Savings and Investments

For your investment and savings needs

Elements always takes a holistic view of your needs by ensuring that each piece of your financial jigsaw fits with the others to create your own unique and individual strategy. This applies whether you are looking for investment growth beyond inflation, financial security for yourself or a dependant or to generate additional financial resources for retirement. You may just be seeking peace of mind that you will always be able to maintain your financial independence or you may be saving and investing for a specific purpose – future education costs, for example. Whatever you want to achieve, we will work with you to help you achieve your goals.

Fit for purpose

Our recommendations will be based upon many important factors. First and foremost, upon our understanding of your current circumstances, hopes and aspirations for the future, your tax position and your attitude to investment risk. Secondly, we will employ our own expertise and knowledge of the available options together with the sophisticated research tools available to us. The net result will be a programme that fits your precise needs and is tailored to fulfil your unique requirements.

Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs)

Note that from 6th October 2009 anybody who is aged 50 before April 2010 can invest a further £1500 into a cash ISA and £1500 into a Stocks and shares ISA giving a total allowance of £10,200. This allowance is available to everyone after 6th April 2010.

ISAs were introduced on 6 April 1999 to replace Personal Equity Plans (PEPs) and Tax Exempt Special Savings Accounts (TESSAs). ISAs now incorporate both PEPs and TESSAs.

ISAs can consist of up to two components:

The stocks and shares component.

This can include virtually all quoted securities, as well as unit trusts, shares in Open-Ended Investment Companies (OEICs) and Investment Trusts. The quoted securities allowed include equities listed on any Recognised Stock Exchange. You can also invest in corporate bonds, as well as government securities issued by a European Economic Area government.

The cash component.

This can be invested in bank or building society deposits and certain money market unit trusts.

Whilst no transfers are allowed from stocks and shares to cash, it is now permissible to transfer the cash component to a stock and share ISA.

There are two types of individual savings account:

A stocks and shares ISA, which must have a stocks and shares investment component and may also include a cash component. In practice, many ISAs only contain the stocks and shares component. The maximum that may be invested in a stocks and shares ISA in the current Tax Year is £7,200, made up as follows:

  • Up to £3,600 in any cash component.
  • The balance, up to the overall £7,200 maximum, in the stocks and shares component.

A cash ISA, which can only provide the cash component up to a maximum of £3,600.

If you choose a cash ISAs and wish to maximise your investment, you must invest in two separate ISAs during the tax year, covering the two investment components. You cannot invest the full allowances in both a cash ISA and an investment ISA.

ISAs will have several major tax advantages until at least April 2010:

  • Freedom from capital gains tax.
  • Freedom from income tax on interest from corporate bonds and dividends from foreign securities.
  • Freedom from income tax on interest earned in the cash component (any deposit interest earned in the insurance or stocks and shares components is subject to 20% tax).

These mean that the investments should grow faster.

You are free to draw from your plan at any time without adverse tax consequences.

Diversification

Most people are familiar with the saying `don’t put all of your eggs in one basket` and the same applies when looking at investment strategies.

Think of the potential risk you are running by investing all of your money in just one fund with one provider - If the fund performs poorly, all of your money performs poorly.

Conversely, if the fund performs well, all of your money performs well but with thousands of funds available, how on earth do you decide which fund or funds to invest in?

It is generally advisable to spread investments between different asset classes, e.g. shares, property, fixed-interest, etc. Investment can also be diversified over different industrial, commercial and economic sectors as well as internationally. This is known as Asset Allocation, the importance of which was set out in a landmark article, “Determinants of Portfolio Performance,” published in the Financial Analysts Journal in July/August 1986 and updated in May/June 1991 by Gary P Brinson, L Randolph Hood and Gilbert Beebower. This study concluded that 91.5% of a fund’s performance is due to asset allocation. In addition, the Myners Report dated March 2001 highlighted the weight of academic evidence suggesting that allocation decisions can be critical determinants of investment performance. Implementation of these principles requires a sophisticated financial model that attempts to determine an optimal combination of different asset classes to predict the mathematically expected return for your chosen level of risk.

At Paramount Group Ltd we understand the importance of asset allocation and work closely with a number of leading companies to ensure all of our clients have access to portfolio’s which offer tactical asset allocation and continual management to reduce risk and maximise returns.

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