Archives For financial planning

As an employer, you may be concerned about the impact on your company of a key employee’s death. The loss of key relationships, specialist knowledge, impact on sales and profit could have serious repercussions for your business.

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As many UK Expats will be flying back to Blighty over the Summer, I thought a reminder to take your international medical insurance membership card would be helpful. Remember with the exception of A&E, treatment on NHS is only free to UK residents.

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For many years I have recommended all of my UK clients to pay voluntary national insurance contributions (NICs). Payment of voluntary NICs is important because some UK benefits like the Basic State Pension and the New State Pension (NSP) are linked to a person’s contribution record.

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After my last post I received some feedback about planning in a general sense, so this time I have provided some thoughts which I hope you will find helpful.  Continue Reading…

It seems everywhere I look in the last few weeks I see pictures of stressed traders and a mass of red on trading screens. Newspapers and online headlines read ‘Market Crash’. Naturally, I have received several calls from concerned clients. They want to know: what they should do, how it will affect them, and is the sky falling in on their retirement plans?

First, it is common for these things to happen over the summer months. This is for a number of reasons: low trading volumes result in relatively small trades having a larger than normal impact on the market increasing volatility; the media have little to report (August is known as the ‘Silly Season’ in UK media circles) which means minor stories take centre stage and the same news gets repeated more often resulting in greater impact than normal. And don’t forget Mr. Market from Dr Graham’s famous book on investment ‘The Intelligent Investor’ published more than 50 years ago it is just as relevant now as then. Mr Market completely forgets why he invested in the first place. When he sees markets go down he just follows the herd. Consequently, when markets go down all the Mr. Markets out there make it go down further. For the ‘Intelligent’ investor says Graham this is an opportunity. The Market is offering the ‘Intelligent’ investor an opportunity to buy investments at last year’s prices; an opportunity most would welcome in any buying scenario.

So is the market turbulence all good news? No, of course not. But it must be kept in context. The markets and to a greater extent the media generate a huge amount of ‘white noise’ and it is hard to know what to ignore and what to take seriously. Few private individuals in full time employment have the time and resources to manage their own investment portfolio. Instead they employ a qualified, experienced professional. In conjunction with their investment adviser they put an investment plan in place which is designed to meet their goals within their specific circumstances. These plans tend to be over the very long term perhaps 10 or more years.

Investment advisers are not only useful at the outset of an investor’s financial planning.  Having a third party available helps investors in times of higher than usual market volatility. They help investors remember they are investing for the long term and offer a professional view of the situation. Additionally, when adjustments are needed they are on hand to act as a guide.

Part of any investment plan should be the management of risk. For example, a young person saving for retirement can afford to take greater risk than an older person who has already built up a significant amount of capital and is with a few years of retirement. The degree of risk is reduced as the investor’s goal is approached. This then reduces the impact of market fluctuations such as the one’s we have seen recently.

It is also important to recognise that the media generally focus on just one of the traditional asset classes: equities or shares. Whilst this is an important part of many portfolios, most will also include investment in cash, fixed income and property. These assets react differently to equity markets. This diversification is a fundamental way of reducing risk in a portfolio.

The message is if your portfolio is correctly structured to suit your needs you shouldn’t panic and you should keep focused on the long term. On the other hand, if you are at all concerned about your portfolio you should contact a professional adviser.

As always, if you have any questions or comments please let me know.

With the new iPhone 6 just launched in UAE many people will be rushing out to spend AED5,000 or more on this new gadget. Ask those same people what they have set aside of their future and many will say nothing. Continue Reading…

Football & Finance


With half the world’s population expected to be watching football this week, it seems wrong to completely ignore ‘the beautiful game’ so, what’s it got to do with finance? Well apart from the cost of hosting the event studies have shown that during large sporting events stock markets are affected. Continue Reading…