Hammond Raggett & Company Ltd is a fee-based advisory business offering unbiased, Independent Financial Advice on a Whole of Market basis. We cover a wide range of areas and the following links provide more information on each.
Whatever your needs, the advisory process is simple. We take time to get to know you and your personal and financial circumstances; we want to understand your needs, goals and dreams. Armed with that knowledge we will then set out a proposed approach and discuss it with you, modifying it as appropriate to take account of any particular preferences.
For some clients that will be the end of the process - the planning is done and no further action is needed. For others we will move on to implementing recommendations and where that involves the purchase of a financial service or product we will undertake research on your behalf and set out our recommendations in writing.
Whilst some of our clients chose to use us on a transactional basis, the majority choose to have an on-going relationship with us whereby we provide on-going advice and services, reporting and monitoring their portfolios.
We are happy to provide whatever service suits you and at all times we will be transparent about our fees and the various ways in which they can be paid. Our Client Services and Fee Agreement is available on request as is out complaints handling procedure. If we do not provide the level of service you expect and you cannot settle your complaint with us, you may be entitled to refer it to the Financial Ombudsman Service who can be contacted at www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk or by phone on 0800 023 4 567.
The basics of investment planning haven't ever really changed:
1. Define investment objectives e.g. income, growth, combination, target dates etc;
2. Establish degree of investment risk investor is willing to take;
3. Consider the investors capacity for loss;
4. Construct portfolio e.g. multi-asset, wholly equities etc
5. Seek to implement it in the most tax efficient way e.g. make use of ISA and CGT Allowances
However clients have become increasingly sophisticated over time in both the types of investment they wish to include in their portfolios and the access to information that they expect.
Because we are a fee based, whole of market Independent adviser, we have been able to put in place a range of solutions to meet our client's needs. One of these is the introduction of our Managed Portfolio Service which is covered separately on this site. Other ways include the introduction of a variety of investment platforms which offer access to a wide range of different types of investment e.g. Shares, ETF's, Unit Trusts, Oeics, Investment Trusts and others - and provide online valuation services.
We provide advice to wide range of clients from those who are looking to make small regular savings into tax efficient arrangements such as ISA's to those with multi million pound portfolios who are seeking an ongoing management service and pro-active ongoing advice.
Our Managed Portfolio Service is our core client investment proposition, click here to access this page.
We offer a wide range of services in relation to retirement planning including reporting on the adequacy of existing pension arrangements and planning to achieve certain benefits in the future taking into account various factors. Often this planning leads on to the installation of new pension arrangements and we are familiar with a wide range of schemes from simple Stakeholder arrangements to more personalised schemes such as Self Invested Personal Pensions and Small Self-Administered Schemes.
SIPP and SSAS have been increasingly popular in recent years because of the level of control they offer and the variety of investments they allow clients to make. They typically allow investment in shares, bonds, unit trusts and investment trusts as well as alternative investments such as commercial property and precious metals such as gold.
These schemes can also be very helpful to business owners who can use them in a variety of ways for example to assist with the purchase of commercial premises, to help fund the buy-out of a partner or co-director or to help fund expansion plans. Pensions can be really useful, tax efficient vehicles that not only enable funds to be set aside for retirement but also offer options along the way to getting there.
Building up a pension plan is only one half of the retirement planning process though and of course at some point benefits will be taken. In the past this was a simple process - take a tax free lump sum and buy an annuity - but today there are myriad options. Even what was viewed as the simple option - annuity purchase - involves many decisions including taking account of guaranteed periods, spouses benefits, health and lifestyle factors, increases to pensions in payment and so on.
Making use of the Open Market Option and taking account of health and lifestyle factors can add significantly to the retirement income our clients receive.
There are a very wide range of other options too including:
1. Income Drawdown including Flexible Drawdown
2. Fixed Term Annuities
3. Investment Linked Annuities
4. Phased Retirement
5. Third Way products which offer some elements of many of the above.
Taking retirement benefits requires careful consideration and might involve a combination of approaches. It is an area where advice has never been more important and is a core focus of our business.
Inheritance Tax Planning
Inheritance Tax used to be something that only the very wealthiest need worry about but that is no longer the case. Increased prosperity and rising asset prices have brought many individuals with seemingly modest assets within the Inheritance Tax net.
