Spring Statement 2018

Mr Hammond came under pressure ahead of the Spring Statement to loosen the purse strings, but he chose to announce no new spending measures or tax changes.

If these are to come, they will be in the Autumn Budget, the sole ‘fiscal event’ of the year.

Meanwhile the focus of the Spring Statement was on the economy and the public sector’s finances.

14 page summary available below…

Sprint Statement - Summary

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Pension-led funding for small businesses – could it work for you?

Following Britain’s decision to leave the EU, it’s fair to say there’s been a pretty major impact on uncertainty amongst businesses, even if a relatively benign economic impact to date.Pension Led Funding
It means that, added to the mix of higher costs, weak domestic growth and lacklustre consumer demand – optimism has been dampened among many British small businesses. (The Federation of Small Businesses said confidence among members fell to a four-year low in the last quarter of 2017).
This macroeconomic backdrop is very much influencing business owner decisions concerning both how they fund their businesses development – and indeed how their business might fund exit planning and retirement. 
In terms of business capital, SME’s and start-up businesses have been forced to look at alternative finance options to grow their business. Peer to peer lending such as crowd funding has been one of the most publicised, however other options do exist.
One that has been perhaps overlooked a little is ‘Pension-Led’ funding. Essentially, this is about making your pension work harder, through business owners borrowing funds from an existing pension and investing these into their company.
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National Saving and Investments – Is it really worth it?

Last year, MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis published an article regarding National Savings and Investments Premium Bonds. It seems as thougeggs-1572853-1280x960h Martin is not a great advocate of them having used “exclusive statistical analysis to interrogate whether premium bonds are worth it”.

The truth of the matter is that people do not take out Premium Bonds because the odds are in their favour, but simply because there is a chance of a life changing opportunity every month and it’s a safe, tax-free way of investing your money.

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Financial Advice: Independent Vs Restricted

Since the Retail Distribution Review (RDR), or in other words the new set of rules formed with the aim of introducing more transparency and fairness in the investment industry; financial advisers have to offer either ‘independent’ or ‘restricted’ advice… and it’s important to know the difference.divided-apple-1171062-639x508

It has been recently highlighted in the media that these terms aren’t very helpful to consumers, especially without much description as to what they actually mean.

Matrix Capital are completely Independent. The distinction between the two is whether recommendations are limited to certain products or product providers (restricted) or recommendations are ‘whole-of-market’ (Independent).

For a firm to be independent, they must be able to undertake comprehensive and fair analysis of the relevant market which is both unbiased and unrestricted.

Being independent does put additional pressure on firms to ensure they establish and maintain adequate knowledge of the many retail investment products in the market. There are also increased compliance costs attached to firms who offer independent advice.

It’s usually a lot easier to identify an Independent Financial Advisory firm (IFA), who are perhaps more inclined to promote their status. However, some restricted advisers are not calling themselves as such; an issue for people looking for advice who should be able to define this without difficulty.

Restricted firms should offer an explanation about whether their advice is limited to retail investment products from a single company, a single group of companies or a limited number of companies.

Importantly, neither independent nor restricted advisers are incentivised to recommend one product over another.

In summary, if you are getting advice about investing your money, you need to know there are two different types of financial advisers – ‘independent’ and ‘restricted’. This can affect the advice you are given.

All financial advisers have to be approved or authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (‘FCA’).



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Inheritance Tax Planning – The Main Residence Nil Rate Band

In our last blog, ‘Inheritance Tax on Gifts’, we shared a number of
opportunities for effective Inheritance Tax (IHT) planning. The most straightforward of these being gifting assets to reduce the value of your estate…IHT Blog

Furthering the opportunity within the IHT space is the Main Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB), recently introduced (6th April 2017) with the objective to reduce the burden of IHT for most families by making it easier to pass on the family home to direct descendants without a tax charge.

How does this work in practice?

