Tax rises are in the pipeline and inflation has returned with a vengeance, but people shouldn’t let the current economic climate detract them what they want to do in life.
That’s the view of Courtiers Head of Private Clients, Graeme Clark. “Plan ahead and don’t change your objectives, said Graeme. “It’s about making sure you still do what you want to do with your family, with your holidays and your lifestyle, and don’t let that change.” These are the reasons why clients have worked so hard to build up their wealth, Graeme explained. Leave the rest to us, was Graeme’s message. “We can help you look after your wealth, and help you to meet your requirements and achieve your objectives. That’s what we’re here for.”
Graeme’s words of advice came during a discussion in which some key issues facing Courtiers Clients were identified. The discussion then moved onto how by working closely with their Advisers, appropriate mitigation strategies could be put in place.
Paul Kemsley, Senior Private Client Manager, acknowledged that inflation, which is forecasted to reach 5% next year is a concern. “Everybody is experiencing the increase in everyday household bills,” said Paul. However, he explained that by working closely with their clients to carry out a review of their income strategy i.e. comparing what they are spending against their income, a new strategy could be formulated and appropriate actions taken. The 1.25% percentage point rise in National Insurance and tax on Dividends from April 2022, which will reduce the income of many clients, only increases the importance of income strategy reviews.
The freezing of many tax-free allowances was also an issue for clients, said Graeme. The Lifetime Allowance for Pension Contributions, which has been frozen at £1,073,100 until April 2026 and the Inheritance Tax where the bands have been frozen again until 2026, “are the two big ones”, said Graeme. “We are going to see more and more people dragged into the Inheritance Tax trap,” he warned, before going on to explain that by regularly communicating with their clients and by conducting frequent reviews, Advisers could put plans in place and devise mitigation strategies that would limit the impact. Protection against breaching the Lifetime Pension Contribution Allowance could be arranged, for example.
Despite many allowances being frozen, thereby reducing their real value, as clients’ income and the value of their assets grow, Paul emphasised the importance of making full use of them. “Coming up to the self-assessment at the end of January and as we get closer to the end of the tax year, it’s important that clients use all those allowances that are available to them.”
“That’s where we come in,” added Paul. “We can make those allowances known to you, and then we can look into how we can best make use of them.” He highlighted Capital Gains Tax as one tax that might see potential changes next year, and where making maximum use of the £12,300 tax exempt amount could make a big difference.
Earlier, the discussion focused on how Courtiers Advisers had been communicating with clients over the last couple of years, and what this might look like going forward.
Following a period during which no face-to-face meetings could take place, Graeme said he was happy that meetings with clients had been coming back. “It’s been really good to get back in front of clients again in person,” he said. “The clients love the fact that we can take them out for a coffee or a bite to eat after the meeting. It really helps to firm up our relationship with clients,” he added.
Paul agreed that physical meetings helped enhance and deepen the client/Adviser relationship, and that in some ways communicating virtually was only an ok substitute. However, he acknowledged that virtual was here to stay and that it did have some benefits, having proven especially convenient where clients had busy schedules, or where a conversation or meeting only needed to be brief. “It’s the way of the modern world, and it definitely has its place,” said Paul.
The overriding message coming from this discussion was that while clients might be facing economic headwinds, Courtiers Advisers are here to ensure that they are never blown off course.