Pension Goalposts have moved again

The Spring Budget in February 2020 was rather overshadowed by the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, but did include a number of changes to pension contribution rules, which might have a real impact on you.

If your income is over £200,000 but less than £240,000 then, good news, as the Chancellor has extended the boundary on Tapered Annual Allowance (TAA).  You will be able to increase your allowable pension contribution for the 2020/21 tax from £10,000 back to the full £40,000!

This is also great news from an income tax perspective as you will of course be able to claim tax relief at your highest marginal rate, making pension contributions still one of the most tax-efficient ways of saving.

Active funds outperformed passives in H2 2020

Charles Incledon, Client Director quoted in Investment Week, 8th February 2021

Bowmore Asset Management research shows that the outperformance of tech stocks in the UK has been less pronounced than in the United States, where the NASDAQ 100 technology index has risen 42% vs 18% for the S&P 500. US tech stocks have therefore outperformed their broader domestic market by 24% vs UK tech outperforming the wider UK market by 18%.

The US listed tech sector contains some of the biggest winners from the pandemic including tech giants Amazon, Apple, Netflix and DocuSign, the online signature platform, which has seen its share price more than treble in 12 months. However, Bowmore Asset Management says that some US tech stocks are now suffering from overstretched valuations.

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Investors in the leading banks have endured a hair-raising year, but should you back them now they CAN pay dividends?

Charles Incledon, Client Director quoted in Mail on Sunday, 20th December 2020

“The UK stock market is still relatively undervalued, and banks are a clear illustration of this.”

“For those that believe the UK economy will experience a cyclical recovery, UK bank shares will be an attractive proposition.”

“However, among other things, investors need to take account of the prospect of “lower for longer” interest rates as well as the quality of banks loans, rather than just looking at the discount.”

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FCA warns retail customers that cash could be invested for higher returns

Mark Incledon, Group CEO quoted in Wealth Adviser, 4th December 2020

“There’s a strong case that cash savings products should carry a warning about how their real value declines due to inflation.”

“More than GBP40 billion was put into cash ISAs last year alone and this is a good illustration of the problem. The public need to understand that due to inflation, they are losing money in real terms.”

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All I want for Christmas is… a Junior ISA

Junior ISAs have grown steadily in popularity since the launch of the earlier iteration, Child Trust Funds.

Nowadays, parents and guardians can set up a JISA for their children under the age of 18, to which anyone can contribute (including grandparents, other relatives and friends) up to a total maximum payment of £9,000 each tax year, per child. Of course, with Junior ISAs being part of the ISA family, they are tax-free in every respect.

While cash JISAs, just like cash ISAs exist, greater potential long term value is more likely to be achieved via a risk-based JISA, which can invest in funds just like those that you may hold in your investment or pension.

Bowmore’s Team: Owen Moore, Investment Manager

Tell us about how you became an investment manager?

When I joined Bowmore I was given a great opportunity to be an integral part of a rapidly growing wealth management business. Within that role I worked closely with our Chief Investment Officer, took industry-recognised exams and gained valuable experience to move into an Investment Manager role over a number of years.

What is your investment philosophy?

My investment philosophy centres around understanding risk and individual clients’ needs. There is no one size fits all. I’m also a great believer in keeping it simple. Building a portfolio does not need to be overly complex to be effective. Individuals will judge us on excellent service and solid performance, not how clever we try to be.

Women stay on lower rungs of corporate ladder

Jill Ellicott, Chartered Financial Planner quoted in Daily Telegraph, 23rd November 2020

Women now only account for 11.1% of those earning over £1m a year, down from 12.5% in 2016/17*.

Women are still largely excluded from the very highest-paying roles within businesses. For example, on the boards of FTSE-100 companies women hold a far higher percentage of lower paying roles and a much lower percentage of higher paying roles.

Although 40.8%** of Non-Executive roles at FTSE100 companies are held by women (where average remuneration is £70,000), women only make up 13.2% of Executive Directors at FTSE100 companies (where average remuneration is £2.2m) and only 5% of CEO roles.

Progress ‘stalls’ in closing pay gap

Jill Ellicott, Chartered Financial Planner quoted in Daily Express, 21st November 2020

“There has been significant progress in closing the gender pay gap over the years but we shouldn’t become complacent.

There is much more work to be done before women achieve pay parity. Addressing the significant disparity in gender representation in the boardrooms of FTSE companies would go a long way.”