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The HR Dept - Southampton

Contact: Deborah Witcomb
Address: 17 Deerhurst Close, Totton, Southampton, Hampshire, SO40 8WQ
T: 07386141002
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Comprehensive HR services in Southampton, Eastleigh, Chandlers Ford, Romsey, Totton and Waterside area, at a fraction of the cost of an in-house HR professional…

Listed in: HR and Employment Advice

How to get the best low-rate mortgage deal

As rates hit new record low levels and with lender competition set to grow even fiercer, there has never been a better time to get a mortgage. So, how do you get the best deal? Ask a qualified mortgage adviser.

At the end of Q3 2013, the news was awash with predictions of a mortgage price war and falling mortgage rates. People were encouraged to make hay while the sun shined and grab a good deal before the market steadied and rates rose again in early 2015. Rates duly dropped during the last quarter of 2014, but as the end of Q1 2015 comes into view, the price war shows little sign of ceasing and rates continue to fall.

In November last year, there was excitement around five-year fixed rates hitting a sub 3.5% level again. Fast forward five months, and five-year rates are heading towards 2%, while two-year fixed rates are heading towards 1%. Recently, the Yorkshire Building Society launched a fixed two-year deal at 1.18%, a move that came shortly after HSBC’s announcement that it was introducing a two-year deal at 1.19%.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage

Thanks to the prospect of an interest base rate rise receding and lenders continuing to slug it out for customers and market share, there are a growing number of record-low mortgage rate deals available on the market. This is why the value of qualified mortgage advice has never been so high. It’s a question of being able to see the wood from the trees and finding the mortgage deal that suits you best. For example, while the likes of HSBC’s and the Yorkshire Building Society’s deals are grabbing the headlines, these kinds of rates are often only available with a big deposit or involve the payment of a large, non-refundable fee. OK if you have the capital, not so much if your budget is smaller.

So, how long will this period last? Six months is a common prediction but there is suggestion that it could go on for longer, especially as Tesco has indicated that it will expand its mortgage business in the short term to include the availability of property loans through independent brokers for the first time. Tesco has significant market presence and financial clout and it will be keen to press home its advantages as it looks to steady the ship after a serious wobble in its performance. Hence, the market could see another big bump in competition, maintaining the downward pressure on rates and further underlining the role of qualified mortgage advice.

However, it would be wise not to depend on the trend lasting too long and rates falling even further as lenders won’t want to see their capital strength weakened and will have to comply with new Bank of England rules on the leverage ratio.

To find out more about Independent Financial Solutions’ services, contact me on 02392 271251 or matthew.sedgley@ifsnet.co.uk.

Please note:

Our initial advice is always free and we are usually paid a procuration fee from the selected lender for placing business with them. The amount paid will depend on the lender and the loan amount, and will be detailed in all illustrations provided. 

In certain circumstances we may also charge a fee for the processing and administration of a mortgage application. However, we will always obtain your agreement to this prior to undertaking any work.

SMEs: how to avoid rising HMRC tax pressure

HMRC is increasing its focus on the tax affairs of SMEs as it looks to raise revenue. Expert tax advice can help you avoid this pressure.

The tax planning of mega corporations (Amazon, Google, etc.) and the rich and famous (Gary Barlow, One Direction, Premier League footballers, etc.) is rarely off the front pages for very long, but a look behind these big headlines reveals news that SME tax planning is expected to be a major focus for HMRC in 2015.

The HMRC crackdown on aggressive tax avoidance has long been in full swing – the focus on inheritance tax avoiders is just one recent example – and looking to the months ahead, it seems the department’s attention will increasingly fall on small businesses.

The move has been triggered by a 50% increase (to £34 billion) in the so-called “tax gap” – the difference between what is considered due and what is actually collected, and HMRC believes a significant portion of this shortfall is attributable to the SME sector.

As a result, it is increasing the number of tax inspections and record searches, as well as its investigations into self-employed people, all of which is being carried out with a greater focus on IT. HMRC is making use of its ability to access public sector records and greater cooperation with banks and building societies.

The timing of the news – shortly before the January self-assessment deadline – surely isn’t a coincidence, but responsible tax planning can help protect you and your business and keep you off the HMRC radar. Independent tax advice can legitimately achieve tax efficiency for your business and help mitigate your tax burden.

To find out more about Independent Financial Solutions’ services, contact Matthew Sedgley on 02392 271251 or matthew.sedgley@ifsnet.co.uk.
 

