The Scottish Referendum & your Investment Portfolio?

We have had a number of clients contact us this week asking how the upcoming referendum will affect their investments in the short term. Reports yesterday stated that the Scottish referendum outcome is “too close to call” as both sides enter the final days of the vote campaign.

Therefore we felt it was appropriate to do a Blog to give our views on this!

There is certainly reason to be wary as Reuters reported last night that the FTSE 100 had dropped for the 3rd day in a row due to the uncertainly of the vote. However markets certainly haven’t shuddered. There has been a slight drop but nothing too significant – in fact as off 11.30am this morning the markets were actually up 0.2%* for the day.

We certainly expect volatility in the short term but as Tom Stevenson, investment director for Fidelity Personal Investing says

“The outcome of the referendum was ‘so uncertain that investors will struggle to position themselves effectively ahead of the vote”

It is something we will of course be keeping an eye on for our clients but we see no reason for anyone to sell their investments & move to cash at the moment.

For any clients wanting to know more then please read Citywire’s article from yesterday – How independent Scotland could impact your portfolio

If you would like to discuss your portfolio please contact us now on 0191 281 9862 or e-mail to arrange an appointment!

Please Note – Any clients wanting to switch their funds to cash will accrue transactional charges to change their funds

Disclaimer: This email is not intended as advice and no investment decisions should be made solely on the back of this email. Past performance is no guide to the future. All investments carry the risk that you will not get back what you have put in.

* The FTSE 100 actually ended the day slightly up at 0.02%

August’s most read articles!

I hope everyone has had a good holiday period

We apologise for the lack of articles on our social media mediums over the holiday period. Hopefully we will be back to normal for the rest of the year

As you know we like to regularly provide our clients & prospective clients with information on the most important financial planning areas. We frequently post articles within our Linked In Group, on Facebook & on Twitter

Below are the most read links from August;

Inheritance tax checklist

Women hitting state pension age before April 2016 can boost their pension pot by 20% if they defer

PENSION REFORMS Free to choose

Pension loopholes: five ways to get money for nothing

Five financial perils of self-employment

Nine in 10 Britons risk financial future by not having a lasting power of attorney

Tax loophole: boost your pension by 88pc a year
How to get the best life insurance policy

‘We have taken out insurance cover to safeguard our legacy’: Six ways to spare your heirs from paying inheritance tax

Pensions clinic: your questions answered

We hope that you find some of the above useful. If there are any areas that you would like more articles on please let us know as we welcome any feedback

If you would like to discuss any of the above articles & how they may affect you then please contact us NOW on 0191 281 9862 or e-mail to arrange a FREE initial appointment

Additionally please have a look at our core services document or visit our website for further information

The importance of Mortgage Protection! Do you have cover in place?

Yesterday I received a marketing e-mail from Zurich promoting mortgage protection, which had a number of facts within it that I found quite eye-opening. Therefore I thought I would share them with you to get thinking about your own personal cover provisions!

  • You are 4.6 million times more likely to get cancer than win a jackpot lottery payout.
  • 4 in 5 people with cancer are affected financially.
  • On average, over 1,558 people die each day in the UK.

As I’m sure you agree these are quite hard hitting facts, which in my opinion really highlight the importance of making sure you have cover in place. Furthermore Zurich’s e-mail went on to say/ask the following;

“Buying a new home is one of life’s biggest and most exciting events. It’s also a big financial commitment – one that could be with you for 25 years or even more.

One of the things you’ll discuss with your adviser is how much you can afford to pay now. But equally important is making sure you can continue to make your mortgage payments in the future, whatever happens.

Your ability to pay your mortgage is based on your income. So stop and think for a moment – what would happen if your income were reduced in the future? Could you continue to make your mortgage payments?”

There are a number of questions above for you to consider if you don’t have cover in place!

Additionally I must stress it is also important to review your protection (if you have it) on a regular basis as circumstances can change – therefore meaning cover needs to be increased or in cases decreased

If you want to review your protection needs please contact Reeves Independent on 0191 281 9862 or email for a FREE initial discussion!

