21 April 2016


Should soft skills be formally assessed?

Advisers have no problem demonstrating their technical proficiency to clients. The requirement to be level four qualified, with many advisers going beyond this to become chartered, is proof  they have achieved a certain level of knowledge and understanding. But when it comes to soft skills there are no formal training requirements or minimum standards for […]


Martin Bamford: The dangers of becoming obsessed with innovation

Originality is a tricky trait to balance. As a columnist, I need to be original in order to captivate your attention as a reader. As a financial planner and wealth manager, originality is a potentially risky behaviour to display, especially if it results in making a recommendation to invest in an esoteric offshore fund. I need […]

Danby Bloch

Danby Bloch: Dividend, salary or bonus?

The new tax year saw the introduction of the new dividend tax. The regime is squarely aimed at shareholder directors who have hitherto made dividend payments the standard way to take money out of a company without paying National Insurance contributions. The savings were very considerable. Now, taking dividends rather than salary or bonuses out […]


Apfa: Time to lower the FSCS levy cap

Earlier this month, the FCA published its business plan for 2016/17 and an accompanying consultation paper on regulated fees and levies over the same period. As the FCA budget had increased, we expressed concerns it needed to be controlled more stringently. Saying that, it was noticeable just how small the size of the FCA bill […]

Are value stocks ready for a comeback?

The past few years have seen growth style stocks outperform value. But as valuations for growth companies start to look expensive, is value making a comeback? Growth stocks have outperformed over the past few years. Performance of the iShares MSCI World Value Factor Ucits ETF highlights this, returning -3.27 per cent in 2015 compared to […]

Stephanie Flanders 700 x 450

Stephanie Flanders: The major risks investors should be worried about

We expected 2016 to be another challenging year for investors, with higher market volatility and lower returns, and we have certainly seen that in these first few months. Markets have been rocked by global growth fears and dramatic swings in oil prices, plus an outbreak of concern about the waning potency of central banks. However, […]

Platforum head of intermediary research Miranda Seath

Platform focus: Raymond James taps the trend towards ‘insourcing’

This week, we take a look at Raymond James. The platform is focused on attracting advisers that hold discretionary investment management permissions and believes its roots in stockbroking give it an edge over the competition. Typically used by stockbrokers and investment focused financial planners with wealthy clients, the average portfolio size is around £500,000 but […]


Why advice is about more than just qualifications

Qualifications, qualifications, qualifications. Is that what it is all about, or is there more to progressing your career? I am contacted regularly, either by those trying to get into financial services or those in the early years of their career, to ask about qualifications and what they should sit to get to where they want to be. Career progression […]

Lee Robertson

Lee Robertson: Time to move on from independent versus restricted debate

So it appears the move towards restricted is gathering a fair bit of pace, with the news more firms are being snapped up by larger, life assurance company-backed wealth managers, among others. Many of these are excellent firms too: chartered, profitable, award winning and highly admired. The cost pressures of being regulated – including the […]


Steve Webb: Tackling longevity in a post freedoms world

In days gone by, the one thing most people did not have to worry about when it came to pension planning was how long they might live. If you were a member of a defined benefit scheme, then the pension lasted as long as you did. If you had a defined contribution pot, then you […]

Profile: Daniel Godfrey on life after the Investment Association

Regret is not something Daniel Godfrey feels when he looks back on his resignation from the Investment Association six months ago. The former chief executive of the trade body continues to be seen as a key spokesperson for the asset management industry and has embarked on a series of “creative initiatives”. But when it comes […]