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No 4, March 2012
Exclusive Financial Updates, News & Investment Ideas From Tower Hill Associates

Since our last newsletter, I am delighted to announce two important developments that will reinforce Tower Hill Associates Limited's position as an outstanding provider of financial planning services and will ensure that independent advisors, like us, have a voice in UK and European policy making.

Tower Hill Associates has now gained the status of Accredited Financial Planning Firm TM. The Institute of Financial Planning only awards this title to firms which it has assessed as demonstrating the highest professional standards of Financial Planning service and advice to its clients. It is very gratifying to have achieved this powerful recognition of our commitment to professionalism and service excellence.

As a growing independent financial advisory business, I feel it is essential that firms such as ours are able to influence future UK and European legislation. Our membership of the recently formed IFA Centre is intended to allow us a voice in future policy making which in turn will benefit both our current and future clients. In particular, I feel that independent advisors have an important role in helping clients through the array of different products and regulations, without being restricted to certain products or providers. This approach is very much in line with the objectives of the IFA Centre, which aims to promote independent advice as the gold standard to regulators, politicians and the broader financial services industry. For a guide to the forthcoming changes as a result of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) which comes into effect on 1 January 2013 please refer to the IFA Centre Guide A new approach to financial advice: your guide to the changes.

In this issue, we have included some timely articles on year-end pensions and tax planning advice as well as a thought-provoking piece "Who Has the Midas Touch", in which Weston Wellington from Dimensional Fund Advisors considers Warren Buffet's views of gold as a long-term investment vehicle.

If you wish to discuss any of the issues raised and how they might affect your future financial planning needs, please do get in touch.

All the best.

John Lang


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Pensions – 5th April 2012 is the final date to register a claim for fixed protection

The protected rights benefits will be abolished with affect from 6th April 2012. The standard life-time allowance, which effectively sets a limit on the normal tax efficient maximum value of your personal pension benefits will fall from £1.8 to £1.5m from 6th April 2012. There is the possibility of "fixed protection" to keep your personal lifetime allowance at a minimum of £1.8m but might not be appropriate in all cases.
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Ensure you make the most of your annual capital gains tax exemption

Capital gains tax underwent a radical overhaul in 2010. However, the Chancellor has now put the tax structure on ice by announcing that he will not increase the annual exemption (£10,600) from April. If you are in a position to realise gains on your investments, you ought to think about doing so before 6 April so that you do not waste your annual exemption. With CGT at 28% if you are a higher or additional rate taxpayer, the annual exemption could save you nearly £3,000 in tax. Although in using the annual capital gains tax exemption, a gain cannot simply be crystallized by "bed and breakfast" planning, there are other ways to achieve similar results.
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Don't forget, where possible to maximise your annual ISA contributions each year as there are no carry forward provisions.
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Where are the fortunes created from gold?

In this thought-provoking article, "Who has the Midas Touch?", Weston Wellington from Dimensional Fund Advisors considers Warren Buffet's views of gold as a long-term investment vehicle.
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cii_logo This newsletter is provided strictly for general consideration only. No action must be taken or refrained from based on its contents alone. Accordingly no responsibility can be assumed for any loss occasioned in connection with the content hereof and any such action or inaction. Professional advice is necessary for every case