When you hear the word “President,” what comes to mind?

When you hear the word “president,” what comes to mind? Probably the president of the United States, right?

Even though there are many presidents in the world, the word has become closely linked to America. But have you ever wondered why the person in office is called “president” in the first place?

Enter the president

At the end of the American Revolutionary War, it fell to a small group, the Founding Fathers, to decide how this new country should be governed.

The result was a constitutional democracy built on the principle of dividing power among the executive, legislative and judicial branches. At the head of this new governmental system would be a new kind of office: the “president.” This person would lead the government, take responsibility for day-to-day decision-making and be its outward representative.

Naming this new office had proven particularly tricky. Many of the words that seemed obvious, like “governor” and “prime minister,” were rejected because they were associated with the British. Eventually, they settled on the more neutral word “president,” from the Latin “praesidere,” meaning to “preside over.” This term still carried a sense of authority, but was free from any British connotations.

Final Salary Scheme Transfers – a dangerous pastime.

I dont offer advice in connection with the Transfer of Final Salary Pension Schemes and havent done so for many years.  Now one of the industry’s  most respected firms has withdrawn from the market.  O&M Pension Advice will stop offering its pension transfer advisory service from 1 July.

The firm, has now  begun the process of winding down the business and has already stopped accepting new cases.

O&M will continue to produce transfer value analysis reports for advisers using its transfer bureau service, but will not be able to execute any advice.

The firm was not able to secure professional indemnity cover for its advisory services, according to director Phil Billingham, contributing to its closure.

He says: “When I took over the business in January, we had plans to become directly regulated with the FCA but unfortunately, a hardening of the professional indemnity market in the wake of the British Steel fiasco, together with unexpected difficulties with our arranged PI insurance, has forced our hand.  Sourcing commercially acceptable PI cover at short notice has proved impossible.”

The move to close down the advice service mirrors Selectapension’s decision to do the same thing last year.


And why do you tell me all this, I hear you ask?  Because the transfer of Final Salary Pension schemes is fraught with danger for both the client and the Adviser and is a business that is becoming less and less attractive in my opinion. (It was never very attractive to me if the truth be known).  The British Steel fiasco over their Scheme has, I suppose, been the proverbial straw the broke the camel’s back.

Challenging the throwaway society

Challenging the throwaway society – ocean plastics highlight wasteful consumption habits

After years of campaigning by NGOs (Non-governmental organisations), it took a seminal wildlife documentary – Blue Planet II – to get politicians to pay attention to the devastation being wrought by the disposal of plastics. More than eight million tonnes of plastic are discarded into the oceans every year, equivalent to 16 full shopping bags for every metre of the world’s coastline.

Policy experiments have proven remarkably effective. The UK’s plastic bag charge cut usage by 85% and we expect to see similar policy initiatives developed in 2018. Single-use plastic bottles are a likely target, given that a million plastic bottles are sold every minute, but only a small percentage of which are made from recycled materials. There is a potential cost here for companies which have to change their production processes – but it also opens up opportunities for those developing innovative new packaging solutions.

If Socially Responsible Investing is something that interests you and you would like to find out more about it, give us a call.  We would be happy to meet and have a chat with you

Make your own luck

A little snippet I spotted recently, which I thought might be of interest to some of you.  If not it’s still worth a glance.

Think of a time in your life when you got really lucky. Perhaps, for example, you were seated next to a stranger at a dinner party, and she wound up making the introductions that led to your landing your dream job?

What a stroke of luck!

Or was it?

After all, it may have been chance that you were seated right next to her, but, from there on in, it was up to you to present yourself as a capable and friendly person whom she’d remember as a promising candidate when the time came.

Maximize your own luck

Some things in life are down to chance, but much of what we consider luck can actually be influenced and increased through a few simple strategies:

First, be persistent. Take author John Grisham. He’s sold over 275 million books, but his first novel was rejected by 28 publishers. It was his persistence and passion that won him the “lucky break” he needed.

Second, be where the opportunities for luck are. Actors head to Hollywood because that’s where luck may occur, be it in the form of their meeting the right agent or spotting the right audition notice.

Similarly, entrepreneurs head to Silicon Valley because that’s where the opportunities are to make their dream company a reality.

So don’t wait for luck to arrive; make your own luck!


Pensions Freedoms – Flexible, Yes but…

Pensions Freedoms have presented UK savers with far more flexibility over how they take their pension pots at age 55 and beyond.

But with increasing longevity, the uncertainty over how much the overburdened welfare state will be able to look after the elderly, particularly those needing long-term care, and the government making incremental changes to pensions taxation and the state pension age, people’s workplace pension pots will need to last much longer than many expect.

How can one invest to ensure the fund lasts for the length of retirement, if clients need it to, and how can advisers help mitigate risks such as market and sequencing risk?

You also have to address that perennial problem of suitability, given people’s needs will change over the course of their lifetime?

And as with all advice, every client has different needs, objectives, desires and opinions.  Not only that, but you have to address the desire to take their pension pot (or at least some of it) as soon as they can, leaving themselves short when they eventually retire some five or ten years later.

Don’t be afraid to give us a call and get proper advice before taking the plunge.  Yes it will cost you a fee but it could be worth it in the long run.