For many of our clients we are seen as pension specialists, focusing our advice on their pension affairs.

Personal monies may have been invested through other advisers, such as banks and wealth managers. Our investment strategy and management can be tailored to any tax regime, be it personal, pension, company or Trust. We adopt the same processes for risk profiling, timescales and objectives, as well as additional tax planning considerations, whoever the end client.

Over recent years we have seen many banks exit the investment advice and management market place or impose significant barriers for clients through an increased minimum portfolio size, for example £250,000 or even £500,000. In addition, the levels of service being provided have become much more remote with a move to telephone based call centres and/or various changes in personnel with advisers retiring, moving firms or selling out altogether.

We are certainly open for business and offer a professional, friendly service with dedicated financial planners, investment managers and support staff. This is combined with the added flexibility of trading and managing our own portfolios in-house and not being subject to a national process.

If you would like us to review and provide commentary on any existing personal savings that you have in place then please speak with your usual Boolers’ contact or a member of the Investment Team.

Increased ISA benefits

The new tax year has provided a welcome boost to personal savings through a significantly increased allowance and the introduction of the Lifetime ISA.

From 6th April 2017, the Individual Savings Account (ISA) allowance has increased by over 30% to £20,000 per individual. This now provides a much greater benefit to accumulate savings within a tax-free environment of having no assessment to Income Tax on any interest or dividends generated or Capital Gains Tax when funds are sold in the future.

The Spring Budget announced that the Dividend Allowance would reduce from £5,000 to £2,000 per individual from 6th April 2018. Due to the General Election, this change has been postponed for now but any reduction of this size makes utilising ISA allowances even more important going forward and certainly the ability for married couples to ring-fence £40,000 on an annual basis will help to reduce the tax assessment on dividends in the future.

At the same time, the Government has introduced the new Lifetime ISA with the aim of promoting savings focused primarily on the purchase of your first home and accumulating savings for later life (retirement).

The Lifetime ISA is available for individuals aged over 18 but under 40 to save up to £4,000 a year with the main benefit being that the Government will add a bonus of 25%, subject to a maximum £1,000 per annum up to age 50. The monies can be withdrawn without charge providing they are used to purchase your first home up to a value of £450,000. Alternatively monies can be left to access after age 60 without penalty.

A major downside though is that if monies are accessed before age 60 and are not used for your first house purchase then a penalty of 25% is applied and this is based on the amount withdrawn. This means that not only is the Government bonus clawed back but also some of your own savings!

With the upcoming election, we are of course aware that the favourable tax treatment of ISAs is not guaranteed and may be altered or removed in the future.

The key message is that ISAs provide a beneficial way of saving for the future, be it for the purchase of a first home, as part of a tax efficient investment strategy to provide income/growth or complementing existing pension savings. Many of our clients already have considerable monies held within ISAs, demonstrating the benefit of continually maximising allowances from surplus cash over time.