How to find lost or forgotten money

If you think you may have an old pension but are not sure of the details, the Pension Tracing Service may be able to help. They will try and match the information you give them to one of the schemes on their database and inform you of the results. If they have made a match they will provide you with the contact address of the scheme(s) and you can get in touch with them to see if you have any pension benefits.

Minimising tax liabilities

For the appropriate investor looking to achieve capital security, growth or income, there are a number of advantages to investing offshore, particularly with regard 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, a variety of savers could put offshore investments to good use.

Attractive tax breaks as part of a diversified investment portfolio

Enterprise Investment Schemes (EISs) are tax-efficient vehicles set up to encourage investment into small, unquoted trading companies. Following the changes announced in various Budgets, the EIS is the only tax-efficient investment offering a capital gains tax deferral. Capital gains tax on the disposal of other assets can be deferred by reinvesting the proceeds in EIS shares.

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.

Wealthier investors taking a long-term view

A Venture Capital Trust (VCT) is a company whose shares trade on the London stock market. A VCT aims to make money by investing in other companies. These are typically very small companies that are looking for further investment to help develop their business. The VCT often invests at an early stage in a company’s development, so it is a higher risk investment. This means that the VCTs are aimed at wealthier investors who can afford to take a long-term view and accept falls in the value of their investment.

Maintaining your ethical and environmental beliefs

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.

Safeguarding your money at a time of low interest rates

During these difficult economic times, one of the tools available to the Bank of England to stimulate the economy is interest rates. Lower interest rates mean that it is cheaper to borrow money and people have more to spend, hopefully stimulating the economy and reducing the risk of deflation. This is why the Bank of England has aggressively cut them.

A tax-efficient wrapper surrounding your fund choices

Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) are not actual investments; they are a tax-efficient wrapper surrounding your fund choices. When you make an ISA investment you pay no income or capital gains tax (CGT) on the returns you receive, no matter how much your investment grows or how much you withdraw over the years.

Investing in a range of funds for the medium- to long-term

Investment bonds are designed to produce medium- to long-term capital growth, but can also be used to give you an income. They also include some life cover. There are other types of investment that have ‘bond’ in their name (such as guaranteed bonds, offshore bonds and corporate bonds) but these are very different. With an investment bond, you pay a lump sum to a life assurance company and this is invested for you until you cash it in or die.

Are you looking for better fund performance and lower charges?

Pension transfers can be complicated and you should always seek professional financial advice before proceeding. Much will depend upon your individual circumstances and objectives.

Don’t overlook your most important assets, the people who drive your business

Every business has key people who are driving it forward. Many businesses recognise the need to insure their company property, equipment and fixed assets. However, they continually overlook their most important assets, the people who drive the business – a key employee, director or shareholder.

Utilising tax deferral benefits

Investing offshore may appeal to anyone who plans to live overseas, travels extensively, or wishes to look outside of their ‘home’ country for investment opportunities. Depending on where you reside, there will be various options available to you. Perhaps you already have money offshore and are looking to receive a better return; or you maybe you are planning to move abroad.

What the new retirement rules could mean for you

Deciding how to take your pension benefits is one of the most important financial decisions you’re ever likely to make. As part of the new 2011 retirement rules, from 6 April this year the pension annuity rules will change, meaning that UK pensioners will no longer be forced to use personal pension funds to buy an annuity.

Safeguarding your money at a time of low interest rates

During these difficult economic times, one of the tools available to the Bank of England to stimulate the economy is interest rates. Lower interest rates mean that it is cheaper to borrow money and people have more to spend, hopefully stimulating the economy and reducing the risk of deflation. This is why the Bank of England has aggressively cut them.

Protecting your family’s financial security

Having the correct protection strategy in place will enable you to protect your family’s lifestyle if your income suddenly changes due to premature death or illness. But choosing the right options can be difficult without obtaining professional advice to ensure you protect your family from financial hardship.