Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2020

Why are CPD and Qualifications important to us and our clients?

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is activity undertaken to ensure our skills and knowledge are up-to-date. The Chartered Insurance Institute member CPD scheme provides a practical framework for ensuring development is addressed in a structured way to meets our personal and business needs and requirements of the CII as a Chartered professional body. CPD is a common requirement for qualified members of professional bodies. It reflects the fact that, in today's fast changing world, knowledge gained through qualifications quickly dates and, if you are to remain competent, you must continue to develop and enhance your knowledge. Equally, eligibility for and use of member qualification designations is not simply an indicator of study completed, but also of a commitment to subsequently keeping this knowledge current and being bound by a Code of Ethics. We believe it is essential to be part of this CPD programme and go beyond in studying CII modules, this allows us to: Build publi

New Financial Administrator at Dersingham

We are extremely pleased to announce Nadine Scoles has joined us as a Financial Administrator with 12 years insurance experience and a business management qualification. She is very keen to progress through the Chartered Insurance Institute learning programme to further her career within the Company. During her spare time she likes to spend days out with her young family. Nadine is a lover of motorsport, gardening and nature walking. We wish Nadine every success with the Company and will support her along this journey.

Remote witnessing of wills

There has been much debate since COVID and social distancing about whether wills could be executed remotely. The issue has surrounded the understanding of the word “presence” and could it encompass remote video presence as well as physical presence? When initially put to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) remote presence was rejected in England and Wales “because it was open to abuse”. However the rules have now been relaxed to allow “remote presence” and the main points are as follows: backdated to 31 January 2020 will last until 31 January 2022 or until necessary applies to both wills and codicils MoJ authorised as a last resort for emergencies only where possible arrange for witnesses to be physically present execution should be recorded and that sound and video sufficient to see and hear what is happening signatures must be wet witnesses must see testator sign and not just a pre recorded video While the government retains the power to reduce or extend the deadline for this amendment to

NS&I to pay all Premium Bonds prizes direct to customers’ bank accounts

NS&I has announced that, from the December 2020 Premium Bonds prize draw, they are stopping prize payments by warrant (like a cheque) and will be paying prizes straight into customers’ bank accounts instead. It’s quicker, easier and safer than waiting for a cheque to arrive in the post. They will be doing this in phases, and by March 2021 they will no longer send any prize cheques through the post. Premium Bonds customers can also continue to choose to have any prizes reinvested into more Premium Bonds, up to the maximum holding of £50,000. Whether you have your prizes paid to your bank accounts or reinvested, you can choose to be told the good news by email or text message. You will need to tell NS&I your bank details to carry on receiving any prizes. They will hold on to any prizes you win until they have these bank details. Visit their website for details on how you do this.

Managing Director Ben Allen achieves Fellowship

We have great pleasure in announcing Ben Allen has become a Fellow of the Personal Financial Society (FPFS) and joins co-director Michael Crisp and only c3,342 other fellows worldwide. A Fellow of is the very highest designation awarded by the Personal Finance Society, who are part of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), which is the world’s largest professional body for insurance and financial services in the world and is well known around the world, for the quality and breadth of its exams and qualifications. Fellowship confirms commitment to further self-improvement and is available only to those who demonstrate their ability. It is a major achievement in the financial industry and demonstrates the acquisition of skills and knowledge at the highest of levels.

A word from our mortgage adviser Rachael Smith

I thought I would share some interesting facts below from a recent Rightmove Report: Busiest month for ten years as home-buying supersedes summer holidays Rulebook rewritten as post-lockdown mini-boom accelerates and home-moving fills the holiday void Highest number of sales agreed in a month since we started tracking this data over ten years ago, up by 20% on the previous high, and with a record total value of over £37 billion Highest number of properties coming to market in a month since March 2008 as more movers join in Latest weekly sales agreed figure up by 60% compared to the same week in 2019 as buyers ignore the usual summer holiday slowdown Unseasonal record high for new seller asking prices in seven regions, but London drags down the national average to a 0.2% fall due to its own more typical 2.0% seasonal monthly drop. The out-of-city exodus drives prices in places like Devon and Cornwall to new records Record levels of buyer activity lead to processing delays and mean that

Our Chartered Directors are here to stay!

