency with these high risk funds as opposed to middle and low risk, but that is the nature of the beast, so to speak.

When you do any investment, you need a good spread of funds to invest in, and you need to watch them regularly. Funds are like children – you can’t take your eyes off them!!! At MAP, this is what we do. It’s in our nature and our investment process to keep our eyes on your client’s money and try to make it grow.

For any enquiries or just an initial chat, contact Andrew Singleton on 0345 241 1808 or e-mail us at enquiries@mapfinances.co.uk.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Links to external sites are for information only and do not constitute endorsement. Always obtain independent professional advice for your own particular situation. Money Advice & Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Bymapfinancesadmin Posted Feb 23, 2018

Pension Cashflow Forecasting

Discovering Pension WorthWe always find that when we ask a client what he or she is likely to get from their pension, they have no idea. People can tell you what they would like, but whether they have enough or not is another thing…until now.

The Pensions Dashboard is a government initiative which has started recently, albeit it is not yet working. It is an attempt to show people what they might get from all of their pensions; primarily personal pensions, but it also includes the State pension.

What we do for our clients now, that is working, is our Pensions Guesstimate:

Example pension cash flow

The above would be the situation where a client has a personal pension and is contributing to it. If they weren’t, it is easy enough to remove that line, with other values recalculating to show an accurate likely outcome.

This example shows someone taking out their tax free cash at age 55, which is the earliest it can be taken. It can however be taken out at any time thereafter; either as a lump sum or in regular withdrawals.

We have built in withdrawals thereafter at 6% of the value of the pot from age 65 onwards, which is certainly not unreasonable. In the age of Pensions Freedoms, by and large this can be literally anything though.

In terms of growth, the Financial Conduct Authority expects us to be pessimistic so as not to get someone’s hopes up. We therefore use 3% growth if the client is a low-risk investor, 5% if they are a middle-risk investor and 7% if they are a high-risk investor.

Finally, under pension income, this example show the person retiring at age 65, although with pensions freedoms, anyone can retire from age 55. The State pension might be paid at age 65 with the standard amount being £8,100 per annum. We do ask clients to get their DWP forecast, which tells them how much they will get and when they can get it.

The end result, as I am sure you will agree, is a very simplified guess on what a person might expect at retirement. This then allows them to do their planning, potentially with plenty of time left to improve things. The whole purpose of this is simplification, although there are a number of factors where advisers need to keep watching. Pensions Guesstimates are specific to each individual, and if you have any clients who would like one done, please feel free to ask us.

For any enquiries or just an initial chat, contact Andrew Singleton on 0345 241 1808 or e-mail us at enquiries@mapfinances.co.uk.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Links to external sites are for information only and do not constitute endorsement. Always obtain independent professional advice for your own particular situation. Money Advice & Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Bymapfinancesadmin Posted Feb 23, 2018

Adding value to your clients through Proactive Investing

Adding value to clientsIf your clients can maximise their investments – whether this be pensions, ISAs, bonds or general investments – they will be a lot better off. We know that’s a fairly obvious comment but not many people put this into practice.

Let’s say one of your clients has a pension pot of £500k and they have it invested in a Managed fund, or even worse, a With Profits fund; annual growth will likely be no more than 5%. If that client is aged 45 and plans to retire at 65, they can expect a final value in the region of £1.393m. Whilst that is a big sum, if they were to invest in a good spread of funds, including some consistently good performers, and get around 8%, the final sum could be around £2,517m. What a difference!

Calculations show that for every 1% you can improve returns in this example, you improve the end value by roughly £300k. That is a significant difference and would no doubt be greatly appreciated by most, if not all clients.

This is what we attempt to do at MAP – maximise end returns for clients’ investments – which we do through our well-tested investment process. When we take on any new clients and establish their new pensions and/or investments, yes we get an initial fee for setting everything up, but our work only starts there.

It is our job to monitor all funds used within a client’s investment on a regular, quarterly basis. We then make fund switches within an investment as and when needed, in an attempt to maximise end returns. That is the true value of a professional investment adviser.

All investments need to be worked; if not, they probably won’t go perform at all well. At MAP, we attempt to make them work hard, within a person’s attitude to risk, to maximise the end return. As you can imagine, there are no guarantees, especially when you think of the way global markets react to anything and everything. We believe that if you pick consistently well performing funds time and time again, that is half the battle. That is exactly what we do.

At the last time of looking one of our investment advisers had 51 client reviews on VouchedFor, with a score of 4.8 out of 5…not bad at all! We believe this is not only for our investing skills, but also for continually working investments to better their performance. Our advice is both initial and ongoing because that is what is needed with every investment.

For any enquiries or just an initial chat, contact Andrew Singleton on 0345 241 1808 or e-mail us at enquiries@mapfinances.co.uk.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Links to external sites are for information only and do not constitute endorsement. Always obtain independent professional advice for your own particular situation. Money Advice & Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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