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Winter Newsletter

[admin 05-03-2015]

I am pleased to welcome you to the first edition of our Newsletter. I plan to bring you up-to-date on some of the changes that have happened, and are happening at Brooks Wealth Ltd formally known as Ashley Law Ltd.

After many months of planning we have reached a milestone and are now no longer trading as Ashley Law Ltd. The move from Ashley Law Ltd to Brooks Wealth Ltd brings a breath of fresh air, keeping all our old traditional values of client centered advice and adding more services in line with modern technology and our business growth plans. You may be aware the Ashley Law brand is shared with many other IFA’s across the country being a franchise business, so we had inherited the name. Becoming independent gives us more control over our future plans and means you will still get the same value and service if not better. Completing this big step leaves me more time to spend with my clients.

Brooks Wealth staffing

We are pleased to inform you our dedicated members Joe and Louise remain with us as we welcome four new members of staff Eamonn, Debbie, Simon and Sharon who all bring with them excellent skills and expertise.

Eamonn joined us as a very experienced Independent Financial Adviser and member of SOLLA (the Society of Later Life Advisers).  Debbie joined us in the office providing administration and reception support. More recently we have taken on an additional Adviser, Simon, who is also very experienced and brings with him a lot of good practice to the business and finally Sharon joined us in December on Project Management pending moving on to advise clients in the near future. Further information on our new members of staff can be found on our website.

We will continue to grow throughout 2015 and add additional services and quality people where possible.  One aim of the new Brooks Wealth brand is to offer an outstanding service to our clients.  Client numbers will be restricted per Adviser to ensure that a high level of service is provided.  We believe in a client led approach where you are at the centre of what we do.

We now externally out-source help with some of the research and reports, freeing us up for more client time. 

Other developments for the business are the implementation of a cash management system which offers up to date information on cash accounts. This software package will interrogate the market every 30 minutes. It has always been difficult to get up to date and independent information on cash accounts, so we are pleased to be able to now offer this service to our existing and new clients.

So, what has been happening on the markets?  I am sure you are all aware 2014 has been a challenging year albeit expected.  One positive outcome from the recent volatility is the market now seems to have established a floor.  Previously markets such as the FTSE100 seemed to have a ceiling and any time that prices got close it would drop away in a selling frenzy.  Having experienced  volatility and seeing the FTSE 100 drop to 6,075 it was quite clear that this was a level that the market was unable to go below, as soon as it got anywhere close to this point, buying caused a “U” turn in prices. 

This is a much more logical and optimistic way to look at the market.  Obviously if it gets too cheap then usually buying would create this “U” turn; but this is not a situation that we have seen for many years that caused much of the boom and bust we experienced. 

People ask if I expect the market to massively increase from where it is. No, not at all.  I think it is probably fair value and that we have had all of the replacement growth in the last five years following the big falls.  I do expect it to grind out a reasonable return across the next few years and to provide real returns above that offered by deposits.  Obviously that cannot be guaranteed but the fundamentals seem right for this expectation. Will we see more volatility? Well yes I fully expect volatility but that is the nature of investments and as long as the outcome is good over time we can accept that.

So, what is going to happen going forward?  Well, the changes in the pension market will definitely create some interesting times across 2015.  The press talk of Lamborghinis being bought with pension funds are unlikely to be true unless you look at the very extreme end of the market, but potentially the new pension flexibility should bring money into the market, will certainly increase tax revenue and should help the recovery of our economy. 

It will also mean that some people will have new opportunities to make plans that they previously didn’t.  I think these changes are right and proper, albeit they were announced in a very confusing way, because, for the majority of assets that we hold, in the UK people have a choice how they use them and when they spend them. They have managed to do this without spending everything they have, so, giving access to pensions on the same basis seems only fair and it is unlikely to lead to mad spending sprees as mentioned in the press.

There was also some other positive news in the Autumn Budget; there will be slight increases to some of the tax limits.  Most of the bad news that we were potentially expecting in the Budget announcement did not materialize the economy keeps growing and inflation seems to be under control.  There will be some further announcements in the two budget year we face but nothing too worrying seems to be on the agenda, I am sure time will tell.

Interest rates are still down which is unfortunate for those who still rely on this for a return on their capital that they do not want to invest, but these are expected to increase within the next 24/36 months so at least some light on the horizon. 

So, another interesting year ahead and I am sure some planning opportunities as we review your situations.

And finally…bringing the Newsletter to a close I want to personally thank you for your support and custom over 2014 and of course thank you in advance for the support you will show us in 2015.

We value our client’s opinions and would encourage you to give us feedback telling us additional ways that we might serve you better. It’s the best way to judge how we are really doing. and as our most important asset, you are key to our success. We want to make sure our fundamentals look right for a positive future so please help us to help you.

Watch this space for our quarterly Newsletters designed to bring you up to date on our developments and how these will benefit you along with relevant personal finance changes that matter and how to seek further advice.

As the clocks tick closer to the New Year we would like to wish you a happy and prosperous New Year.

Best regards

Andy