Market Outlook – June 2014

Here at Reeves Independent we are always striving to keep up-to-date with investment opinions to ensure our clients get the best possible returns for their portfolios! Below is what the experts are saying about the next few months investment outlook


  • Continuation of positive news as latest official figures show that the UK economy grew by 0.8% in the first three months of 2014. Additionally recent business surveys have also indicated that the economy is continuing to enjoy strong growth, and the unemployment rate has fallen to a five-year low of 6.8%
  • UK industrial output rises at fastest annual pace since 2011
  • Interest rates we kept at 0.5% as expected & reiterated in last month’s outlook
  • On a more negative foot the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned the government that accelerating house prices and low productivity pose the greatest threat to the UK’s economic recover – something we will of course keep an eye on
  • Commercial property markets once again had a positive month continuing the upward trend in this market


  • As widely expected, the ECB president Mario Draghi announced an interest rate cut to stimulate the recent unconvincing economic performance & to alleviate the risks of deflation
  • The Eurozone’s rate of economic growth decelerated during the first quarter of 2014. As a whole, the bloc expanded by a relatively lacklustre quarterly rate of 0.2%, unchanged from the previous quarter. Germany’s economy grew by 0.8% while, in comparison, France’s economy stagnated during the period, dampened by weak domestic demand
  • News flow in Europe was dominated during May by the European Parliamentary elections and the strengthening support for anti-establishment parties. However financial markets have in the whole remained resilient


  • US jobs show strong growth in May. This highlights the emergence from the winter slump & experts expect it to strengthen its recovery throughout the year
  • The S&P 500 index ended higher for the fourth month in succession, having returned 2.35% (in US$ total return terms) for May
  • US equity markets rallied in the latter part of May on comments from the Fed, which suggested that monetary policy was likely to remain loose for some time to come, and that the pace of interest rate rises was likely to be slow

Emerging Markets & Asia

  • The World Bank has revised down its forecast for economic growth in the developing world this year – from 5.3% down to 4.8%.
  • The Chinese economy grew 7.4 percent in the first quarter of 2014 versus a year earlier, and was up 1.4 percent from the previous quarter. This slower growth was a continuation of the slowdown that has afflicted China during the past year, although growth remained in a range that the government has targeted. The big question is whether China can simultaneously sustain growth while reducing its dependence on credit expansion?
  • In Japan the central bank refrained from economic stimulus despite the immediate negative impact of the consumption tax hike. “Looking ahead, output will surely shrink this quarter as consumers rein in spending after the consumption tax hike,” Marcel Thieliant, Japan economist at Capital Economics, said. However he further added “that business confidence had been improving in the country “which suggests that any weakness should prove short-lived”
  • In India, an historic win for Narendra Modi & his party have paved the way for much needed economic reforms. Indian equity markets have rallied around 30% since September in anticipation of Modi’s victory. However experts believe the markets have yet to consider the enormity of the challenge the new government faces.


  • The world’s major equity markets generally ended May in positive territory, buoyed by some favourable economic data and by the news Petro Poroshenko had won a solid victory in Ukraine’s presidential elections
  • Arne Hassel, Head of Investments at Coutts, said “We believe the global growth recovery is still on track, with the recent US soft patch mainly weather-related and the Chinese slowdown inevitable but manageable. We also believe that geopolitical concerns over Ukraine will have little market impact. But when assets are no longer cheap, even small changes in the backdrop can have a material impact on prices”

So what does this mean for our Investors & Portfolios?

  • Preserve UK investment due to continued positive economic data
  • As previously stated cautious clients should consider commercial property investment as an alternative to cash
  • Maintain focus in the US
  • Continue to remain cautious in Europe (we will be reviewing our funds in this area over the next few weeks)
  • Japan continues to be remain a good long term bet in expert opinion – possible diversification opportunity
  • Emerging markets feeling seem to be improving. This coupled with good stock value for high potential returns in the long term maybe attractive to some investors – it must be stressed this is for the brave
  • India is potentially a further area for the braver investor in the long term due to the above mentioned government change & expected reforms (we will be keeping an eye on this area)

If you would like to discuss your portfolio please contact us now on 0191 281 9862 or e-mail to arrange an appointment!

