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Personal Finance

A-Day advice opportunities abound »
The changes associated with A-Day herald a new dawn for financial advisers, whether they are involved in the corporate market or deal solely with individuals.  Such is the scale and scope of the change that companies, trustees and those in schemes and saving for their retirement will need skilled guidance.  Decision taken in the wake of the changes will have a deep and lasting impact on the flexibility and potential of pension arrangements...
A-Day action stations »
Ian Patterson looks at the implications of pensions A-Day from a compliance perspective and argues that preparation is the key to being able to sleep well at night.  Can you remember when wearing seatbelts became compulsory?  I still remember thinking: "Why is it necessary to introduce a law for this?  Isn't it common sense?"  I figured that going through a windscreen at 70mph would never be much fun...
It's high time for action on admin »
Peter Quinton says that the disastrous administration record of ceding pension providers is damaging our industry's reputation and costing us all money.  There is a dire need for pension providers to improve their administration - and for them to do so immediately.  At the point of retirement it is exasperating for retirees when they experience huge delays in receiving their tax-free cash and for their pension to commence...
Playing the numbers game »
Austyn Smith says less is more when it comes to building a worthwhile client.  How to persuade clients to happily pay an adviser his or her due seems to be the hardest concept for most advisers to take on board.  They wonder whether it is possible to train clients to pay a fair amount for the advice and service they receive.  The answer is Yes, it most certainly is - and it is vital to do so.
CTFs: A plan for the future - today »
The Child Trust Fund could start a renaissance in saving and provide succeeding generations with a financial springboard into adult life.  To achieve its full potential, however, there needs to be a seismic shift in the level of financial understanding and a more holistic approach to financial planning which recognises the future needs of children as integral to long-term family finance.  David White writes...
Exercising remote control »
If your job requires you to be based at or work from home, how do you manage your team?  Ian Patterson argues that distance should be no object when it comes to quality.  There has been a shift of both managers and advisers to home-based rather than office-based working.  So what are the challenges of managing advisers based over a wide area?  Does this require different management skills or a different approach to management?...
Trouble in the transfer market? »
Peter Quinton argues for greater clarification of the details surrounding the possible transfer of pensions already in payment and asks if this market could ever work.  Financial advisers have a truly tricky task when it comes to advising clients as to the best way to make the most of their retirement funds.  The real difficult is that they must do so despite the many grey areas that still remain regarding the long-anticipated new legislation...
FSA urges caution of VCT advice »
Regulator reminds consumers and advisers that "tax breaks aren't everything".  The Financial Services Suthority has signalled that greater care should be taken by advisers and consumers before an investment is made into a Venture Capital Trust.  According to the FSA, VCT's are being marketed heavily with reference to the fact that investors receive 40% income tax relief on investments made in 2004/5 and 2005/6 tax year...
Making your point public »
Karl Hartey outlines the presentation skills that can help you communicate more effectively.  Each presentation you make is a performance in which the hearts and minds of the audience are there to be won over.  As much as 90% of what we communicate is transmitted non-verbally, which means that a large part of our performance relies upon presence as distinct from words, technical support or gimmickry...
Maximise what's on your menu »
Peter Williams says firms must protect their interests in the depolarise market.  When Fay Goddard and I gave the Menu workshops at last year's SOFA conference, we found a low level of knowledge of depolarisation and the impact the Menu will have.  Since then, we have given a number of presentations to Personal Financial Society members and we are surprised by how few firms have made plans on how they will use the Menu to enhance their business...
Tackling the tax-free cash issue »
Changes that come into effect on pensions A-Day could affect the way final salary pension arrangements are managed, says David Davison.  The likely increased flexibility after April 2006 may well provide an unexpected lifeline for the sponsoring of many of the UK's beleaguered final salary pension schemes, as well as result in increased choice for their scheme members...
Retaining client interest »
Austyn Smith continues his exploration of fee-charging with a look at how interested advisers can encourage clients to commit to regular payments.  With falling comission rates, creating a passive income stream from retainers should be your number one priority this year.  Any client bank can be re-educated to appreciate the benefits of 'membership' of your practice, and pay you a retainer.
Budget planning opportunities »
Whether or not Gordon Brown's ninth Budget was concerned more with winning the forthcoming General Election than benefiting the economy and the populace depends on your political learnings.  But there was certainly plenty to tickle the interest of the financial community.  Financial Solutions offers an in-depth analysis.  The Budget gives advisers the perfect opportunity to contact clients to appraise their arrangements in light of changing tax rules...
Net benefits »
According to a survey by IFA Promotion, 80% of those looking for financial advice turn to the internet to find an adviser.  If your firm doesn't have a web presence, your future could be on the line.  Diana Baker reports.  Many of those who don't use the internet at home will do so at work, or even in an internet café.  So how does this affect today's financial adviser, and how can he or she make the most of the new opportunities available?...
Getting to grips with demographics »
Peter Quinton says the babyboomer generation will need expert retirement advice.  Our ageing population will ensure plenty of retirees seeking advice.  The Government is responding to the demographics and adapting pensions regulation to create a more flexible system for retirees and advisers.  According to Senioragency International, the strength of the under 50s in Europe is set to increase only by 1% between 1990 and 2020...

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