British College of Osteopathic Medicine (BCOM) ask NLPFM to give Lectures in their Undergraduate Course

By | Financial Planning, Investment News, Latest News

The British College of Osteopathic Medicine, located 50 yards down the road from our offices in Finchley Road, is internationally renowned as a leading specialist learning institution in osteopathy.  It was one of the first educational establishments to be accredited, meeting the quality standards set by the General Osteopathic Council – the industry’s main governing body (GOsC).

Earlier this year NLP Financial Management were approached by BCOM to take part in their Undergraduate Masters in Osteopathy Course for their last year students, being both award winning and local Independent Financial Planners.

BCOM offer a course for their final year students to assist them in their financial education, before they branch out as associates in osteopathy practices or become self-employed.  Receiving hands-on financial knowledge before they are qualified will give students a better understanding of how to plan not only their own personal finances but also how to run their business in a tax-efficient way and take advantage of pension and other financial planning opportunities.

This was the first time NLPFM had worked with the college and Adam Katten (Managing Director) is delivering two detailed lectures, the first one in October advised on the importance of financial planning and protection planning including critical illness and life insurance, the second lecture in March focused on pensions and investment opportunities.

Annie Osborne, BCOM final year student said “Adam’s lecture really opened my eyes to some important considerations for financial planning into the future. He helped us to reflect on factors such as income and critical illness protection that we hadn’t necessarily considered before. Thank you Adam, I’m really looking forward to part 2!”

The more educational institutions – and companies – that can provide this form of learning, the easier students will find it to manage their money and make it work for them.  As they develop both their careers and their lives, fewer people will be left with extensive gaps between their current wages versus their projected retirement income, so can look forward to enjoying their later years.

 

 

We are 2019 finalists!

By | Financial Planning, Latest News

Professional Adviser has recently announced their shortlists for its 2019 adviser and provider awards, which is now in its 14th consecutive year and we are delighted to announce that NLP Financial Management is once again a finalist.

The awards are designed to demonstrate excellence in both the financial advice profession and also within the wider financial services sector. We won the Adviser Firm of the Year (London) both in 2014 and 2018, having been shortlisted now for 6 years running – and we will find out at a black-tie ceremony held in the Brewery, London in February, if we have been successful for another year.

Being nominated as a finalist is a great accolade and reinforces our continued efforts to remain a leading firm of advisers.

Why Parents should Involve their Children in Financial Decisions

By | Financial Planning, Latest News

With one in five parents now giving away money to their children to avoid high inheritance tax bills, it is more important than ever to include your children in your financial decisions, to avoid them having a nasty shock or trying to deal with something they know nothing about should the worst happen.

Research undertaken by Direct Line* found that a total of £227 billion has been transferred, with £32,920 being the average amount that parents are gifting their children.  Another 19% of parents had not given any money away as of yet, but planned to do so in the future.  However, 34% of parents said they did not have the assets to give away, with one in 10 saying their children are too young and 13% were worried that they will be short of money themselves when they are older.

Times are changing.  In our grandparent’s day the financial decisions were normally carried out by the breadwinner of the family (typically the male) and sometimes only the sons were made executors of the will, which was kept a secret until the parent(s) died.  Nowadays, thankfully executor responsibility is split equally between all the children to ensure everything is kept fair.

More parents are realising they need to look at their finances before it’s too late to ensure their children know their wishes and who to contact from a financial point of view, whether it is another family member or a Financial Advisor.  The latter is especially important to help children know who to turn to for help with investing their parents’/grandparents’ money when the time comes.  Even if gifting money to your children before you die is the route you decide on, there are still implications to be considered, such as if you give the money away you need to do so 7 years before you die, otherwise your children will still be liable for inheritance tax.

Talking about finances is uncomfortable for both children and their parents, but doing so can alleviate stress and worry in the future – especially if you are suddenly taken ill or suffer from dementia and can’t make your own decisions. You may feel too proud to talk to your children, feel it is a private matter, don’t want to lose control of your money or don’t want your children to take advantage. Whilst these concerns are valid there are considerable benefits to having this discussion with your (grown up) children whilst you still can.

It may help to open discussions around children potentially needing a small ‘early inheritance’ to help them out, whether this facilitates higher education, assists them to buy their first property or simply to alleviate any money concerns.  It can also save time when they know details of your will/s, powers of attorney, where vital documents are held and even meeting your financial advisor so a relationship is formed.

It is also helpful to talk about options should you no longer be able to care for yourself; waiting lists for retirement/care homes can sometimes be long, so it means your children can move faster should the need arise.  No one wants their parents to become ill and lose their judgement but there are several studies that show the ability to make financial decisions declines by about 2% a year after age 60.

