News

Wrap platform Transact ‘resilient and financially strong’

One of our main wrap platforms of choice, Transact, has issued words of encouragement during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

Transact released a statement which read:

“We are continuing to review and implement guidance as it is received from the government. All of our staff are now working from home.

“Our priorities remain the welfare of our staff and delivering the best service possible for our clients, while monitoring and adhering to UK government advice and guidance relating to COVID-19 Coronavirus.

“Staff are adapting well to the new working arrangement and we are taking steps to ease this transition for them.

“Transact’s parent company, Integrafin Holdings plc, is a financially sound business with capital and liquidity well in excess of minimum regulatory requirements. Our 2019 financial results confirmed that we are profitable and hold over £40m liquid capital over and above our requirements. We remain financially strong and resilient.

“Our Transact staff continue to be committed to delivering the best service possible and your patience and understanding is much appreciated in these challenging times.”

 

Message of support to our clients in these turbulent times

The Coronavirus (Covid-19) has introduced real uncertainty and trepidation into economies and markets.

We fully understand investors’ concerns about the potential effects of the coronavirus outbreak on their money.

Yet there are reasons why investors should remain disciplined.

A Lifetime director received a message from a client, through our secure online portal, stating they were nervous and should they sell to cash.

The director’s response went something like this: “A lot of people are indeed getting nervous in what are strange and worrying times. However, I would suggest that one of an investor’s biggest ‘weapons’ is discipline and to sell to cash now might make you feel more secure in the immediate future but it may be a long term mistake.

“There are undoubtedly people selling assets now (and taking a loss) and then there are wealthy people who are hoovering them up cheaply knowing that they will recover in time and they will make plenty of money.

“The message is – sit tight! We will get through this together.”

Investment Management company Vanguard, who we are in partnership with in order to invest our clients’ money, have also been in touch with us with a similar message:

“Sell-offs are a normal part of market behaviour. We’ve had a couple in the last few years. This has been sharper than those, but it is entirely to be expected. Since 1980 there have been 15 corrections of 10% or more and 5 bear markets, declines of 20% or more.”

“We know it’s not easy but discipline is key.

“We’re saddened by the loss and suffering that so many people have already endured, as the Coronavirus (Covid-19) spreads around the world.

“Vanguard has a stellar global team of economists. But they’re not epidemiologists. Predicting the course of a disease as novel as the coronavirus is sure to challenge even the most accomplished medical scientists.

“That said, this is what we do know, from an economic and markets standpoint:

The coronavirus has introduced uncertainty into the global economy to a degree greater than we had envisioned when we put together our economic and market outlook for 2020.

Investors frequently respond cautiously to heightened uncertainty, selling out of riskier assets in favour of safe havens.

Markets have shown over their history that volatility is more the rule than the exception, and that events that prompt sell-offs tend to recede into the background over the longer term.

“With this knowledge, we encourage investors, as we have for ages, to hold a diversified portfolio of assets, to remain disciplined by avoiding impulsive decisions based on fear and uncertainty, and to stay focused on their long-term goals and their plan for achieving them.

“LifeStrategy is a hugely diversified, low cost solution delivering benchmark returns and aims to weather all market cycles.

“The markets have fallen all around the world – no region has been immune from this.

“It is often hard to identify the reason for market falls. In this case it’s easy – the worldwide spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19).

“However, Vanguard has been saying for a long time that we believe equity valuations are at the top end of expectations and therefore more volatility is to be expected. This is especially the case after the very strong and unexpected market gains of the last year. Coronavirus has increased the uncertainty around the global economy so a sell-off is not surprising.

Sell-offs are a normal part of market behaviour. We’ve had a couple in the last few years. This has been much sharper than those, but it is entirely to be expected.

“We believe that investing in a portfolio with a suitable level of risk remains the best course of action for long-term investors. Cash returns are incredibly low, and given the sell-off in markets, expected returns over the next decade (which is the time frame investors should be thinking of) should be slightly higher.

“Risk and reward as we all know are closely correlated, and that if an investor is in the right portfolio for them, they should be able to ride out the volatility.

“Of course prices may continue to fall.

“Investors tend to react badly when markets fall and take risk off the table. For long-term investors this is usually not the right course of action.”

Maintaining this message at the moment is important.

Rest assured, as a company we are continuously monitoring developments and government notifications, and thanks to the innovation we embarked upon over a year ago we are in a position whereby we can maintain our commitment of excellent client service.

These are not normal days we are living through, of course, so we have taken the necessary steps to protect our staff as best we can, and to protect the running of the company. In line with government guidelines, we have now the majority of our staff working remotely. And so, for the most part, it remains ‘business as usual’.

Our financial planners, pension specialists, mortgage advisers, communications team and support staff are all set up to continue working through this crisis, most of them away from the office, and we can deal with calls, emails and client meetings via screen-to-screen technology.

So hopefully you will see no tangible difference in the service you receive from us.

We do urge all our existing clients, if they haven’t already done so, to register to our safe and secure online Client Portal, where all your documentation can be stored and you can communicate with us.

