Investments

Today there are a bewildering range of savings and investment vehicles and options available to the investor. Building an investment portfolio must take into account tax opportunities and implications, attitude to risk and reward and balancing it to the need for income, growth or both.

Following a detailed personal review of your current financial position, aspirations and objectives, we will assess all of the above factors with you before making recommendations for your asset portfolio. Wealth creation and management is an ongoing process and we will look to meet regularly to ensure the best chance of your objectives being met.

Unit Trusts | OEICs | Investment Trusts | ISAs | Government Gilts | Corporate Bonds | Estate Planning

Risk and Reward

Different people have different attitudes to risk. You need to be clear about the degree of risk you are willing to accept before undertaking any kind of investment. The following is an example of a Risk/Reward profile.

Risk Profile

  • These risk catergories are for guidance only. Your IFA may have chosen different ways of catergorising risk.
  • Different people have different attitudes to risk.
  • You need to be clear about the degree of risk you are willing to accept.
  • Risk should also include a clients ability to cope with financial loss and the impact any financial loss would have on their overall finacial position.
  • There is a balance between risk and potential return – generally speaking higher risk investments potentially mean that higher returns may be possible BUT the risk of losing money is increased.
  • Lower risk generally means lower returns but with a lower risk of losing money.
  • Risk is also related to how long investment is undertaken. With stocks and shares you should be taking a longer term view – most commentators advise that a 5 year investment time frame is wise.
  • Risk can also be in terms of how you invest. Investors wishing to minimise risk would consider a broader investment spread as opposed to investment in a specialist area.
  • Remember past performance is not a guide to future returns. The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up. The level of tax benefits and liabilities will depend on individual circumstances and may change in the future. Exchange rate fluctuations may cause the value of underlying overseas investments to go down as well as up. Some Funds investing in specialist sectors or areas carry greater risks due to the potential volatility of market sectors into which the funds invest.
  • You should not invest without consulting a Key Features Document and supporting literature. Top

Unit Trusts

Unit trusts are a popular investment vehicle today, they are ‘open ended collective investments’ which put the cash of many investors into one fund a ‘pooled fund’. This system allows investors to invest “collectively” which has the benefits of spreading and reducing risk and keeping costs under control. Unit trusts allow you to invest in the stock market but enable you to spread your risk and benefit from expert investment management.

There are many unit trusts to choose from across a wide range of investment sectors. The managers of the trusts can buy and sell within the trust without having to pay any tax, however tax liabilities can arise on dividends and unit sales by the holder. Top

OEICs

An OEIC is an open-ended investment company, often referred to as the modern day and flexible equivalent of the unit trust. They combine the elements of unit trusts and Investment trusts enabling you to pool your investments along with other investors. This helps to spread the risk and enables you to take advantage of the skills of a professional managing the fund.

  • OEICS are regulated by the FCA. The rules are based on specifically written company law, whereas unit trusts are based on old trust law.
  • OEICS have a single price for buyers and sellers and the charges are shown separately. A unit trust has a separate buying and selling price (bid/offer spread).
  • The OEIC share price directly reflects the underlying assets of the portfolio
  • An umbrella fund structure, which means that there are different classes of share. Each sub share fund can be invested in a different area if required. Top

Investment Trusts

An investment trust is simply a company that has been set up to invest in shares of other companies. By buying shares in an investment company, the investor is in effect spreading the risk that would normally be associated with a single share investment because the value of the Investment Company’s shares are directly related to the spread of investments it is making.

From a tax perspective, investing in investment trusts is treated the same as investing in shares. Top

ISAs

ISAs or Individual Savings Accounts are savings plans designed to encourage savers and investors with generous tax incentives. These accounts come in two forms, stocks and share ISAs and cash only ISAs.

There is no personal tax to pay on the income or profit your investment earns.

The amount you may invest in any tax year (April 6th to April 5th) currently is £15,240 tax year 2014 / 2015 the ‘New ISA’. This can be invested all as a cash ISA, a stocks and share ISA or a mix of either cash or stocks and shares. The amount held in either cash or stocks and shares can be altered to suit investment market conditions.

ISAs are designed to be extremely flexible as there is no minimum term; It will be possible to use the cash component of an ISA in the same way as a short notice deposit account, although some providers will impose restrictions, probably in return for favourable interest rates. The flexibility of withdrawal also applies to the other components, though where asset-backed investment is involved, short-term investment and disinvestment would not normally be appropriate.

ISAs are exempt from income tax and capital gains tax (CGT). Investors will not be required to declare income or capital gains arising on their tax return. Top

Government Gilts

Government backed stock, known as ‘Gilts’ are loans made to the Government by in effect the investors. Much of the national debt is comprised of Government Gilts, so when the Government needs to ‘borrow’ more, it simply issues a new Gilt.

Gilts provide income derived from interest payments and a final redemption. Inflation erodes away at the true value of the Gilts redemption, whilst interest rates will make the Gilts income appear more or less attractive. Broadly speaking when interest rates rise the value of the Gilt will fall and vice versa. Many professional investors and fund managers invest part of their portfolio in Gilts because Gilts can help them to spread risk and/or provide income. Top

Corporate Bonds

Corporate Bonds are similar to Gilts, and work in much the same way, however Corporate Bonds, as the name suggests, are issued by multinational companies as opposed to Governments. They do this as a cheaper form of borrowing than a bank loan and often offer better returns than Government Gilts. They have to because the risk of a corporate going bankrupt, even a multinational one, is greater than the risk of a Government being unable to repay its debt.

Corporate Bonds are usually invested in by fund managers and other ‘professionals’ and as per Gilts, they usually do this to produce income and/or spread risk. Top

Estate Planning

Our Inheritance tax (IHT) planning incorporates advising clients to review their wills and create Lasting Powers of Attorney.

Saving tax should not be the only motivation. Are there concerns surrounding the efficient passing down of wealth to future generations, for example, without compromising your childrens vigour for self motivation towards saving – or – retaining sufficient capital for your own personal security such as meeting the cost of residential or nursing home fees – or – maintaining your desired lifestyle.

We address the fundamental consideration of flexibility to meet changes in legislation, your circumstances and wishes. With the complexities involved with inheritance tax, if a simple solution can be found it will usually be the best solution. Top