How to take advantage of the mortgage price war

A mortgage lender price war is expected to lead to improved deals for buyers over the next few months. A qualified mortgage adviser can help you make the most of this opportunity.

Mortgage availability is expected to rise notably in the fourth quarter and beyond as lenders look to boost market share following a Mortgage Market Review-driven slowdown in the market. According to the Bank of England, the number of mortgages approved in September represented a 14-month low.

The market is already witnessing a marked decline in mortgage rates. Rates for five-year fixed deals are reaching record lows, fast approaching a sub 3.5% level again, while one high-street lender has recently launched its lowest ever mortgage rate: 0.99% on a standard variable deal with a 40% deposit. In addition, another lender has started to offer a 10-year fixed rate mortgage deal at 3.5% for buyers with a deposit of at least 15%.

This downward swing in mortgage rates isn’t expected to be a long-lasting trend, but if you are buying a property in the coming months, the market is currently an attractive one. However, as ever, the main challenge for prospective buyers is finding the best mortgage deal. A qualified mortgage adviser can look across the market and cherry pick the mortgage best suited to your needs.

Such insight is invaluable at a time when lenders are offering all sorts of incentives, from iPads to free council tax payments. It is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and the importance of finding a mortgage deal that is appropriate for your circumstances. Qualified mortgage advice will help keep you focused on the best mortgage.

To find out more about Independent Financial Solutions’ services, contact us Matthew Sedgley on 02392 271251 or matthew.sedgley@ifsnet.co.uk.


Please note:
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
The FCA does not regulate certain types of Buy-to-Let mortgages.
 

Why pension death tax cut should get you saving

If you don’t have a pension, news that the pension death tax is to be abolished from next April should be all the incentive you need to get to grips with retirement planning. Here’s why.

If you die before 75 your pension will no longer be subject to 55% tax – i.e. your beneficiary will not have to give over half of the pension to the tax man. If you die at 75 or over, your pension will be subject only to a marginal level of tax. Put simply, the move means greater flexibility for you in terms of how you use your savings, and more retirement income and more security for your beneficiary.

Given the current climate, in which the government is encouraging people to stay in work longer, pension saving is at an all-time low level and people are facing a drop in living standards when they retire, the death of the death tax is a positive step. It should stimulate greater interest in pensions and should encourage more saving, whether into private pension plans or through workplace auto-enrolment schemes.

Indeed, with life expectancy continuing to rise and the government pushing for the retirement age to be increased gradually in the short-to-midterm (how long can it be before we see it rise to 70?), the need to seek the advice of a qualified pension adviser and to put a pension plan in place has never been so urgent.

To find out more about Independent Financial Solutions’ services, contact Matthew Sedgley on 02392 271251 or matthew.sedgley@ifsnet.co.uk.
 

How to beat the HMRC crackdown on IHT

You could be made to pay inheritance tax (IHT) on your assets before you die. That’s what the government is proposing. Here’s how to avoid the HMRC crackdown on IHT.

As part of its campaign against aggressive tax avoidance, the government wants to give HMRC the power to make suspected IHT tax avoiders pay upfront. Early details suggest that HMRC would focus on trusts used in estate planning.

While efforts to combat tax evasion are worthwhile, the concern is that people using legitimate trusts and plans would be targeted under these new powers. While HMRC has made the point that only a small number of wealthy people would be affected, there have been plenty of reports suggesting that the impact could be a lot wider.

So, how do you protect yourself against an unwanted tax bill? Get qualified estate planning advice. More and more people are set to receive IHT bills –the number is expected to rise by as much as a third in 2014, largely as a result of the upturn in the housing market and the increase in house prices. HMRC reported a 10% increase in IHT revenue for 2012-2013 and a similar increase shouldn’t be ruled out for 2013-2014. IHT currently stands at 40% of the value of an estate over £325,000.

Consulting an expert inheritance tax adviser can help you legitimately mitigate this tax burden and ensure that you don’t appear on HMRC’s radar, now or in the future. By choosing qualified financial advice – new research from unbiased.co.uk shows that £500 million was wasted on inefficient IHT planning in 2013 – you can be sure of your estate planning.

To find out more about Independent Financial Solutions’ services, contact Matthew Sedgley on 02392 271251 or matthew.sedgley@ifsnet.co.uk.
 

How to pass the mortgage affordability test

As the latest mortgage approval figures show, the new mortgage affordability test is slowing access to lending. How do you make sure you pass the test? You can start by using a qualified mortgage adviser.

