This week’s Personal Column features: This week’s column… | Brexit: UK to leave single market, says Theresa May | Brits want to retire at 61 but know they can’t | Just 47% have money in a savings account.

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This week’s Column…

This week’s top stories

Today is the day we see Donald Trump inaugurated as president of US – but what, if any impact will this have on the UK economy? This week, Theresa May gave a speech to around the strategy behind how the UK will break away from the EU. While half of UK adults would love to retire at 61 – but simply can’t.

The long anticipated Brexit speech on how the UK will leave the EU stirred up some critics this week. Theresa May pointed out that the UK “can’t possibly” remain within the single market as that wouldn’t mean leaving the EU at all.  Read more..

We’d all love to retire much earlier in our careers than the national estimated retirement age – but some simply won’t have the resources available to do so. Research shows that just over 50% of UK adults want to retire when they reach 61 but fear they can’t because they won’t be able to afford the cost of living – especially now that the state pension age sits at its all-time high of 68.  Read more..

Thank you to everyone who joined us yesterday for what turned out to be a hugely successful Personal Touch LIVE! For those who attended, look out for your feedback email coming soon.   Read more..

In the UK we have so many options for saving and investing our money, whether that be via an ISA, cash under the mattress, stocks and shares. However, a recent report has found that just under 50% of those surveyed have a savings account. Read more..

Finance News

Brexit: UK to leave single market, says Theresa May

Theresa May has said the UK “cannot possibly” remain within the European single market, as staying in it would mean “not leaving the EU at all”.

But the prime minister promised to push for the “greatest possible” access to the single market following Brexit.

In a long-awaited speech, she also announced Parliament would get a vote on the final deal agreed between the UK and the European Union. And Mrs May promised an end to the UK’s “vast contributions” to the EU. But Labour said there were “enormous dangers” in the prime minister’s plans.

Mrs May used her much-anticipated speech to announce the UK’s priorities for Brexit negotiations, including:
Maintaining the common travel area between the UK and Irish Republic
Tariff-free trade with the EU
A customs agreement with the EU
New trade agreements with countries outside the EU
Continued “practical” sharing of intelligence and policing information
“Control” of immigration rights for EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU
A “phased approach”

Mrs May said there wouldn’t be a “blow-by-blow” account of negotiations, set to get under way after Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is invoked by the end of March. It was not her intention to “undermine” the EU or the single market, she added.

But she warned the EU against a “punitive” reaction to Brexit, as it would mean “calamitous self-harm for the countries of Europe and it would not be the act of a friend”.

She said: “This agreement should allow for the freest possible trade in goods and services between Britain and the EU’s member states.

“It should give British companies the maximum possible freedom to trade with and operate within European markets and let European businesses do the same in Britain. But I want to be clear: what I am proposing cannot mean membership of the single market.”

Read more..

Source: BBC News (published 17 January)

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Finance News

President Trump should be positive for the UK economy – in the short term at least

When the US electorate chose Donald Trump as their next President, they voted for a big break from the liberal consensus which Hillary Clinton epitomised. Globalisation had not served Trump supporters well, and they wanted something radically different. We are now beginning to get more of a taste of what this might be.

Some of the signs are encouraging. The US stock exchange has risen dramatically. The Dow Jones, having dipped below 18,000 the day after the presidential election, is now just shy of 20,000, so the business world is optimistic. Promised expenditure on the US’s ageing and decrepit infrastructure will boost the economy as will some of Trump’s tax proposals. Appointments of heavyweight business leaders to the Trump cabinet have reassured the corporate world that it will be in reasonably safe hands. Neither interest rates nor inflation look like much of a threat.

There’s concern, nevertheless, especially about the economic impact of changes on the international front where old certainties are now under review. Established liberal consensus attitudes towards Russia, Nato, trade with China and the future of the EU, for example, are all being challenged. Closer to home, whereas President Obama told us that we would be “at the back of the queue” for a trade deal with the US, President Trump has promised to put us at the front, having welcomed the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

What are the implications of all these changes for the UK economy? In the short term probably positive. If the US economy flourishes, as the business community there evidently thinks it will, this should benefit the UK. On a country level, the US is still by far the UK’s largest export market and one where – crucially – we have an export surplus.