Disclaimer: This email is not intended as advice and no investment decisions should be made solely on the back of this email. Past performance is no guide to the future. All investments carry the risk that you will not get back what you have put in.

Case Study – Retirement Options – Please seek advice before informing your Employer!

Last week I saw a client who unfortunately suffered a serious sudden illness last year. The outcome at the time was unclear as they were unsure if they would make a full recovery or whether they would be capable enough to go back to work.

They had come to me for advice on their financial position & look at the options available 12 months ago. Throughout this period I have been in regular contact with them as they didn’t want to make a decision due to the uncertainty of their future.

Client H was 57 & the member of a good Final Salary Scheme

What were their options?

  • Carry on working
  • Stop work & defer taking their pensions
  • Stop work & take early retirement
  • Stop work & take early retirement due to ill health
  • Take the Transfer Value & use one of the personal retirement options on the open market

Firstly the client entered talks with their organisation to seek options whilst we did investigations on the open market options

What open market options did we investigate?

  • Annuities
  • Enhanced Life Annuities
  • Switching the fund to a Personal Pension to maximise death benefits
  • Switch the fund to Drawdown – this would give her a 25% tax free lump & potentially a higher income than the current scheme would give. Additionally in the event of death it would leave money for her husband & family, which was seen as their main priority due to their current health condition

So what happened next?

Unfortunately this is where the problem started. The client as stated above had asked their employee for the facts about their pension plan. Their employer however has taken this request as the instruction that my client wanted to retire & has forced her down a route without explaining the other options she has available.

Therefore the client can’t now look at the open market options that we investigated, which in turn means they maybe missing out on a significantly better option that would meet their desired priorities in a more appropriate manner.

This case study scenario is about someone with ill health but this is the case for anyone wanting to look at their retirement options!

The moral of this case study is that you must tread carefully when looking at your retirement options! Please do seek advice before contacting your employer!

If you would are you thinking of retiring then contact us NOW on 0191 281 9862 or e-mail to arrange an FREE initial appointment


Market Outlook – May 2014

Here at Reeves Independent we are always striving to keep up-to-date with investment opinions to ensure our clients get the best possible returns for their portfolios! Below is what the experts are saying about the next few months investment outlook


  • Continuation of positive headlines – increased manufacturing output, jobless rate at its lowest for 5 years
  • FTSE 100 index neared its best finish since late 1999 (13/05/2014),
  • Bank of England (BoE) has upgraded its growth forecasts for next year, saying the economy “has started to head back towards normal”
  • UK interest rates have been held at the record low of 0.5% for another month by the Bank of England to continue to stimulate the economy. However “with the UK economy growing stronger than pretty much every rich country, markets expect the BoE to raise its policy rate in the first quarter of next year” (Robert Peston, BBC economics editor)
  • Commercial Property reports continue to be positive with upturn spreading through the regions due to the recovery of the UK economy


  • European Central Bank (ECB) held interest rates, whilst President Mario Draghi hinted the bank’s policymakers may act soon to reverse the Eurozone’s prolonged low inflation. This is something that as previously stated needs to be kept an eye on!
  • The gradual economic recovery remains on track, as consumer & business confidence indicators continue to be positive despite the ongoing unrest in Ukraine


  • Returns have been muted so far this year in comparison to 2013. US equities are now underperforming many other global markets, nevertheless US equities are still seen to be very attractive, as the economic backdrop remains very supportive
  • The US experienced an extremely cold winter & this did take a bite out of the US economic growth. However as the weather has improved, so has the economy, manufacturing performance have reaccelerated, job growth has bounced back & even retails sales have picked up
  • Furthermore a continuing healthy housing market, a much clearer Fiscal outlook & a stable but low inflation environment also provide a favourable framework for equities.

