Your Financial Journey with BlueSKY
We work with business owners, executives and professionals, typically aged 45+. As well as offering the full range of financial planning services, we have a specialist expertise in pension sharing arrangements during divorce. Although many of our clients are capable of managing their own affairs they often don’t have the time or inclination to do so. Understanding personal objectives and goals is fundamental to our role.
Holding the status of Chartered Financial Planners means that our advisers have achieved some of the highest qualification levels in our industry and adhere to a strict code of ethics and standards. It is the most widely accepted 'gold standard' qualification available for professional financial planners/financial advisers in the UK.
BlueSKY offer a range of services to assist in the Divorce process. We specialise in the technical work around pension sharing for divorcing couples providing specialist reports, and assisting both solicitors and their clients in a way that is clear and straightforward. This is a vital part of the divorce process, especially when financial assets are significant or of a complex nature.
Beware the taxman!
Royal London argue that HMRC are ‘out of control’ and are over-taxing individuals on a ‘tax first- ask questions later’ basis. As examples it cites unnecessary ’emergency taxation’ on pension fund withdrawals and incorrectly levied stamp duty on second homes. Royal London claim that since April 2015 taxpayers have had to claim back £493m.
While refunds are made by HMRC, one wonders how many individuals forget to put in a claim or are unaware of the mechanics that needs to be followed. It’s hardly a ‘client first’ system.
The dangers of not diversifying
The headlines today of Carillion going in to liquidation is a sobering reminder that investing in a small number of stocks and shares can give a rocky ride.
There are, of course lots of questions to be asked about how Carillion could have ended up like this, given that it was effectively a Government sponsored company, but the investors concern here and now is that the shares are suspended. No value, no liquidity and an uncertain future.
In our view investing in to a broad range of diversified investments is the only prudent way to manage your wealth. We do have clients who invest a small proportion of their wealth in to stocks and shares but in general this is just a flutter for interest.
Carillion 1 year share price
Welcome to Nikki!
Our continued focus on our client work and improved client service levels made Rob and I realise that we can’t do it all anymore!
Welcome to Nikki in the newly created role of Practice Manager.
Nikki’s role (in simple terms of course) is to ensure that the individuals in our team do what they do best to ensure that our clients get a fabulous service.
She will also keep Rob and I in order too. Or at least that’s the plan.
In due course I’m sure our clients will meet Nikki.
We all wish her every success with us!
Deal or No Deal? – The Brexit View
Neil Woodford’s company, Woodford Investment management, have teamed up with Capital Economics to look at the various Brexit possible outcomes and their effects on the economy.
The reports view is that the most likely outcome seems to be a ‘compromise deal’, but it does also consider ‘No deal’ and ‘Deal with ambitious policies’
If the report’s forecast is right, the anticipated outcome makes pretty good reading. No big shocks and the suggested gentle unwinding of positions would be welcomed by markets.
Our house investment views remain much the same in that diversification is key to stable investment performance, whatever the weather.
Stable Returns in Uncertain Times!
It’s not unusual for investors to be cautious about equity returns. Especially with so much uncertainty in the news. Diversification is, of course a key component of stable investment returns but non-equity returns of 5% plus have also caught our eye.
An interesting proposition from an investment manager we have used for some time offers corporate bond returns that, although not without risk, may attract the more cautious investor who might be looking to diversify from traditional equities.
Great Investment Returns!
Getting investment returns right for our clients is a cornerstone of the financial planning work we do.
It’s not just about returns, but returns that are suitable for our clients in terms of risk, reward and style.
Our investment committee takes great pride in the fact that, again, all our clients investment portfolios have beaten their benchmarks.
A great result for us and our clients!
Where next for investment markets?
The continued rise in markets around the world can perhaps induce complacency in investors. Many believe that equities are the only place to invest.
We mustn’t forget though that the quantitative easing that dominated the press not so many months ago hasn’t gone away. Bond markets have spotted that Governments are beginning to make more noise about unwinding this debt and there are (currently gentle) moves to do so. This unwinding of debt will necessitate tightening economic policies and markets will react. How large the reaction is will depend on the severity and pace of the unwinding. So taking it gently is the strategy but it needs to be ‘just right’ not to spook the markets.
Staying invested has invariably been our recommendation to clients, as long as diversification and regular portfolio monitoring are part of the investment process.
Many of our clients hold Premium Bonds. Many report winning ‘regularly’. I don’t think we only meet lucky clients, so what really is the deal?
The reality is that as a percentage of all the money held in premium bonds (about £67M) the payouts equate to 1.15% per annum interest. That is under half the current rate of inflation so Premium Bond money is currently losing its buying power. The odds of winning the £1m jackpot per £1 bond are about 1 in 33bn. In my book, that’s not much of a chance!
Many of our clients have held these bonds for many years and although they do offer quick access to the cash if needed and there is no investment risk, one wonders if the money could have been put to better use on the stock market.
Increases in State Pension age….
Millions will now have to work an extra year before getting their State Pension. Increases to age 68 are now applicable to many.
To put this in perspective, when the State Pension was introduced in 1908 the Government would have only expected to pay the State Pension for an average of 9 years. It’s now 20 years that the Government can expect to have to pay the State Pension for!
The cost of the State Pension is massive. The Government has overspent. The housekeeping exercise means that something has to give!
Have you got enough money to retire on if the Government keep changing the goalposts?
Find out your State Pension age at:-
The day you die is important!
For those who celebrate the news that longevity is increasing may wish to pause for thought. According to research from UCL increases in longevity are now slowing. The fear is that we may be following America who now have falling longevity. Of greater concern is that the years that we live in poor health are increasing. That’s not much fun if you are the one in poor health or you are the State who are trying to fund this increasing cost of care.
The day you die is important for many reasons. For the financial planner and their client it is the day when you want to know that there were sufficient funds for you to live on. Although there is always an element of guesswork, Cashflow modelling helps demystify how the future might look.
Transferring your pension – or not?
In recent times the transfer values of some final salary pension schemes have increased significantly. Unsurprisingly, this has triggered lots of enquiries. Whether transferring is a good idea or not is an individual matter and often a complex blend of the maths and your personal circumstances and objectives.
There are no shortcuts to the right advice!
Safe as Houses?
Has property been a good investment in the past and what is the forecast for property growth in the future?
The Sunday Times ‘Money’ commissioned a report that analysed the growth of total household wealth in pensions and property from 2008 to 2016 drawing on data from the Office of National Statistics. Interestingly it found that the growth in pension wealth has outstripped that in property since the 2008 credit crunch in every part of the country, including London!
Data from the Land Registry Office shows house prices have only grown by an average of 3% per annum since 2005. This includes an 18.6% fall in prices between April 07 and May 09.
Unlike many other nations, the British psyche is that home ownership is important. We should remember that property is primarily a place to live and not an investment. Investing into property may be no better (or worse) than alternative investment strategies. This includes Buy-to-let property which, since recent changes in taxation legislation, is one of the least tax efficient ways to invest (as well as having other associated letting issues the owner will need to manage).