Looking further ahead, however, the really key issue facing not just the UK but the whole world is how the resetting of relationships which Trump seems determined to engineer will work out. Is he going to be able to readjust the US’s trade arrangements with Mexico in a way which will avoid both harming America and destabilising its southern neighbour?

Is it going to be possible for the US to restrain its huge merchandise trade deficit with China – a very important objective for many Trump supporters – without precipitating a crisis? Is a rapprochement between the US and Russia going to be possible without undermining Nato and the peaceful conditions which Europe has enjoyed ever since the end of World War II? 

The reason why President Trump was elected – and why there is so much uncertainty about the outcome of elections coming up in the Netherlands, France, Germany and elsewhere in Europe in 2017 – is that the globalised, liberalised world which suits the elite so well failed to satisfy swathes of the population who have not benefitted much, if at all, from trade liberalisation. As their standard bearer, President Trump is charting out a new world order to try to satisfy his supporters. Inevitably, this is leading to a fair number of populist policies, because this is where Trump draws his strength.

The liberal order had its failings – and it may fail to win support in more elections – but for all the inequality of opportunities it was accompanied by, it also produced peace and a level of prosperity which the world had never seen before. Change is not always for the better and we can but hope that the policies which President Trump is determined to implement will work. What we need are for the benefits of globalisation to continue, combined with a much fairer form of distribution. This is a tough ask to achieve and populist policies may not be the answer.

Read more..

Source: City A.M (published 19 January)

Mortgage News

Hodge Lifetime 55+

As specialists in later life lending, at Hodge they believe that each case deserves their personal attention. That’s why they use people to underwrite your cases and not just computers.

What can you expect from the Hodge?
On average their underwriters will make a decision on their 55+ case 24 to 48 hours from submission of a decision in principle.

What differences might there be compared to a standard mainstream mortgage application?
Sources and amounts of retirement income tend to be more complex to evidence than employed income. They view your customers as individuals and lend responsibly in their area of expertise. You may be asked to provide more documents than you and your customer are used to but they try to make this as easy as possible for you, accepting scanned certified copies of most documents.

What will Hodge do to help you the Adviser?
They’ll update you at every stage of the process. If it’s a yes they’ll promptly ask you for the minimum amount of documentation to support the case. If it’s a no they’ll tell you why. Hodge also provide a submission guide, an affordability guide and a list of essential documents for all 55+ applications; all of these can be found on their website and will speed up the process if used.

They provide dedicated broker support, simply call them on 0800 731 4076 or email at with your queries and requests and their friendly and knowledgeable team will be happy to help.

The 55+ from Hodge Lifetime, an interest only residential mortgage for your clients age 55-95.

Source: Hodge Lifetime e-newsletter (received 17 January)

Protection News

UK’s number one term assurance provider

At Legal & General they’re passionate about helping you and your clients protect the things which matter to them. They know it’s important for you to have confidence in your insurer partners and they’re extremely proud to be the UK’s number one term assurance provider, according to the Swiss Re Term & Health Watch Report, 2016.
There are many other reasons why you can feel confident in working with Legal & General – from their claims payment record to their wide range of tools, calculators and resources designed to support your client conversations.

Find Out More

‘Let us do the protecting when you can’t’ campaign.
Legal & General’s Direct Marketing Team launched their quarter one life insurance campaign on 16 January. It will run until the end of February and the campaign idea focuses on ‘Let us do the protecting when you can’t’. Various media channels will be used including outdoor bill boards and posters, press, radio, digital and social. Look out for the posters on the London Underground which also feature a ‘speak to your adviser’ call to action.

They believe this campaign could help you to introduce Legal & General to your clients and reinforce our market leader status. This campaign should also help to bring Legal & General to the attention of potential clients who may not be aware of them and could also help reinforce confidence in their decision to become a Legal & General customer.

Source: Legal & General e-newsletter (received 17 January)

Wealth News

Brits want to retire at 61 but know they can’t

Almost half of all UK adults want to retire by the time they’re aged 61 despite the fact many won’t receive a state pension until they’re 68, research by Now: Pensions has revealed.

