Improving the home buying and selling process

Home information packs (HIPs) have been scrapped from 20 May, pending primary legislation for a permanent abolition, but sellers will still need to provide an official energy efficiency assessment of their property. Improving the home buying and selling process was a Labour manifesto pledge in 1997 and HIPs were designed to do this.

Participating in a wider range of investments

Unit trusts are a collective investment that allows you to participate in a wider range of investments than can normally be achieved on your own with smaller sums of money. Pooling your money with others also reduces the risk.

Expanding and contracting in response to demand

Open-Ended Investment Companies (OEICs) are stock market-quoted collective investment schemes. Like investment trusts and unit trusts they invest in a variety of assets to generate a return for investors. They share certain similarities with both investment trusts and unit trusts but there are also key differences.

Investing in one or more of the four asset classes

Open-ended investment funds are often called collective investment schemes and are run by fund management companies. There are many different types of fund. These include:

Investing in one or more asset classes

A pooled (or collective) investment is where many people put their money into a fund, which is then invested in one or more asset classes by a fund manager.

There are different types of pooled investment but the main ones are:

In search of good returns from your money

If you are an income-seeking saver in search of good returns from your money in this low interest rate environment and depressed equity markets, we can provide you with the professional advice you need to enable you to consider all the options available. In addition, we can help you determine what levels of income you may need and work with you to review this as your requirements change. Another major consideration is diversification and your attitude towards risk for return and availability. This will determine which asset class you are comfortable investing in.

Are you investing for growth, income or for both?

You should consider whether you are primarily investing for growth, income or for both.

What are you trying to achieve with your investments?

There are different types of risk involved with investing, so it’s important to find out what they are and think about how much risk you’re willing to take. It all depends on your attitude to risk (how much risk you are prepared to take) and what you are trying to achieve with your investments.

Deciding between growth and income

Several factors will determine the shape of your portfolio. The first of these is your investment objective. This takes into account whether you’re investing for income or for growth. If you want to generate income, perhaps to supplement your pension or salary, then you need to consider income-producing investments such as fixed interest or equity income funds. However, if it’s growth you’re after, then your portfolio could be more biased towards equities. Or, you may achieve growth by opting for an equity income fund and reinvesting the income.

Don’t be put off from taking action

Wherever you are with your retirement savings, don’t be put off from taking action – it’s not too late. There are still steps you can take to boost the income you’ll receive when you retire.

Where’s your money growing?

For investors concerned about global warming and other environmental issues, there are a plethora of ethical investments that cover a multitude of different strategies. The terms ‘ethical investment’ and ‘socially responsible investment (SRI)’ are often used interchangeably to mean an approach to selecting investments whereby the usual investment criteria are overlaid with an additional set of ethical or socially responsible criteria.

Utilising tax deferral benefits

For the appropriate investor looking to achieve capital security, growth or income, there are a number of advantages to investing offshore, particularly with regards to utilising the tax deferral benefits. You can defer paying tax for the lifetime of the investment, so your investment rolls up without tax being deducted, but you still have to pay tax at your highest rate when you cash the investment in. As a result, with careful planning, and if appropriate you could put offshore investments to good use.

Different investments have different tax treatment

Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs)
You pay no personal income tax or capital gains tax on any growth in an ISA, or when you take your money out. If you invest in a stocks and shares ISA, any dividends you receive are paid net, with a 10 per cent tax credit. There is no further tax liability.

Individual Savings Accounts

A tax wrapper can be wrapped around either the underlying investment or the pooled investment, and means you pay less or no tax. An example of a tax wrapper is an Individual Savings Account (ISA). An ISA is not a product on its own, but a tax wrapper around a savings or investment product, which protects your money from being taxed.

Combining investments with life cover

Endowments are regular premium policies which combine investments with life cover and are sometimes used to repay interest-only mortgages. Endowments are offered by life assurance companies, have a fixed term and usually require you to pay a fixed premium on a regular basis.