"At Bellpenny, we believe that people should have access to the right advice at the right time and place. It is our job to ensure that our clients are provided with financial advice best suited to their individual requirements. This could be by face-to-face appointment, telephone advice and direct investment.
Our expertise covers private investments, personal finances, retirement planning, life cover/protection, mortgages, inheritance tax and estate planning amongst many others. Please take a look below for further information on some of these topics. If you are already a Bellpenny client then further guides can be found in the Client login area.
Further evidence of our all-round services to our clients can be found in Avellemy – our sister company – which provides risk targeted, platform-based discretionary model portfolios for our clients. We are fully committed to providing an enhanced level of advice to all our clients – new or established – we look forward to working together with you to make sure ALL your financial requirements are met."
Traditionally financial advice is provided in a face-to-face environment, however we are fully aware that at times you may just require some guidance on a particular topic or would like to conduct the business yourself on an execution only basis.
Here at Bellpenny we like to facilitate your requirement for advice in a manner best suited to your individual preferences, therefore not only do we provide the traditional service but we also have a highly qualified telephone based advice team that can advise you on key financial matters.
For those individuals who are comfortable making their own investment decisions and ascertaining their own attitude to risk, our sister company TQ Invest can provide you with an execution only facility for making your investments into individual funds. TQ Invest can be contacted on 0800 294 7221 or via their website www.tqinvest.co.uk.
Our Philosophy and Approach
Managing risk within an investment portfolio is essential, as returns do not accumulate in a straight line. There can be sustained periods where higher risk assets can under-perform, or even fall in value. In 1990, Harry Markowitz, a pioneer of investment theory, received a Nobel Prize. His work introduced a concept known as the Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT). MPT introduced a new way to construct investment portfolios. It showed how investments can be blended to reduce a portfolio’s overall risk.
Moreover, by using historic data, portfolios can then be built that seek to identify the optimum mix of assets, to maximise an individual’s possible return for the level of risk that they are willing and able to accept. By studying asset class returns over the last 20 years, a range of portfolios can be created which are tightly aligned to ‘The Efficient Frontier’. The Efficient Frontier (below) is a concept in the Modern Portfolio Theory. A portfolio is called ‘efficient’ if historically it experienced the best possible return for a given level of risk.
By combining assets in different proportions, starting at the left with the most conservative (100% cash) and moving to the right with the most aggressive (100% equity), it is possible to tailor portfolios that would have previously provided the best opportunity of achieving desired returns at the lowest possible risk.
A successful investment is one where the end outcome meets your initial goals with no greater losses along the way other than the ones you were prepared to tolerate. Historic returns are not a reliable indication of those you will receive in the future, however, the relative variability of returns has tended to be more stable over time.
Once your risk profile has been determined a suitable investment solution will be selected with different asset classes to maximise the chances of returns falling within the range tolerated by that risk mandate. This way, you stand the best chance of your investments resulting in a successful outcome.
Generally, Bellpenny will invest clients' monies via a Centralised Investment Proposition (CIP). We have adopted this approach to ensure that a client's investments are in line with their risk profile in a robust and repeatable manner.
The CIP is made up of the following solutions:
- Avellemy Discretionary platform based model portfolios – Active, Passive and Income
- Parmenion Ethical model portfolios
- Brooks Macdonald, Tilney Bestinvest and Quilter Cheviot Discretionary Fund Management (DFM)
- Additionally we also have guaranteed and smoothed growth options for lower risk level clients
Once a quarter we hold a Proposition and Oversight Committee meeting. That committee is made up from both internal and external subject matter experts to ensure we have the most appropriate options within the CIP to offer our clients.
Bellpenny clients can read more about the 'Fundamentals of Investing' as a guide to download in your client area, alternatively if you are not already a client and would like to hear more, please just give us a call.
Risk Targeted Discretionary Model Portfolios
Avellemy was launched as a sister company to provide risk targeted, platform-based discretionary model portfolios for Bellpenny clients.
Our aim is: ‘To offer Bellpenny clients platform-based discretionary investment management, via three different sets of model portfolios – Active growth, Passive growth and Income. Importantly the mandates for each of those models are personalised to each client’s risk appetite.’