According to new Bank of England figures, at 61,707, the number of mortgages approved by banks in May 2014 was the lowest monthly total since June 2013. This cooling off may be merely temporary, and new data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders showing a 7-year high in first-time buyer mortgage lending suggest it is, but borrowers and lenders are both facing tougher lending conditions following the Mortgage Market Review.

As a result, the process of obtaining a mortgage has become longer and less certain as lenders have been instructed to carry out rigorous affordability testing, and have tightened their lending criteria accordingly. In short, for borrowers, a potentially complex and time-consuming process has become potentially more onerous.

Hence, the benefit of a qualified mortgage adviser. These mortgage specialists can conduct much broader searches of the lending market, and perhaps most importantly in the light of the change in lending conditions and the key differences in lending attitudes that are evident from lender to lender, they can direct borrowers to appropriate lenders. Furthermore, their ability to ensure the lending process moves as quickly as possible has rarely looked so advantageous.

While the lending market is likely to adjust to the new rules sooner rather than later, especially with first-time buyers showing a much more subtle reaction to the new testing, the Mortgage Market Review has significantly altered the mortgage lending landscape and made qualified mortgage advice an increasingly important tool.

To find out more about Independent Financial Solutions’ services, contact Matthew Sedgley on 02392 271251 or matthew.sedgley@ifsnet.co.uk.

How to avoid pension auto-enrolment penalties

With the deadline fast approaching for SMEs with fewer than 250 employees to comply with pension auto-enrolment regulations, proper scheme planning and qualified pension advice are vital.

Avoiding fines, fixed and daily, is just one reason why SMEs should seek out a qualified pension adviser when it comes to rolling out a workplace auto-enrolment pension scheme. Fail to comply with the regulations, which include the automatic enrolment of eligible workers and the payment of mandatory minimum contributions for these employees, and penalties of up to £2,500 per day for SMEs with up to 250 staff will be applied. Furthermore, the Pensions Regulator isn’t afraid to name and shame those companies that fall short.

Setting up a workplace pension scheme is not a straightforward process, despite what the Pensions Minister says. It is important to put the place the right type of auto-enrolment pension solution, which should ideally include a system for communicating details to employees. This is where an auto-enrolment expert comes in: setting up a workplace pension scheme that operates efficiently and effectively, minimising the demand on your time and resources, and ultimately the stress.

These are all points that SMEs with fewer than 250 employees should have considered in the run-up to the July deadline for compliance with the auto-enrolment regulations. Indeed, other companies should take note as well – their deadlines will come round soon enough, and the more time that a business has to prepare its auto-enrolment scheme, the better the results will be.

To find out more about Independent Financial Solutions’ services, contact Matthew Sedgley on matthew.sedgley@ifsnet.co.uk  or 02392 271251.
 

Financial services majors IFS and JMF join forces

IFS has joined forces with JMF Financial Services from Southampton to create a financial services powerhouse on the south coast.

The merger of the two companies, which have a history of collaboration, brings together two complementary financial service offerings. JMF specialises in the corporate market, in particular employee benefits and pension auto- enrolment, while IFS focuses on private client financial services, including investment, retirement and pension advice.

“It’s a really good, natural fit and has strengthened the business significantly”, comments IFS Managing Director, Ben Armstrong. JMF Managing Director, Joe Freire adds “There is a lot of synergy in terms of energy, belief and day-to-day activity. We felt the time was right to consider a merger with another business and IFS is the only company I would consider”.

Dating back to 1978, JMF has prestigious credentials and its experience and expertise in pension auto-enrolment will allow the company to develop this area of its service. This service offer includes completely outsourced solutions to ensure compliance with work-based pension regulation, based on JMF’s own licensed pension administration software.

“This is a major business opportunity – there are over two million employers in the UK that have to comply with the new legislation but a shortage of advisers and advice on the legislative requirements. With JMF and IFS working together, we can take a very strong position. This is a great move and an exciting time”, explains Freire. The company will operate as IFS.

For more information, contact Matthew Sedgley on matthew.sedgley@ifsnet.co.uk or 02392 271251.

ABS to hold Sentinel Fund seminar on 14 May

At Adviser Business Solutions (ABS), we believe that arming our clients with the knowledge they need to make their financial decisions is key to a successful long-term partnership. That’s why we hold our Sentinel Fund Meet the Managers seminars.

The next Sentinel Fund Meet the Managers seminar will take place on 14 May 2014 at the Marriott Hotel on Southampton Road in Portsmouth (PO6 4SH). The event is for our Sentinel funds investment clients and gives them the chance to meet the fund managers responsible for looking after their money.

