Where there’s a will there’s a way to protect your family

If you have assets, and more importantly, if you have children, then you need a will. This is a subject that many people are reluctant to address but there are many misconceptions and an all too common reluctance to talk about the relevant issues. In this article I want to set out a few facts and answer the most popular questions that I am asked.

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UK National Insurance payments & the State Pension – what expats need to know

The rules regarding entitlement to the UK State Pension have just changed so if you are not fully aware of the changes, and how they might affect you, and studies show that few people are, you need to read on.

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Protecting what matters most – your family

If you have children there is no question that they are the most valuable thing you can think of. So have you done all you can to protect them?

How would your family manage if you died and your income was lost? How would they manage without you to take care of them?

Would they be able to maintain their standard of living? Would your children’s education remain unaffected? Would any outstanding loans or debt be repaid?

family protection mother ssThese are all big questions and not ones we like to think about but tackle them now, take the right steps, and then you can relax knowing that if the worst should happen they will at least be financially secure.

Money does not replace a beloved husband or wife or a parent, but it’s even worse if those left behind are worrying about money and how they’ll manage. These are not subjects that we want to think about but the kindest action is to take the right steps to safeguard your family should the worst happen.

These are some of the issues you need to consider.

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New to Dubai? A very useful event just for you.

If you are new to Dubai then you’ll already know that life here is quite different to being in your home country so make a note in your diary to come along to a helpful presentation to get you up to speed on lots of things that you need to know. Saturday 13th August, 9am to 12pm, at FC Dubai in Al Quoz (near Ace Hardware).

This event is run by Citispi  and features several guest speakers on a variety of topics including all manner of financial issues from me, property by Espace Real Estate and schooling from British Orchard Nursery. The venue has a supervised children’s play area and there will refreshments and snacks. Citispi will also provide information about the local social scene.

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News: Brooklands Trustees – no cause for concern

Anyone who has a SIPP or QROPS with Brooklands Trustees Limited will have received emails in the last few days which may have caused concern as it suggested that the company had gone into administration  but I want to reassure everyone that there is no cause for concern.

All pensions funds are ring-fenced and protected by HMRC rules. There is no risk to anyone’s pension and this affects the management company  of the pension scheme but NOT the underlying investment funds which are with another company.

The role of a Pensioneer Trustee and Pensions Administrator is highly regulated and under UK law, under which Brooklands operates, all interested parties must be notified of any changes to the company structure. They are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) which has to approve any changes.

It has now been announced that Heritage Pensions Ltd are purchasing  Brooklands Trustees Ltd and so it will be “business as usual” and the transfer of administrators has been approved by the FCA.

I would reiterate that there is no cause for concern, no risk to anyone’s pension and I have every confidence that all we will see is a new name on some paperwork. Such things happen but all the safeguards are in place to ensure that no client of investor loses out. I have a SIPP with Brooklands myself and have zero concerns.

I am currently on vacation, with limited internet access, but will be in touch with clients shortly after my return.

For specific queries please email me at keren@holbornassets.com but please bear in mind that I am unable to answer immediately at the moment.




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Brexit – where are we now?

It has now been a few weeks since the results of the UK’s referendum relating to the EU and as the dust starts to settle we may have a little more idea of the long terms effects. I am always reluctant to make any kind of financial prediction, especially with such an unknown political landscape, but I think it would be useful to cover a few topics that may affect many people on a personal financial level.

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EU Referendum result – please don’t panic

We woke up this morning to the news that the UK public has voted to leave the European Union. Until last night the general expectation was that the Remain vote would win, albeit by a narrow margin, but the outcome went the other way leaving many people, the financial markets and spectators across the globe, in a state of shock. The falls in share prices and Sterling today are a knee-jerk reaction and we can only hope that there will be fewer emotional responses in the coming days, weeks and months.

Markets, meaning both stock market and currency markets, do not like uncertainty, or surprises, and this outcome ticks both of those boxes, hence today’s significant falls in values. As the initial reaction in financial markets has shown, for investors and companies, this is by some margin, the worst of the two possible outcomes of the referendum – for the short term at least.

The UK will not leave the EU overnight and this is far from a UK only issue. There will be no immediate change in the UK’s status as negotiations will now begin to plan the next steps. These negotiations could result in the establishment of a different kind of trading partnership.

The ripple effect is being felt globally and there will be repercussions in all markets and sectors but I still think that the UK will remain a fundamentally sound place from an economic perspective. There is already talk of a second Scottish referendum but we can only hope that there will be time for reflection before any further big changes.

My message to everyone is a simple “don’t panic”. Equity markets, whether through the purchase of shares, or as for many people, investment via mutual funds in pensions, savings plans and offshore bonds, are not for the short term. And making rash decisions now will be wrong. Instead we have to take a watching brief for the time being and see what happens as so much is currently unknown.

My clients are all invested in ways that suit their personal risk profiles, their timeframes and personal circumstances. We will all be seeing a fall in the value of our investments but unless you pull out of markets these are paper losses. There is no need to make a physical loss so hang on in there.

If you are investing on a monthly basis you are theoretically in a good position as you are buying more units in your funds than before and will benefit from markets moving upwards. If you have previously invested a lump sum, then the right asset allocation will minimize losses and you will be in the right place when markets start to rise again, which they will in time. This is potentially a time to consider investing, at least when the dust has started to settle in a few days, or weeks, time.

Given the current market turmoil I will postpone all investment reviews for a short while as I want to see what happens before making further recommendations and also because valuations for the next few days will not be representative of the true positions of investments.

If you want to take advantage of the weakness of Sterling to transfer your Dirhams, Dollars or any other currency I can introduce you to a UK regulated exchange company that offers highly competitive rates, especially for large amounts.

For more information on managing investments as well as expert advice on any other financial planning issue please contact me at keren@holbornassets.com

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