If you are not already set up on the portal then please get in touch with our Communications team, by email, at communicationsdept@lifetime-fm.com and they will help get you registered. If we haven’t got your email address, or if you have a new one, then please let our Communications Department know so they can send you a registration email.

These are turbulent times, we know and appreciate that. Together we will get through it.

Thank you for reading.

Your Lifetime Team

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – an update from Lifetime

We are living in unprecedented times – and sometimes that leads to unprecedented steps.

We know that people are anxious right now, including our clients. Even those who have a long-term, trusted relationship with their Lifetime financial planner may be concerned about their money and investments, as the Coronavirus continues to impact the UK and the world.

All our lives are in some sort of upheaval due to the rapid spread of the virus.

Rest assured, as a company we are continuously monitoring developments and government notifications, and thanks to the innovation we embarked upon over a year ago we are in a position whereby we can maintain our commitment of excellent client service.

These are not normal days we are living through, of course, so we have taken the necessary steps to protect our staff as best we can, and to protect the running of the company.

In line with government guidelines, we have now the majority of our staff working remotely.

And so, for the most part, it remains ‘business as usual’.

We understand that, in these uncertain months, you might need our services more than ever. Keeping clients reassured and informed is of paramount importance to us, especially with the ever-changing Coronavirus news and guidelines we are given.

Our financial planners, pension specialists, mortgage advisers, communications team and support staff are all set up to continue working through this crisis, most of them away from the office, and we can deal with calls, emails and client meetings via screen-to-screen technology.

So hopefully our loyal clients will see no tangible difference in the service they receive from us.

We do urge all our existing clients, if they haven’t already done so, to register to our safe and secure online Client Portal, where all your documentation can be stored and you can communicate with us.

If you are not already set up on the portal then please get in touch with our Communications team, by email, at communicationsdept@lifetime-fm.com and they will help get you registered. If we haven’t got your email address, or if you have a new one, then please let our Communications Department know so they can send you a registration email.

And to those people who are currently looking for advice regarding their finances, be it financial planning, pensions, investments or for a mortgage, we are here, ready, willing and able to help.

These are turbulent times, we know and appreciate that. Together we will get through it.

– Your Lifetime Team

 

‘In times like these many people start to think about their protection needs’

‘Lifetime will find a way to help people sort out their protection cover’ says financial planner Robert Bligh.

Robert (pictured below), who is based in Lifetime’s Driffield office, has urged people to make sure they have the necessary protection policies in place.

He says:”In times like these many people start to think about their protection needs, life, critical illness and income protection.

“If you, or friends and family are worried about this element, we can help underwrite clients quite speedily.

“And for accountants and businesses, if If you have clients, and are not sure how you go about arranging protection ‘screen to screen’, then give me a call and I can show you what to do, or in times like this, I can arrange it for you.

“Don’t leave clients ‘uninsured’ because you don’t know how to cover them – we will find a way.”

Robert Bligh DipFA, DipFS

Barnsley Office: 01226 208600

Driffield Office: 01377 593110

Lifetimer Liam chalks up RO5 exam success

Lifetimer Liam Burnett is a delighted young man this week – after passing the RO5 finance exam.

The RO5 exam focuses on financial protection and forms part of the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning.

Research Administrator Liam, who is on his placement year from university, was rewarded for all his study work with an exam pass.

Many congratulations Liam! Onwards and upwards!

Let Flo help find answers to those important questions you keep asking yourself

People often seek financial advice because of a specific issue, such as a concern over a pension policy, but right at the heart of that need is one overriding thing: peace of mind.

It is an important goal and what cash flow financial modelling is all about.

Are these the sort of questions you keep asking yourself? If so, come and talk to us. Let #Flo be your guide. You will get answers.

Will I have enough?
When can I retire? / Can I afford to retire?
Could I work part-time?
Why should I be saving?
What would happen if a parent goes into a care home?
How do I pay my bills if I can’t work?
Will my partner and kids be okay if I became really ill?
Have I enough to do the things I want in the future?
I am anxious about money
Can I afford to start a new business?
Am I doing the right thing?
I want to know if I can have that ‘big holiday’ I’ve always dreamed of
Talking about my money scares me
Can I afford to take risks with my savings?
What size mortgage can I afford?
I want to be able to help my children with their future
I need advice but don’t know who I can trust

Survey suggests one in five people are ‘in the dark’ about their pensions

Almost one in five people (19%) never access information about their pensions.

That is according to a survey carried out by Populus for the ABI.

The survey, which was undertaken in November 2019, covered 2,008 consumers. It found that many people were in the dark about their pension pots – and could potentially miss out on the sort of retirement they crave.

The ABI says the planned Pensions Dashboard will be critical to engaging people with their pensions and improving this figure. The Pensions Schemes Bill, which will include the dashboard initiative among other measures, is currently making its way through the Committee Stage in the House of Lords.

The study also found that how people access information about their pensions varied quite noticeably according to age groups, as revealed below:

  • 18 – 34 year olds prefer a mobile banking app – (54%)
  • 35 – 54 year olds prefer online banking – (41%)
  • 55 and overs prefer their pension providers’ website – (54%)

A real concern emerging from the survey is that about one in five adults admitted to having lost a pension pot – and research by the Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) suggests these are worth at least £19.4 billion.