Advisers need to be picky when it comes to deciding which clients to take on. New research has revealed 60% of advisers turned away prospective clients in the last year. The reason is not hard to guess: there are far more clients than advisers, and numbers in the profession are only getting smaller. The same research by Octopus Investments states that as many as 15,000 advisers plan to leave the profession in the next 10 years. A poll of 255 financial advisers and 1,000 students, found that six out of 10 advisers had felt forced to reject prospective clients in the last 12 months. The new figures published today raise questions about the profession’s ability to service a rising demand for its services. When asked about their future plans, 29% of the advisers surveyed said they intended to retire by 2025, a figure which rose to 62% by 2030. According to Octopus, this equates to around 15,000 advisers eyeing up an exit from the profession, a slight increase on the 58% of respondents who

Live in care services from our friends at HomeInstead Senior Care

You may think that moving into residential care is the only option. It doesn’t have to be that way.  With Home Instead live in care, a CAREGiver can reside at your home day and night to help you to stay independent. You decide how many hours in the 24-hour window you will need practical assistance to be provided and a CAREGiver will be hand-picked for you to become your 24 hour home care support. They will be your companion and reside in your home, day and night, helping you to carry out those tasks you need them to and more importantly, being a familiar face and a source of company. When not working their agreed hours, your CAREGiver will be able to rest, sleep and follow normal activities that they would usually do. Sometimes, your level of care needs may be such that we need to provide a team of CAREGivers who follow a shift pattern of 24-hour live in care. This means that someone is always dutifully attending to your needs. View our brochure to learn more about our live in care opt

What are we doing in the current situation to improve our practices around vulnerability?

We have followed the FCA’s suggested guidance regarding training sessions by organising external training carried out by our Compliance provider every May for all staff. This is designed to achieve a level of vulnerability knowledge specific to later life and other financial planning areas within the firm.  We suggest clients use Scam Smart to avoid investment, pension and online trading scams.  We will try and use language in recommendation reports that is more suitable to a vulnerable client and where relevant will make documents available in different formats.  Our website is designed specifically to be user friendly and also includes our Care Services Guide and new video explaining the Appointment process. In addition, the appointment letter will offer vulnerable clients the opportunity to have their own trusted person present at the meeting.  We are continuing to send feedback forms out to clients to monitor if our service standards have remained consistent during the pandemic. W

Stamp Duty Land Tax: temporary reduced rates

If you purchase a residential property between 8 July 2020 to 31 March 2021 , you only start to pay SDLT on the amount that you pay for the property above £500,000. These rates apply whether you are buying your first home or have owned property before. You can use the table to work out the SDLT due: Property or lease premium or transfer value SDLT rate Up to £500,000 Zero The next £425,000 (the portion from £500,001 to £925,000) 5% The next £575,000 (the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million) 10% The remaining amount (the portion above £1.5 million) 12% From 8 July 2020 to 31 March 2021 the special rules for first time buyers are replaced by the reduced rates set out above. Higher rates for additional properties The 3% higher rate for purchases of additional dwellings applies on top of revised standard rates above for the period 8 July 2020 to 31 March 2021. The following rates apply: Property or lease premium or transfer value SDLT rate Up to £500,

Business As Usual

Firstly, we all hope everyone is keeping safe and healthy during the lockdown. We thought you would find the following short updates useful in the current climate: Client Meetings are being conducted over the phone or by video call until we feel it is safe to re-introduce face to face contact We have introduced Docusign to make it possible for clients and professional connections to digitally sign our documentation (many Providers are now not requiring wet signatures making the application process far simpler) Despite these new internal measures, our Investment and Advice Process has changed very little with the emphasis still on holistic financial planning, sound diversification amongst asset classes, timed investments and withdrawals, working closely with solicitors and accountants, tax planning and cash flow projections Independent Mortgage Advice – Please contact Rachael Smith by email or mobile 07957 357212 to discuss: Re-mortgaging and Lo

An update from our Mortgage & Protection Adviser

Mortgage lenders have been working hard to get to grips with the current pandemic. There has been a lot of positive movement in the mortgage market that we want to share with you. Loan to value limits are now starting to increase again meaning lenders are now lending more money based on the value of your property. This is great news for anybody looking to borrow some extra money on their mortgage, remortgage their property as their rate is coming to an end within the next 6 months, or looking to buy a house with a smaller deposit. Automated valuations are now becoming easier. This is where a valuation is completed from the computer rather then having to visit the property. This is pushing applications through a lot quicker. Not only are these being completed more frequently but they are also being carried out on higher loan to value mortgages. More Buy to Let products are now coming back to the market. This is great for any landlords looking to increase their property portfolio

A Message from our Directors

A message to all our existing, and new clients including our professional connections. It is self-evident we are living through an unprecedented crisis as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. All the normal activities and interactions of society and business across the world have been brought to an abrupt halt. We do not know how long the current situation will last, however what we do know is that “IT WILL PASS”. Our personal view is the worst will be over in a few months if Government guidelines are followed and that life, and the markets, will then start to recover. We urge all clients during this time, not to panic and remember the key reasons why you invest. We also thought it important to summarise below: New client meetings and review meetings are now being conducted over the telephone We have excellent systems in place to manage client money efficiently and remotely Our systems provide high levels of client security Our Investments process is built on diversification

