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Mike Oliver Associates

Nov 102016
 

Mike Oliver was nominated by Haywards Heath Town Council for a Community Service Award.

The award is in recognition of his year round commitment to raising thousands of pounds for local charities.  He was presented with the award by the High Sheriff of West Sussex, Mark Spofforth OBE FCA CTA, at a special ceremony hosted by the Chairman of Mid Sussex District Council, Cllr Peter Reed.

Dec 042014
 

 

Financial planning and advice is not just for the very wealthy – everyone can benefit from it. Good financial planning can help you achieve your future goals and aspirations and secure you and your family’s long-term future. Here are 10 reasons why you should speak to an IFA.

 

What is an IFA?

No 1: To protect your loved ones

Many people trying to sell insurance of one type or another but an independent financial adviser can tell you which one is best suited should the unthinkable happen. An independent financial adviser will assess your position and guide you through the best options to protect yourself and your family whether you are single, married, have children or they have long left home. Whatever your needs, an adviser can help ensure personal tragedy does not turn into financial crisis.

No 2: To help plan your spending – and saving

To secure your long-term financial future, you need to build some assets, initially to get you through the rainy days and then to pay for those holidays and luxuries. So, step one is to plan your spending so that you can begin to save – and step two is to plan to save so you can build your wealth as efficiently as possible. Regardless of whether you currently have £10 or £10,000, an independent financial adviser will look at your situation and find  the best starting point for you.

No 3: To help you plan for retirement

Once your short term saving needs have been met, you are then in a position to start thinking about your longer term goals. People are becoming more aware that they cannot rely on the State for more than the absolute basics. However, planning for retirement is a complex business and there are many different options available.

Pensions have come a long way in terms of flexibility in recent years and now offer a wide range of investment options. An independent financial adviser will not only help sift through the many rules and product options but can also help construct a portfolio to maximise your long term prospects.

No 4: To buy your home

The mortgage market was complicated enough already, with its discounts and variables, AERs and caps, indemnities and early redemption fees. Then the credit crunch hit and things have got even worse. However, buying a house is still one of the most expensive decisions we make, and the vast majority of us need a mortgage.

An independent financial adviser could save you thousands, particularly at times like this. Not only can they seek out the best rates, they can help you assess sensible levels of borrowing, make the most of your deposit and might also find lenders who would otherwise not be available to you.

No 5: Financial planning

As you progress through life, you begin to build your assets and your income begins to increase. You then start considering how you can enhance your position rather than simply consolidate it. This could mean anything from looking to retire early through to paying school fees for private schools or investing in overseas property.  However your dreams evolve, an independent financial adviser can help assess what is realistically possible – and put the best plan in place to help you achieve it.

No 6: To find the right combination of assets

Investment is as much about protecting the potential downsides as it is about targeting maximum growth. High returns are often associated with high risk – and not everyone is happy if their investment falls by a third or more overnight. An independent financial adviser will make a detailed assessment of your attitude to risk before making any recommendations. They will also ensure you don’t put all your eggs in one basket by helping you diversify not only across asset classes but also across accounts, individual funds and product providers.

No 7: To obtain an objective assessment

Every new product or investment opportunity is accompanied by hype, proclaiming it is the best ever –but that does not mean it is right for you. Investors the world over have been and will continue to be caught out by market bubbles or high charges because they don’t take a step back. A financial adviser knows how products and assets work in different markets and can outline the downsides for you as well as the benefits. Between you, you can then make a more informed decision about what hype you can believe – and what products you really need to avoid.

No 8: To save money

Once your risk and investment assessments are complete, the next step is to look at tax and even the most basic overview of your position could help. It may simply mean using ISAs or a pension plan to benefit from Government incentives or it could mean choosing growth assets over income to use capital gains allowances rather than pay income tax. Alternatively, for more complicated arrangements, it might mean moving assets to your spouse or children to make full use of their personal allowances. An independent financial adviser will always have your tax
position in mind when making recommendations and can help point you in the right direction even in complicated situations.

No 9: To keep you on track

Even when you have every product you need taken care of and your investments are set up and running to plan, someone needs to keep an eye on them in case changes in markets or abnormal events push them off course. You can ask an independent financial adviser to do this monitoring work for you. They can assess the performance of individual investments against their peers, ensure that your asset allocation does not get distorted as markets move and also help you consolidate gains as the dates of your ultimate goals approach.

