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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.

Pensions in Divorce


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 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.

What can happen to pensions in divorce?

The pension can be the biggest asset in divorce or civil partnership dissolution after the family home, so it is important that it’s not overlooked. It can be split in several ways and it’s worth understanding the different options.

How pensions are taken into account

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, a court has to take into account any pensions and pension rights that you or your spouse or civil partner have when you split up, from state, workplace schemes and/or personal pension plans. In Scotland, any increase in the value of your pension(s) between the date you married or became civil partners and the date of separation will be taken into account.

Getting a pensions valuation

In order to be able to split your pensions fairly, your first step is to find out what they’re worth. Your pensions could include:
• schemes you have through work
• personal pension schemes, and
• additional State Pension (part of the State Pension scheme that’s not the basic State Pension)
The person who has the pension or is a member of the workplace pension scheme has to be the one to ask for a pensions valuation. How your pension is valued will depend on the type of scheme(s) you’re in.
In Scotland, the valuation used for determining the value of the pension rights is the Cash Equivalent Transfer Value (CETV). This is the value which must be used regardless of the type of pension.

Using your annual statement

If you have a workplace ‘defined contribution’ pension where you pay into a pension pot, rather than the amount you retire on being based on your salary, or you have a personal pension, you should check your latest annual statement. This will tell you how much your pension is worth and its ‘transfer value’, which is the amount you would get it you were you to move your pension elsewhere. This is the figure that’s used for a valuation and it may be less than the fund value because it will include any charges or penalties for transferring.

Salary-related pension schemes

If you have a final salary or other salary-related pension scheme, getting a proper valuation can be much more complicated. That’s because you don’t pay into a pension fund, but build up an entitlement to a pension based on:
• how long you have paid into it for
• your salary, and
• how much of your salary you build up for every year you’re a member (it’s called the ‘accrual rate’).
It may be worth getting expert help, perhaps from a financial adviser who specialises in finance and divorce, or an actuary. However, you will have to pay for this, so ask the financial adviser or actuary whether they think an independent valuation is worth it.
• When and where to get pensions help and advice

State pension and divorce

The basic state pension cannot be split at divorce or civil partnership dissolution under current rules. However, you may be entitled to claim a basic state pension using your ex-partner’s national insurance record (for the years you were together), without it affecting the basic state pension they are entitled to. If you remarry or enter another civil partnership before you reach state pension age, you will lose this pension entitlement.

Additional state pension

The Additional state pension is the part of your state pension you build up when you’re employed and this can be split when divorcing or dissolving your civil partnership. It may be made of two parts: SERPS and the State Second Pension (S2P).

The options for splitting pensions

There are three ways that pensions can be divided during divorce or civil partnership dissolution.
• Pension sharing – you’re awarded a percentage share of any one (or more) of your ex-partner’s pensions. This share is either transferred into a pension in your own name, which could be one that you already have or a new one, or you’re able to join your ex-partner’s pension scheme.
• Pensions attachment (sometimes called ‘earmarking’) – you receive an agreed amount of your ex-partner’s net pension income or lump sum (or both) when it starts being paid to them. This means you cannot receive pension payments before your ex-partner has started taking his or her pension. If your ex-partner is much younger than you – or if they retire much later than you – you may have a wait of several years before you receive your share of the pension. In Scotland, this is called a pensions lump sum order.
• Pensions offsetting – the value of any pensions is offset against other assets. For instance, you may have a greater share of the family home in return for your ex-partner keeping his or her pension income.

Do you need a court order?

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, only a court can make a pensions sharing or attachment order, but in Scotland a Pensions Sharing Agreement can be set up without going to court. However, it will only take effect on divorce or dissolution, which only a court can grant.
Because of the complicated rules about the way the agreement has to be written and because it has to be registered with the pension trustees (those who run the pension scheme) within a strict time limit, we recommend that you take the advice from a solicitor who specialises in pensions before drawing up an agreement.

Splitting your pension after you’ve retired

Pensions can be split after you and/or your ex-partner have retired. However, the rules are slightly different.
For a start, it isn’t possible for you to take a lump sum from your ex-partner’s pension if he or she is already receiving an income from it. This applies even if your ex-partner took a lump sum.


Company Pensions Auto Enrolment


Time is running out - websiteAre you an employer?

Workplace pensions are here. Act now. It’s the law.

Even if you employ just one person, you must provide a workplace pension.

The law requires all employers to provide a workplace pension for certain staff. Find out how the change in law will affect you.

You may have seen our adverts, or been to our seminars, if you would like more expert information please contact us, we’re happy to help.

Mike Oliver Associates authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

For your free up to date guide call us on 0845 4021757

The Pensions Pensions Regulator Website Information


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Personal Pension Schemes


PensionsIn these fast moving and uncertain times, our advisers can research the market and guide you through the complexities of choosing the right retirement option.

With recent changes that have been taking place with pensions and annuities why not take advantage of our FREE no obligation comparison quote on all pension contracts, for both personal and company contract? We can explain your current pension performance and research options tailored to your circumstances.

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Our team of experts can provide the latest pension updates and we can offer a large choice of pensions and pension providers to suit your precise needs and we can help you quickly.   Having identified the best solution, we will liaise with providers and update you on progress at every stage.

We offer a FREE no obligation initial consultation for all pension contracts both personal and company.

For income drawdown we act as introducers only.


Commercial & Development Finance


Commercial & Development FinanceWe want to help you grow a healthy business.

We can help you determine how much investment you need to enable your company to grow: depending on the sum, one or other option may be better suited to your needs.  Every business is different, and even if the figures add up, you may find yourself shying away from particular forms of finance. The best way to get advice specific for your venture is to consult with a professional.

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.

We also provide expert advice on new or exisiting owner-occupier funding for commercial freehold property or long leasehold.  Loans to individuals, partnerships, limited companies and LLP’s.

Refinance an existing commercial mortgage to reduce interest charges. Many long standing facilities are being charged at much higher rates than would now apply.

Borrowing can be arranged for any purpose giving the business maximum flexibility.

We have linked up with innovative start up social enterprise companies who support small to medium size business reach their full growth potential. With the collective experience of 65 years we have the knowledge and expertise needed to help drive your company forward.  Not only can they research grants and funding for your business, but are also experts at application process and bid writing.

For commercial mortgages we act as introducers.

Your property may be respossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

Speak in confidence to us on 0845 4021757 or tell us your requirements on the Contact Us page and we will get straight back to you.

Wills & Estate Planning


Mike Oliver Associates Estate PlanningIf you don’t have a valid Will or if your will is not up to date, you might not be able to take care of your family and those that you care about.  Research shows that many people do not have a Will in place and of those that do, many have not been updated to suit their current circumstances and wishes.

The Law of Intestacy

Our team of experts can:

    • Help you to value your estate, explain IHT and how to maximize your assets
    • Explain the types of Wills, Powers of Attorney, Trusts and Estate Planning options
    • Explain how divorce, remarriage, bankruptcy can affect your estate
    • Help you to effectively make financial provision, for example, care home fees
    • Help you make provision for your business

In short, we can identify your precise needs and plan to protect and preserve your wealth for your loved ones.

For Will Writing and long term care we act as introducers only.

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate taxation & trust advice, and will writing.

Speak in confidence to us on 0845 4021757, or take a look at our Estate Planning Website.

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