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I don’t believe it

Two things in the last couple of weeks have made me come over all Victor Meldrew.1: I advised some new clients to top up their Halifax cash Isas. Mr X went to his local branch to pay in £3,600 each. He was put in front of an “adviser” who told him they would be better off doing stocks & shares Isas instead. My client had the sense and knowledge to say, no thanks.

I asked him whether the “adviser” had asked him about attitude to risk, timescales for investment, access or whether they had already done stocks & shares Isas for the current tax year (which they have). “No, he just said we could get a better return with a stocks & shares Isa” was his reply.2: Times are tough for investment clients and our reviews include reassurance as well as reminders about asset allocation, etc, as we discuss their losses over the past 12 months and sober prospects for the forthcoming year.

However, one product that has continued to experience growth throughout all the recent downturn is the with-profits bond. I am not stupid enough to think they are the answer for everyone but as long as clients understand how bonuses and MVRs work, there is a place for a well managed WPB.

However, what was the headline the public was fed in the Mail on Sunday recently? “Time to cash in obsolete bonds”.

The article leads with: “Investment bonds should be cashed in by most investors because taxation changes mean they are obsolete.” What rubbish.

What would they say to a client. “Yes, Mr Client, I know all your unit trusts have fallen by 30 per cent over the past year and your with-profits bond is up by 5 per cent but it is obsolete and it has got to go. Don’t worry about the MVR or the 7 per cent surrender penalty. How about a nice safe property fund?”

Dave Harris

Director

Neptune Financial Management, Bristol

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