Miles all smiles as he completes Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning!

Lifetimer Miles Myers is one very happy young man – after receiving the fantastic news that he has passed his last Financial Planning exam.

A delighted Miles (pictured below) learned on Friday morning that he successfully passed the RO6 exam – and has now completed the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning.

He is now a qualified financial planner with Lifetime.

Well done Miles – many congratulations and richly deserved!

Coronavirus and the impact on global markets

We came across this article, written by Christopher Cowell of Seven Investment Management, on the subject of the coronavirus outbreak and the economic and financial impact of the epidemic.

The article is slanted towards the investment side of things but also contains some very useful general information. We felt that both aspects may be of interest to Lifetime clients.

 

Mr Cowell writes: “At a headline level, it might seem like things have changed for the worst. As of 25 February 2020, the coronavirus has been identified in 33 countries, with 80,239 confirmed cases globally. While most of these cases are still within China, the news of cases in Italy (229) and South Korea (977) was a shocker. Is coronavirus getting worse? And where to from here?

“There are some important considerations when trying to forecast the impact of the coronavirus: 1. Major negative economic impacts relate to public health policy countermeasures (shutting down travel and trade, rather than mortality or infection rates); 2. While it is hard to chart the course of an epidemic, the current statistics are pretty well known, assuming that the data is consistent and correct.

“The upshot is that whenever the epidemic peaks and begins declining, (a) the odds strongly favour the viral threat continuing its retreat, and (b) public health policy countermeasures will soon be lifted and economic activity will rebound.

“So while the daily China data reports should be met with some scepticism, it does appear that the spread of the virus is under control. Daily data on new cases already suggest that the virus peak has been passed.

“And once you scratch beneath the surface of the headline numbers, there are some important points:

  • Despite popular perception, there has been no significant change in the strain of the virus.
  • The fatality rate in Wuhan, China remains around a fifth of what SARS was. Outside of Wuhan, the fatality rate falls to less than a tenth of SARS.
  • It is important to remember that symptoms range from mild to critically ill – not everyone who contracts the virus goes into critical care. So far, younger age groups are unlikely to fall into a critical condition if they contract the virus.
  • The latest number of cases in Hubei (64,786) is in line with what was predicted a month ago – the virus is not spiralling out of control.

“To date, it looks as though containment is largely working.

Which leads to the key question: what effect will coronavirus have on economic growth in China, and worldwide?

Policy measures in China have focussed on three things. Cities have been in lockdown, factories have been shut and travel has been curtailed. So we should expect weaker consumption and service sector data out of China over the next month or two. There will be some weaker tourism numbers from places like Japan and South Korea. And given China’s importance to global supply chains (particularly electronic components), we would expect some weaker manufacturing data from countries with strong trade links to China.

“These patterns are already showing up in market prices. Chinese airline stocks, for example, are down around 15% year to date. Companies that either source products from China or sell to China, like US technology companies and European car makers, are also suffering.

“While public health policy countermeasures are negative for growth, we are optimistic the Chinese and East Asian economic data will rebound soon.

“Putting the story together, we think the economic impact of coronavirus will be short-lived and contained.

“Meanwhile, remember that the goal of global multi-asset portfolios is to be diversified. They are not especially vulnerable to this kind of uncertainty. Furthermore, they are also built with a long-term view, so we are not overly concerned about the likely short-term economic impact of coronavirus.”

 

Here at Lifetime we also strongly believe that if your long-term goals haven’t changed then why should your long-term strategy change?

When the Sars epidemic happened in 2002-2003 global shares went down 6.1% but bounced back 34.6%.

Similarly, in 2012-2013, the Mers outbreak saw global shares drop 1.4% but then bounced back 35.5%.

Of course there can no guarantees, but there is no suggestion that there won’t be a similar occurrence with the coronavirus.

More than a quarter of people in their 50s do not fully understand their retirement options, survey suggests

More than a quarter of people in their 50s do not understand the retirement options available to them when they hit 55.

That is according to fresh research carried out by Fidelity.

The survey results, which have been announced ahead of April’s five-year anniversary of the introduction of pension freedoms, revealed that 26 per cent of people admitted to not fully understanding what retirement options were there for them when they reached the age of 55 and could access their pension pots.

The survey also revealed:

  • 15 per cent thought poor decision making could be avoided by the introduction of compulsory consultation with a financial adviser.
  • Almost a quarter of people asked (24 per cent) had not altered their retirement plans in the wake of the reforms.
  • More than a quarter (26 per cent) believed that the pension freedom reforms were a positive step but that more education is needed.
  • One in four people (25 per cent) of those in their 50s thought pension freedoms had encouraged too many people to take their money as a lump sum and risk their future income, now that annuity purchases are not required.
  • Almost a third (31 per cent) of those people in their 50s believed that it was right to have control over their money.

Here at Lifetime our retirement specialists work in tandem with the financial planners to give you an accurate picture of what you need to do to achieve your plans and will give you advice on your best course of action before, during and at retirement. Telephone us at 01226 208600 or email office@lifetime-fm.com