May 2021 Update

The team have been busy since my last blog, tidying up all of the paperwork after the conclusion of the tax year. That end of year project was swiftly followed by helping those clients that have surplus funds in their General Accounts to use their 2021/22 ISA allowances. May as well get a whole years additional tax-free growth if possible.

The Markets

I have taken the opportunity to have a Spring Clean and sell down somewhat, without immediately buying the replacements. 7000 points for the FTSE 100 index has been and remains a psychological barrier, as does 35000 points for the S&P 500 in the US. A certain level of resistance is reached at these round numbers. We often see a repeated “knocking on the door” around these levels. It’s more than likely that as global markets have accelerated higher, they now look to have got a little ahead of themselves. Looking back over previous early market cycles, a rip-roaring climb in year 1 usually results in a period of chop in year 2 before markets resume their climb higher again. This sideways up and down chopping action isn’t a bad thing, the alternative is simply a bigger drop.

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It takes 3 to tango

Nucleus has been taken over by James Hay

Some of you have been following the run of events since it was announced in December that Sanlam had effectively put Nucleus up for sale. Several bidders came forward and in the final reckoning, a competitor platform has sealed the deal. Changes will undoubtedly follow, but for now we are sure it will be business as usual.

The news has even prompted a client to ask if we will be made redundant, which is a worry if he thinks we work for Nucleus! Nucleus works for us!

Fiercely Independent

If you cut our business in half, running through it like the letters in Blackpool Rock, it would read “Fiercely Independent since 1997”. Nobody owns us and nobody ever will. My central belief is you cannot offer independent advice to clients unless you are totally free to do so.

A la carte

Now’s a good time to reiterate how we function and describe all of the moving parts. It won’t take me long, there are only 3 parts. Let me use an analogy, (nobody saw that coming!) I’m the chef – again anybody who knows me well understands that I am in reality as far away from a chef as is humanly possible – but let’s stick with it.

  • Chef – Yours truly.
  • Diner – played astonishingly well by you.
  • Supermarket – played currently by Nucleus. Also A.J.Bell for specific property related investments.
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Service Update

A Platforms role

A platform is our outsourced administrative arm. It allows us to;

  • Send you income and withdrawals.
  • Allow you to invest into a tax wrapper (product) such as a pension or an ISA .
  • Allows you to get a valuation 24/7 and to monitor all transactions that take place.
  • Hold all your cash and other assets such as shares securely.
  • Make and settle any trades which we decide to make on your behalf.
  • Report to financial regulators and HMRC as necessary.

This is not an exhaustive list, but I’m sure you get the picture. Admin, admin and more admin. It leaves us free to do what we do best; offer regulated financial planning and advice and manage your life savings through both the good times and the bad.

Additional Platform Added

Since we commenced using platforms in 2003 we have used just 3.

  • SIPPcentre which became Investcentre.
  • Selestia which became Skandia which became Old Mutual.
  • Nucleus which in around 12 months time will probably become James Hay.

This week we added a fourth. Welcome to Transact. Here follows the blog I never thought I would write.

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