2013 started at a frenetic pace and just got busier month on month. The pace has been relentless with the impact of the retail distribution review and a significant influx of new clients following the acquisition of Keith Tudor and Anthony Tabbinor’s client banks.
At BRB Wealth Management Ltd we pride ourselves upon the personalised service we provide to our clients and are therefore delighted that all our staff have once again risen to the challenge.
2013 has been an eventful year for staff at BRB. We welcomed university graduate, Matt Carson, to the team earlier on this year. Matt is working closely with Geraldine Baker supporting Andy Thompson.
Peta Powell, our receptionist and typist, celebrating 15 years service with the company. We thank Peta for her loyalty and continued contribution to the company.
Carol Grant has been promoted to a new role as a financial adviser. Whilst still working with me, Carol will be responsible for developing BRB’s new desk based advisory service. We believe the desk based service will suit a multitude of clients for differing reasons and expect to see the desk based advice service grow rapidly in the future.
Congratulations to Dan Fahey and Simon Belfield for passing both their CF1 and CF2 exams.
The last quarter of 2013 has seen the long overdue refurbishment of our reception area, and whilst we are hoping the work will be complete prior to the year end, weather and factors outside of our control mean it will be a tight squeeze to finish prior to Christmas. Many thanks to Sneyd Building Contractors for their hard work and patience in the most trying of conditions of late.
In addition, may I thank all of our clients who have visited our offices recently for your patience and understanding over the disruption to our premises.
BRB have also been actively fund raising within the company. We have had an Easter egg raffle and an internal five a side football match between advisers and administrators. Experience prevailed with a healthy win for the advisers ….. all for a good cause. This together with general sponsorship and donations has resulted in total charitable contributions in excess of £1,000 and the following charities and causes have benefitted:-
- John Surtees Foundation
- Cancer Research
- Samaritans of Stoke and Newcastle Distract
- Homestart – Stoke on Trent
- British Sjogrens Syndrome Association
- St Michael’s Church in Audlem/Dresden
Outside of work, congratulations must be offered to both Tim Walsham and Candy Barber, both of whom put in sterling performances at the Killer Mile in Mow Cop in May of this year. Tim has also completed both a half marathon and a full marathon over the course of 2013. Well done to you both!
BRB Wealth Management Investment Process
The last 12 months has been a pretty good time for investors. The ‘BRB Investment Process’ cautious, moderate and speculative portfolios have risen by 6%, 10.3% and 14.8% respectively in the 12 months up to 29 November 2013. These performance figures are net of all investment and adviser charges.
Over the past few months, many investors and their advisers have been rocked by ‘star managers’ from Invesco Perpetual, Schroder and M&G jumping ship either to new employers or to start their own ventures. The difficult question for investors attempting to pick out out-performing fund managers is whether to follow them. We have also read stories this year of supposed ‘star managers’ falling from grace in terms of investment performance. We would suggest that they simply ran out of luck.
At BRB, we advocate the use of low cost, reliable fund managers that aim to provide market rates of return for their respective asset class rather than trying to ‘beat the market’. This means that we do not have to get involved in the highly speculative and unrewarding business of guessing who the out-performing managers will be in any given year.
As ever, we have no way of knowing what is round the corner in investment markets but the BRB investment process does not rely on making any forecasts or predictions. We will continue to worry about the things we can control (e.g. cost and diversification) rather than the things we cannot control.
Retail Distribution Review (RDR)
It is now coming up to 12 months since the Financial Conduct Authority introduced the retail distribution review, which was designed to make the provision of financial advice more transparent and to ensure that customers were aware of what services they were paying for.
The regulatory changes we believe have been poorly explained to the general public. The changes had little impact on the way in which we offer our services to clients as we have been operating as fee-based advisers for a number of years. However, the introduction of higher level of qualifications, the removal of commission on life and pensions business and other regulatory requirements have seen a reduction in the number of advisers, particularly those within banks and building societies.
We have always believed that it is of paramount importance that clients are aware of the services they are paying for and what we as a company can do to add to their overall financial wealth by seeking advice from us.
Lifetime Allowance Reduction
The government has made many changes to pension legislation over the last 18 months. The one area that is becoming the latest hot topic is the reduction of the lifetime allowance.
Back in 2006 the government changed the way in which people could pay for their pensions and introduced a lifetime allowance. This was gradually increased so that if people’s total pension funds exceeded £1.8m they would have to pay a lifetime allowance tax charge of 55% on these.
However over the last couple of years, this lifetime allowance has been reduced and from April 2014 is being reduced to £1.25m. You may of course ask how on earth does this affect me? The major impact is for people that have final salary pension schemes, because when their benefits are revalued, it can well mean that they are likely to be close to the lifetime allowance if they have other pension benefits. This is something that we are currently reviewing with clients and will be doing our best to try and ensure there are as few clients caught as possible. It is possible to apply for what is known as ‘fixed protection’. This means that you can make no further contributions into your pension arrangements but can lock in to the current lifetime allowance of £1.5m. This can result in a potential tax saving of £137,500. If you are concerned about this area, please of course contact us.
Changes to Drawdown Arrangements
In the budget this year the government revised changes that had previously gone through with regard to the maximum income that could be taken from an income drawdown arrangement. This in effect meant that the maximum level of income could be increased by 20% from the review date following on from the budget. This is something we have been discussing with clients throughout the year and unless of course the government change the rules again, hopefully gives greater certainty for clients and their retirement income.
On a final note, on behalf of all the staff at BRB Wealth Management, may we offer you all our sincerest best wishes for the festive season and for a happy and prosperous 2014 and beyond.
Christmas Holidays – BRB Wealth Management will close at midday on Friday 20th December 2013, reopening on Thursday 2 January 2014.