Inheritance Tax is payable at 40% on estates which exceed the Nil Rate Band (currently £325,000 for an individual and up to £650,000 for couples who can take advantage of the transferrable Nil Rate Band) but in most cases the tax charge can be avoided or at the least mitigated with careful planning. That might involve making use of the various Inheritance Tax exemptions, making gifts, investing in assets which are free from Inheritance Tax on death or insuring against the liability.
There are many options open to clients who wish to consider them including schemes which allow capital to be gifted and yet still allow access to an income stream and schemes which remove assets from the taxable estate after just two years.
Please contact us for a copy of our Guide to Inheritance Tax
We are all used to insuring our homes, our cars and in some cases our pets, but often appropriate cover for ourselves is overlooked. However, experience has shown us that having the right level and mix of benefits in place is invaluable. This might include basic life assurance to cover a mortgage or provide a lump sum to family members in the event of death, critical illness benefits, income protection and health insurance.
No two family circumstances are the same and careful planning should be undertaken. For example, a person who is single with no dependents might focus on income protection benefits which would replace their earnings if they were unable to work due to illness or injury whereas a married person with children might find life assurance and critical illness benefits should be the initial focus. And within these specific areas there are nuances, for example, if lump sum life assurance benefits were in place, might the proceeds be frittered away and if so, would an arrangement whereby an annual lump sum payment was received be more beneficial?
Family protection products are often thought of as commodity products that can easily be purchased online or at the check-out. We believe such products need to be considered just as carefully as other areas of financial planning and that care and time should be taken to ensure the cover is appropriate to the need.
Business Financial Planning
Financial planning for businesses forms a significant part of our activities and often includes:
1. Financial Protection related to key individuals and shareholders (see below)
2. Pension Planning and how SIPP's and SSAS's might help a business
3. Additional Benefits for Directors and Senior Employees such as of tax efficient life assurance arrangements, income protection benefits and healthcare plans.
Examples of the work we undertake in the Financial Protection include Key Person and Shareholder/Partnership Protection:
KEY PERSON COVER
Designed to protect the business in the event of the loss of a key individual. If there someone within an organisation that has special skills, an intimate knowledge of the business or a process, relationships with key customers or suppliers or is someone whom a bank or other lender might view as critical to the businesses success then Key Person Cover should be considered. It provides cash resources into a business to mitigate the effects of the loss of the key person and could mean the difference between survival and not.
In the event of the death or diagnosis of a critical illness, how does the affected individual or their family ensure they receive the true value of their share in the business and just as importantly, how do the remaining shareholders/partners ensure they are able to finance the buy-out of the share of the business. Without appropriate cover, both sides are exposed ? the family has no certainty of receiving payment quickly and those within the business risk having to operate with an unwanted board member/partner.
We are very experienced in putting in place appropriate solutions to both issues including where appropriate, provision of ancillary documents such as trust deeds and sample option agreements.
The Pension planning area is particularly interesting with the rules on SIPP's and SSAS's allowing them to be used in many ways which might assist a business owner e.g. with the purchase of commercial premises, to help fund the buy-out of a partner or co-director or to help fund expansion plans. Pensions can be really useful, tax efficient vehicles that not only enable funds to be set aside for retirement but also offer options along the way to getting there.
Pension Schemes for Employers
Installing the right scheme, on the right basis and with the right processes in place is important as all employers want to be spending their time managing their business and not their pension scheme.
The landscape of corporate pensions is changing and is more important now than ever before with the introduction of the Auto-Enrolment rules. In the past, advice for many employers has appeared to be ?free? as it was largely funded by commissions paid by pension providers. Those days are over for new schemes and it is likely that existing schemes will become commission free within a very short period of time.
We offer a fee based service which focusses on selecting the right scheme and provider, its installation and an ongoing advice and management service. Some employers require personalised initial advice to members whereas some are happy to limit our involvement to provision of information and the same is true on an ongoing basis. Our services will be tailored to each employer and their employees.
In addition to pension schemes our Corporate Services also include planning for Directors, Partners and Senior Employees which might include putting in place tax efficient life assurance arrangements, tailored pension plans such as SIPP or SSAS and income protection benefits as well as health care benefits. We are also able to provide guidance on company-wide life assurance, critical illness, income protection and healthcare benefits but will refer clients to a to a business partner for detailed advice.