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MEET THE TEAM: DAVID BIRD

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The focus moves to Financial Adviser David Bird who, with Managing Director Nigel Round, set up Abacus Wealth Services Limited in 2001. Having worked in financial services since 1987, he talks about the support he provides clients, the advice he would give new starters in the industry and his focus on family.
When did you join Abacus Wealth Services?
I have been with Abacus Wealth Services since 2001, working as a Financial Adviser.
What are the main responsibilities in your role?
My work involves helping clients, with whom I establish long term trust-based relationships all based around what I see as a “two-way street” where we must be open and honest with each other. The advice I offer comes only after we have considered the client’s objectives and is based upon the information they provide, and the research then conducted. Most of the clients I work with are referrals from existing clients, who are pleased with the advice they have received. If a solution is not correct for a client, I will always tell them. I like to put myself in the client’s position to understand what I would want to hear in their situation.
What is a typical day like in your role?
I am focussed on looking after clients. All clients are offered annual reviews, others prefer six-monthly, and some prefer even more regular updates. It is important that we keep up to date with each client’s circumstances to make sure their plans stay on course to meet their objectives. We pride ourselves on being alongside each client during their journey. I have helped clients build their businesses and then plan for the next generation to come on board. There is one company we have been associated with which is now on its third ownership since we began working with them in 2003.
What jobs did you have before you joined Abacus?
I worked in the motor and aircraft industries before moving into financial where I have spent most of my professional career.
Who do you work with in your role?
I work collectively with my colleagues at Abacus and draw upon their technical skills and those of the St. James’s Place Partnership Wealth Management plc, which further enhances our client offering. For clients in general I always do what I say I am going to do. My longest standing clients have been with me since 1992.
What advice would you give someone joining Abacus Wealth Services?
Treat people the way you would like to be treated. We are not salespeople but advisers, who should only give advice if it is going to add value. If it is not going to add value, I prefer to be honest and notify people before we actually engage. Those joining our profession have got to be able to embrace changes in legislation, working practices, and most importantly wish to add true value via holistic financial planning and long-term relationships. If you can do all of these and keep up to date with your continued professional development, you will be able to succeed. My advice is to follow the tide, not the waves.
What has been the most memorable occasion where you have helped a client?
I take a great deal of pride in my role. One of the most memorable cases was helping clients around protection. We are still associated with the limited company and both its partners, one of whom suffered a critical illness. We were able to secure cover for their debts both personal and commercial and key person protection including critical illness cover. This proved pivotal in repaying the debts, enabling them to redeem personal and corporate debts, whilst also protecting the families’ ongoing security and protecting the business against inevitable reduction in profitability. It was fantastic to achieve such a positive outcome from such a traumatic scenario, and we are proud to say that we continue to work effectively with all parties.
What are your interests outside of work?
Family is most important for me. I also like fishing and travelling. We have a motor home which we are looking forward to using now Covid is easing. My view is very much that it is not where I am, but who I am with.
Have you visited any unusual places?
I have been to Mexico and Mauritius and been on some wonderful cruises, but the most incredible place was probably the island of Elba. We were with Nigel and his wife Alison when we visited Napoleon’s summer house. The whole occasion was incredible.
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ABACUS WEALTH SERVICES DEVELOP HEAD FOR HEIGHTS WITH HOSPICE CHARITY SKYDIVE LEAP

Senior managers from a leading Brierley Hill financial services company have developed a head for heights after completing a 12,000 feet charity skydive for a Black Country children’s hospice.

Members of the senior management team from Abacus Wealth Services put their fears aside by completing the leap on Saturday (August 28), making one giant step along the way in their summer of activity to raise £20,000 in donations for Acorns Children’s Hospice.

Having undergone the jump at skydiving centre Skydive Swansea in south Wales as part of a year-long programme to support the good cause, they enjoyed the adrenaline rush so much they are already talking about doing it again.

Managing director Nigel Round, financial advisers Ben Dyas and Daniel Paton were motivated to undergo this year’s challenge as part of the campaign by Abacus to raise funds for Acorns. By the start of this week they had raised nearly two-thirds of the £20,000 summer target they set themselves, in addition to a £7,000 corporate donation made earlier this year.

The Abacus senior managers, who work from offices in Two Woods Lane, Brierley Hill, were strapped to trained instructors to complete the tandem skydives. Due to a late change of plan, Nigel’s son Michael Round, who is joining Abacus as a financial adviser, was unable to join this year’s skydive so the senior team are looking to go again next year with him to raise more money for charity.

