Strategic financial planning
Each of our clients has their own individual financial goals and objectives – what they may not have, is the time or inclination to develop a disciplined, cohesive and comprehensive plan in order to achieve those goals.
We strongly believe that before embarking on any tax planning or portfolio management, private clients and trustees should develop a dynamic and evolutionary Strategic Financial Plan, which should be adaptable, flexible and reviewed on an ongoing basis. This plan will also provide valuable context for any tactical financial planning.
Tactical financial planning
This underpins the strategic financial planning and encompasses a wide range of issues that need to be addressed to ensure your long-term goals are achieved. Typically, this plan covers a rolling 12-month period, normally aligned to the tax year, and is regularly reviewed and refreshed.
We have included below some examples of the tactical planning issues that our clients face.
Pre-retirement planning and strategy
The demise of final salary pension schemes means that an increasing number of people will not have certainty about the level of their income in retirement.
Pre-retirement planning is partly about creating a capital fund to help you achieve your objectives in retirement. The size of your capital fund will have a direct bearing on the standard of living you will be able to enjoy in retirement.
How much you allocate to your capital fund each year (typically surplus income), how the fund is structured to ensure tax efficiency and the rate of return you achieve each year are three key factors that will contribute to the size of your capital fund at retirement.
We help our clients develop a long-term strategy for retirement and provide ongoing advice and implementation to ensure they remain on track to achieve their goals. Tactically, we help clients create and build tax-efficient portfolios, which form part of their capital fund.
Increasingly, many of our clients would like to achieve a plural lifestyle prior to full retirement – combining, for example, part-time work, charitable work and increased leisure time. Helping clients achieve financial independence, enabling them to lead a plural lifestyle prior to full retirement is an important part of the planning process.
There are a number of different ways that you can draw from your capital fund in retirement.
With the pension element of your capital fund there is no longer a requirement to purchase an annuity. Ensuring you draw a sustainable level of income is a key factor, especially with ever increasing life expectancy and the associated risk of needing some form of care later in life. Ideally, you will be able to draw an income that has the potential to increase over time to offset the long-term effects of inflation. Ensuring your assets are structured effectively and tax-efficiently is an important part of an in-retirement strategy.
Although there have been steps by successive governments to ‘simplify’ pensions there is still a significant degree of complexity, which means clients benefit considerably from professional support.
Pensions advice is a key element of our service to our clients and we have considerable experience of helping our clients with pension planning and implementation. We also have expertise in advising private clients and their legal representatives who need pension-related advice during divorce proceedings.
Our portfolio management service particularly appeals to trustees of Defined Benefit Schemes.
Estate planning, trusts and inheritance tax mitigation
For many clients, estate planning is the process of passing wealth down through the generations. Our role is to help clients to develop a coherent long-term strategy and to implement tactical solutions that underpin this strategy. We work with our clients’ existing professional advisers, typically lawyers and tax advisers, to ensure that their strategy is supported by appropriate legal and tax advice.
Trusts can be helpful to protect family assets or to pass assets through multiple generations. You may also wish to reduce any potential inheritance tax liability and there are numerous exemptions and reliefs providing individuals with a range of options to reduce the potential liability on their estate.
Philanthropy is also a consideration for some clients and we can advise on the establishment of charitable foundations.
There are many acceptable tax planning opportunities for clients to reduce their overall tax liabilities, which have been, and continue to be, actively promoted by successive governments.
We proactively work with our clients and their tax advisers to ensure that their financial affairs are effectively structured to minimise their overall tax liabilities, by utilising the array of allowances and reliefs. The ongoing advice we provide helps our clients increase their net income and overall wealth.
Where clients have significant income and capital gains tax liabilities there are investment opportunities that can further reduce their tax liability. Most of these opportunities have tax reliefs to encourage investment in start-up, early stage or smaller capitalised companies. While the tax relief can be attractive, the risk of capital loss is high and therefore they will be of limited interest to most clients.
Philanthropy can also provide valuable tax benefits, while enabling you to allocate resources to deserving causes.
We provide a portfolio review service that appeals to prospective clients and trustees of family trusts, charities and Defined Benefit Schemes.
The service encompasses revisiting the client’s objectives, risk profiling and a quantitative and qualitative review of the current asset allocation. Such reviews are normally undertaken on a fixed fee basis and there is no obligation to implement our recommendations.
International and expatriate advice
Harpsden’s International Financial Planner Tony Shah has over 40 years’ experience advising expatriate and cross-border clients.
We offer a full range of personal financial planning advice and have extensive knowledge and experience in advising international clients on tax and investment planning with particular emphasis on assisting: expatriates working and living abroad; cross-border clients such as international executives or expatriates wishing to retire overseas; UK residents moving abroad; international clients returning to the UK.
It is essential to obtain individual advice – whether the aim is to ‘accumulate’ wealth by saving in a tax-free environment or ‘withdrawal’ if a regular income or lump sum is required from the assets. The advice needs to consider any local tax implications that may be affected by the individual’s domicile and country of residence, as well as the required choice of currency.
International financial planning is a complex area and, prior to setting up any plan, it is important to seek advice from advisers that have the experience of the market and are also regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority.
Developing a long-term strategy enables us to identify potential risks that could impact you and your family. From a financial planning perspective, there are three distinct phases in your life:
- Accumulation – the phase where you build your wealth
- Wealth preservation – the phase where you have achieved financial independence
- Decumulation – the phase where you draw down from your wealth
In the accumulation phase there are a number of risks that could prevent you from achieving financial independence and the impact on you and your family could be significant. In the wealth preservation and decumulation phases, the biggest risk is normally the lack of inter-generational planning, with the consequence that assets pass from one generation to the next with unnecessary tax liabilities. In the decumulation phase longevity and health issues can also pose risks, which long-term planning can help to mitigate.
There is a wide range of solutions and tactics that can help minimise these risks. Our role is to help create a risk mitigation plan that identifies the risks and specific solutions.
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“Jeremy is always easy to contact and is happy to meet as frequently as I feel is necessary. He is measured and empathetic to my situation. He always deals with ad hoc requests swiftly and he has provided advice over and above that which I am paying for.”
“Roland prepares well for our review meetings and always allows plenty of time for a full discussion of our affairs and explanations of relevant new developments/legislation. He always deals with our affairs and any queries that may arise during the year promptly and efficiently. We are very pleased with all aspects of the service we receive.”
“Harpsden provided us with excellent, complete and impartial advice. Jeremy Arthur’s understanding of matters peripheral to investments was very good and his knowledge enabled us to question and clarify other advice being provided by other advisers. We have complete trust in them which we have not always felt with other financial advisers.”
“Jeremy has been an exemplary advisor, offering me excellent professional advice, showing absolute professional discretion and where appropriate connected me to useful contacts. It has to date been a pleasure working with Jeremy.”
“Jeremy has been very professional from day one and has always taken the utmost care in finding out what I needed and how to best provide that for me. It does not end there, we meet on a regular basis to discuss where I am and any changes in my short or long term plans. I would wholeheartedly recommend Jeremy without any hesitation what so ever.”
“I completely trust Roland. He’s clear in assessing the level of risk I want to adopt, in advising on my current position and the options available, and in explaining his reasons for his advice on the best way forward. I have been using him for many years, and trust him so much that he is now also advising my wife, my 2 children, my mother and also acted (until her death) for my aunt!”
Finalist: Financial Advisor Team of the Year 2018/19
Winner: Adviser firm of the year (UK)
Winner: Adviser firm of the year (South East)
awarded by The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII)
Highly commended: Best Investment Adviser
Winner: Financial Advisor Team of the Year 2017/18