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Three simple stories of the power of advice

20 November 2018

An unexpected early retirement and some smart tax planning are among these advisers' favourite recollections...

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Enjoying the fruits of a working career is all the sweeter when you can retire earlier, invest in a family business or keep your cash from the taxman, as clients of these three advisers found out.

'She was close to tears'

For Olga Robertson, of GS Group, a simple case of helping a client to retire earlier than she ever thought possible brought real rewards.

“This client was referred by one of my existing clients,” says Olga, who has worked in financial services for 15 years and spent the last two at Perth-based GS Group.

“She was 45 and convinced she wouldn’t be able to retire until age 67 as a result of having insufficient retirement provisions in place. She’d been trying to get help from another adviser for more than a year with no results.”

Olga helped the client understand the type of retirement she desired and how much she would need to finance it. She collated information about her pension plans and completed cash flow projections at different retirement ages.

Having reviewed her outgoings, she discovered she was in a position to contribute £500 per month to her pension without affecting her current lifestyle.

“I demonstrated that she could comfortably retire at 60 and her pension savings will not run out during her lifetime,” said the independent financial adviser.

“The client was so touched by the outcome that she was close to tears. I feel that I made a real difference to her life.”

A significant tax saving

An existing self invested personal pension (SIPP) client contacted David Gibson, team director at Mattioli Woods, regarding his intention to buy shares in his son’s limited company.

“While investment in unlisted shares can offer significant opportunities, these remain a high-risk strategy,” says David.

Acting as both adviser and SIPP provider, he considered the practicalities and tax position of making this purchase through the pension. Having fully discussed the issues, a decision was made to do so.

“Firstly, it offers diversification within the existing pension portfolio with the potential for the shares to provide higher returns than traditional investments,” says David.

“The company was able to use the funds to improve cashflow and invest in additional commercial premises to enable expansion, which will have an immediate and ongoing positive impact on the company and its share value.”

The advice also resulted in a significant potential tax saving over the medium to long term; compared to a personal pension, holding shares within the SIPP means there is no income tax on dividends and no capital gains tax when the SIPP sells the shares.

“Overall, this represented a nice piece of holistic planning that was of benefit both to the client and his wider family,” adds David.

'Unquantifiable' added value

An 85-year-old widow is not a typical financial planning client for Chris Knight, an adviser at Beaufort Financial in Reading.

“My first visit to this client provided me with an insight into how little she knew about her finances, because previously she had never needed to – her husband dealt with these matters,” says Chris.

The plan he came up with involved much administration and file searching, going through paperwork sometimes more than 20 years old.

“It involved making sure that she was taken care of and safeguarding some assets from inheritance tax [IHT] through the use of business property relief.

“She is now happy that her portfolio is up almost 8% in a little over 12 months, she has saved around £50,000 in IHT and no longer has the dark cloud of managing it all hanging over her.”

While it is easy to quantify an adviser’s value in investment returns and tax savings, for Chris the real benefit often comes in the peace of mind that comes from having a trusted financial adviser.

“The time that was spent worrying is now spent enjoying the fruits of a long working career – or as I call it unquantifiable added value,” he says.