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Inheritance Tax on Gifts

Inheritance Tax (IHT) is said to be the only “voluntary” tax. As with inheritance tax mitigation, it is possible to reduce liability or remove it completely.

The Nil-Rate Band

The nil-rate band is the value of an moneyestate that is not subject to Inheritance Tax in the United Kingdom.

The current nil rate band values at £325,000 per person. Anything above the nil rate band can be subject to Inheritance Tax upon death. In other words, do nothing and 40p in every pound of your inheritance or estate may be winging its way into the government’s pockets so it’s important to understand just how tax mitigation can work.

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Protecting yourself against the rise of Cyber Crime

At Matrix Capital, we place a great deal of importance on data security.  Understanding the fast paced nature of cyber crime too; we recently attended a seminar on the issue to ensure we stay on top of the developments and risks.

Following this, we thought it would be useful to share some of the insight gained that will benefit our business owner clients and professional connections too.

First of all, some ‘did-you-knows’ that might help to put this subject into context:

  • £21.2bn is the cost of fraud to the private sector in the UK
  • 1 in 4 business have been the victim of fraud
  • 39% of businesses do not invest in any type of fraud prevention
  • Over one third of incidents are linked to cyber crime
  • 82% of firms believe they are too small for a cyber-crime attack

… Of course on a more personal level and unfortunately happening all too often – being a victim of fraud can and has quite frankly ruined people’s lives.

Types of fraud on the rise

  • Invoice or Mandate Fraud – receiving communications claiming to be from your client or supplier suggesting their bank details have changed, and for you to update your records.
  • Vishing – a type of telephone fraud that deceives people into revealing sensitive information.
  • Spear phishing – a targeted email that appears to be from an individual or business that you know, using ‘social engineering’ to have gathered specific information about you to make their communications seem more tailored and realistic.

Spear phishing was certainly the most worrying, as victims are much more likely to engage with whatever type of request is made (from bank details to visiting a harmful website), given the nature of the content.

So, be wary of what you post online and through social media – perhaps try typing your name into Google now and see what you can find, remembering if you can find it – others may be able to too and the information could be used against you.

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The Chancellor’s second Budget of 2017

Mr Hammond will probably be pleased if commentators decide that his Autumn Budget was a steady-as-she-goes, broadly modest Budget. After the national insurance u-turn he was forced to make after his March Budget this year, that was probably his aim.

In any case, for a variety of economic and political reasons, the Chancellor announced a relatively modest net tax giveaway of just under £1.6 billion for the coming tax year.

His main attention-seeking move was to give first time buyers an exemption from stamp duty land tax on the first £300,000 of value for properties worth up to £500,000. Rumours – probably from the Treasury itself – had trailed changes along these lines, and the new relief represents more than a third of his net giveaway.

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Press release – top award for financial experts

As published on the Shropshire Live website here.

thumbnail_Matrix award win Nov 17

ITV Weather Presenter Emma Jesson at the Awards ceremony

A leading Midlands firm of Chartered Financial Planners have snapped up another prestigious award.

The team from Matrix Capital, based near Bridgnorth, have been named Financial Planning Company of the Year at the annual West Midlands Insurance Institutes competition – the second time they’ve taken the title in the last three years.

Robin Melley, for the chartered financial planners, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have received such high profile recognition for the services we deliver, and to have taken the award twice is a wonderful boost for our team.

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Use it or lose it!

The retirement planning landscape has changed; and in my view, pensions have now become a very attractive means of investing for the future to provide a future income and to protect wealth. Yes – protect wealth!

The new pension flexibilities and the changes to the death benefit rules have swept away moneymany of the obstacles in people’s minds regarding pension contributions. We are now seeing a reversal in negative attitudes towards pensions, particularly amongst our more affluent clients.

Instead of restricting pension contributions, we are now being asked to calculate the absolute maximum that they are able to contribute to their pension – so, why is that happening?

Here are two significant reasons:

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