Posts From April, 2012

UK economy back in recession 

Monday, April 30, 2012 11:48:00 AM Categories: Economy

The UK economy unexpectedly contracted again in the first quarter, marking its second recession since the financial crisis, in a further blow to the government’s plans to restore Britain to fiscal health. The economy shrank by 0.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2012, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

The fall is the second succesive quarterly fall, after GDP shrank by 0.3 per cent in the last three months of 2011.

The Annuity problem 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 10:26:00 AM Categories: pensions

A recent report from the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) and the Pensions Institute (PI) estimates that each annual wave of pensioners loses in total between £500m and £1bn in potential lifetime income by making the wrong decisions.

The most popular way to convert the money saved up in a pension into income is to invest in an annuity. These are policies set up by insurance companies that promise to pay a guaranteed income for life, no matter how long the policyholder lives. The problem is that different insurance companies pay different levels of income. People are allowed to shop around for the best annuity so they can get the highest possible income. But the system of shopping around is not working due to customer apathy.

As investment-linked annuities, fixed-term annuities and pension drawdown are increasingly the norm, the role of financial advisers has become even more important. As the age of retirement continues to creep higher, retirees have the opportunity to save even more into their pensions.

However, the combination of rising pension values and increasingly complex annuity products can create confusion and you should get in touch with us before making a decision on how to set up your retirement income.

Markets: The only certainty is uncertainty 

Monday, April 16, 2012 12:20:00 PM Categories: Investments

As I am sure you are aware, the last few years have seen high levels of volatility in both UK and international markets with dramatic changes in indices such as the FTSE 100 and the USAs S&P 500 becoming commonplace. This has continued throughout 2012 so far, with good levels of growth in the early part of the year followed by a return to the hard-to-predict peaks and troughs we have seen over the last few weeks.

At Whichers IFA Ltd we still hold a positive outlook for both UK and international markets over the medium to long-term but we are well aware that investors can be concerned with fluctuations in the value of their assets.

We work with a number of fund managers and investment houses to provide solutions to these concerns, in particular using investments that aim to provide a positive return in all market conditions.

If you would to discuss your investments and options in greater detail please get in touch.

The abolition of protected-rights 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 9:36:00 AM Categories: pensions

As of the 6th April it is no longer possible to contract-out of the additional state pension on a protected-rights basis. This change has been brought in by the Government and means that you could have much greater flexibility in how you can take your pension income.

If you are concerned about this change or wish to discuss any aspect of this further please get in touch through the Contact Us section of the website.