It is important that discussing family money matters does not become a taboo subject and you try to get everyone involved in financial planning and budgeting from an early age as it instils good financial awareness. This can start from saving money in a piggy bank, having a bank account as children get older and even bringing them into family businesses or taking up part-time jobs encouraging them to budget for what they need, whilst showing them the real costs of living and what expenses you have as a family each month.

By being open and honest regarding the financial history of the family it means your children will also learn from your experiences, good or bad, and it will help shape their financial future.

To talk to NLP Financial Management about your financial planning please contact [email protected]

 

* https://www.moneywise.co.uk/news/2018-10-08/parents-giving-away-227-billion-to-kids-to-save-inheritance-tax

 

 

 

Review of the Markets – 11th December 2018

By | Financial Planning, Investment News, Latest News

Developed markets displayed heightened volatility during November. Deutsche Bank track over 70 distinct asset classes and by mid-November over 90% of these classes were negative for the year to date, which is the highest level since 1901. But by month end, the MSCI World Index was up 1.3%, US equities were up 1.9%, Europe was off -0.6%, the UK -1.5%, and Japan up 1%. Emerging Markets were up 3%, with Asia up 4%, and Latin America 0.2%.

The trigger for the falls had been the rising yields on US Treasury bonds due to further hikes in short term rates by the US Federal Reserve, and fears of the US-China trade war. The OECD said global growth has peaked and will slow down during 2019. Meanwhile, back home the UK and EU signed the draft Withdrawal Agreement to ensure a ‘deep and flexible partnership’ as they laid the ground for the trade negotiations to continue after the UK leaves the EU on 29th March 2019. However, the Prime Minister endured a torrid time presenting the Agreement to Parliament.

UK

The FTSE 100 was down 1.5%. The market is now yielding over 4% and the Price Earnings ratio is down to 12 and stands at attractive valuations below its historic averages.

Brexit has dominated the headlines as Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement was brought back to Parliament. Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, stoked fears of a UK recession when he presented research on the effects of the various Brexit outcomes. His research indicated that a disorderly ‘No deal’ Brexit could be worse than the Global Financial Crisis of 2008. GDP would shrink by 8%; house prices could crash by 30%, commercial property by 48%; the Pound would fall; inflation and interest rates would have to go up to 4%; and unemployment could rise to 7.5%. The
UK would be £100bn worse off.

The research also revealed that a disruptive Brexit would see GDP down 3%, house price falls of 14%, unemployment up to 5.7%.  A ‘close’ deal would affect GDP by 1% and a ‘less close’ deal would mean a GDP fall of 3.75%. Under May’s deal, the UK economy would be 3.9% smaller over 15 years.

Finally, Carney showed that under a ‘No deal’ the economy would be 9.3% smaller. The overall conclusion was that any deal would leave the UK worse off than its current position remaining in the EU. The report was dismissed by Brexiteers as the resurrection of ‘Project Hysteria’.

The crucial vote on the deal was postponed as it was expected to be voted down, so the prime minister declared she would go back to Brussels to obtain assurances regarding the temporary nature of the Irish backstop. The hope that May’s deal will be passed by Parliament faded and the probability of a ‘No-deal’ scenario and a second referendum has risen.  A second referendum runs the risk that the original referendum vote would be reversed and there would be no Brexit at all. A softer deal termed ‘Norway Plus’ in which the UK would re-join the EEA and yet retain membership of the customs union and the single market has been muted.

The outlook for UK investors remains complicated. UK equities are weighed down by raised fears of a ‘No-deal Brexit’, although the sterling weakness that would accompany such an outcome would boost the value of overseas profits.  There is also the risk of a Labour government which would put pressure on a range of utility and transport company shares which Labour has promised to renationalise. A ‘soft Brexit’ would remove much of the Brexit risk premium but likely cause a rally in the pound, possibly to as high as $1.40 according to J P Morgan. The Pound slipped back to $1.27
by the end of the month.

US

During November the market sold off heavily but ended the month up 1.9%. Valuations were ignored as both Growth and Value stocks fell. Defensive and low beta stocks were sought as much as cyclical stocks was avoided. However, earnings were still on the up as prices were down. Thus, Price Earnings multiples have been compressed. Hardest hit were any special situations companies and those in turnaround mode. The market is buying the safest haven stocks now at any price. Banks and Consumer Staples sectors were affected but Healthcare benefitted as did defence stocks.  US factory production has fallen but is well above crisis levels. Labour shortages in the house building sector have pushed up wages.

Facebook dropped on news it would face legal action over misuse of user data, election interference and the introduction of new digital taxes. Apple shares slid 24% on news that sales of the latest iPhone had slowed prompted by reports from key suppliers Lumentum (facial recognition) and Japan Display of reduced production orders. The $265bn loss on their $1trillion market cap is equivalent to the GDP of Bangladesh.