Each fund manager (there are three, responsible for the Defensive Fund, the Enterprise Fund and the Universal Fund) will give a short commentary on market conditions and highlight their long-term investment strategy, presenting a clear picture to Sentinel funds investment clients of where their money is invested. At the end of both presentations, there will be an opportunity to talk to the managers and put questions to our ABS panel.

Parking for our event is free of charge as long as car registration details are logged with the hotel. Car registration details can be emailed to us (julie.sapey@adviser-solutions.co.uk) and we will register them with the hotel. Alternatively, a member of our team will be on hand to collect and log them on the day.

We are holding two seminars on 14 May. The first will take place from 14.00, with the seminar starting at 14.30 after tea and coffee, and finishing at 16.30. The second begins with drinks and canapés at 19.00, with the seminar starting at 19.30 and ending at 21.30.

At the end of the evening, we will hold a prize draw, with a winner chosen from the attendees of both seminars. The prize is dinner and tickets to a West End show for two in London.

To reserve your place at either seminar, please email enquiry@adviser-solutions.co.uk, clearly indicating whether you would like to attend the afternoon or evening presentation. If you have any questions that you would like put to the fund managers, please add them to the email.

We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you on the day.

 

The ABS group includes Independent Financial Solutions (IFS). For more information on ABS, go to www.adviser-solutions.co.uk, and for more details on IFS, visit www.ifsnet.co.uk.

One Direction on tax avoidance? It’s responsible tax planning

Boyband One Direction may have had their say, but the actions of HMRC carry a louder message when it comes to tax avoidance and the role of responsible tax planning.

Pop music and tax advice have shared the headlines on a number of occasions over the last year or so ... contuining reading here.

To find out more about Independent Financial Solutions’ services, contact Matthew Sedgley on 02392 271251 or matthew.sedgley@ifsnet.co.uk.

Pension fee cap good. Pension planning better.

With the pension sector undergoing historic change, all eyes are on pension savings. A cap on pension fees is the latest development to hit the headlines; qualified pension advice can put you on the right track.

Keep reading here.

To find out more about Independent Financial Solutions’ services, contact Matthew Sedgley on 02392 271251 or matthew.sedgley@ifsnet.co.uk.

IFS marks 25th anniversary with new office opening

Independent Financial Solutions is marking its 25th anniversary with the opening of a new office in Emsworth, Hampshire.

Founded in 1989 by David Stamp and now owned with co-partners Michael Reidy and Jon Foster, we have achieved considerable success over the last quarter of a century. Our reputation for excellence has been built on expert advice and an ability to build long-term client relationships, at the core of which are trust, mutual understanding and collaboration.

As the business continues to grow so has our need for a more centralised and client-facing location. This new office will help us further improve our client communication and help our adviser teams to perform even more efficiently.

We’ve grown significantly over the last 25 years and we expect to see more growth in the years to come. We’ve always been dedicated to taking financial management to the next level and we are committed to continuing with this focus.

The new office is located at The Old Flour Mill, Queen Street, Emsworth.

To find out more about Independent Financial Solutions’ services, contact Matthew Sedgley on 02392 271251 or matthew.sedgley@ifsnet.co.uk.

How to get a mortgage in a tougher environment in 2014

Mortgage approvals may have hit a five-year high at the end of 2013, but new rules look set to make getting a mortgage in 2014 tougher. Qualified mortgage advice will be vital.

Continuing reading here.

To find out more about Independent Financial Solutions’ services, contact Matthew Sedgley on 02392 271251 or matthew.sedgley@ifsnet.co.uk.

Work to 70? It’s time for independent pension planning

The Autumn Statement usually goes by with little fuss, but this year has been different: the decision to raise the state pension age is big news. It makes independent pension planning vital.

The writing has been on the wall for the state pension age for some time. Continue reading here.

To find out more about Independent Financial Solutions’ services, contact Matthew Sedgley on 02392 271251 or matthew.sedgley@ifsnet.co.uk.

 

Underestimation of long-term care costs is a big wake-up call

According to a new Equity Release Council survey, over 55s are seriously underestimating annual long-term care costs. The finding underlines the importance of long-term care planning.

The new figures highlight a lack of awareness with regard to long-term care costs and also a widespread inability to pay for care. Continue reading here.

To find out more about Independent Financial Solutions’ services, contact Matthew Sedgley on 02392 271251 or matthew.sedgley@ifsnet.co.uk.

Your exclusive invite to the Sentinel Fund Meet the Managers event

Adviser Business Solutions would like to invite you to our Meet the Managers Sentinel Fund Presentation on 13 November at the Marriott Hotel in Portsmouth.

