Distribution bonds are intended to provide income with minimal affects on your original investment. They attempt to ensure that any tax-free returns, up to 5 per cent and usually in the form of dividends, do not greatly reduce your original investment, thereby providing the opportunity for future long-term growth. They also combine two different asset classes, equities and bonds, inside one investment wrapper.

An Individual Savings Account (ISA) is a tax-efficient wrapper. Within an ISA you pay no capital gains tax and no further tax on the income, making it one of the most tax-efficient savings vehicles available.

Investment trusts are based upon fixed amounts of capital divided into shares. This makes them closed ended, unlike the open-ended structure of unit trusts. They can be one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to invest in the stock market. Once the capital has been divided into shares, you can purchase the shares. When an investment trust sells shares, it is not taxed on any capital gains it has made. By contrast, private investors are subject to capital gains tax when they sell shares in their own portfolio.

Open-ended investment companies (OEICs) are stock market-quoted collective investment schemes. Like unit trusts and investment trusts they invest in a variety of assets to generate a return for investors.

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.

With so many different protection options available, making the right decision to protect your personal and financial situation can seem overwhelming. There is a plethora of protection solutions which could help ensure that a lump sum, or a replacement income, becomes available to you in the event that it is needed. We can make sure that you are able to take the right decisions to deliver peace of mind for you and your family in the event of death, if you are too ill to work or if you are diagnosed with a critical illness.

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. We can ensure that you find the right solutions to protect your assets and offer your family lasting benefits. It is essential that you are able to make an informed decision about the most suitable sum assured, premium, terms and payment provisions.

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. They will not be able to tell you if you have any entitlement to pension benefits, only the scheme administrator can give you this information and there is no charge for using this service which typically takes about 15 minutes to complete the form.

Most people, during their career, accumulate a number of different pension plans. Keeping your pension savings in a number of plans can result in lost investment opportunities and unnecessary exposure to risk. However not all pension consolidations will be in your best interests. You should always look carefully into the possible benefits and drawbacks and if unsure seek professional advice.

An annuity is an investment which will pay you an income for the rest of your life, no matter how long you live. This is achieved by handing over your pension fund to an insurance company in return for an annuity when you retire. The insurer then guarantees to pay you an income for the rest of your life via the annuity.

A pension remains one of the most tax-efficient ways of saving for your retirement. The government views retirement savings as being so important that it offers generous tax benefits to encourage us to make our own pension provision. However, the tax benefits will depend on your circumstances and tax rules are subject to change by the government.

Money invested into a pension receives tax relief. That means your pension contributions (subject to limits set by the government) are increased by the percentage amount of your income tax bracket. So, a non- or a basic-rate taxpayer only has to pay 80 pence for each £1 that is invested in their pension (an uplift of 20 per cent). Higher-rate taxpayers effectively only pay 60 pence for each £1 invested (an uplift of 40 per cent) and additional-rate taxpayers (in the 50 per cent band) can benefit from 50 per cent relief.

Different investments are subject to different tax treatment. The following is based on our understanding, as at 6 April 2011, of current taxation, legislation and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) practice, all of which are subject to change without notice. The impact of taxation (and any tax relief) depends on individual circumstances.

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, a variety of savers could put offshore investments to good use.

In the current investment climate, absolute return funds could offer the ordinary investor access to a range of more sophisticated investment techniques previously only available to the very wealthy. These products, which have only become generally available in more recent years, aim to provide a positive return annually regardless of what is happening in the stock market. However, this is not to say they can’t fall in value. Fund managers stress that investors should not expect the funds to make money for them month in, month out, but over the medium term – five years – they should produce positive returns. Invest in a wide range of assets