Following the midterm elections on 6th November, the Democrats won a majority in the House of Representatives, but the Republicans held on to their majority in the Senate which should not cause too many problems for Trump to continue implementing his agenda. There are some views the Democrat majority will curtail his spending plans. For instance, he had threatened to withdraw from the 1980s nuclear non-proliferation treaties of the Reagan-Gorbachev era which could lead to increased defence spending.

US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell said in a speech to the Economic Club in New York that interest rates may not have to rise as far as previously expected next year, maybe only one or two rises. This was warmly received by the  markets and led to a sharp rebound in the Dow Jones and S&P 500 because he had earlier indicated that up to four rises were due during 2019. Future interest rate rises, Quantitative Tightening (QT) as it is called, has the effect of draining liquidity from the system and has raised premature fears of a recession.

At the end of the month further tensions with China emerged. Trump tweeted that he hoped for positive talks with China at the G20 meeting in Argentina. The tariff rate is scheduled to increase in January if a deal cannot be reached and tariffs maybe imposed on all of China’s exports to the US. Although the recent Asia Pacific Economic Summit ended in acrimony, a 90-day tariff truce was declared. However, Meng Wanzhou, Chief Financial Officer of Huawei was then arrested in Vancouver. The arrest was seen as a diplomatic blow against China. Huawei is now the 2nd largest producer of smartphones behind Samsung and ahead of Apple. The US is concerned that Huawei has been stealing US technology under instruction from the Chinese government and infringing intellectual property rights. John Bolton,National Security Adviser, expressed enormous concerns over their business practices. However, Canadian PM Justin Troudeau said the arrest was not politically motivated.

Europe

The EU Summit in Berlin discussed the Brexit deal. France had issues about fishing rights in UK waters. Spain raised issues over the border with Gibraltar. Of particular note, the European Court of Justice has issued a ruling that the UK could reverse the Article 50 process and stop Brexit altogether.

In Germany, the economy shrank 0.2% as a consequence of the impact of the US-China trade wars affecting exports.  GDP was expected to fall to 1.5% from 1.8% next year. Much of the weakness appears to have come from a sharp slowdown in exports to China and German industrial production. Car manufacturing has been affected by the car emissions scandals. German banks were also in trouble. The offices of Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt were raided as part of the investigation prompted by the Panama Papers scandal of papers leaked from law firm Mossack Fonseca in 2016.

China and Emerging Markets

The APEC summit ended unusually with no joint agreement amid tensions between China and US over trade and tariff wars as mentioned above. On China’s Singles Day on 11th November Alibaba alone recorded sales of $30.8bn, over three times the total amount of Black Friday/ Cyber Monday in the US.

Brent crude oil prices fell some 30% during the month and ended as low as $58 having recently peaked at $86 on 3rd October. Saudi agreed to cut oil production to support prices. The US has now become the largest oil producer due to the doubling in production of shale oil over the past decade. Falls in oil prices are like a tax cut and support large oil importer countries, particularly those whose currencies have fallen sharply, and will decrease the cost of imports in local currency terms. This is good news for China and India and should be a positive for world GDP next year.

Uncertainty and fear drive down markets

Overall, global growth remains positive. In the near term, the main risk appears to be that the US-China trade conflict will escalate and the extent to which the US and the rest of the world can withstand the impact of ‘trade war’ tariffs.  In the medium term, the primary risk is that the US economy is in the late stages of the business cycle and very sensitive to rises in the interest rate cycle. There has been increased buying of US Treasuries which has reduced the yields from 3.25% down to 2.8% as investors seek safety.

Our View

We are aware that short term sentiment and over reaction to geopolitical events has worried investors but we remain convinced that the economic fundamentals have not changed all that much. We are casting our eyes over undervalued areas of markets for further opportunities to invest, such as domestic companies in the UK, as well as select Emerging Markets. Our allocation to alternatives, property, and bonds funds offered the portfolios important downside protection during the recent period of volatility.

Andrew Graham

NOTE: This material has been written for information purposes only and must not be considered as financial advice.

Data as at 30th November 2018.

Best Financial Advisers To Work For

By | Financial Planning, Latest News | No Comments

NLP Financial Management are delighted to announce that we have made the list of one of the best  places to work in Professional Adviser’s “Best Financial Advisers to work for 2019” awards.  Only a select few companies reach the list so we are very proud to have achieved this accolade and look forward to the winner being announced early February next year.

The process included our employees completing a survey giving their honest opinions and feedback on their working lives at NLPFM which was then analysed by the Best Companies Group to see if we made the grade.

This recognition underpins our commitment to being both financial planners and employers of choice and the efforts we have already made and will continue to make, to further grow and develop our business.

Learning how to make your money work for you…

By | Financial Planning, Latest News | No Comments

Financial Education is now compulsory in all secondary schools throughout the UK (and in some areas, primary schools as well).  Whilst this is a very positive step for school children, there are generations of adults who will not have benefitted from this kind of education and who therefore lack the knowledge to make effective financial decisions during their lifetime.

