QE3 sets sail 

Monday, July 09, 2012 4:48:00 PM Categories: Economy

The Bank of England’s monetary policy committee has voted to increase the size of its programme of quantitative easing by £50bn bringing the total to £375bn.

The minutes from last month’s MPC meeting shows BoE governor Mervyn King voted to increase the QE programme by £50bn to £375bn but was voted down after five of the nine members called for QE to remain at £325bn. The minutes of last week's meeting will be published later this month.

King was joined in calling for the £50bn increase by fellow MPC members Adam Posen and David Miles. Committee member Paul Fisher voted for a £25bn increase to the programme.

The MPC decided to hold base rate at a record-low 0.5 per cent, where it has been since March 2009.

Commercial property? Fancy a tax rebate? 

Monday, July 02, 2012 12:20:00 PM Categories: Tax

Independent surveys (and cases that we secure every day) tell us that over 90% of commercial property owners are sat on a considerable tax saving (and cheque back) via HMRC legislation surrounding unclaimed capital allowances held within their buildings.

So what are capital allowances? They’re a form of tax relief available to anyone incurring capital expenditure buying, building or making adjustments to commercial property. While accountants will claim on more obvious items such as shutters and curtains, fire extinguishers and carpets, generally they will not drill down to the items where the far more significant costs to a business lie. These might include air conditioning or heating systems, lighting and security systems, plant and machinery items.

Our partner in this area can provide a free consultation to check if you could benefit. We have already used this for our own property and have received back a rebate so we know it works!

Please get in touch to discuss this further.

Greece is the word.... 

Monday, June 18, 2012 3:09:00 PM Categories: Europe

on everyone's lips at the moment. After a long and drawn out election process the Greeks have shown support for its continued membership of the eurozone, with pro-austerity party New Democracy winning by a narrow margin and they will now attempt to form a coalition government. Leftist political party Syzira, which had been one of the most vociferous opponents of austerity measures, came second-placed.

The results have allayed fears of an imminent exit from the euro by Greece, with markets rising in early trading but falling back over the day to show little gain at the time of writing. This shows that doubts still remain about the state of many European banks so don't get that bunting and balloon set out again just yet.

As always, if you would like to discuss this further please get in touch.

The pain in Spain.... 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 9:33:00 AM Categories: Europe

You have probably seen the news over the last few days that Spain's banks are to receive a bailout of up to 100 billion euros to help keep them away from insolvency. This has been welcomed by a market that is desperate for good news on the debt crisis. It comes in the same week as the re-run of the Greek election and the same month as an important EU Summit on 28-29 June. If Greece delivers a moderate government that accepts the bailout terms the rally may be prolonged but the more important event is whether the policy makers have the will to make bolder and more significant policy measures than has been evident in the Spanish bailout.

As always, if you have any concerns about this or would like to discuss it further please get in touch.

European concerns? 

Wednesday, June 06, 2012 11:20:00 AM Categories: Europe

There continues to be ongoing speculation about the future of the eurozone due to the problems in Greece and how this is spreading to areas such as Portugal, Spain and Italy. There have been reports in the last few days that Spain was seeking an immediate bailout from eurozone funds but this has been denied by Spain's economy minister.

Clearly this level of concern over Europe has had an effect on global stock markets, with the FTSE 100 dropping 6.8% in the month of May alone.

If you are concerned about this or wish to discuss your options please get in touch through the Contact Us tab at the top of the page.

Bank of England Base Rate held for 38th month 

Monday, May 14, 2012 2:18:00 PM Categories: Economy

The Bank of England’s monetary policy committee has voted to keep the base rate at a record-low 0.5 per cent for the 38th consecutive month and to keep its programme of quantitative easing at £325bn.

Base rate was cut to 0.5 per cent in March 2009, on the same day the BoE initiated a programme of QE worth £75bn.

Retiring: Make sure you consider Enhanced annuities 

Tuesday, May 08, 2012 3:08:00 PM Categories: pensions

A recent study by the Pensions Policy Institute has shown that Enhanced Annuities could potentially boost retirement incomes for those with health problems by an average of 19%.

Furthermore, the report also showed that a third of 60 to 64 year olds are limited in their ability to work as a result of a disability.

If you are retiring now or in the next few months please give us a call to go through your options. 

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.

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