Abacus MD Nigel Round said the team were delighted to complete the skydive to help Acorns. He said: “We continue to be motivated by the bravery of the Acorns children, their families and the staff so completing the skydive was our way of contributing to a worthy cause.

“Working with Acorns this year has meant a great deal, as we know how much the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted upon their fundraising. Living and working in the Black Country we wanted to give back, so it was fantastic to be able to raise funds for such a deserving cause.”

Daniel Paton added: “The sky dive was a life affirming experience for an amazing charity and like nothing else I have done before. I would not have challenged myself to do a skydive without having learnt about the strength shown by the Acorns children and families. With Michael now planning to do his charity skydive next year, the senior management team enjoyed the experience so much we are already talking about doing it again with him.”

Ben Dyas said: “Having previously been nervous by heights, it was an amazing to complete the skydive. The team at Skydive Swansea were excellent, helping us along every stage. I have not done anything which has given such a buzz, so we are all proud to have helped Acorns along the way.”

Now the skydive is complete, Ben plans to follow it up with a 100-mile charity bike ride, to be undertaken with his 11-year-old son Noah. Dan and Nigel intend to join the father and son duo along the cycle route.

With three centres in operation, Acorns offers specialist palliative care for children and young people with life limiting and life-threatening conditions, while offering support for their families.

Abacus Wealth Services signed up as a 2021 corporate partner for Acorns, making the hospice charity their cause for fundraising. Abacus began the year with a £7,000 corporate donation, the equivalent of funding a full day of services, before launching their latest fundraising.

Vicki Rowles, Head of Fundraising at Acorns Children’s Hospice, thanked the Abacus team for their ongoing support. She said: “We appreciate the lengths to which Abacus Wealth Services have gone to raise funds for Acorns. Without the support of businesses like Abacus and the senior management team as individuals, we would not be able to help the hundreds of families who rely on our services.

“Their generosity in giving back through fundraising and charity efforts helps us to be able to keep our doors open to young people and their loved ones when they need us most.” 

Abacus Wealth Services is an appointed representative of St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc. The St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the St. James’s Place Wealth Management Group, will match every pound raised by Abacus Wealth Services for Acorns.

To find out how to donate to Abacus Skydive Challenge for Acorns, go to: www.abacuswealthservices.co.uk/acorns-childrens-hospice/

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ABACUS WEALTH SERVICES STEP UP HOSPICE CHARITY FUNDRAISING AHEAD OF SKYDIVE LEAP

Kind-hearted senior managers from a leading Brierley Hill financial services company are stepping up their fundraising for a Black Country children’s hospice as they prepare for their 12,000 feet charity skydive.

Members of the senior management team from Abacus Wealth Services are increasing their summer activity to raise donations for Acorns Children’s Hospice as part of a year-long programme to support the good cause.

They have already raised more than 40 per cent of the target of £20,000 they set themselves to contribute to Acorns, in addition to a £7,000 corporate donation made earlier this year, with a charity bike ride among the challenges planned for the coming weeks.

Managing director Nigel Round, financial advisers Ben Dyas and Daniel Paton, along with Nigel’s son Michael Round, who is joining Abacus as a financial adviser, will put their fear of heights to one side this weekend for the skydive, which will take place at an airfield near Swansea.

The Abacus senior managers, who are normally based at their offices in Two Woods Lane, Brierley Hill, will do their tandem jumps on Saturday (Aug 28). Once the skydive is complete, Ben plans to follow it up with a 100-mile charity bike, to be undertaken with his 11-year-old son Noah, while his colleagues are planning more challenges.

MD Nigel Round said the Abacus team were motivated to help Acorns by raising funds. He said: “We have respect for the bravery shown by the children and families who rely on Acorns and appreciate the work which the charity does for so many. It was important for us as a Black Country business with strong links in the local business community to help raise funds for such a good local cause.”

Ben Dyas said: “We have all been moved by the bravery of the Acorns children and their families, so it has been gratifying to raise funds for their work. As a team we enjoy helping people, so it has been great to take on new challenges for a worthy cause.”

Daniel Paton added: “Working with a range of clients, we are used to getting involved in new situations but nothing quite as daunting as jumping from a plane. We are pleased to be able to raise funds for Acorns as we all recognise the amazing work they do across the region.”