Asia & Emerging Markets

  • First quarter Chinese data showed that the economy continues to ease back again raising concerns whether growth will meet the government’s target level – therefore highlighting China may not be a short term investment option
  • Experts believe that although Japan’s economic & growth drivers have lost momentum recently, further Bank of Japan (BoJ) easing remains likely therefore driving equities higher
  • Within Emerging Markets there a continued concerns over politics, economic growth and reduced liquidity from the US tapering of Quantative Easing
  • Reduced demand from China is a further concern to emerging markets within the Pacific zone
  • India stock markets rose to record high following exit polls suggested the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would be coming into Government. Will this reverse the slowdown of India’s economy?


  • Patrick Schowitz (JP Morgan) “we continue to look for an acceleration in global growth, led by stronger activity in the US & Europe
  • Fundamentals remain supportive of equities even though valuations are no longer attractive

So what does this mean for our Investors & Portfolios?

  • Preserve UK investment – especially as previously stated in Small Caps
  • Cautious clients should think about the continued positive reports regarding commercial property investment
  • Maintain focus in the US
  • Continue to remain cautious in Europe whilst the ongoing political issue rumbles on within Ukraine
  • Potential for the brave in Japan as expert opinion points towards attractive prices to bring positive returns
  • Unfavourable Emerging markets also give good value for high potential returns – once again for the brave

If you would like to discuss your portfolio please contact us now on 0191 281 9862 or e-mail to arrange an appointment! 

Case Study! The Budget – How has it changed people’s retirement plans?

This week I spoke with a client about the implications of the recent budget announcement on their retirement planning. It highlighted to me the importance of reviewing how you use your full assets in retirement. Below is a brief explanation of my client’s current position

Client B is 57, has no mortgage & has approximately the following:
•       100k Transfer Value from her Final Salary Scheme
•       50k of savings
•       100k in a Personal Pension

She wanted 15k a year NET income to maintain her lifestyle

How could she achieve her desired income?

1.      Take her Final Salary Scheme now, which would give her a 25% tax free lump sum of 25k.
2.      This would leave her 75k to spend as she liked. This she can take at 7.5k for the next 10 years leaving her with 7.5k to find each year for the next 10 years.
3.      She could use her tax free lump sum of 25k for 10 years at 2.5k per year topping this 7.5k up to 10k.
4.      She could then use her 50k savings over the 10 year period to give her the remaining 5k to provide the 15k a year she desired.
5.      At 67 she would then start to receive her state pension of 7.5k
6.      She would then take the 25% tax free lump sum from her personal pension & put the remaining in drawdown, which would give her the remaining 7.5k for just over 13 years. This would take her to 80 years of age

Points to note

1.      If she was to run out of money she could use equity release on her home to cover the shortfall.
2.      She is also expecting inheritances ranging from 50-100k.
3.      The above plan does ignore inflation, which potentially would be counteracted by investment return pre & post drawdown.
4.      It was beneficial for the above client to access her Final Salary Scheme early as the death benefits were poor. This will vary from scheme to scheme of course.
5.      This client preserved her Personal Pension
6.      The above plan assumes you need more money as an earlier pensioner than an older one & that you are happy to use value from your home.

My client has now decided to retire immediately with her desired income, which she certainly could not have been able to do pre budget!

This case highlights the concept of ‘sweating your assets’ to allow you to potentially retire earlier than you had previously thought

Everyone, as a result of the budget, should reconsider their retirement plans & look at all the options available to them!

If you would like to discuss how the Budget has affected you retirement plans then contact us NOW on 0191 281 9862 or e-mail to arrange an initial appointment

Market Outlook – April 2014

Here at Reeves Independent we are always striving to keep up-to-date with investment opinions to ensure our clients get the best possible returns for their portfolios! Below is what the experts are saying about the next few months investment outlook


  • Both the domestic economy & overseas order books are continuing to show improvement
  • UK Small Caps continue to ‘trounce’ the markets biggest shares
  • All reports once again show that this year looks like being another strong one for commercial property in particular


  • European Central Bank (ECB) kept interest rates at 0.25% as the ‘deflation’ issue continues. However the ECB President Mario Draghi has indicated for the first time the possibility of Quantitive Easing being introduced – certainly something to keep an eye on!
  • Valuations are supportive & corporate competitiveness improving, but fiscal programmes & structural reforms remains constraints while the ECB has not managed to improve credit availability in many sectors
  • Europe looks most exposed to any developing problems in emerging markets
  • The continued geo-political uncertainty in Ukraine is also a worry as previously mentioned


  • All reports show the fundamentals in terms of consumer spending, housing & business confidence are improving
  • Fidelity quote “There is simply less to worry about in the US than elsewhere in the world and that makes it stock market a relative port in the storm”

Asia & Emerging Markets

  • Performance is increasing divergent, while some countries are benefiting from strong domestic fundamentals; others are under pressure from politics, current account deficits & tighter monetary policies
  • Although Japan has its problems “it looks fundamentally sound, reasonable value & well supported by government policy” (Fidelity). April sees the introduction of an increased consumption tax so experts are waiting to see the consequences of this on the Japanese economy. Therefore investment should be seen in a medium/long term view
  • China is undergoing a significant growth slowdown, although it is still seen by many as an attractive investment for the long term
  • India’s persistent problems with poor infrastructure & bureaucracy  continues to cloud the outlook longer term
  • The renewed recovery in the US has meant that investors increasingly see no reason to take on the higher risk of investing in developing countries


  • It is expected the economic cycle is to continue to be more positive for the rest of 2014 as the recovery broadens out in more countries
  • Equities still look better value than bonds & commodities
  • Increased investor enthusiasm for technology & bio-technology stocks
  • Tom Stevenson (Fidelity) “I am more convinced than ever of the need to manage a balanced portfolio at times like these, to spread ongoing investments over time to the extent that is possible in order to benefit from any short term dips in markets & to keep some powder dry in case there is a more significant downturn”

So what does this mean for our Investors & Portfolios?

  • As previously stated: clients still in cash should consider investing due to increased confidence
  • Cautious clients who don’t want full exposure to equities should think about investing in our chosen commercial property funds
  • Heavier focus in the US
  • Maintain UKinvestment: especially in UK Small Caps where all data
    is positive
  • Potential to be brave in areas that are struggling i.e. Emerging Markets. Opportunityto buy cheap stocks with a long term view on returns
  • Continue to invest but with caution in an uncertainEurope(not includingUK) until geo-political issues are resolved & and upside in Emerging Markets returns
  • Further opportunities to invest in specialist technology funds
  • Possible diversification opportunity in China/Japan for long term growth (for the brave!)

If you would like to discuss your portfolio please contact us now on 0191 281 9862 or e-mail to arrange an appointment! 

Disclaimer: This email is not intended as advice and no investment decisions should be made solely on the back of this email. Past performance is no guide to the future. All investments carry the risk that you will not get back what you have put in.

Budget 2014! Amazing change to pensions that will change your retirement planning!

We don’t normally like to put out a post budget report but after yesterday’s announcements we felt unusually that this impacts significantly on a large number of our clients. The bottom line is that some of the restrictive rules on how you take your pension benefits are about to be relaxed. This is a game changer for clients with pension’s funds that are not being taken.

Yesterday’s budget announced plans that effectively opens up access to pension schemes by removing the need to buy an annuity. This is news that I know many clients will be absolutely delighted about.

It will be an extremely popular decision to the voter, will release millions of pounds into the economy that was otherwise tied up and will also bring in extra tax for the government.

The concern must be that this will open the doors to funds that are supposed to be for the long term security of clients and I would envisage the regulator will be looking very closely at this area of advice.

We see this news as being the most significant in the pension industry in the 23 years that Nigel Reeves has been in it.

Many client scenarios will be affected – we have listed a number of them below

  • People about to retire
  • People with Drawdown
  • People with ISA’s
  • People with funds under 30k
  • People wanting to retire at 55 years of age
  • People that have not used pensions due to lack of access

Are you one of the above?

However like most of these things the devil will be in the detail and one would not be surprised if this is amended greatly during the next few months of consultation period. Anyone seeking to buy annuities may be advised to wait till this is clearer over the next few months.

Rest assured we will make sure we consider all the facts and be up-to-date with regards the opportunities and risks that this news may bring. We will continue to provide bespoke solutions to each individual.

Below are a couple of documents the treasury have released that we thought may be of interest to you

Budget 2014: The New ISA

Budget 2014: Greater choice in pension explained

If you would like to discuss how the Budget could affect please you contact us NOW on 0191 281 9862 or e-mail to arrange an appointment  

Market Outlook – March 2014


Here at Reeves Independent we are currently working on our new client Investment Portfolios. Below are a number of key points from experts concerning the next few months investment outlook!!

UK & Europe

  • European Central Bank keeps interest rates at 0.25% & raises its forecast for growth to 1.2% in 2014 & downgraded its inflation estimate to 1%
  • UK interest rates have been held 0.5% for another month to continue to stimulate the UK economy
  • Bank of England upgraded its expectation of growth this year to 3.4% – if this turns out to be correct it will be the biggest growth since 2007
  • The recovery in UK commercial property values gathered pace in the second half of 2013 and this momentum is expected  to continue through 2014
  • Russia/Ukraine crisis will be mean investors should be prepared for further volatility, in the region & across emerging markets. They should be mindful of potential infection for some European banks & other companies with significant business interests in Russia and/or Ukraine
  • Supportive structural measures by Eurozone governments, combined with the successful efforts by companies themselves to become cost-effective are providing positive signals. Global growth & increased consumption in Asia should benefit European countries (Global equities)


  • US Growth puzzle falling into place – growing household wealth thanks to rising home & share prices, along with gradually improving labour market, signals higher US consumption ahead

Asia & Emerging Markets

  • Uncertainty about Japan will increase due to tightened fiscal policies & increased taxes
  • China, growth will decelerate cautiously this year, mainly due to reform efforts including a tightening of credit expansion
  • India’s economic slowdown appears to have bottomed out, but there are no signs of vigorous recovery
  • Faster growth ahead in emerging Asia due to exports to the US & Europe & increased intraregional trade (Singapore/Taiwan are expected to benefit the most)
  • Emerging markets are working to resolve the problems caused by high inflation, large current account deficits & political instability
  • Economic trouble spots in Latin America – Brazil/Argentina especially – not help by political unrest in Venezuela


  • Quantative Easing talk has fallen into the background over recent months but we must be wary until a firm decision has been made
  • International economic upturn appears increasingly stable
  • Looking ahead, companies in the commodity, engineering & IT sectors are showing the highest earnings growth in 2014
  • The world economy is accelerating – expected global GDP growth is estimated at nearly 4% for the next 2 years.
  • Emerging markets is estimated to grow even quicker at 5% annually for the same period
  • Positive global manufacturing data predicts continued growth in this sector

So what does this mean for our Investors & Portfolios?

  • Reduced cash holdings due to increased confidence
  • Opportunities available in India & emerging Asia
  • Possible switch of focus to US funds
  • Invest in funds that traditionally do well in economic growth periods such as Special Situations, Finance, Small Caps
  • Continue to invest in specialist property related funds & technology funds
  • Potential to be brave in markets that are struggling such as Russia

If you would like to discuss your portfolio please contact us now on 0191 281 9862 or e-mail to arrange an appointment! 

Disclaimer: This email is not intended as advice and no investment decisions should be made solely on the back of this email. Past performance is no guide to the future. All investments carry the risk that you will not get back what you have put in.