Latest Insights

21st November 2019

Pension Annual Allowance

The 6th April will re-set the clock on the annual pension contribution allowance. It’s therefore the time of year to work out what additional income tax relief may still be available from pension contributions. Relief at higher rates of income tax can be significant. But those on higher earnings are subject to a tapering of their Annual Allowance. It’s not a straightforward calculation, with plenty of blind spots which could lead to penalties on excess contributions.

This quick overview of the Annual Allowance highlights some of the pitfalls for higher earners and why they should seek advice.

16th October 2019

Tax efficient life cover for business owners and high earners

Most businesses offer death in service benefits as part of their overall remuneration package. What can often be overlooked is that these schemes are usually set up on a similar basis to a registered pension scheme and could result in additional tax charges of up to 55% in the event of a claim.

Here we highlight how a relevant life policy could be an effective alternative to group life assurance cover.

25th September 2019

Life assurance – the guaranteed way to cover UK inheritance tax liabilities?

Life assurance has proved to be a dependable and non-controversial way to fund future UK inheritance tax liabilities. Can it be as simple as getting through the medical and paying the premiums?

This briefing note looks at the advantages and disadvantages of life assurance and how it can be used to help mitigate UK inheritance tax.

22nd August 2019

Trade war, what is it good for?

It has been hard to miss the term “trade war” over the last year or so. It has featured regularly in the headlines to describe the ongoing dispute between the US and China. Wars sound ominous, so should we be worried?

We explain why the two nations are now arguing over trade, what the impact might be, and the significance of a 200 year-old history lesson from Thomas Jefferson.

12th August 2019

Defined Benefit Pensions – Should I stay, or should I go?

Defined Benefit (DB) pensions provide secure index-linked income for life. So why are so many people tempted to give up this guaranteed income for life?

Here we highlight some of the reasons why it could be suitable to transfer benefits from a DB pension to a defined contribution (DC) arrangement.

5th June 2019

This time, it’s about the destination

The prospect of winning or losing can have a great impact on our emotions. Whether we’re looking at casinos or coin flips, evidence suggests our rational decision-making is frequently overtaken by intuition – a process much more open to emotional influence.

For investors, the possibility of gains and losses is often a daily occurrence. We explain one method to steer investors on the more rational path to help achieve both financial and emotional well being.

15th February 2019

Are we nearly there yet?

The relentless, thundering rumble of a rocket blasting into space is more than just a spectacular sensory overload. It is the result of planning, scientific know-how and management applied to achieve a goal. We think science and goals matter when it comes to investing too. “Are we nearly there yet?” explains why they are so fundamental to successful investing.

13th November 2018

Dive in or dip a toe?

Investing large single sums in volatile markets can feel like a leap. An alternative to making one single investment is to spread it over time, known as phasing. It is often deployed as a means of reducing the risk of investing ahead of a dip in the markets. At face value, it is a fairly blunt tool. Nonetheless it can feel reassuring to a first time or cash investor for whom phasing addresses the obvious emotional cost of short term drops in value. Here we look at whether phasing actually achieves what it sets out to do.

30th October 2018

2018 October Budget Summary

The Chancellor has delivered the 2018 Budget, without much fanfare although he announced that ‘austerity was coming to an end’. Amidst the raft of measures, there will be a supplementary tax on tech giants, and increased spending on defence, policing and education. The budget was received with relatively little coverage, probably due to the intense Brexit negotiations stealing the headlines.

Please find attached our overview and highlights of the recent Budget announcement.

25th October 2018

Passing on wealth with pensions

Defined contribution pension funds now play a much greater role in transferring wealth between generations.

To maximise this flexibility it’s crucial that an individual’s wishes are identified and everything is in place to get money to the right people with the least amount of tax payable.

Here we highlight the importance of updating nominations and making sure the individual’s pension fund offers the full range of death benefit options.

7th August 2018

Is passive aggressive?

