Category Archives: Blog

How to make your pension pot last?

It is a question that will be on many people’s minds as they approach retirement particularly with greater pension freedoms giving increased flexibility on how to use their pension savings.
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Not about Index vs Active Funds any more!

On the back of increasing index fund sales in the Sunday Times on 18 October 2015 Ian Cowie talked about there being a “power struggle” between those promoting index funds Read More
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Dont believe what you read in the money pages!

If there was a prize for the worst article in the money press then the one recently by Richard Evans in the Telegraph “Pension savers could double their tax free Read More
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Investment Planning – Head not Heart

In our view, long-run investment results for any individual reflect the combination of available capital market returns and the investor’s behavior and temperament. As Warren Buffett has observed, excitement and expenses are the enemy of every investor, and all of us could benefit by examining our inclination to invest with our hearts rather than our heads. The decision to own gold often is motivated by an emotional response to current events, leading to abrupt shifts in asset allocation strategy and a failure to achieve capital market rates of return there for the taking. If adopting a permanent 5% allocation to gold encourages investors to maintain a buy-and-hold strategy for the remaining 95% of their portfolio, perhaps that is the most sensible solution for some. Many other investors undoubtedly will be just as content to stock their portfolios with securities offering interest and dividends—and let gold fulfill their innate human desire for rare and beautiful objects of adornment. Tower Hill Associates view is holding gold or any asset class for that matter as an emotional response to current events is no way for clients to have a successful investment experience. Instead we offer the client centred Tower Hill Associates Investment Philosophy which focuses on achieving financial objectives using low cost well diversified investment strategies and minimising tax.
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Investment Planning – Media and Market Noise

For the everyday investor it is the bigger picture that matters and not media and market noise. Markets are moving constantly as news and information is built into prices. Sentiment is buffeted one way, then the other. Millions of participants make buy and sell decisions based on news or their own individual requirements. The job of media and market analysts frequently boils down to creating plausible narratives around often disconnected events so that it all appears seamless. Then the next day, they start all over again. For a broker or journalist, whose horizons are in minutes, this approach to markets makes sense. But for investors with long-term horizons, second and third guessing money decisions based on the news of the day is unlikely to deliver sound results.
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Investment Planning – Seeing the wood for the trees

I was looking at the total return performance of the IMA UK All Companies Sector and found that the average fund has grown by 307.64% over 20 years. Despite the fact that this performance is flattered by survivorship bias (the performance of funds that have closed down or merged have been removed) it was beaten handsomely by the FTSE ALL SHARE Total Return index which stood at 369.91%.
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Investment Planning – Bad News Sells!

Bad news sells. It sells because fear is a more powerful emotion than greed. Newspaper editors know that, which is why the front pages are often so depressing. But sometimes you need to dig inside the paper for a more balanced view. Also working closely with a chartered financial planner who has an investment philosophy which is client centred and focused on achieving a clients financial goals also helps clients see the investment journey in a much more balanced less fearful way.
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Investment Planning – Embracing Imperfection

New Year's resolutions often involve making promises to ourselves we can never keep. But instead of tilting at windmills, we can often generate better results by merely resolving to be less dumb in certain areas. And money is a good place to start.
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Investment Planning – “When Cash Beats a Portfolio”

I am glad to be part of Matthew Vincent's comment piece "When Cash Beats a Portfolio" in Saturdays FT on 24 September 2011.....Is there any financial advisor out there that would pay over 2% per annum for a well diversified risk benchmarked portfolio never mind one that has a less than 50% chance of beating cash over the longer term? If the answer is no then I don't see why clients should be "advised" (read "sold") into such portfolios.
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Charging Fees for Financial Planning Advice

My experience does differ from many of the responses to Nic's article that clients will not pay a fee for independent financial planning advice and will go off and buy a commission paying product instead. I started my independent fee based advisory practice in 2006 from scratch with most of my clients finding me via the internet or through word of mouth. During this time, my clients never seem to have had a problem with me charging fees and indeed many of them have signed up precisely because I was fee based. I am the first to admit that I am not the best salesman in the world but I have nevertheless built up a successful business. I think that the key for me has been being able to explain to clients where the real value in a client adviser relationship lies and having a clear on-going service proposition - see independent financial planning service. Also acting as the clients most trusted adviser is much more credible when remuneration doesn't come from product sales (commission) but from fees agreed in advance with the client alongside being highly qualified - see chartered financial planner.
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  • How to make your pension pot last? November 24, 2015 It is a question that will be on many people’s minds as they approach retirement particularly with greater pension freedoms giving increased flexibility on how to use their pension savings.

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