Coronavirus (Covid 19) – Business Contingency Plan

Following the recent announcement by the government confirming their intention to move to a ‘delay’ phase relating to the control and containment of the Coronavirus, we wanted to share with you our business contingency plans which will go some way to safeguard the business operations as well as supporting you. You'll be reassured to know that business can be conducted by post, online, over the phone or through your portals. Should we immediately deploy our work from home plan, workflow and call answering will continue as normal, within the parameters of home working. However, please be patient with us as client reviews and new business is taking slightly longer than our standard turnaround times. We will monitor and continue to update you during this slow down. If anyone has been in contact with someone who has the virus, and/or are showing symptoms, they have been instructed to self-isolate and update management on a regular basis. We will continue to follow Government guideli

Welcome Rachael Smith

We are extremely pleased to welcome Rachael Smith our new Mortgage & Protection Adviser to Allen Tomas & Co. Rachael began her career in financial services in 2011 and has worked within a large Bank, Building Society and a network of successful UK Estate Agents. Her roles have included banking, management, coaching and a fully qualified Mortgage & Protection Adviser. Rachael, not only has a wealth of knowledge within mortgages but also in the property and estate agency sectors. She is passionate about providing her clients with the best independent advice by offering her services in buying and selling property, commercial loans, residential mortgages such as re-mortgaging, bridging loans, buy to let, self-build, development finance and advising on financial protection for her clients and their families. In her spare time Rachael loves long walks with her partner and cocker spaniel Milo and enjoys socialising with friends and family.

10 Reasons to use a Financial Adviser

A good chartered independent financial adviser can help you build your assets and assist in making the most of your investments, securing the long-term future of you and your family. 1. To protect your family There are a host of life insurance products on the market; an adviser can tell you which ones are actually worth buying. They will assess your position and guide you through the best options to protect yourself and your family - whether you are single or married, recently divorced, have a young family, approaching retirement, or dealing with a death. 2. To help plan your spending and saving To secure your long term future, you need to build some assets - initially to get you through the rainy days and then to pay for holidays and luxuries. Step one is to plan your spending so that you begin to save, and step two is to plan that saving so that you can build your wealth as efficiently as possible. Irrespective of amount, a financial adviser can look at your situation and find

New Capital Gains Tax Rules for Property Investors & Landlords

From April 2020 , new capital gains tax rules are set to take effect, and the changes will impact most sales of additional properties in the UK. Landlords and property investors are expected to be impacted by new rules coming in next April on capital gains tax, which is paid on any profits made through the sale of a property that isn’t your main residence. The changes coming in will affect the time you have to pay your capital gains tax bill, the amount of tax relief you can claim if you previously lived in the property, and how letting relief will work. Tighter payment deadline Because capital gains tax on property is currently paid through your self-assessment tax return, it normally doesn’t need to be paid until the following tax year – so a property sale that incurs CGT in the 2018/2019 tax year doesn’t need to be declared and paid until 31 January 2020. But from April 2020 , sellers will need to pay the full amount owed within 30 days of the completion of the sale . While the


Consumer Price Index (CPI) Consumer Price Index CPI in the United Kingdom remained unchanged at 108.50 points in December from 108.50 points in November of 2019. Consumer Price Index CPI in the United Kingdom averaged 79.32 points from 1988 until 2019, reaching an all time high of 108.50 points in September of 2019 and a record low of 48.40 points in January of 1988. What is the Consumer Price Index (CPI) The CPI is a measure of consumer price inflation produced to international standards and in line with European regulations. First published in 1997 as the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP), the CPI is the inflation measure used in the government’s target for inflation. The CPI is also used for purposes such as uprating pensions, wages and benefits and can aid in the understanding of inflation on family budgets. Why is inflation important Keeping a healthy cash flow throughout your life is essential and one of the biggest risks to capital is inflation risk. It is imp

Accessing you Pension – So, what are your options?

If you are 55 or over and have a defined contribution (money purchase) pension plan, you can: Leave your pension pot invested Buy a guaranteed income for life  Take a flexible income from your pension pot Take a cash lump sum from your pension pot Combine one or more of the options above. You can take cash and/or income at different times to suit your needs. You may be able to access your pot earlier than age 55 if you're unable to continue working because of ill health. It's important to remember that with some options, once you've chosen them, you can't change your mind later. Shopping around Allen Tomas & Co can obtain illustrations on the most suitable annuity plan to suit your circumstances, we will always take into account your health in order to potentially enhance the annuity rate. It's always worth checking what's available in the wider market as you may get a better deal than the one offered by your existing pension provider. Trans