Abacus Wealth Services signed up as a corporate partner for Acorns, making the hospice charity their 2021 worthy cause for fundraising and other support including volunteering. Abacus began the year with a £7,000 corporate donation, the equivalent of funding a full 24 hours of services, before beginning their latest phase of fundraising.

Abacus Wealth Services is an appointed representative of St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc. The St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the St. James’s Place Wealth Management Group, will match every pound raised by Abacus Wealth Services for Acorns.

Operating three specialist centres, Acorns offers specialist palliative care for children and young people with life limiting and life-threatening conditions, while offering support for their families.

To find out how to donate to Abacus Skydive Challenge for Acorns, go to: www.abacuswealthservices.co.uk/acorns-childrens-hospice/

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MEET THE TEAM: BEN DYAS

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In the latest Abacus Wealth Services staff profile, we speak to financial adviser Ben Dyas to find out about his work with the company, the “honour” he feels in helping clients with their finances and the ways technology is changing engagement with customers.
When did you join Abacus Wealth Services?

I have been with Abacus Wealth Services since 2016, working as a financial adviser across the business to deliver the full range of financial advice services.

What are the main responsibilities in your role?

My work entails advising clients throughout their financial journeys, ensuring they understand what they have in their current position and the options available to them as they look to achieve their goals. This work can include advising them on pensions and investments but for me it all starts with helping them consider their goals and objectives for each stage of their life so they can plan accordingly.

Who do you work alongside in the Abacus team?
I interact with everyone in the business, from the admin team who support our client work, to the senior management team, with whom I help direct the company. Colleagues come to me for work around funds and portfolio structures, as my background means I handle data and analytics. I have always been a figures person, so I can analyse funds and provide options on diversifying investments.
What jobs did you have before you joined Abacus?

Prior to joining the company, I was a fraud and financial investigator working for the Home Office, which is where I honed my analytical skills and built up wider working experience. I worked as a financial planning consultant before joining Abacus in 2016. I have a diploma in financial advice and am currently working towards chartered status.

What do you enjoy about working for Abacus?

The most enjoyable part of the role is interacting with clients. I love to explore their goals and help them prepare plans towards them. For many people this may be planning towards funding children’s university costs or when they want to retire and what sort of income they hope to have. I have played a leading role in introducing cashflow modelling, where we project forwards and show  clients how they can achieve their goals and how their current picture can change, helping them make decisions on managing their finances.

What are the most challenging aspects of your role?

The responsibility of dealing with clients’ money requires a lot of trust, especially when you are involved with people’s life savings. I take that responsibility very seriously. It is important that clients are looked after and we help achieve their goals. It is a pressure but also an honour that people trust you enough to help with their finances.

What has been the most memorable occasion where you have helped a client?

I frequently speak to clients about their retirement plans and their hopes for when they finish working. On one sad occasion we helped a client with extremely limited life expectancy to change a plan for him to look after his wife after his death. The reassurance it gave him was phenomenal as it removed one of his biggest worries for the future.

Which parts of the job have changed the most since you began working in financial services?

Younger people are starting to become more interested in investments; however, this tends to be more focused on the use of trading apps and short term profit. On many occasions’ decisions are led by emotions and the use of apps allows people to make quick changes without thorough consideration. I think there needs to be more education around the benefits of long-term investing and how this can help them achieve their goals.

The advice industry was probably behind the curve with technology, and whilst face-to-face meetings remain the core of our offering, we see the ability to hold video meetings as a real added benefit to our clients, some of whom have very busy lives. In addition to this we have the introduction of cashflow modelling that client have been very pleased with.

What are your interests outside of work?

I enjoy spending time with my family. My daughter rides horses and my son plays rugby and cricket. We love to travel and I would love to take my children to every continent before they are 18. Our favourite places include Cape Town in South Africa, where there was a real mix of people and history.

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MEET THE TEAM: MICHELLE FRANCIS

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In the latest Abacus Wealth Services staff profile, we speak to Practice Manager Michelle Francis about her career with the company, her pleasure at being part of a team which helps clients reach their “lightbulb moment” on their finances and her passions for music and theatre.
How long have you worked for Abacus Wealth Services and what are the main responsibilities in your role?
I joined in 2012 and work as the Practice Manager, which means I look after the staff with further responsibilities for administrative duties and interacting with some of our private clients.
What jobs did you have before you joined Abacus?