If you wanted to make money from the next World Cup would you place bets on the teams you think have the best players or would you buy shares in FIFA?

The debate on whether active or passive investments are the best way to participate in the market rages on, with strong arguments on either side. We take a data-driven look at the evidence and how both active and passive can have a place in investment strategy.

3rd May 2018

The risk of first impressions

… Or the first impressions of risk? It’s human nature to make snap decisions about new people we meet.

When it comes to investing, how we react to first impressions matters too. We explore why it pays to look beyond short term market dips, and the importance of focusing on long term returns.

13th April 2018

When life assurance leads to a tax charge on pension death benefits.

It is not uncommon for beneficiaries and their executors to find that pension benefits are subject to an unexpected lifetime allowance tax charge. This may be due to a pay-out from a death in service scheme, which may seem odd to those who have not yet seen this in practice.

In this Briefing Note we highlight how those potentially affected – higher earners with significant pension assets – should do to avoid this additional tax charge on death.

7th February 2018

Bitcoin or big con?

The buzz surrounding Bitcoin has grown to new levels in recent months. But is it a new currency and could it possibly turn into an asset to rival the likes of gold? Is it worth investing in Bitcoin?

We give a balanced, simple-terms explanation of Bitcoin’s origins, its rise from obscurity and what the future might hold for cryptocurrencies.

23rd November 2017

2017 November Budget Summary

Despite the palpable Brexit-induced tension in Westminster and amidst lacklustre economic data, the Chancellor has managed to deliver a Budget devoid of any major upsets or surprises.

Please find attached our overview and highlights of the recent Budget announcement.

1st November 2017

The hidden risk of cash

Investors, flesh and bone ones at least, have a tendency to hoard cash due to an innate aversion to loss.

Whether it’s stuffing money under the mattress or leaving large deposits untouched for years in a bank account, we explore both the obvious and hidden risks associated with such behaviour.

18th October 2017

Business loan protection

Good risk management includes planning for events which might seem unlikely today but which could have a huge impact on the business.

Yet a recent report by Legal & General shows that 35% to 48% of UK SMEs do not have adequate cover to protect their debts in the case of death of a shareholding director.

Here we explain why business loan and key person protection plans should form part of a company’s risk management plan.

28th September 2017

Pensions and the future of higher rate tax relief

It is hard to predict future changes to the government’s policy on pensions but the direction of travel indicates that the government may soon target pension tax relief for higher rate tax payers.

In this Briefing Note we seek to understand recent policy decisions and revisit why, for now, pension planning still plays an important part in tax planning for higher rate tax payers.

7th September 2017

Why diversification is a ‘free lunch’

Here we investigate how diversification of investments, if deployed correctly, helps maintain the balance between investment risk and potential returns.

At some point, we may have all been tempted to throw caution to the wind and pour savings into the next hotly-tipped success story such as ‘‘Amazon’’ or ‘‘EBay’’. Bar for the lucky few, investing in just one stock can prove to be very costly. In a field of thousands of companies, investors are faced with the significant risk of picking future losers, rather than one of the few elusive winners.

25th May 2017

Why staying unemotional pays off

It is a natural instinct to panic when times get tough, with regards to life or investing. This article looks at what flows of money in and out of funds tell us about investment behaviour during periods of increased market volatility. In particular, we illustrate how acting irrationally can lead to poor investment decisions and possibly even losses.



16th March 2017
2017 Spring Budget Summary    download

The value of investments and the income arising from them can go down as well as up and is not guaranteed, which means that you may not get back what you invested. Past performance is not necessarily a guide to the future. The information contained in this website does not constitute advice. The FCA does not regulate tax advice. The FCA does not regulate advice on Trusts, Wills and Powers of Attorney.. The Financial Ombudsman Service is available to sort out individual complaints that clients and financial services businesses aren’t able to resolve themselves. To contact the Financial Ombudsman Service please visit