5
Dec
2019
0

5 lessons learnt from the Woodford scandal

From superstar status to ruins in less than five years – it’s been six months since Neil Woodford’s flagship investment fund went into meltdown. Let’s recap on what happened. On the 4th June 2019, the fund manager suspended trading of the Woodford Equity Income Fund, sparked by a mass exodus of investors frustrated with poor performance. As the assets under management quickly shrunk the composition of the fund shifted significantly. The proportion of illiquid assets (which by definition are extremely difficult to sell quickly for their full value) rose so much it broke the Financial Conduct Authority’s rules on how much can be held. Kent County Council’s request to withdraw £260 million was the straw that broke the camel’s back....
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5
Nov
2019
0

Has the FIRE movement burnt out?

It’s an acronym for Financial Independence, Retire Early and the movement has been especially popular among millennials online. In fact, the Reddit FIRE forum, which was set up in 2011, has more than 650,000 members. The basis of the theory involves frugal living and aggressive investing – it’s essentially pension planning turned up to 11! The idea of being able to retire in your 30s or 40s is obviously attractive for some, but is it really realistic? As we’ve witnessed with the recent political and economic landscape, the future can be very unpredictable. There’s no doubt that saving towards your retirement in any form is significantly beneficial, but is the FIRE movement promising too much? Let’s consider the pros and...
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4
Oct
2019
0

How to avoid investment blunders during volatility

Who could have predicted that three years after the Brexit referendum, Boris would be Prime Minister, apparently lying to the Queen, and political chaos would be the new norm? I’m hesitant to say much more, as in the short time it takes to publish this blog, Hugh Grant might actually be dancing through 10 Downing Street. It all goes to show, no matter what you think the future is likely to hold, life is largely unpredictable. The same could be said for investment volatility, and, whilst political uncertainly is a good analogy, it can also directly influence market performance. Whether it’s as close to home as attempting to leave the EU, or the ongoing US-China trade war, economic uncertainty and...
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3
Sep
2019
0

How to prepare for a financial emergency

Last year The Money Charity reported that almost ten million UK households have no savings at all. Their most recent figures also show that 340 people were declared insolvent or bankrupt, and 14 properties were repossessed, every single day in the UK. Pretty alarming statistics, but how would your family cope if you suddenly lost a primary source of income, or received a large unexpected bill? As always, preparation is key. Ensure you have an emergency fund Emergency fund, rainy day fund – call it what you want – but it’s essential to have readily accessible money to replace lost income or meet unforeseen costs. Between three to six months household living expenses is generally recommended, but this does, of...
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22
Aug
2019
0

3 tips to get the best Final Salary pension advice

Figures reported in the FT show that whilst the value of pensions transferred reduced last year, it still amounted to a whopping £33 billion. It’s also widely predicted that most of those transfers were out of Final Salary (also known as Defined Benefit) schemes. But, towards the end of 2018 the FCA found that only 49% of advice given to transfer out of a Final Salary pension was suitable. If you have a Final Salary pension, you too might be tempted to accept a seemingly generous cash-equivalent transfer value. However, forfeiting a lifetime of guaranteed retirement income is, in the words of Megan Butler, Executive Director at the FCA; “one of the most complex financial decisions a consumer may have...
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8
Aug
2019
0

Who wants to be an ISA millionaire?!

Do you remember the former Army Major Charles Ingram on ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’? He correctly answered the million-pound question, but instead won a 20-month suspended prison sentence and a bill for thousands in legal fees! There could, however, be an easier way to make a million… No ‘lifelines’ necessary, no coughing accomplice in the audience – you could be an ISA millionaire. First, a quick reminder of the basics. An ISA (Individual Savings Account) is a tax-free savings wrapper, free of Capital Gains Tax on growth and Income Tax on withdrawals. ISAs have been around for 20 years now, first introduced with an annual contribution limit of £7,000. But that cap has generously increased over the past...
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