I have always worked in finance, having started out working for Nationwide in their mortgages department. For the last 20 years I have worked for financial services companies in the West Midlands, including the last nine years with Abacus. I have several qualifications including financial planning certificates.

What do you enjoy about working for Abacus?
For me, the most enjoyable parts of the role are around the interaction and contact with clients. It is satisfying to be able to solve people’s problems and help them come to a resolution. I am not a financial adviser, but I am part of the process which can help people to get to the place where they want to be. It amazes me that some people do not think about their finances until they sit down with a financial adviser. To see people have a “lightbulb moment” about their options is extremely rewarding.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your work?
When we first went into the national lockdown and home working was introduced, I was keen to maintain as much continuity with our team as possible. It was important to me to try to carry on as if we were still operating in the office. Every day I took the time to call everybody to ask how they were doing, just as I would make time to speak to everyone in the office. It was not just to check on their welfare given the new ways of working but it was to keep some of the small interactions going. I was not familiar with video calls on platforms like Zoom or Teams but they have become part of the everyday now. It still does not feel fully normal, but we have tried to keep the working day as normal as possible.
What energises you in your role at Abacus?
I enjoy being the point of contact for our bigger clients, who know they can come to me directly because of the strong relationships we have established. Our clients know that at Abacus, our team are more than just advisers but a whole group of people behind them who can provide support, which is fantastic.
What can be the most challenging parts of the job? How do you address these challenges?
The most challenging part of the job is probably having to address issues our clients which feel to them like they are out of their control. It is rewarding to help them resolve these issues. Some of the most difficult ones can be related to deaths, when clients can feel at their most vulnerable. It means a lot to be able to help people to put things right as they move forward.
What are your interests outside of work?
I love travelling and going to the theatre, both of which have been put on hold due to Covid. I love opera and musicals, so much so that I would have loved to have worked in musical theatre. My favourite musical is Les Misérables and I regularly go to the Birmingham Hippodrome to see performances by the likes of the Welsh National Opera. I admire the strength of opera singers’ voices so it would be a dream to see live performances in La Scala opera house in Milan, Italy, or the Sydney Opera House.
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MEET THE TEAM: SHARON KISZKA

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For the latest Abacus Wealth Services staff profile, we speak to administration manager Sharon Kiszka about her role within the company, the professional satisfaction she receives from helping clients and her busy family life away from work.
How long have you worked for Abacus Wealth Services and what are the main responsibilities in your role?
I joined in 2017 and work as the administration manager, which means I look after the admin team, processing new business for clients and dealing with client enquiries. We provide the link between the clients and the advisers. With new business enquiries, we handle the requests for information from their existing providers, if they have investments held elsewhere.
What is your approach to dealing with Abacus clients?
We treat every client as an individual who is entitled to the best level of service. We understand the importance they place upon their finances so we ensure they are treated with courtesy and confidentiality every time. Money is a private subject so even though we have clients with different levels of investment, the level of service we provide is the same.
What jobs did you have before you joined Abacus?
I started out working in financial services in 1996, working with large brands in the West Midlands where I was responsible for large teams before going on to work for an independent firm of financial advisers as a practice manager. Having achieved financial planning certificates along the way I have seen how the sector has changed. I am currently doing my accreditation courses for St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc.
What do you enjoy about working for Abacus?
There is a lot of compliance to follow but we understand the need as we are here to help people grasp their financial options. People often do not realise how much they need financial security until it becomes urgent. Whatever their situation, it is pleasing to know you have done a good job for someone who needed help. There are some clients who really do not know their options until they get advice. We have some lovely clients who we have built strong relationships with, as the admin team become trusted contacts and the link with the advisers.
What is the best bit of advice you would give somebody starting at Abacus?
Anyone working with our business soon finds that you need to be adaptable. Financial services can change in a day so you must embrace that change. The more resistant you are to change, the tougher it can be so you need to adapt quickly and regularly.
What is a typical day like?
It does not matter how much you plan, there is something different every day. We spend a lot of time planning for client investment valuations and preparing the documentation. There are letters to be produced and changes to information that need to be made before they can go out. If there are new business accounts to be set up, we ensure they are processed. Overall, we work quickly and efficiently, which is important in this role.
What are your interests outside of work?
I was a Royal Navy wife for 27 years before my husband Nathan retired from the Armed Forces. He bought a brewery and our lives have changed dramatically as he had been away from home for long stints. We spend more time together but working in a business which is based around the hospitality sector means he is generally at work when clients are enjoying themselves, which can be long hours. The Covid-19 pandemic caused big problems but they switched to home delivery which kept them going. We have two children together and love travelling together, especially to warm climes, with the Maldives, Hawaii and the Bahamas high up on the list of places we would love to visit
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MEET THE TEAM: TIM CUTLER