We achieve this through the application of Avellemy’s key principles:
Key Principle 1: We only use proven experts to help us develop, maintain and provide consistency through all of the Avellemy investment solutions
Our method of portfolio construction uses Distribution Technology’s (DT) industry leading risk profiling and strategic asset allocation technologies, which are designed to optimise client returns for their individual risk profile. We then employ the services of Parmenion Investment Management (PIM) to provide expert investment fund due diligence. They provide a dedicated Investment Management team to Avellemy and deliver the highest quality of quantitative and qualitative due diligence via a ‘Three Stage Fund Filtering Process’ to find the best funds for our models from the universe of around 13,000 available.
Finally in addition to Avellemy’s in-house investment manager we also use the Investment Management services of Albemarle Street Partners, to provide further oversight and expertise to the models. We feel that this independent Investment Manger oversight gives us additional experience to ensure we provide the best models possible.
Key Principle 2: Managing risk and reward
Avellemy hold a firm belief that risk and return are inextricably linked. The priority is on meeting the expectations set by Bellpenny Financial Planners (BFP) in relation to their clients’ investment outcomes. We ensure that our client-agreed investment mandates are delivered to the prescribed level of risk, by managing the volatility of portfolios. Both the client and their BFP can have complete confidence in their risk adjusted returns through changing market conditions, and in varying strategies and investment styles.
Key Principle 3: Ongoing oversight and reviews
Clients trust us implicitly with their hard earned savings and therefore ongoing oversight and reviews are hugely important. The Avellemy Investment Committee (AIC) has the responsibility for the control, governance and oversight of all our model portfolios. Following the input from both DT and PIM, the proposed model portfolios are reviewed and signed off by the AIC. The committee is made up by a number of internal and external independent experts to ensure that the models are managed to the appropriate mandates. The AIC monitors ongoing performance and if necessary challenges both the asset allocations provided by DT and the fund research by PIM where appropriate.
Key Principle 4: Provision of keenly priced investment solutions
One of the key drivers for launching Avellemy was that we felt many of the existing providers of platform based discretionary models were charging a high fee for their services. So due to the scale that Bellpenny brings, we felt able to provide a high quality professional service for a competitive price that is designed to provide positive, risk appropriate solutions for clients.
For all Bellpenny clients, a comprehensive Avellemy brochure can be downloaded from the client area of this website and your Bellpenny Financial Planner will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
Alternatively, if you are not a Bellpenny client and would like to know more about Avellemy, please don't hesitate to contact us directly on 0345 475 7500.
Guidance for those who want to, or are saving towards their retirement income goals
Most of us expect to retire at some point in our lives. Of those, all of us would like to know that we will have sufficient income available to be financially comfortable and able to do the things that we want to in retirement.
Many people have pension schemes that their employers contribute towards and many of us pay into our own pensions, whilst some of us have no pension provisions at all. However how many of us know, even roughly, how much income we might be entitled to when we retire? How many of us have pensions we haven’t reviewed in years, if not decades? Have you changed jobs over the years and as a result been left with a number of smaller pension pots?
Bellpenny’s saving for retirement advice provides the following:
- A discussion about your goals, i.e what you want to retire on and when you want to retire.
- An explanation of all the ways that you may be able to generate that income when required.
- A realistic assessment of your current provisions and projections of the likely benefits they may offer compared to the goals you have agreed with us.
- An analysis of all your existing arrangements to check that they are appropriate to you, competitive in the current market and are performing as well as can be expected.
- A discussion and any appropriate recommendations to make sure your arrangements are most likely to meet your expectations.
- Ongoing annual reviews to ensure that your planning remains on track to achieve your goals.
Guidance and planning to make sure you have the retirement you expect
Retirement planning before the pension reforms of April 2015, were probably the point in most people’s lives where it was most critical that they receive expert advice around the available options to them. This was, and is, because decisions made at that point will have ongoing effects on you for anything up to 40 years, and that time is not available to compensate for problems. As such making the right decisions “at retirement” was absolutely critical.
The pension changes that came into effect in April 2015 have made the decisions in this area even more complicated and critical to get right. Most, if not all of the “safety net” measures that existed prior to April 2015 have now been removed. It is now much easier to make the wrong decision, which could have disastrous consequences in years or decades time.
The headline of those changes was the ability to take your entire pension as a lump sum and do with it as you please. What was buried in the small print and received little, if any, attention was that pensions became more attractive to keep and the potential consequences of making the wrong decisions. A simple question to emphasise the importance of making the right decision, is as follows; if you get it wrong and run out of money in your 70’s or 80’s, are you going to go back to work?