No 10: For peace of mind

Money is a complicated subject and there are many things you need to think about to both protect it and make the most of it. Markets are volatile and the media is prone to exaggeration of both the risks and the rewards. Employing a good independent financial adviser can take the emphasis away from you and move it into the hands of an expert. Whether you need general, practical advice or a specialist with dedicated expertise, the money you invest in taking advice could be paid back many times over in the long term.

At MOA we believe we believe every client is altogether individual and deserves tailored independent financial solutions. If you would like to benefit from our objective, professional and personal service.

The value of pensions and investments can fall as well as rise, and you can get back less than you invested.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage or other loans secured on it.

For mortgages we charge a fee of at least £600.  We will also be paid a procuration fee from the provider, if one is available.

Oct 122014
 
Still haven’t got around to writing that Will yet?…How about other members of your family?  For the sake of a free hour’s consultation with an expert is it really worth taking the risk?
Revised intestacy rules mean that spouses and civil partners will inherit more than they did before but at the expense of their children.

In summary: –

• there’s no change for estates below £250k
• no change for co-habitees (they’re still not going to get a bean unless they write a Will)
• surviving spouses/civil partners now get everything where there are no children
• life interest now abolished for married couples and civil partners with children but the surviving spouse/civil partner gets all of first £250k and half of everything else, children get half of everything over £250k at age 18, no risk of children losing inheritance if adopted after parent’s death

In respect of co-habitees and single parents, according to the Office for National Statistics there are roughly 3 million cohabiting couples with children and 1.8 million single parents with, say the National Consumer Council, something like only 17% of them having a Will let alone an LPA. Thus, it doesn’t take a great leap to work out just how badly off their survivors or children would be if they died intestate or were unable to speak or act for themselves.

Whether you are married, in a civil partnership, living with someone or simply on your  tod, this is a good opportunity to contact your IFA to write more life cover (in trust of course) as well the perfect chance to make sure that your Will is reviewed; assuming, that is, that you have one in the first place – 50% of people don’t.

It’s a perfect time to ask about LPAs and other means of protecting your assets.

Oct 042014
 

Only those who do it, can really understand how tough it can be running a business! If you are ready to take your business to the next level, and funding limitations are getting in the way of growth, we have the solution.

Everybody’s talking about it! UK based platforms have seen an explosive growth in crowdfunding companies offering different criteria for lending, so knowing which one to choose can be a little bewildering . Whichever route you choose, be that equity, (where you give shares in the company in return for upfront investment), rewards or a loan from ‘the crowd’ otherwise known as peer to peer lending, you’ll need to know who’s who in the UK crowdfunding scene and that’s where we can help.

10 great benefits that crowdfunding offer

  • It provides access to capital.
  • It hedges risk.
  • It serves as a marketing tool
  • It gives proof of concept.
  • It allows crowdsourcing of brainstorming
  • It introduces prospective loyal customers.
  • It’s easier than traditional applications
  • It’s free PR.
  • It provides the opportunity of pre-selling
  • It can be free!*

Reassuringly, the Financial Conduct Authority has developed a Code of Conduct, which its members sign up to and which is designed to develop a responsible industry and help grow momentum behind this type of investment, so let’s get started.

*Talk to Mike! 0845 4021757     mike@moaifa.co.uk

 

Aug 292014
 

A financial adviser can advise on issues such as how to divide assets in the most tax-efficient way and how to invest the proceeds of a divorce settlement.

Latest statistics (published December 2012) estimate that 42% of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce. There are important steps you should take to protect your financial position as soon as it is clear that you are going to separate from your partner.

Taking immediate action as soon as you decide to separate

Separating, or filing for divorce or dissolution of your civil partnership is a highly stressful time, but it is in your interest to try to agree urgent, short-term financial matters with your ex-partner. If you cannot agree or are worried your ex-partner may deal with the finances without telling you, think about what you can do to protect your position and take legal advice as soon as you can.

Home rights if you are married or in a civil partnership

If the family home is owned in your ex-spouse or civil partner’s sole name, you should look at registering without delay your interest at the Land Registry in England and Wales using a ‘matrimonial home rights notice’.

If the property is not the family home you may be able to register a ‘restriction’ at the Land Registry. Both the home rights notice and the restriction will protect you as far as possible from your ex-partner trying to sell, transfer or mortgage the property without your knowledge or agreement.

Home rights if you are cohabiting

The position for cohabiting couples in England and Wales is that the non-owner can choose to make contributions towards the mortgage or the running of the home. However, this does not mean that the non-owner will be entitled to a financial share of the home, unless a legal agreement exists to say they will.

In addition, the owner will be able to:
evict the other person without getting a court order
rent out or sell the home without the other’s agreement
take out a loan against the property without the other’s consent.