Our biannual event offers existing and potential investors a chance to meet the managers responsible for the three funds that comprise the Sentinel Fund. By keeping our clients fully informed about their investments and how they are managed, we believe that they are able to make better financial decisions. It also helps cement successful long-term partnerships.

Adviser Business Solutions is part of the same group as Independent Financial Solutions (IFS) and IFS offers a range of tax-efficient investment strategies and wealth management plans, including the Sentinel Fund.

Following the success of our previous event, we will be holding two seminars again in November: there will be a daytime seminar as well as one held in the evening.

At both seminars, each fund manager will provide a short commentary on current market conditions and will explain their long-term investment strategy, giving clients a clear understanding of where their money is invested. Investors will also have an opportunity to take part in a Q&A session with the fund managers.

The daytime event begins with tea and coffee at 2pm at the Marriot Hotel. The presentations will start at 2.30pm and will be followed by the Q&A session, finishing at 4.30pm. The evening event starts with drinks and canapés at 7pm. The presentations begin at 7.30pm and will be followed by the Q&A session, finishing at 9.30pm. The day will include a prize draw, with the winner enjoying dinner for two and a West End show in London.

Parking at the Meet the Managers events is free of charge. Your car registration must be given to the hotel: either supply it to us in advance or give it to a member of our team on the day.

If you would like to attend, please email enquiry@adviser-solutions.co.uk to reserve your place. We look forward to seeing you at one of our Meet the Managers events.

To find out more about Independent Financial Solutions’ services, contact Matthew Sedgley on 02392 271251 or matthew.sedgley@ifsnet.co.uk.

Rise in retirees selling their homes to fund long-term care

News of a significant rise in retired homeowners selling their properties to fund long-term care underlines the need to make long-term care planning a part of financial planning for retirement.

As social care reform and long-term care funding make the news on an ever more frequent basis, the question of how to pay for this care is being increasingly raised. What’s the answer? Well, a new study from Bridgefast Property Services suggests an unhappy trend: retirees are being forced to sell their homes to raise the capital.

Continue reading here.

To find out more about Independent Financial Solutions’ services, contact Matthew Sedgley on 02392 271251 or matthew.sedgley@ifsnet.co.uk.

 

 

How to avoid a drop in living standards when you retire

According to a new government report, up to 13 million people will experience a drop in living standards when they retire. The news underlines the importance of independent pension planning.

Is it really news that so many people won’t have the level of retirement income they want? Arguably not, but ... continue reading here.

To find out more about Independent Financial Solutions’ services, contact Matthew Sedgley on 02392 271251 or matthew.sedgley@ifsnet.co.uk.

 

 

Are the best mortgage deals disappearing?

Just a month ago we were talking about record low mortgage deals, but now lenders are raising rates. A cause for concern? Not at all, but the news does underline the importance of qualified mortgage advice.

So, was the dramatic drop in mortgage rates just a flash in the plan? Are the best mortgage deals disappearing? With Nationwide, Yorkshire Building Society and First Direct among the lenders increasing the cost of their fixed-rate mortgages, you could be forgiven for thinking so, but such a forecast is far too simplistic.

Yes, a rise in the cost of funding for lenders is the primary factor behind the increase in mortgage rates, but it remains to be seen how much impact this trend will continue to have. Notably, should the mortgage market continue to recover, competition between lenders for homebuyers’ money is likely to increase, a development that may force down rates again.

Also, you have to factor in the launch in January of the second phase of the government’s Funding for Lending scheme and the arrival of the Help to Buy scheme. The widespread belief is that both will prove a shot in the arm for the mortgage market, which further suggests the likelihood of a battle for customers between lenders.

Overall, we shouldn’t read too much into attention-seeking headlines, but the recent news does illustrate the importance of expert mortgage advice and the benefits of being able to identify the best mortgage deals, based on individual circumstances, from the wide range available.

To find out more about Independent Financial Solutions’ services, contact us on 0800 980 4316 or by using our enquiry form.

Please note:

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

The FCA does not regulate certain types of Buy-to-Let mortgages.

How to take advantage of falling mortgage rates

New data from the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) shows that more and more people are exploiting low mortgage rates. So, as fixed-rate home loans head below 1.5%, how do you take advantage?

Read more here.

To find out more about Independent Financial Solutions’ services, contact Matthew Sedgley on 02392 271251.


Please note:
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
The FCA does not regulate certain types of Buy-to-Let mortgages.