The key options for retirement include; Income Drawdown, Flexi Access Drawdown, Phased Drawdown, Guaranteed Annuities, Short Term Annuities, Enhanced Annuities and Investment Linked Annuities.
If you would like to read more, a guide to your retirement options can be found in the client area for all Bellpenny clients. Alternatively please contact us.
Income, Capital Gains and Inheritance Tax
When we consider that HMRC’s tax manuals run to more than 80,000 pages, it becomes clear that the UK’s tax system is highly complicated. It is also easy to understand that all UK residents and citizens are affected by vast numbers of UK tax regulations and that it is appropriate for people to pay their fair share of tax.
Fair is the key word here; however the complexity of the UK tax system means that many people pay more than their fair share. HMRC clearly state that UK tax payers are entitled to choose how they structure their finances including making use of available allowances and exemptions. As such Bellpenny believe that it is prudent to consider tax efficiency and planning when providing advice and planning.
However there is significant pressure and question marks over tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance being conducted by some UK tax payers. Bellpenny provides advice around Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax that complies with both the letter and spirit of the law. We apply our expertise and knowledge to ensure that our clients pay the right and fair amount of tax, and no more.
A recent example of this was a client who received a large assessment for tax on their state sector pension scheme. After examining the documentation and performing calculations, Bellpenny’s experts realised that the tax had been incorrectly calculated by a large margin. When this was referred back to the pension scheme provider and correctly calculated, the client's tax bill reduced by over £76,000.
ISA allowance for the 2016/17 tax year is £15,240
What is an ISA?
Well, an ISA is actually just a 'wrapper' that you can apply to your normal savings and investments up to an annual amount (the year is defined as 06 April in the first year to 05 April the following year). Once money is given the protection of being held in an ISA, it becomes more tax efficient, so interest or growth can be paid without UK Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax deducted.
Without this 'wrapper' your savings and investments would be subject to the current rate of income and capital gains tax. It makes complete financial sense that you should fully utilise your ISA allowance on an annual basis without reservation.
ISAs are either; a cash ISA or an equity ISA (often referred to as a stocks and shares ISA). Each year the amount you can save into an ISA tax free generally changes; the allowance for the 2016/17 tax year is £15,240.
The choice of which type of ISA you invest into is entirely yours; you may choose to split this between a cash ISA and an equity ISA or invest entirely into one or the other. Importantly, once you have used your entire ISA allowance you can’t invest any more, even to replace money you have withdrawn from your ISA during that tax year. Bellpenny doesn't offer cash ISAs but our Financial Planners can discuss your individual circumstances and recommend investments best suited to your attitude to risk.
Alternatively, if you would prefer to top up or start an ISA on an execution only basis (without the help of a planner), this can be facilitated by our sister company TQ Invest. TQ Invest offer a range of investment funds and services on the Funds Network Platform. Check out their website at www.tqinvest.co.uk or call 0800 294 7221.
Taking on a mortgage whether to buy your own home, or for investment reasons is one of life’s biggest financial decisions. Bellpenny's independent mortgage experts bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and understanding to this decision and their independence ensures that you understand all of the available options in the market to enable you to choose which one is best suited to your specific needs.
Each mortgage consultant is fully CeMap qualified with over 20 year’s industry experience. Using the latest mortgage sourcing systems, our consultants assess the market daily to ensure they find you the best mortgage products available from across Bellpenny’s specialist panel of lenders. Bellpenny has exclusive access to intermediary products and direct relationships with a selection of leading mortgage lenders in the UK.
- Bellpenny Mortgage Consultants: whether you're a first-time buyer, moving home, looking to re-mortgage or want to know the best fixed rates and trackers in the market, all of Bellpenny’s mortgage consultants are qualified and experienced to find the right mortgage to suit your needs.
- Competitive Rates: using a friendly professional service, Bellpenny's consultants will find you a competitive rate regardless of if this is your first mortgage or if you’re switching mortgages on your existing home.
Bellpenny specialises in:
- Re-mortgage to raise funds: can be a convenient way of raising some extra money to assist with home improvements, school/university fees, debt consolidation and/or medical costs.
- Buy-to-Let: (including re-mortgages and purchases) can assist you to buy a property to rent out, expand your property portfolio, and begin your own journey as a landlord.
- Let-to-Buy: involves releasing equity/deposit from your current home towards the purchase of new residential property. Letting out your property could allow you to move into a new home without feeling pressure to sell in a rush and potentially at a loss.