Home rights in Scotland

In Scotland, it is not possible to register either a home rights notice or a restriction in the Land Registry. The Scotland Land Registry would only be of assistance in Scotland to determine who owns a property.

Both a ‘non-entitled’ spouse/civil partner and ‘non-entitled’ cohabitee (provided he or she has been living with his/her partner as ‘husband and wife’ or civil partners) have to apply to the court to have their occupancy rights declared. Once declared, those occupancy rights can remain in place for a renewable period of up to six months.

Contacting your mortgage provider

Depending on your circumstances, you may need to speak to your lender to explain what has happened and discuss how you’ll manage the mortgage repayments. Prior to doing this, it may be best to seek professional advice and come to an agreement with your ex-partner regarding your interim finances (until a final settlement is reached).
Read our guide What to do about a mortgage during separation

Contacting your landlord if you rent

You may be able to arrange to continue the tenancy in your name alone or you may be able to transfer the tenancy to your ex-partner. However, it may be best to do this after you have taken professional advice and had discussions with your ex-partner about arrangements regarding where you are going to live and how the finances will be managed in the future. For more information, read our guide:
What to do about the home you rent during separation

Protecting other financial assets

Apply to the court for an injunction (interdict in Scotland) if necessary to stop your ex-partner from disposing of, transferring or selling assets or from moving assets abroad if this would prevent a fair settlement. This is a complex area of law, often needing urgent action without first informing your ex-partner. If you have concerns about what your ex-partner may be doing with their assets then seek professional advice as soon as you can.
Read our guide Get professional help with your divorce or separation

Contacting your bank, credit card and any other providers

If you have joint accounts or loans with your ex-partner, and especially if the breakup isn’t amicable, you should contact your bank, credit card and other providers to explain what has happened. You can instruct them to stop your ex-partner running up any new debts or withdrawing funds.

Freezing the accounts will affect you both so make sure you think about this carefully. It will mean that you can’t access the account either, so you will need to make agreements to make sure you have access to cash while things are being sorted out.

You’ll also need to make agreements to ensure that any joint bills can still be paid, for example by Direct Debit or standing order.

Contact us for further help and advice, we are happy to help

Mike Oliver Associates are directly authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

Nov 152013
 

When did you last review your company protection?

 

A review is time well spent!

Our advisers can work with you to help you to future-proof your business. Have you asked yourself these questions lately…

– Would there be a financial impact on the business if one or more of the directors/partners or key individuals were no longer around?

– Would the business or its owners have the cash to survive?

– How quickly would the business or owners need the cash?

– Where would the business or business owners get the cash from if the worst happened?

– Are there any liabilities (eg loans)?

– Are there any personal loans from the directors/partners/members into the business?

-Are any of these loans subject to personal guarantees?

Why leave it to chance?

Mike Oliver Associates are directly authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

Insurance

Nov 132013
 

Dying with no valid Will

 

According to the Office of National Statistics about 60%        (2 out of 3) people in England and Wales die intestate.

 

Who Gets What?

The Law of Intestacy – diagram

If you die leaving an invalid Will or no Will at all, then you are said to have died intestate. In this situation, the law decides who gets what.

It makes no difference what you may have wished for or promised while you were alive; if there is no valid Will, then your estate and loved ones will be at the mercy of the rules of intestacy. Here is an explanation of how they work.

If you have a lawful spouse or civil partner (i.e. you are legally married) and no other relatives

  • If your estate were worth less than £450,000 then your spouse would get everything.
  • If your estate were worth more than £450,000 and you have no other surviving relative (e.g. children, grandchildren, parents), then your spouse would still get everything.

If you have a lawful spouse, plus children

  • If your estate is worth less than £250,000 then your spouse gets everything.
  • If your estate is worth more than £250,000 then your spouse would get £250,000 and a life interest (i.e. the right to take interest on the remainder, but not the capital itself) in half of anything over this sum. Your children would get the remaining half of the sum over £250,000 immediately and be entitled to the other half on the death of your spouse. Should any of your children die before you then their children would be entitled to take their parent’s share.

If you have a lawful spouse, no children, but parents/brothers/sisters/ grandparents/aunts/uncles

  • If your estate is worth less than £450,000 then your spouse gets everything.
  • If your estate is worth more than £450,000 then your spouse would get £450,000, plus half the balance. The remaining half goes to the other relatives in this order of priority – parents; brothers/sisters; half brothers/sisters; grandparents; aunts/uncles; spouses of aunts/uncles.