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The latest Abacus Wealth Services staff profile features support manager to the advisors, Tim Cutler. We find out about his work supporting clients and the Abacus advisers, the ways he keeps up to date with changes in financial services and his “Nutty Boy” musical life outside work.
How long have you worked for Abacus Wealth Services and what are the main responsibilities in your role?
I joined in October 2015 and work as the support manager to the advisors, which means I access the advice and supporting information presented to clients by our advisers. My responsibilities include paraplanning, which involves behind-the-scenes research and analysis for clients including preparing financial reports. I report on their existing provisions and the options available from St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc and make sure we fulfil the ever-changing compliance requirements.
What jobs did you have before you joined Abacus?
I started out in financial services in 1989, working with large brands in the West Midlands region. I set up as an independent financial adviser in 2000 and ran my own business until I moved to Abacus in 2015. This background means I have a lot of technical knowledge and experience to ensure our client focus is maintained, especially in specialist areas.
What do you enjoy about working for Abacus?
Abacus have a great all-round team. I love the attention to detail and the focus on working with each client. I love it when we put something right, when a client has not been advised correctly and they have come to us for help, it is a very satisfying feeling. It is important that Abacus advise people in a way they understand, making certain that the solution offered meets with their requirements. I love dealing with clients, researching on their behalf and learning for myself about the changes to solutions and any legislation, so this information can be passed on to our clients.
What is the best bit of advice you would give somebody starting at Abacus?

Be prepared for a steep learning curve that will continue throughout your career. We all learn something new every week. I had been an adviser in the industry for more than 20 years before I came to Abacus, yet when I joined I quickly realised there was so much I needed to learn. Abacus can assist in all financial planning areas from the person starting out, to holistic planning for the most complex financial situation. The industry is highly regulated and we are expected to demonstrate professionalism and understanding, through every interaction with clients.

What is a typical day like?
My role is very varied, but it generally involves advising colleagues and getting information on a client’s whole financial position. We consider the options from a technical point of view and demonstrate how each solution impacts each client. This could be examining and comparing the opportunities available for estate protection, pensions and investment planning and the impact on personal and corporate taxation. The due diligence conducted on behalf of our clients is important and it needs to be thorough.
What are your interests outside of work?

I have played in bands since the age of 19 and one of my current projects involves playing keyboards for a Madness covers band called Prone 2 Madness. I love playing music, so it is great that we are considered to be one of the best Madness cover acts around, which means we get plenty of regular bookings. After Covid-19 caused so many cancellations we are looking forward to playing regularly again.

Tell us something nobody would know about you?
At the age of 10, my younger brother and I were selected to appear in a film promoting the opportunity for people to relocate from Birmingham to Redditch, along with our aunt. It was a great experience to be filmed for the day and it was shown in places like the Bull Ring to encourage visitors to consider out of town living. I have played in front of a packed Birmingham Town Hall, which was a prestigious opportunity. At school I was told by my music teacher that I would never be any good at Music, so it is great to still be playing for audiences all these years later, even though I am now a granddad. I am passionate about getting things right in my personal and professional life, which may be worlds apart, but I continue to enjoy the challenges presented by both.
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MEET THE TEAM: DANIEL PATON

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With Abacus Wealth Services going from strength to strength, we speak to financial adviser Daniel Paton to find out about his career with the company, the pleasure he gets from helping clients in often challenging situations and his enthusiasm for networking to promote his colleagues’ work.
When did you join Abacus Wealth Services?
I have been with the company since 2004, working as a financial adviser across the Practice to deliver the full range of financial advice services.
What are the main responsibilities in your role?
As well as being a director of the company, I am the lead for long term care, where I work with clients and their families as they consider options for how assets can be used to fund care provision. If you have a relative who needs to go into care, I have the qualifications in later life planning and experience to provide advice about the financial options at such a difficult time [i] . Inevitably, it is a very emotional decision to make but I take pride in being able to help families in this specialist area and can work closely with people in their time of need.
What jobs did you have before you joined Abacus?
Prior to joining the company, I started out in work directly after school, having always had several jobs on the go. I met my wife while we were both working as reps for Eurocamp in France. I worked for a large insurance company, followed by a high street bank, before embarking on my financial planning training which led me to Abacus.
What do you enjoy about working for Abacus?
The most enjoyable part of the role is working with business owners, as I appreciate they can be busy people who often value the chance to receive direct advice to understand the options for big decisions about their personal wealth and the direction they want to take in life. I like being able to establish trust with each client, so they can consider the full range of options. I enjoy meeting people and am a sociable person, so it means a lot that I receive many new business enquiries from recommendations by existing clients.
What has been the most memorable occasion where you have helped a client?
One of the most pleasing client cases I have worked on was where we supported a client in moving from a poor pension arrangement to a more successful provision. It was a complicated and unusual situation, but it meant a lot to the customer, who has subsequently made so many recommendations for our work that he has become a confident introducer for Abacus.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your work?
As a business we have had not only changed the way we operate, with social distancing and home working, but we have embraced the opportunity to promote our work digitally. With more people doing research on their finances online, we recognise the ways that financial advisers can promote our work. A lot of people want as much information as possible and receiving advice from companies like Abacus Wealth Services is among the options available to them.
What are your interests outside of work?
I am a keen networker and am a member of the Wulfrun branch of the BNI business networking group. I do not see meeting people and socialising as being work as it extends to my life outside work. I enjoy connecting with people. Outsides of that, I love playing golf and socialise with work contacts on the golf course. My wife and I love to go on short breaks and I am out every day walking our dog.
What is the best bit of advice you would give somebody starting work at Abacus?

If you are hungry to progress and open to learning every day, becoming a financial adviser means the world is your oyster. There are huge opportunities for anyone coming into this industry if they have the right attitude to want to help people.

The value of an investment with St. James’s Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds selected and may fall as well as rise. You may get back less than the amount invested.

Past performance is not indicative of future performance.

[i] For more information on long term care planning, including legal disclaimers, visit the SJP website: https://www.sjp.co.uk/products-and-services/protection/long-term-care
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Budget 2021 – what the changes mean for you

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Given the size of government borrowing and the chancellor’s strong indication that “repairing public finances” and returning to “fiscal conservatism” would be necessary at some time, this Budget certainly came with ‘great expectations’.

Despite these warnings, though, there was strong official commitment to prioritise restoring the economy; and to support jobs, individuals and businesses. We were also told that only changes that would be incorporated into the next Finance Bill would be announced at the Budget, with any consultations on future tax change not being published until 23 March.

So what changes were announced in the Budget and what could they mean for your financial plans?

The chancellor announced a “three-part plan” incorporating:

  1. A commitment to continue to do “whatever it takes” to support the economy, jobs, people and businesses
  2. Fixing public finances in an honest and open way
  3. Beginning the building of our future, post-pandemic, economy

So, what changes will be of most interest to investors, employees, business owners, the self-employed, homeowners or buyers, retirees and those saving for retirement? Of interest to all individuals is the expected freezing until April 2026 of the main allowances, thresholds and exemptions for Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax.

Many employed and self-employed individuals will be relieved that the furlough and self-employment income support schemes are being extended through until the end of September, with the latter being expanded to allow more people to claim.

Investors and those saving for retirement will be relieved that the limits on how much you can invest in tax-efficient pensions and ISAs remain unaffected, as does the taxation of income and gains from investment.

The extension of the Stamp Duty Land Tax cut until the end of June, and the new mortgage guarantee scheme delivering mortgages with the need for only 5% deposits, will both be of interest to those looking to move or buy their first home.

For those saving for retirement or about to start drawing down on their retirement funds, we have seen a freeze in the lifetime allowance of £1,073,100 until April 2026. This year’s inflation-linked increase was going to be less than £6,000, so that isn’t really too much of a worry. However, over the next five years we would have hoped to see an increase up to around £1,200,000, which is significant.

For those who are not at the lifetime allowance, there is no impact; but for those with pension savings at or over this value, careful planning will be needed to minimise any impact, at least in the short term. We do hope that after five years, we will see further increases in line with inflation.

