The 33% club — time to buy shares that have gone down by a third?

Johnathan Webster-Smith, CIO quoted in The Times 1st June 2022

“With so many companies seeing sharp falls in their share prices, investors can now pick up good quality companies at value prices.”

“Businesses that can continue to grow their revenues each year should rebound quickly once the negative sentiment moves from markets.”

Bowmore says investors have been moving away from growth shares, such as some technology companies, as interest rates have risen. Rising interest rates have more of a negative impact on companies whose earnings are further in the future, such as the more speculative technology companies.

Investors have instead been putting money into oil & gas and mining companies that they perceive might do better in the current inflationary environment.

Read More:

48 companies in the FTSE 350 have lost at least a third of their value since the start of the Ukraine crisis

Johnathan Webster-Smith, CIO quoted in Wealth DFM 1st June 2022

48 companies in the FTSE 350 have seen their stock market values fall by at least a third since the start of the Ukraine crisis, shows research by Bowmore Asset Management.

The biggest fallers have been technology companies. Review website Trustpilot, which listed just over a year ago, has seen its shares fall the most with a 66.2% decline since the start of the year. This has wiped £750 million off its market value.

This is followed by biotech company Oxford Biomedica with a 60.4% fall and grocery technology company Ocado with a 56.6% drop, knocking £8.5 billion off its market value.

Other stocks which have seen big falls include several household names, such as JD Sports (-42.7%), Marks & Spencer (-40.8%), Pets at Home (-40.2%) and ITV (-36.2%).

Jonathan Webster Smith, chief investment officer at Bowmore, says: “With so many companies seeing sharp falls in their share prices, investors can now pick up good quality companies at value prices.”

Read more:

Investors seeking out tech stocks again as digitisation gathers pace

Johnathan Webster-Smith, CIO quoted in FT Adviser 1st June 2022

Despite the fall in some tech shares since the start of the year, investors may now be able to find stocks in the tech sector which can offer value to investors.

“With so many companies seeing sharp falls in their share prices, investors can now pick up good quality companies at value prices.”

“Businesses that can continue to grow their revenues each year should rebound quickly once the negative sentiment moves from markets.”

Read more:

Pockets of Value

It’s no secret that investment markets are having a tough year. It is also true that almost all asset classes and sectors have come under pressure in the face of rising inflation, interest rates and energy costs. The big winner, as we have previously mentioned, has been the commodities market.

However, despite ongoing volatility in global equities, there are more positive opportunities to be leveraged. Two areas exhibiting these prospects are in the European and Japanese markets, with specific reference to value stocks. (Value investing can be thought of as buying companies at prices lower than their intrinsic value with a view to realising that value in the future.)

Europe and Japan

Although there has been an ongoing strain on European equities as a result of the war in Ukraine and rising fuel costs, value stocks have outperformed the generic market significantly this year. Looking at the wider European space, equities have fallen around 14.7% year-to-date, but European value investors have suffered far less, with the value index flat for the year so far. It’s a similar story in Japan, where inflationary pressures are nowhere near as high, and the Japanese value index has outperformed the wider market by nearly 20%.

Part of the reason for this is that value stocks in these regions are presenting more desirable opportunities to investors than growth stocks, which have come off from all-time highs following a period of persistent strength, especially over the course of the Covid pandemic. (Growth investing can be thought of as buying companies looking to grow their revenue and market share, and therefore their overall value.) Many of the ‘old economy’ value sectors (financials, energy, mining etc.), on the other hand, have benefitted from an economic backdrop of rising interest rates and higher energy prices.

Compared to the US market (so much of which has been driven by large tech/growth strength), Europe and Japan offer more attractively priced value stocks at this time, based on average Price to Earnings, with P/E multiples if 11.7 and 9.9 respectively. These areas of the equity market therefore offer cheaper points of entry for prospective investors, or less attractive exit points for those already invested when compared to growth equities, despite growth experiencing a more significant drawdown.

Value in Portfolios

Within our core portfolios we hold exposure to European value stocks. Although we have shared in some of the broader downside this year, our allocation to the Lightman European value fund has yielded a return of more than 5%, bucking the short-term trend for equities. We also hold an equity tracker fund that gives exposure to more cyclically driven Japanese stocks, with this holding down 5.3%, versus the broader index, which has fallen 15.1%.

It is reassuring that amidst the volatility we have witnessed this year, areas of the market and portfolios have been more defensive and appealing opportunities remain for our fund managers to utilise.

Market returns as at 26/05/2022


5 important questions to ask your financial planner about investing

Two people having a discussion over a desk.

If you want to grow your wealth to reach your financial goals, investing can be a great way to do so. With low interest rates and rising inflation, holding too much of your wealth in cash can lead to its value being eroded in real terms.

Of course, there can be a lot to think about when investing, which is why it’s important to be able to make informed decisions. If you want to build your wealth effectively and reach your financial goals, here are five important questions that you should ask your planner.

1. Should I worry about market volatility?

In recent months, the global stock markets have experienced a significant amount of volatility. From the outbreak of coronavirus in 2020 to the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine, major world events have caused uncertainty in many markets and spooked investors.

Due to this, it’s understandable that you might be worried about the value of your portfolio. You may even be tempted to withdraw your money to try to protect it.

However, one of the most important things to remember when investing is that it’s “time in the market” and not “timing the market” that typically leads to positive returns.

While short-term volatility might seem scary, in the long term any temporary falls will often be erased by the general upward trend of markets.

As hard as it may seem, when you encounter a difficult period, it’s often best to remain calm and ride it out. Read our previous article to find out about how making decisions based on emotion, rather than logic, can affect your progress towards your financial goals.

2. What is risk tolerance?

When investing, your tolerance to risk is one of the most important factors. To put it simply, there’s typically a correlation between the amount of risk you’re willing to take in the stock market and how large your potential returns may be.

For example, government bonds are considered one of the safest investments, but their returns are likely to be steadier and more modest than other asset classes.

One factor that can affect your risk tolerance is how long you are planning to invest for. If you have a longer investing horizon, you may feel you can afford to take greater risks with your investments and this could also help you enjoy higher returns.

3. Should I invest in a sustainable way?

In recent years, there has been a rise in interest in sustainable investing. This strategy can help to align your investments with your morals, as you can gain peace of mind to know that not only is your money growing, but it’s also making the world a better place while doing so.

As we discussed in a previous article, there can be many benefits to investing according to ethical principles. For example, according to the Financial Times, over the past decade, more than half of sustainable funds have outperformed their equivalent conventional counterparts.

While this may sound good, it’s important to remember that there is still some debate as to whether this strategy can reliably outperform in the long term. As such, you may find that it isn’t right for your needs.

This is why, if you’re considering sustainable investing, it can be useful to discuss this option with your planner first, so you can make an informed decision.

4. Will inflation affect my investments?

In recent months, there has been a sizeable spike in the rate of inflation. According to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the Consumer Price Index rose to 9% in the year to April 2022. As such, you may be concerned about how this will affect your portfolio.

To put it simply, a high rate of inflation reduces the real returns on your investments. Even if they may show a decent rate of growth, their value in real terms might not be increasing by as much as you may think.

With that in mind, to achieve higher returns, it may be necessary to raise your risk tolerance. This can help you to maintain your progress towards your financial goals, even during periods of high inflation.

Of course, as we mentioned earlier, exposing your wealth to greater risk isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. It’s always a good idea to discuss investment ideas with your planner, so you can decide what’s right for you, taking all your circumstances into account.

5. How is my portfolio diversified?

When building a robust portfolio, diversification of assets can be essential to protect your wealth during periods of economic volatility. Essentially, this is the practice of not putting all of your eggs into one basket!

Having a healthy variety of different asset types (such as bonds and equities) from a variety of sectors can help to protect you in the event of a market downturn. Even if a portion of your portfolio falls in value, this loss may be counteracted by growth in a different sector.

Diversifying your assets helps you to achieve more consistent outcomes, as well as lowering the risk of setbacks caused by market volatility.

If you want to know more about how we protect your portfolio from shocks through sensible diversification, get in touch and we’ll be happy to discuss your long-term strategy with you.

Get in touch

If you want to know more about how we can help you to invest more effectively, get in touch. Email or call us on 01275 462 469.

Please note:

The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

Bowmore Financial Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the FCA.

29.6 million UK adults don’t have a will and haven’t completed an “expression of wish” form. Have you?

An unsigned document on a table with a pen.

Throughout your working life, you’ll probably build up a substantial amount of pension wealth. While you may be relying on it to provide you with a comfortable retirement, you may also want to leave some to your loved ones when you pass away.

If you want your family to inherit some of your pension wealth, having an “expression of wish” form can be invaluable for gaining more peace of mind. Despite this, a recent study by Canada Life shows that almost three-quarters of Brits haven’t completed one.

Without putting your wishes in writing, they may not be respected when the time comes to distribute your remaining pension funds. Read on to find out why having proper documentation can help you to manage your estate.

Pensions are normally exempt from Inheritance Tax (IHT)

Your pension is one of the most important assets that you’re likely to have and may represent a significant portion of your total wealth. During your lifetime, you’ll probably invest a lot into it and carefully manage it to help it grow.

As such, it should be able to support you throughout your retirement, however you may want to enjoy it. Whether you plan to spend this time taking long foreign holidays or mastering your hobbies, your pension should be able to provide you with enough wealth throughout.

Of course, this all sounds ideal but there’s one aspect of your pension that you may not have thought about – what will happen to it when you pass away?

If you manage your wealth carefully, you may have a large amount left over when you reach the end of your life, even if you’ve enjoyed several decades of luxury.

As such, you may want to leave some of your assets to your loved ones, so they can benefit from your hard work too. This may even help them to enjoy comfortable retirements of their own!

However, if you don’t properly document your wishes before you pass away, this could pose a problem when the time comes to divide your pension wealth.

An expression of wish document can give you greater peace of mind

When you pass away, one of the responsibilities of your pension trustee or administrator is to distribute your remaining assets.

To avoid your wealth not being passed on how you would have wanted, having an expression of wish form can enable you to nominate a beneficiary for your pension assets when you pass away. There are no limits on the number of beneficiaries that you can nominate, and you can alter the document if you later change your mind.

This form can be particularly important if you have a partner who relies on your pension wealth to support their lifestyle. For example, if they chose not to work so they could instead raise your children, they might struggle to get by once you pass away.

Having the proper documentation can enable you to know that your wealth will be distributed according to your wishes when you die, giving you one less thing to worry about. If you don’t have one in place, you have no guarantee that your assets will be divided the way that you want.

Having a comprehensive will in place can give you greater peace of mind

While nobody likes to consider their own mortality, planning ahead for when you do eventually pass away can be useful. Knowing that your wishes will be respected after you’ve died can give you much greater peace of mind.

One of the best ways to ensure this is to have a comprehensive will in place that covers every aspect of your finances. This will help to ensure that your wealth goes to the people you want it to when the time comes.

Having one can also be particularly useful if you want to leave some of your wealth to a stepchild or cohabiting partner. If you pass away without a will – known as dying “intestate” – then the laws of intestacy determine how your estate is divided.

The criteria they apply usually prioritises certain family members over others, which could result in someone you want to receive your money being unable to.

If you want to put a will in place, we can signpost you to a specialist legal firm who will work with you to decide how you want your assets to be distributed. This can enable you to rest easy, knowing your loved ones won’t struggle financially after you’ve passed away.

Get in touch

If you want to know more about putting a will in place to avoid any estate issues, we can help. Email or call us on 01275 462 469.

Please note:

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate estate planning, tax planning or will writing.

A pension is a long-term investment. The fund value may fluctuate and can go down, which would have an impact on the level of pension benefits available. Your pension income could also be affected by the interest rates at the time you take your benefits. The tax implications of pension withdrawals will be based on your individual circumstances, tax legislation and regulation, which are subject to change in the future.

Bowmore Financial Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the FCA.

6 important things to know about your pension savings on divorce

Couple sitting apart on a sofa, signing a divorce agreement.

Pensions are often the single biggest asset for divorcing couples and, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), make up 42% of total household wealth. To put this into perspective, the share of wealth held in property is just 36%.

Changes to the law in 2000 allowed divorcees to share pensions, yet, according to research, few divorcing couples seem to take this into account.

Matrimonial Property is one area where solicitors may be brought to account many years after the divorce has concluded if pensions have been ignored.

In fact, 58% of people who took part in a Which? survey said pensions weren’t even discussed during their divorce proceedings.

Now, with the introduction of the “no-fault” divorce rule, which came into force in England and Wales in April, it is more important than ever for divorcing couples to understand the impact that separation could have on their finances and retirement plans.

There is now no need to play the blame game and clients who are committed to sorting their divorce amicably are able to do so through less adversarial methods such as mediation, often with the assistance of a Financial Neutral – a financial planner who assists both parties in divorce cases.

If you don’t understand the financial products you have amassed as a couple, you can’t make informed decisions and this can slow down the process.

A Guide to the Treatment of Pensions on Divorce “The PAG report” in July 2019 stated: Ignoring the pensions or stating on the D81 that “the clients have agreed to ignore the pensions” is not an option.

So, with all that in mind, here are six important things to understand when it comes to dividing your pension savings on divorce.

1. Pensions should be treated as matrimonial assets

Many people don’t realise that a pension is considered a matrimonial asset in a marriage. This is the case even if only one spouse has accrued pension savings as both parties are considered to have contributed equally to the marriage.

Unfortunately, even before divorce complicates matters, pension wealth is unequally distributed between married men and women.

A study carried out by the University of Manchester showed the average married woman aged between 65 and 69 has just £28,000 in pension wealth. Meanwhile, the average man has almost 10 times that.


Source: University of Manchester

With fewer than 15% of couples having pensions of approximately equal value, failing to split pension savings during divorce can leave women significantly worse off.

Although in Scotland, only pension rights built up during the marriage or civil partnership will be regarded as marital assets, in the rest of the UK, all pension assets are usually treated as marital assets in needs cases.  A sharing basis where there are significant assets may ringfence pensions built up prior to the marriage in the rest of the UK.

2. Pension savings are often the biggest asset in a divorce

In some cases, pension funds can be worth more than the house you share.

However, when discussing the division of assets, some women are advised to focus on the family home, especially in cases where children are still living at home.

While it may sound sensible for one of you to take the house and the other to get the pension pot, when it’s time to retire, the partner who took the property could find themselves without any income to live on.  There are several methods of splitting the family home and this all needs consideration in the round.

If this happens, the person who kept the property may be forced to sell the house to generate the income needed in retirement.  Particularly as spousal maintenance only tends to fund until retirement and may not consider income requirements into retirement.

This is why it’s so important that both parties consider pension assets during divorce, that these are distributed on a needs/sharing basis and that all options are considered for both pensions, the marital home and other assets to get the best outcome for both parties going forwards.

3. Understand what kind of pension arrangement you have and get an up-to-date valuation

When you’re discussing how to split your assets, start by getting a valuation for your pension(s).  With a letter of authority, a Financial Planner can assist here and ensure all the right questions are asked in terms of the options for splitting the pension to aid discussions.

A final salary or defined benefit (DB) pension can be particularly valuable, as it is based on how many years you’ve worked and the salary you earned. If either of you have a final salary or DB pension, you’ll need to think carefully and plan how it will be divided.

When pensions are involved in your financial settlement, it’s worth getting advice from an expert financial planner who can work alongside an actuary, if required.  A financial planner can help you understand how to divide the assets on a Needs/Sharing basis and illustrate how decisions surrounding your pension funds will affect your future retirement plans.

4. 3 ways your pension savings could be divided

There are three main options for dealing with pensions in a divorce:

  • Offsetting their value against other assets
  • Sharing them on a clean break basis
  • One partner earmarks some of the income to be paid to their ex-spouse after retirement.

Here’s how each option works in practice…

Offsetting their value against other assets

As the name suggests, with offsetting, the value of any pension is offset against the other assets.

This means that if, between you, you own a property worth £300,000 and a pension worth £300,000, one of you might choose to keep the pension while the other keeps the property.

There are some drawbacks to dividing assets using offsetting.

For example, the party who takes on the property may need to sell it to generate income to live on in later life. There may also be significant costs for maintaining a property that you should also take into consideration.

Conversely, there are significant tax benefits in owning a pension. Pensions offer tax relief on contributions, and, unlike property, pension funds typically fall outside your estate for Inheritance Tax purposes.

Pension sharing for a clean break

With pension sharing, the pension benefit is split and divided between both parties at the time of the divorce. The partner without the pension will get a share of the pension benefits transferred into their name.

The good thing about this method is that it ensures a ‘clean break’ and both parties know exactly what proportion of the pension they will receive or keep on divorce.

One partner earmarking some of the income to be paid to an ex-spouse after retirement

Earmarking, also referred to as a “pensions attachment order”, allows the partner without the pension to receive income or lump sum payments from it in the future.

Pension benefits are effectively “earmarked” for the other party in retirement. If the pension scheme member dies, the court can order that some or all of the survivor pension or lump sum death benefits be paid to the other partner.

The main drawback with this method of pension division is that the party without the pension must wait until their ex-spouse retires or dies before they receive any pension benefits.

Another problem with this approach is that the recipient of the “earmarked” benefits has no control over the investment decisions their ex-partner may take.

5. There’s no set formula as to how your assets will be divided

Should you end up settling your divorce in court, the judge will seek to achieve a settlement based on each party’s needs. Typically, separating couples start at a 50:50 split, but this may be adjusted if it fails to meet each party’s needs.

Because each divorce settlement is different, the treatment of any pensions will also vary from case to case.

6. Once the dust settles, get on top of your retirement plan

If you lose a portion of your pension savings as part of your divorce settlement, it’s wise to start saving to make up the difference as soon as possible.

Using intelligent cashflow modelling, we can help you visualise what the sum lost will mean for you and your retirement plans and create a plan to help you rebuild your retirement savings.

If you need advice on how to split your assets during a divorce proceeding, we can help. Seeking expert advice will help you to rebuild your resources and limit the negative effects of giving away a portion of your pension.  In some cases, it may even be beneficial to give up some of your pension if you’re close to the Lifetime Allowance and are able to re-build your pension with the benefit of higher rates of tax relief.

Get in touch

To learn more about how to protect your financial interests when you’re getting divorced, or if you want help planning your new future following separation, get in touch. Email or call us on 01275 462 469.

Bowmore Financial Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the FCA.

The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Your pension income could also be affected by the interest rates at the time you take your benefits. Levels, bases of and reliefs from taxation may be subject to change and their value depends on the individual circumstances of the investor.

How to make your pension last a lifetime in a world of high inflation

An older couple filling out forms

In recent months, you can’t have missed the headlines that the UK is undergoing a large spike in the rate of inflation. According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the Consumer Price Index rose to 9% in the year to April 2022.

As you might imagine, prolonged inflation can seriously affect your progress towards your long-term goals. This is especially true when it comes to retirement, as the wealth you accrue for this important chapter of your life may need to last for several decades.

If you’re concerned about the recent rise in the rate of inflation, read on to find out some useful tips for helping your pension to last a lifetime.

Even a relatively low rate of inflation can pose a problem for you in the long term

On a national scale, a small amount of inflation can be useful as it helps to keep the wheels of the economy turning. This is why the Bank of England (BoE) has an annual target of 2%, as the gentle upwards pressure on prices helps to encourage spending.

Of course, for the individual, it is a different story. In the long term, even a small amount of annual inflation can be problematic for your finances. One of the best ways to see this is with the BoE’s inflation calculator, which can show you the effect of rising prices over time.

According to this, goods and services that would have cost £10,000 in 1991 cost £22,844 in 2021. This is due to an average annual inflation rate of 2.8% over the 30-year period.

As we discussed in a previous article, thanks to advances in medicine and technology, you may enjoy a much longer life than your parents or grandparents.

Of course, this can be something of a double-edged sword as while you may get to enjoy your retirement for longer, your pension wealth might also have to support you for a greater period of time.

With this in mind, it’s important to inflation-proof your finances so that you don’t run into any unexpected problems when the time comes to retire.

You may need to reassess your tolerance to risk when investing

One of the most serious ways that rising inflation could affect your long-term plans is that it reduces the real returns of your investments.

For example, if your portfolio grows in value by 5% in a year, this may seem like a strong rate of return. However, if during this same time frame, the rate of inflation rises to 4%, then your real return is only 1%.

This is obviously a problem, as with reduced growth you may not have enough wealth to support your desired lifestyle in retirement. To remedy this problem, you might need to make your investments work harder for you.

If you want to achieve stronger growth, you may have to raise your risk tolerance when investing.

Typically, the greater amount of risk you are willing to tolerate, the greater the potential return. This can help you to outpace the rate of inflation and maintain your progress towards your financial goals.

Of course, exposing yourself to more risk can sometimes pose problems of its own, especially during periods of volatility. This is why, if you’re considering a change of investment approach, it can be useful to seek professional advice, so that you can make a properly informed decision with your wealth.

Finding a sustainable withdrawal rate can help your pension funds last longer

If you want to ensure that your pension can support you throughout retirement, it’s important to find a withdrawal rate that’s right for you. This can be a critical part of long-term planning, as taking too much can quickly deplete your funds.

This can be easily done if you don’t know how much a sustainable amount is. According to a recent report by the Financial Conduct Authority, more than two-fifths of retirees surveyed were making withdrawals of 8% of their funds each year.

During periods of high inflation, when rising prices are eating away at the value of your wealth, it’s more important than ever to know how much you can sustainably withdraw from your pension.

If you want to be able to make properly informed decisions with your pension wealth, working with a planner can really benefit you. They can help you thoroughly assess your goals to ensure that you have enough to support your desired lifestyle throughout retirement.

In this important chapter of your life, money worries are the last thing you need. Working with a professional can help to give you greater peace of mind to know that you’re building your retirement wealth as effectively as possible.

Get in touch

If you’re concerned about the impact that inflation could have on your long-term plans, we can help. Email or call us on 01275 462 469.

Please note:

This article is for information only. Please do not act based on anything you might read in this article.

A pension is a long-term investment. The fund value may fluctuate and can go down, which would have an impact on the level of pension benefits available. Your pension income could also be affected by the interest rates at the time you take your benefits. The tax implications of pension withdrawals will be based on your individual circumstances, tax legislation and regulation, which are subject to change in the future.

The value of your investments can go down as well as up, so you could get back less than you invested.

Bowmore Financial Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the FCA.

Bowmore Bulletin: Your latest update from the Bowmore team


Every month, we give an update on the goings-on of the Bowmore team. From sporting achievements to award wins, to babies born – and everything in-between – we are always delighted to share our news from Bowmore HQ.

This month, there is much to report. We have proudly celebrated an award win; appeared in the press; congratulated a colleague on exam success and continued our charitable endeavours.

Bowmore Asset Management wins the 2022 Suggestus 3D Award, presented by ARC Limited

At Bowmore, we constantly strive for excellence in all areas of our work. We are absolutely thrilled that we have been named winners of the 2022 Suggestus 3D Award, presented by ARC Limited.

This award is presented in recognition of Bowmore Asset Management’s “ongoing commitment to transparency, engagement and integrity” in the field of asset management.

The ARC Group performs essential investment research for a global clientele, holding impeccable standards of transparency and integrity in their work and setting the bar high for the rest of the industry.

We are honoured to have been recognised for our dedication to these practices and offer our sincere thanks to the ARC Group.

Bowmore in the press

Once again, Bowmore has been featured by multiple press publications this month, including FTAdviser and Money Marketing.

Bowmore research featured in FTAdviser

Our recent research found that the number of people reaching age 100 could hit 78% by 2041.

Discussing the issue with FTAdviser, Bowmore financial planner Helen Thomas said: “There are a number of financial planning implications that could occur if these predictions come true. The first that comes to mind is the sustainability of our current pension system if people live 30 – 40 years past retirement age.”

Our findings featured in Money Marketing

In other news, Bowmore’s research on the number of Inheritance Tax (IHT) receipts was published by Money Marketing in April 2022.

Money Marketing reports, “Bowmore Wealth Group believes the key drivers of the increase have been the rapid rise in residential property prices and a freezing of the tax threshold, both of which have seen more estates become liable to pay IHT.”

You can read both stories in full on the FTAdviser and Money Marketing websites.

Tom Henshaw completes final exams to achieve Fellow status

Back in December 2021, you read about one of our financial planners, Tom, passing the J05 Pension Income Options exam.

Now, just a few short months later, Tom has passed his final exam to become a Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) at the age of 26. Congratulations, Tom!

We caught up with Tom about his phenomenal exam achievements and heard about what’s next for this talented young individual.

Can you tell us a bit about which exam you took?

“My final exam was AF4 Advanced Investment Planning. In passing that, I achieved the Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning, as well as the required number of credits to be awarded Fellow of the Personal Finance Society, the highest accolade within the CII framework.

“The actual module was one of the better exams for me – I found the content very interesting, which always helps with the studying!”

How does it feel to have reached this milestone so quickly?

“It feels fantastic. I started studying for my CII exams straight out of university, so I haven’t had a break from exams for a long time.

“At the outset, I set myself the target of achieving fellowship within five years of starting out, which I have now done. For the time being, at least, I can now have a break from formal study.”

What are your next steps now that your exams are completed?

“There are no further technical qualifications I need to complete, but there are still plenty of areas for development.

“I plan to work on other important aspects of the profession, such as communication and presentation skills, to ensure I am explaining things as clearly as possible to my clients.”

Have you done anything exciting to celebrate your success?

“My wife and I shared a bottle of champagne and visited Bristol Zoo. Considering I’m a biology graduate and she’s a vet, it’s always one of our favourite days out!”

What are your goals for the next few years?

“I want to continue to develop and become the best financial planner I can be, keeping my technical knowledge up to scratch while really developing my communication and problem-solving skills.

“I’d like to say a big thank you to the team at Bowmore and everyone who helped me along the way.”

Mark and Duncan continue to train for the Ride for Precious Lives

As you may have read in previous months’ updates, two of our colleagues, Mark Millet and Duncan Harvey, are training for a charity bike ride called the Ride for Precious Lives.

The 225-mile Ride for Precious Lives is being completed in July, in support of Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW), a charity centre providing care to seriously ill children and their families.

Mark Millet became involved with CHSW after Emily, the daughter of Mark’s dear friend and fellow cyclist Mark Paxford, passed away. Together with other riders, they have formed an aptly named “Team Emily” and will be cycling as a group throughout the event to raise funds for this amazing charity.

Mark and Duncan have been working hard to prepare for this event since the start of the year. Let’s hear from them about how their challenging training is going as April and May bring warm spring weather to our doors.

Words from Mark Millet

“As we move from April into May, the serious training moves forward for us cycling chaps!

“Duncan and I finally managed a joint training ride a couple of weeks ago with the other Team Emily riders.

“This was an incident-filled field ride, as Steve C managed to break his bike, while Steve P skidded on gravel, came off his bike and cracked a rib! As you can see, this cycling lark is filled with lots of trials and tribulations. We did, however, manage to make it to Sherston for a very welcome cup of tea and a flapjack.

“As we now increase the distances cycled in each session – we are up to more than 50 miles now – the subject of education and nutrition becomes a more serious matter. We are all trying different drinks and snacks that will sustain us for longer rides. Without a good strategy, you just won’t make it through the day!

“I am going shortly for my follow-up bike fit, to overcome the knee pain and improve my general comfort on the bike. More to report on this later.

“Mark Paxford, our Team Emily leader, has injured his hip playing an extremely dangerous round of golf – don’t try this at home – but after some physiotherapy, he is making good progress and will shortly be back into training.

“Turning to the fundraising efforts, we are currently sitting at just over £2,300. Duncan and I are absolutely gobsmacked!

“Given the other issues going on in the world, our supporters have been very generous. Once we factor in the Gift Aid increase, and the fact that Bowmore will match our efforts, we are now going to be able to help this charity in a really meaningful way. Let’s keep going – who knows where we will end up!

“There are around nine weeks to go in our training before the event and we are redoubling our efforts to fundraise and train without too many injuries. Fingers crossed.”

Donate to the Ride for Precious Lives

If you are inspired by Team Emily and their efforts to raise money for CHSW, you can get involved.

Visit Mark and Duncan’s JustGiving page to donate, or scan the QR code, to help bring life-altering care to children who need it the most.

5 surprising things you never knew about the Queen

black and white photograph of Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee will be celebrated from Thursday 2 June to Sunday 5 June 2022, marking a 70-year rule for England’s longest-reigning monarch.