If you are not lawfully married, but have had children

  • Your estate will be shared between the children. Should they die before you then their children would take their share. Your partner will get nothing.

If you are not lawfully married, have no children, but have parents or have had brothers/sisters/grandparents/aunts/uncles

  • Your estate will be shared equally amongst them in this order of priority – parents; brothers/sisters; half brothers/sisters; grandparents; aunts/uncles; spouses of aunts/uncles. If any of these have predeceased, but have living children then the children will take their parent’s share.

If you are not lawfully married, and have no other relatives

  • Your entire estate will go to the Crown.

It should be noted that these rules on intestacy do not recognise “common law” partners, and that “children” includes natural, adopted and illegitimate children, but excludes step-children.

The Importance of a Valid Will

Naturally, it would be in the interests of you and your would-be beneficiaries to have a valid Will in place, even if the rules of intestacy look likely to work in your favour anyway. Having a will can save your family a great deal of worry and stress in the wake of your death.

Nov 122013
 

 

Mike Oliver Associates are directly authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

Mike Oliver and Thomas Pink are involved with pensions and investments, if you are contacted by anyone else purporting to be from Mike Oliver Associates please contact us or the police Action Fraud Team.

What’s a pension scam?

Pension scams are enticing savers by claiming to help them access their pension before age 55 or that people can already take more than 25% of their pension as cash. For most people the offers will be bogus and victims will lose most, if not all, of their savings.

Only in rare cases – like terminal illness – can pension scheme members take their pension before age 55. It remains the law that pension scheme members can only take up to 25% of their pension savings as a cash lump sum. Although this may change in the future it’s important that members aren’t fooled into thinking that is the law today.

Pension scheme members who agree to transfer may lose all their savings and may still be subject to tax charges of over half their transfer value for taking an ‘unauthorised payment’.

Pensions professionals

Use our action pack to find out more about pension scams and find resources you can send to warn members during transfers.

Trustees

Use our action pack to find out more about pension scams and resources you can use when communicating to members.

Individuals

Find out what to do if you’re a pension scheme member and you think you’re being targeted by a pension scam.

“We strongly advise not to invest money as a result of being cold called – no matter how attractive the opportunity appears to be. Once you let a boiler room fraudster into your life it is very difficult to get them out until they have taken all your money.”

What should you do if you’re a victim of share sale fraud?

  • Report it to Action Fraud.
  • Break off all contact with the fraudster at once.
  • Alert your bank immediately if you’ve given the fraudsters your bank account details.
  • Keep any written communications you’ve received from the share sale fraudsters. This may help you give evidence to the authorities.
  • Because many boiler rooms are run from abroad, they’re not covered by UK jurisdiction or compensation schemes. Therefore, you’re unlikely to recover any lost investment.
  • Be aware that you are now likely to be a target for other frauds. Fraudsters often share details about people they have successfully targeted or approached, using different identities to commit further frauds.
  • People who’ve already fallen victim to fraudsters are particularly vulnerable to the fraud recovery fraud. This is when fraudsters contact people who’ve already lost money through fraud and claim to be law enforcement officers or lawyers. They advise the victim that they can help them recover their lost money – but request a fee.

To report a fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 

 Action Fraud - police

Oct 282013
 

Later Life Advice

The University of the Third Age (U3A) invited Mike Oliver to give a talk on how to protect your assets and save money in the event of long term care fees.  If this is something that’s been on your mind, and you’d like a confidential chat with a fully qualified Adviser then drop in and see us, give us a call on 0845 4021757, or email mike@moaifa.co.uk.
REDUCING THE COST OF LONGEVITY

  • LONG TERM CARE
  • INCOME AND SAVINGS IN RETIREMENT
  • ASSET PROTECTION IN LIFETIME
  • ESTATE PLANNING UPON DEATH

Increasing life expectancy means that more of us are likely to face the issue of paying for long-term care for ourselves or our families. Government statistics indicate that by 2035, people aged 65 and over will make up 23 per cent of the UK population.

Currently, if you have savings or capital – which may include the value of your home – of more than £23,250, you will receive no support from the state towards your care fees.

We can provided advice on your options for the best way to pay for your care, while also protecting your assets to pass on to your loved ones.

For example, one option may be to place a property into trust, so that it becomes a protected asset and cannot be used to cover care home costs.

This also enables the person placing the property into the trust to keep the assets from being added to the beneficiaries’ estates and potentially becoming an issue on divorce or in relation to inheritance tax.

Mike Oliver Associates are directly authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority