Whether you are investing a lump sum or saving for a special occasion or want additional income in a few years time, our Independent Financial Advisers will be able to tailor a solution to match your individual circumstances. Our investment process includes evaluating your existing investments, assessing your attitude and tolerance to investment risk, identifying your investment objectives and determining whether you want to invest a lump sum or save money on a regular monthly basis.
Investing for income involves investing in assets that generate natural and regular income. Suitable assets include dividend yielding equities, bonds, and property. Different combinations of income yielding assets will produce different results at different times within the economic cycle. Successful income fund managers will spread money across different combinations of income generating assets in an attempt to deliver a steady and predictable income for investors regardless of market conditions.
Growth funds typically invest in the stocks of companies committed to expansion. Such companies are often not expected to distribute dividends as their profits are reinvested to fund future growth. These funds can be expected to do well at times when economic performance is in a growth phase.
There are many different types of savings plans in the market place but they all have one thing in common; they are designed to build up a lump sum over a period of time. They appeal to younger investors who wish to save for specific events, e.g. school fees, weddings, holidays etc. Modern savings plans usually provide tax efficiency as well as allowing investors flexibility regarding premiums and withdrawals, allowing access to a broad spectrum of funds with a wide range of risk.
Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs or NISAs) are investments that qualify for favourable tax status. They are available to UK residents and investments are exempt from Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax. ISAs can be invested in stocks and shares or cash. The Annual ISA allowance or amount of money that can be invested is capped for individuals within a UK tax year and there is no opportunity to carry forward unused allowance into the next tax year. ISAs are available to individuals regardless of age, although children under the age of 18 have access to a smaller allowance than adults and cannot withdraw their investments until they reach their 18th birthday (Junior ISA). Children aged 16-18 can access the full ISA benefits of an adult, but only for the cash ISA variant.
If you are aged over 18 and under 40 in April 2017, you will qualify for a Lifetime ISA (LISA). The Government will give you a cash bonus of £1,000 for every £4,000 you save each year up to the age of 50. This can be put towards buying a first home, up to a value of £450,000 (although more than one LISA can be used to purchase the property), or withdrawn when you are aged 60 to fund your retirement. If you decide to withdraw the money early for any other reason, you will be penalised. There is a 5% charge, plus the loss of the bonus payments as well as any growth or interest on them.
For those saving to buy a first home, for every £200 you save, you will get a Government bonus of £50. The maximum Government bonus you can receive is £3,000 per year. It will be possible for people who are under 40 to roll this into a LISA.
Investment bonds are life insurance policies into which a lump sum can be invested for the purposes of tax efficient capital growth and income withdrawal. Investment bonds use different investment funds chosen by the investor. There are onshore and offshore versions, each type being subject to different tax treatments with unique advantages. The tax treatment of an onshore investment bond is less favourable than an ISA but the amount of capital that can be invested is not so restricted. Investment bonds offer distinct advantages to investors in estate planning and for investors paying above the basic rate of Income Tax.
Unit trusts and open-ended investment companies (OEICs) are professionally managed investment funds. A fund manager pools the money received from many investors to buy stocks, bonds, property and other investments according to a specific plan or investment strategy. The advantage of this investment approach is that collective funds can diversify risk and offer economies of scale. Unit Trusts and OEICs can vary from low risk to high risk depending on which assets are bought and the type of strategy employed by the Fund Manager. Unit Trusts and OEICs can be structured to provide growth, income, or a combination of both.
Structured products are fixed term investments whose payout is normally dependent upon the performance of an underlying asset, typically a stock market index or basket of stocks. The conditions for payout are pre-defined and the investor does not usually fully participate in the up or downside of the underlying asset over the fixed term duration of the investment. These products are often purchased by customers seeking better returns than from saving accounts.
The income or growth from a structured product is seldom guaranteed at outset, but depends on the performance of the underlying assets. Some structured products provide a capital guarantee and are associated with less risk and potential return. Similarly, structured products that do not guarantee the investor’s capital normally enable a greater participation in the upside and downside performance of the underlying assets, but also usually carry more associated risk.
Exchange traded funds (ETFs) are traded on an exchange in the same way as shares, but are a type of collective fund and can hold physical assets such as stocks, bonds and commodities, or synthetic assets such as derivatives. Unlike OEICs or unit trusts whose price is usually set once per day, ETFs can be traded throughout the day, which offers investors greater flexibility and liquidity. ETFs mostly track an index like the FTSE100 and seek to match rather than outperform the index. Management costs for ETFs are generally lower than actively managed funds and can provide a low cost alternative for investors.
An investment trust is a public limited company whose shares are traded on a stock exchange. They normally invest in the shares of other companies, but can hold a range of investments including stocks, bonds, commodities and property. Like other collective funds, investors' money is pooled and used according to the investment strategy employed by the Fund Manager. Investment trusts differ from OEICs and unit trusts in that the number of shares available for trading is generally fixed and the pool of money available to the Fund Manager is closed to new capital at the outset of trading, thus the share price is determined by supply and demand in the market. Investment trusts also differ from OEICs and unit trusts in that they can borrow to purchase assets. This facility provides the Fund Manager with additional flexibility to acquire different assets as market opportunities arise, but can add significant risk to the fund.
The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) is a UK Government scheme that allows tax relief for investors who invest in unquoted companies that carry on a qualifying trade in the UK. More recently the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) has been launched with the aim of helping to stimulate entrepreneurship and growth in the economy. Both schemes encourage investors to invest their money in smaller companies where the risk of capital loss is greater. Investors are compensated for taking higher risks through reliefs to Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax and potentially Inheritance Tax.
A Venture Capital Trust (VCT) is an investment company that is listed on a UK stock exchange and invests in other companies shares. There are various rules for a VCT to qualify for Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax relief, which compensate investors for providing capital to smaller unlisted companies and companies invested on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM).
Discretionary Fund Management (DFM) is a process which involves an experienced investment manager making investment decisions without having to seek permission from the client. The Discretionary Fund Manager must operate within constraints set and agreed by the investor. These constraints include attitude to investment risk and investment style.
DFM like all professional approaches to investment management is supported by the research of market analysts who propose investment strategies with a view to outperforming the market and a discretionary fund manager will regularly review portfolios under their care. DFM generally has access to a full range of investment solutions including individual stocks, bonds, collective funds and institutional investment assets.
All investment involves risk and it is important that you understand the value of investments and any income derived from them may go down as well as up and you might not get back the full amount you invested. Please contact us if you have any doubt about whether an investment is suitable for you.