As you will already know, Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne unexpectedly. After her father, King George VI, passed away suddenly from a coronary thrombosis on 6 February 1952, Elizabeth automatically assumed the role as head of state at just 25 years old.

As Brits, we all know that the Queen has reigned through her fair share of trials and tribulations. But there are fun, little-known facts about Elizabeth II that act as a testament to her intriguing personality and stoic attitude.

Read on to find out five things you may never have known about Queen Elizabeth II.

1. The Queen has never given an interview in her entire reign

The Queen is a ubiquitous figure in British culture, her face appearing on everything from mugs to money – so it may surprise you to learn that she has never given an interview during her reign.

Although there have been many famous royal interviews over the years, these rarely seem to have provided positive publicity to the family. Princess Diana’s infamous chat with Martin Bashir and Prince Harry’s latest televised conversation with Oprah seem only to have stirred controversy – so it’s no surprise the Queen has declined to be interviewed.

After staying tight-lipped for 70 years, it is unlikely we will ever sit down to watch or read an interview with the Queen. However, there are several royal biographies where we can learn about her life in detail.

2. Elizabeth II worked as a mechanic during the second world war

Although the Queen is best known for her pristine public appearances in brightly coloured garments and jewellery worth millions, she is not afraid to get her hands dirty.

Indeed, Queen Elizabeth II rolled up her sleeves during the second world war and, in 1945, worked as a mechanic as part of her service to the country. She underwent a six-week training programme in Aldershot, Surrey, before joining the Women’s Auxiliary Territory Service under the name Elizabeth Windsor. During her service as a mechanic, Elizabeth changed tyres, repaired Jeeps and rebuilt car engines.

Although in the modern day this act is looked upon with admiration, Elizabeth fought with her family over the decision at the time. Reports claim the royal family did not approve of her desire to train as a mechanic, but she persisted and eventually got her way.

3. She was asleep in a treehouse when she became Queen

If you have watched Netflix’s The Crown or you closely follow the royal family, you will know that Elizabeth II’s father, King George VI, died while she was on a royal visit to Kenya. But you may not know that, at the time of her father’s death, the Queen was actually asleep in the branches of a tall tree.

Indeed, Elizabeth and Prince Philip stayed at Treetops, a hotel that consists of treehouse structures built specifically for the observation of wildlife, during their Kenyan visit. While they slept surrounded by elephant, leopard and baboon, she unknowingly became Queen when her father passed away during the night.

As she is famous for her outdoor adventures – riding horses, driving cars and hunting – it may not be surprising to learn that Elizabeth’s first moments as Queen saw her high in a tree surrounded by ferocious nature.

4. The Queen and her sister, Princess Margaret, once partied incognito in London

When the second world war ended on 8 May 1945, London’s streets were lined with people, all ecstatic at the closing of a terrible chapter in British history.

Two people who were also thrilled at this news were the Queen – then Princess Elizabeth – and her sister, Princess Margaret. They wished to celebrate alongside the rest of London’s citizens, so they decided to go out and party incognito on the streets of the capital.

Quoted in an Instagram post by the royal family, the Queen says, “I remember lines of unknown people linking arms and walking down Whitehall, all of us just swept along on a tide of happiness and relief.”

5. The Queen has survived multiple assassination attempts

As you may expect, Elizabeth II has been the victim of many attempted assassinations. Unfortunately, as head of state, she is the ultimate target for acts of terrorism.

One thing you may not know, though, is that the Queen once narrowly escaped assassination while riding a horse.

During the 1981 Trooping of the Colour, a ceremony performed by the armed forces on the official birthday of the British sovereign, the Queen was shot at from close range while on horseback. It is reported by the BBC that Elizabeth appeared shaken, but quickly regained her composure.

In another incident, a man broke into the Queen’s bedroom in 1982, carrying a piece of a glass ashtray he had broken in the next room. It is said that the Queen calmly spoke to the man for several minutes while authorities made their way to the scene and emerged unscathed.

For many, the Queen has acted as a fearless force throughout the trying times Britain has experienced in the last 70 years, instilling pride in many citizens as she continues to reign in her old age.