With 62% of employees aged between 45-54 years not knowing how much they’ll have to retire on* and one in 5 working Brits with no retirement savings at all** , it’s becoming increasingly important for us all to gain a greater education in how to make our money work.  This education could be found in the workplace with 38% of employees claiming they’d consider moving to a business that prioritised their financial training.  Final salary pensions are now a rarity and with the average pension pot standing at £50,000, relying on companies’ auto-enrolment schemes may not provide sufficient income as we’re living longer, with no guarantees that the state pension will offer a future security blanket.

Gaining a financial education will vastly increase individuals’ wellbeing, sleep and stress levels.  Knowing that you’re making a solid provision in later life also provides a level of security and comfort so you can just get on with living your life more comfortably without any nagging worry about the future.

So if you think you could benefit from learning how to make your money work what can we do?

  • We can consider developing a strategy to achieve your long term financial goals, to realise your anticipated lifestyle. This can include your pension, property and other forms of investment
  • It’s possible to avoid unnecessary tax payments by utilising allowances that are very infrequently used. Only 700,000 people in the UK used their Capital Gains Allowance in 2017 to generate tax free returns of £11,300
  • We can advise on how to mitigate the 60% tax rate for earnings over £100,000 p/a
  • It’s important to know the part that pension schemes can play in your longer term financial goals, as well as the legal limitations on pension contributions and the benefits they provide, (e.g. the 55% tax charge on pension funds, in excess of the Lifetime Allowance)
  • There are many benefits and disadvantages to the wide range of investment options that are available to assist you in building capital savings outside a pension fund
  • We can look at ways to ensure maximum capital goes to a family, if they were to die in employment

Being forewarned is to be forearmed.  If we gain enough knowledge to plan early, then retirement can be approached positively.  After all, you don’t know what you don’t know.

*Source: research by LV   http://www.telegraph.co.uk/financial-services/investments/investment-pensions-service/what-is-a-good-pension-pot/

**Source:   https://www.express.co.uk/finance/retirement/787180/pension-crisis-working-one-in-       five-brits-no-later-life-savings

 

Why it’s beneficial for “health” charities to work with an IFA

By | Financial Planning

When you as an individual apply for life insurance directly to a life office, the outcome of the process is very uncertain for a number of reasons, e.g.  Refusal of life offices to accept certain medical conditions, limits of cover for certain conditions, ambiguous or difficult questions which, if misunderstood and answered incorrectly, can lead to an immediate rejection.

If you live with a specific medical condition, particularly less common and obscure ones, you may have found it difficult, if not impossible to get life insurance through the traditional channels.  The brands we see heavily advertised on TV often produce a “computer says no” scenario for many whose profile doesn’t fit the standard “norm”.

Typically, a junior underwriter will take your application through an automated screening process that produces yet another automated letter of rejection, if, for example, a particular element of your past medical history is flagged up.  Unfortunately in these cases, insurers cannot usually look at an individual and their medical history as a whole, which is where independent financial advisers can make a difference.

Many of you with these conditions, whether recently diagnosed, or from birth, will reach out to specialist charities for support, knowledge and help.  It was with this in mind that a partnership between key charities and an IFA seemed like the perfect option to London based NLP Financial Management, especially as they also identified an opportunity to help raise additional funds to boost charities’ fundraising activities where grants and external funding has more often than not been reduced.

You could be forgiven for thinking that being initially rejected by the “well known brands” means you’ll be rejected by all insurance providers but this is absolutely not true.  An experienced IFA, like NLPFM, has already built up senior level relationships with a wide range of different insurers, understanding that risk is not a constant throughout the industry.  By grasping the needs of those struggling to find comprehensive life cover, they can target those insurers they know will be able to amend terms and conditions where other insurers cannot.

The benefit to you, as an individual, is that you stand a far better chance of obtaining insurance cover without the pain of research and rebuffs, at a price that provides value for you.  For the charities themselves, the benefits include an additional income stream, as NLPFM give 20% of the initial fees back to the charities for each case that is completed.  It’s also important to note that when we talk about fees for life assurance, these are included in your premium and not charged separately – it’s all negotiated through NLPFM – so you are not penalised in any way by going through an IFA.

NLPFM also offer additional support to the charities they work with by providing content for their blogs and social channels, event and personal fund raising efforts, as well as offering “clinics” on either social media or via the traditional telephone.  Here charity members can call a dedicated number to discuss their own individual queries and financial circumstances – all for free.  Although specific advice can only be given on a one-to-one basis, it offers an opportunity to consider financial decisions that you may have been putting off, only due to not knowing where to turn.

If you work for a charity, or would like to recommend a charity you belong to, please get in touch with Tom Burrill on [email protected] or call 020 7472 5549.