A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Fundworks's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Fundworks is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Highlighting best practice
Directors David Hall, Paul
Bailey and Gordon McNeil
Fundworks were founded in Sheffield in 1992, and provide
a full range of financial planning services. The business
prides itself on building long-term relationships based on
trust, expertise and tried-and-tested service standards. It has,
over the past 26 years, grown from strength to strength, with a
substantial and loyal client base. They manage with excellence
and great care assets which are altogether worth around £80
million, and their directors, Paul Bailey, David Hall and Gordon
McNeil, explain here precisely how Fundworks achieves this.
Our clients
Our clients are typically between their early 40s and their late 80s. This is a broad range
of people, all of whom have different priorities, and a variety of financial goals. These
span from managing investments to creating portfolios from newly inherited wealth,
or looking ahead to a time when they can make decisions regarding retirement.
There are, naturally, also those clients who are planning the protection of their assets
for their family from, for instance, inheritance taxes, as they move into later life.
Every client is different, and that really is vital to the way we operate. Planning and
arranging personalised investment and pension portfolios to meet individual needs
is an integral part of forging successful relationships.
A hands-on approach
Personal contact with our clients, between our four advisers and our highly skilled
back office team, remains the core value on which we have built the business. We
pride ourselves on offering clients a variety of ways to interact with the business:
face-to-face meetings with nationwide coverage, or through quality online access
and mobile technology.
Building wealth
The assets clients entrust us with are central to their financial security and quality
of life. We have thus established a risk-based approach to investing; diversification
is at the heart of all our planning, as we believe this is essential when constructing
an investment portfolio. All clients engage with the processes we have in place, and
accept that complete honesty will allow us to gather the most important information
about their future plans; this helps us to develop a portfolio that best suits them.
We also have an array of tax-efficient investment wrappers to place their money.
With the annual ISA allowance now at £20,000 and the availability of investment
bonds, both on and offshore, clients can feel comfortable that their investments are
in the right place with their personal tax situation catered for. If they want to diversify
further, we also have a longstanding relationship with one of the UK’s largest
individual portfolio managers who can build something appropriate to clients’ needs.
»Directors: David Hall, Paul
Bailey and Gordon McNeil
»Established in 1992
»Based in Sheffield
»Services: Independent financial
advice, specialising in all
aspects of pension planning,
estate and inheritance
planning, investing for growth
or income, and life protection
»No. of employees: 6
»Authorised and regulated
by the Financial Conduct
None of us know how long we will live; managing your wealth through
retirement is thus a challenge. Many of those newly retired tend to cut
back on lifestyle expenditure and keep their capital for a rainy day. This
is, however, the time when you can still enjoy good health, and should
ergo want to spend more of your income and capital.
Managing that process requires good planning, and we use expertise
and knowledge built up over many years to assist our clients in
reaching the right balance. Clients’ risk approach will naturally change
as they no longer earn money to replace the expenditure and we will
adapt portfolios accordingly. Good planning helps to maintain the
lifestyle a client wants to live.
Ageing population
The UK population is ageing, with
projections that up to 15 per cent
of the population will be over 75 by
2040. These are the people in their
50s now; as a result, we have seen
retirement planning become a major
focus within our sector.
The government have already taken
action by increasing the state pension
age to 68, and we have no doubt that a
state pension age of 70 will soon be the
norm for many younger people. Pension
freedom arrived under government
legislation in 2015, and has opened
up a world of high-quality pension
planning and advice to many thousands
of people. Most people in their 50s are
now more focused on the bigger picture,
looking to ensure adequate income for
retirement. No longer is the pension you
have tied up with an insurance company,
with the only access to a lump sum
being the initial tax-free cash; one can
now start planning to use the fund to
suit one’s own circumstances.
The questions
»How and when can I access my
pension plans, and in what format
can I take the money?
»How much have I saved, and is it
enough to meet my needs?
»Is the pension plan I have the right
one for me?
»Can I have lump sums and higher
income while I’m young enough to
enjoy it?
These are complex financial questions
that require quality advice. Without
it, people may find themselves in
the wrong type of scheme for their
particular circumstances. The biggest
area of growth we have identified
has been the deferred membership of
defined benefit schemes, often known
as final salary schemes, where clients
seek advice on how they can benefit
from the pension freedoms.
Although they do not have the benefit
of the new freedoms, there are
underlying guarantees which can be
invaluable when security and risk-free
planning is needed. Transfers out of
these schemes are still available for
those clients wishing to take advantage
of pension freedoms.
Many employers who still operate final
salary schemes find them to be an
enormous burden, and have offered
increased transfer values to tempt and
persuade members to transfer out. As
a business, we provide detailed analysis
of all the options available and provide
recommendations based on each
individual case.
Brexit and the USA
After many years of steady market
growth since the 2008 financial crisis,
we have recently seen some market
volatility, mainly down to uncertainty.
The USA have entered into a period of
challenge in world trade markets, and
discussion of trade tariffs have upset
these markets. The other unknown for
us here in the UK is Brexit, and a lack
of knowledge with regards to how any
trade deal will affect British business.
All clients understand from our first
meeting that we are not investing short
term. In recent years, the best time to
invest was 2009, just after the financial
crisis, as this provided an average 110
per cent return by 2017. If you had
invested in 2006, however, the road may
have been rougher, but you would have
still doubled your money. As the adage
goes, it’s time in the market, rather than
timing the market, which creates wealth.
Every client is
different, and
that really is vital
to the way we
Planning and
investment and
portfolios to
meet individual
needs is an
integral part of

This article was sponsored by Fundworks. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister