Recently I attended a networking event run by an I.T. company based in Milton Keynes. The event was held at Luton Hoo so not too far from our head office in Harpenden and a really nice venue so I popped along. I found the event to be excellent and met some really interesting professionals who were mainly based in Milton Keynes and surrounding areas such as Olney. Olney was actually the town I grew up in so it was nice to meet the new Audit Manager from the local accountants in Olney.
What I realised when talking to the likes of Solicitors, Accountants, fellow IFA’s and Business Owners was I can’t remember a more exciting time to be talking about financial advice and the broader spectrum of financial services.
I have worked in the industry for 18 years and right now our financial advice proposition is as strong as it has ever been and is constantly improving. Coupled with the changes announced in recent budgets this allowed me to talk openly and positively about all the areas we can help our personal clients and business clients.
As it was an event hosted by an I.T. company, I was pleased to say how well we have embraced the technology available to us and was only disappointed that I hadn’t bought the iPad with me to demonstrate some of the features of our My Planning App. However even without the demonstration people were interested to hear how we can now display a clients assets and investments securely on an iPad, Laptop or Windows Surface tablet. I truly believe this is the smarter way to serve clients who need advice but sit more in the mass affluent market so don’t necessarily need regular face to face reviews or a full service proposition but do need to manage their finances, investment risk and require advice when their circumstances change.
However the big changes recently from the 2014 Budget onwards of course are the pension reforms and all restrictions on people accessing their pensions in retirement to be removed. This means there is no compulsory annuity purchase. Exciting times! However for most people it will possibly change the way they draw their income but they will still require an income in retirement, so it will just be managed a different way. However the flexibility means substantial lump sums could be withdrawn to pay for any number of capital events such as university fees, the purchase of assets, cars, holidays the list is endless as the flexibility will become available in 2015. As financial advisers we welcome the changes as I feel there is even greater need to seek the advice of a professional when it comes to drawing and managing your pension in retirement. Cashflow forecasting and projections will be crucial for you as a client to know for example, how taking £20,000 from your pot will impact on your retirement. You also need to consider the tax at your marginal rate. Is now the best time to withdraw or will you be advantaged by waiting if your earnings are likely to reduce. All of these considerations and more are what we as financial advisers and financial planners will be able to help you with, so you can make the best decision your circumstances allow you to.
These are exciting times for financial advice and I look forward to continuing the development of our proposition to serve as many clients as possible be it personal clients, businesses or charities.
Head of Operations
P.S. We have a Chartered Financial Adviser in Milton Keynes and he is only too happy to meet and help clients in MK.