The survey of 2,000 adults revealed 48% of those who hadn’t retired wanted to do so by the age of 61. However, on average they didn’t expect to be able to afford to retire until age 64.

The Danish-owned auto-enrolment provider pointed out this tendency was in stark contrast to the assumption of John Cridland’s ongoing review of the state pension that people will increasingly have to work well into their 60s.

Now: Pensions’ research found 69% of people wanted to retire while they were still healthy enough to enjoy their retirement. However, only 50% said they were happy to save more into their workplace pension in order to do so. Almost a third said they wanted to retire by 61 because they would be “tired of work” by that time, and wouldn’t “feel motivated” to continue working.

One in five wanted to stop working at this age to help care for grandchildren, one in 10 to care for their elderly parents, while 18% said they didn’t think they’d physically be able to work beyond 61.

Despite wanting to retire long before state pension age, many were realistic about their prospects of actually doing so: 41% said they didn’t want to work in later life but expected their financial situation would force them to.

Meanwhile, 28% said they were happy to work into their 60s, but wanted to be able to work part time or flexibly.

Adrian Boulding, director of policy at Now: Pensions, said the research showed some people had realised that “what they want and what they can afford are two different things”.

“If people are going to use their auto-enrolment pension pots to bridge the gap between early retirement and state pension age, then they’re going to have to pay more into them first,” he said.

“The increase in auto-enrolment contributions past 8% is something we’ve lobbied for a while, and we firmly believe that this is something that needs to be addressed in the imminent 2017 auto-enrolment review,” he said.

Graeme McColgan, a financial planner with Million Plus Financial Planning, said in his experience people were overly optimistic about when they could retire, particularly those with only defined contribution pensions. He said he often speaks to people in their 30s who assume they’ll be able to retire when they are 55.

“I don’t think there is enough education about how much you need in a pot to retire at that age,” he said, adding that people often “pluck a number out of the sky”.

Mr McColgan said with the rise of DC and auto-enrolment, advisers had a new role in helping employers educate their employees about their retirements.

Read more..


Source: FT Adviser (published 17 January)

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Events News

Personal Touch LIVE 2017


Thank you to both our delegates and our provider and lender partners for once again making Personal Touch LIVE such a huge success!

We’d really appreciate your feedback to support our continuous improvement so please look out for your feedback request email over the next few days.

Source: Personal Touch Events Team

And Finally…

Why I had to change, and what happened next

Whilst conducting a member review the compliance monitoring team (CMT) acknowledged the inspirational journey of one of its members.

As a sole trader, Richard Cornwell (Richard Cornwell Independent Mortgages) increased his business’ rolling annual turnover fivefold in a little over two years.

CMT asked Richard to share his journey and to describe some of the key changes and driving forces behind this new found success.

Click here to read the inspirational journey.

Source: Richard Cornwell of Richard Cornwell Independent Mortgages (published 16 January)

And Finally…

Just 47% have money in a savings account

We’re often told of the importance of saving, be it to build a nest egg for the future or an all-important emergency fund, yet unfortunately, the message doesn’t always get through. Indeed, research from Zurich UK shows that just 47% of those surveyed have money in a savings account, and 17% have no savings or investment whatsoever.

Many are particularly unprepared for the future, with 26% of those yet to retire failing to have a private or workplace pension, and 8% believing that the State Pension will provide them with enough to live on – which means they could face a dramatic income shortfall in later life.

However, the research went on to reveal that those who set tangible goals for later life are more likely to save – those who have such goals put 7.25% of their salary into their pension, compared with 5.36% among those who don’t have the same kind of aspirations.

It’s also important to think about where, and how, you want to save. The figures show that 18% keep their savings entirely in cash, while 45% keep it in a current account – something that could be particularly lucrative if they opted for a high interest current account – and another 47% hold it in a savings account.

A further 38% opted for ISAs, either cash versions or stocks & shares alternatives.

Other popular options included investing in National Savings (NS) bonds or certificates, chosen by 13% of respondents, while 6% opted to save with NS&I. However, others opted for more riskier methods of saving, turning away from cash entirely: 11% have direct investments in stocks and/or bonds, while 4% have alternative investments in things like private equity, hedge funds or real estate.

Read more..

Source: (published 16 January)

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