Axa’s recent tobacco decision

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Axa’s recent decision to pull out of tobacco companies has been met with a raised eyebrow by many in the investment industry. Whilst tobacco companies continue to form a large part of many UK equity funds, with investment luminaries such as Neil Woodford consistently holding them for their stability and reliable income stream, AXA has stated its decision is based on investment grounds as well as ethical considerations. According to…

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China – Crouching Tiger?

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Much has been made in recent months of the slowdown in the Chinese economy with GDP growth recently falling to 6.8%. At first glance you might be wondering what’s wrong with growth at this level since most western economies are struggling to grow at more than 1%. The point is that for China this is the slowest growth rate since 2009 and so, some are now questioning China’s future prospects….

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When it comes to investment, boring is best

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Last week saw the sacking of US online website, Lending Club’s, chief executive. Lending Club is the US’ biggest peer to peer lending site and has hit problems as a portfolio of loans turned out not to be what investors thought they were buying. The US’ peer to peer lending industry is not regulated in the same way as the UK’s and it is widely thought that the FCA have…

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Brexit – the predictions so far

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The Brexit vote is now just weeks away, but I’m still not sure the right information is reaching the public amongst the noise of political infighting. For many, Brexit is a significant concern, not least because there is a dearth of informed opinion available on the subject. There is no lack of column inches or headlines, but very little in the way of fact. Everyone has an opinion and that…

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Lifetime ISA vs your workplace pension

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In almost all circumstances, your workplace pension, which includes employer pension contributions will offer better value than a Lifetime ISA (LISA). This may be a bold statement to make, but the maths stack up. The LISA allows you to contribute up to £4,000 per annum from April 2017. On top of your £4,000, the Government will add a 25% bonus, thus meaning the maximum annual amount which could be saved…

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Capital gains tax – 2016/17 tax rates and the under-used annual allowance

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Capital gains tax applies to the sale of most investments, but different rates apply depending on what type of asset the gain arose from. Many people don’t realise that each individual is automatically entitled to a capital gains annual allowance. In the 2016/17 tax year, each person is able to incur capital gains of £11,100 before any tax becomes due. George Osborne announced in his March 2016 Budget that once…

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Tax Evasion & Tax Avoidance; What is the difference?

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In simple terms, tax evasion is illegal whilst tax avoidance is legitimate. Tax and evading or avoiding it has been very much in the news of late, but there seems to be a great deal of confusion about the difference between evasion and avoidance with many people incorrectly assuming that they are one and the same thing. If you are resident in the UK, deliberately trying to evade a tax…

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The Cameron Files

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Without wishing to become political, the Cameron inquisition does raise important points for future financial planning. Without entering the debate over offshore funds, the issue over the gift from his Mother is of relevance to many people. Mr Cameron is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and like many, not all, but many before him, he has emanated from a fortunate background. It seems incredulous then that the outrage…

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What is the Lifetime Allowance value trap?

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The Lifetime Allowance is the total value of pension savings which you are able to accrue throughout your lifetime before incurring a tax charge. From 6th April 2016, the Lifetime Allowance will reduce to £1 million. Over the past 10 years, the Lifetime Allowance has fallen from a high of £1.8 million to the present level. Consecutive Governments have chipped away at the Lifetime Allowance as a way of taxing…

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The March 2016 Budget was one of the most hotly anticipated in recent times, but did it warrant the hype?

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The main concerns for us surrounded the future of pensions tax relief and the 25% tax free lump sum available when you draw benefits from pensions. After much speculation, the Chancellor has left pensions tax relief alone, which means another opportunity for higher rate taxpayers to benefit from higher rate tax relief next year. We would sound a warning on this, as we feel the clock is ticking and the…

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