For company owners, the proposed increase in the Corporation Tax rate to 25% from 1 April 2023 may be of concern. However, this rate will only apply once profits hit £250,000; and if profits are below £50,000, the current 19% rate will continue to apply. There will be a sliding scale for profits in-between.

There are, however, some new provisions for all businesses to allow losses to be carried back for three years and a new “super deduction” capital allowance of 130% for companies on qualifying capital expenditure. This super deduction will, in effect, allow companies to cut their tax bill by up to 25p for every qualifying £1 they spend.

Even these relatively light changes to the tax landscape remind us of the importance of factoring tax into our financial plans and the importance of informed advice in making smart choices to achieve optimum outcomes.

This may be only the start of the journey towards a changed tax landscape, although we may get a better idea of what that landscape might look like with the promised consultations on 23 March.

In the meantime, don’t forget that we are not far away from the end of the tax year, so do feel free to discuss with us how to achieve a tax-efficient end to this year and a great start to the next one.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

The value of an investment with St. James’s Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds selected and may fall as well as rise. You may get back less than the amount invested.

The levels and bases of taxation, and reliefs from taxation, can change at any time. Tax relief is dependent on individual circumstances.

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Potential Tax Changes After COVID-19 Pandemic Focuses Minds On Planning Futures

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With life continuing to be turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic many people are taking a close interest in their tax position as the financial year nears its end, writes Nigel Round, Managing Director of Abacus Wealth Services.

And Abacus Wealth Services has the experience and knowhow to help clients understand their situation and make the most of the opportunities available to them as they prepare for the long-awaited economic recovery after lockdown.

Securing your financial foundations and ensuring your money works as hard as can be for you and your family will not only give you peace of mind, but it will also help prepare for any future changes to the UK tax system.

With public finances needing significant replenishment, media speculation has grown around which options available to Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak will be used to restore the coffers.

The decisions ahead of the Government will have a big impact on businesses and individuals. Change is inevitable and among the areas which need to be considered is capital gains tax (CGT), put simply as the tax on the profit when you sell an asset covered by CGT that has increased in value. For most people this is property, shares or trusts and business assets.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed so we work with clients to assess capital gains made over time and advise on any allowances available to them before the end of the financial year on April 5.

This can include the allowances for a husband and wife and opportunities to phase decisions to make beneficial changes over different financial years. The team at Abacus Wealth Services are experienced in this area and can help guide you through the many considerations that may help.

Pension allowances also need to be considered, allowing individuals to contribute up to £40,000 a year towards the time when their working lives come to an end. These allowances differ for private individuals employed by a company and private limited company owners, so advice is essential.

Making the most of your tax-efficient Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) can be an opportunity overlooked by some. You can put up to £20,000 per year into an ISA and with interest rates remaining at historic lows, there has been higher take-ups of the option to invest in stocks and shares ISAs.

With digital providers offering low charges for individuals to manage their own portfolios and make decisions about their investments, many choose to go it alone.

At Abacus Wealth Services we advise clients on the implications for the long term of trying to make the best choices to see your money grow. If you value your money and cannot bear to see investments fall in value professional advice can make a big difference.

An ISA with active investments, where expert managers are responsible for its performance, may carry higher fees but its returns can be significantly better than tracker or other “passive” funds which have much less management.

The value of an investment with St James’s Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds selected and may fall as well as rise. You may get back less than the amount invested. An investment in a stocks and shares ISA will not provide the security of capital associated with a Cash ISA.

The levels and bases of taxation and reliefs from taxation can change at any time and are generally dependent on individual circumstances.

With all your tax considerations, the best starting point is to understand your objectives and what you want to achieve in the short and longer term. Colleagues at Abacus Wealth Services are experienced in working with clients at every stage in life in organising their tax position to work to goals. To get started, this guide will help: https://www.sjp.co.uk/products-and-services/tax-year-end

Starting with a no obligation discussion to understand your situation, we work with you to look at how your tax decisions fit your financial outlook and prepare plans to help along the way.

Being confident in the options available is a major step towards securing your future. And if the COVID-19 pandemic leads to big changes to the UK tax system, you will be better prepared for the future. To get in touch, click here: https://abacuswealthservices.co.uk/contact/

Abacus Wealth Services Ltd is an Appointed Representative of and represents only St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc (which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority) for the purpose of advising solely on the group’s wealth management products and services, more details of which are set out on the group’s website www.sjp.co.uk/products