- Equity Release: is targeted at the 55’s and over to help meet their financial needs and/or support their loved ones. Equity release allows you to release cash from your property without the upheaval or expense of moving home, and what’s more, you are eligible to stay in your home until you decide you want (or need) to move.
- Bridging Loans: are considered as a short-term funding option. They are used to 'bridge' a gap between a coming debt and the main line of credit becoming available. These loans act as a short-term solution in pressing circumstances that help you to buy before you've sold your existing property.
- Non-standard Construction: most lenders will only lend on standard brick, tile, stone and slate construction properties. If the property you are looking to purchase/re-mortgage fits outside of this criteria then you can consider the option of ‘non-traditional’ properties.
- Poor Credit History: such as adverse credit, CCJ and missed payments.
- Right-to-Buy Schemes: designed to help council and housing association tenants in England buy their home at a discount.
One of the most significantly overlooked areas of financial planning is ensuring that you have sufficient protection in place to minimise the risks that you will not be able to achieve your goals.
Most of us are well aware of the risk that our death would present to our loved ones. However do we know if we would still be able to achieve our goals, if we were unable to work for an extended period of time? None of us plan to fall victim to serious illness or disability, however there is a significant risk that we may suffer a serious illness or accident prior to reaching our desired retirement age.
Part of the Bellpenny financial planning process is about examining these risks in a realistic manner and understanding, what (if any) forms of insurance we should have in place to minimise these risks, and discussing this with you and putting you in an informed position to make the best choices for you and your family.
Here are some of the types of protection we can offer:
Life Insurance and Critical Illness
Have you thought about protecting your home, family and lifestyle with a cover that pays a lump sum of money if you die or are diagnosed with a critical illness?
Being struck down with a critical illness, such as cancer, could place a real financial strain on you and your family. A Life Insurance and Critical Illness plan could be the answer as they can pay monthly or annually, provide a lump sum benefit free of income and capital gains tax and be set up as a joint cover plan that is suitable for you and your partner. It is important to take advice when taking out this type of policy as not all conditions are covered and we can find a plan most suitable to your individual requirements.
Q. What is Critical Illness?
This type of cover pays out a tax free lump sum if you are diagnosed with a serious illness, which may leave you unable to work and require you to receive care and make significant changes to your home.
The money can be used in any way you wish, but it is usually used to ease the financial loss serious illness can bring to a family, by paying bills and covering the cost of care and home modifications. In some instances you can add cover should your child suffer a serious illness.
Q. Why have Critical Illness cover when you already have Life Insurance?
A. If you get critically ill, chances are, you can still survive and even recover. However, you may need considerable funds for you to get the treatments you need. This is where critical illness insurance can come in. This will prevent your family’s finances from becoming depleted and the critical illness payout will help in providing for your family’s needs at a difficult time. It’s important to remember that critical illness is more expensive than life insurance, however, the likelihood of having a serious illness is statistically far higher than dying.
Income Protection plans provides you with a monthly income if you are unable to work due to accident or illness, enabling you to continue to look after your family and pay your household bills.
Most plans offer the facility for monthly premiums and cover until you return to work however Income Protection does not cover being made redundant. Under the current tax rules all payments are tax free. Each provider will cover different types of illness, so it’s best to find out these before taking out cover.
Income Protection is a very useful cover to provide for your family. It is particularly useful for the following people:
- Families with only one source of income
- Home owners with monthly mortgage payments
- Families with regular monthly bills such as energy bills, credit cards and loans
- Self employed people whose income is dependent on them being able to work
- Employees who receive limited or no sick pay from their employer if they are unable to work through illness or injury
Our Pledges To You
- A local Bellpenny Financial Planner will take the time to understand what you and your family want from life and how you would like your money to work for you.
- You will receive a Bellpenny Financial Plan that’s designed to help you achieve your goals.
- We will manage your financial plans to make sure they’re on track and align with any changes to your individual circumstances.
- We provide you with 24/7 secure online access to your investment portfolios allowing you to receive valuations at any time to suit you.
- Bellpenny will provide you with regular updates and opinions from our internal experts on topical financial matters.
- You can speak to us as much or as little as you like by phone, email or post, whatever your needs or enquiry. You will also receive regular face-to-face meetings with your Bellpenny Financial Planner either at our offices or at your home location.