The Atticus Papers

Bringing clarity to finance

Tuesday 25th January, 2022

Pensions versus ISAs - Which is best?

As we head towards the end of tax year, my clients have started asking me that age old question: Should I fund my pension or ISA? Which is best? In the article below, I will attempt to address this question, highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of each. As always, the answer to this question can be quite nuanced and will often depend on where you are in your financial lifecycle and what you are trying to achieve. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to give us a call at Atticus Financial Planning. We are always happy to help.

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Wednesday 19th January, 2022

End of year tax planning opportunities to look out for

The end of tax year is always a mad rush to try and utilise all our personal tax allowances and reliefs in order to ensure that our investment returns and income are generated as tax efficiently as possible. After all, the government makes a limited number of tax incentives and reliefs available to us and it makes sense to utilise them as much as possible. This article aims to highlight some of the mainstream tax planning opportunities that are available and how to use them. If you would like to discuss how you can make the most of these end of tax year planning opportunities, then please don't hesitate to give us a call.

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Monday 26th July, 2021

How to invest in smaller companies and start-ups - A guide to Enterprise Investment Schemes, Venture Capital Trusts and AIM portfolios

"How can I invest in smaller, newer, growth companies and Start-ups?" It is probably the dream of every investor to go out and find a brand new start-up that very few other people have access to, buy up some equity in the business and then watch as it goes stratospheric. It's like Captain Ahab's quest for the great white whale, hopefully just a little less self-destructive and fruitless. Despite the fact that this is often perceived as the preserve of the institutional investor (your Gordon Gekkos of the world), many retail investors have not given up hope of finding a start-up to invest in with the possibility of finding the elusive 10 bagger (10 x original investment) investment or higher. After all, it doesn't take much. I had a friend who invested £15,000 in ASOS, when it first floated on AIM, and watched (firstly with shock and then undisguised glee) as it grew to £250,000. In the article below, I will look at a number of different investment vehicles which retail investors (that's non-professional investors) can use to gain access to investment opportunities in start-ups and smaller, riskier, growth focussed companies. We will look at Alternative Investment Market (AIM) portfolios, Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS) and Venture Capital Trusts (VCT). We will look at what they are, how they work, and the advantages and disadvantages of utilising them as an investment option. It is important to note that, although these investments carry large growth potential and tax benefits, they are incredibly risky. It is therefore crucial to take advice before investing in any of these investment vehicles and it is important that you are careful about how much of your portfolio you choose to invest in them.

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Friday 9th July, 2021

What are investment wrappers? - a guide to investment tax structures in the UK

What is meant by an investment tax wrapper? Financial advisers are often accused of using obscure industry jargon, when talking to clients. I know that I am sometimes guilty of this and I think any professional tends to unintentionally fall into the phrases that they feel most comfortable with, when trying to explain something which may be quite complex. For the adviser, this may be fine, but for the client it can be incredibly frustrating and confusing. One of the phrases most often bandied about by financial advisers is the term “tax wrapper”. When I look at it objectively, it is a very confusing phrase. It sounds like something you should get if HMRC suddenly started their own clothing line! However, it is a remarkably important phrase and it is crucial that investors understand it, as it goes right to the heart of how an individual makes their portfolio as tax efficient as possible. In the article below, I will explain what a tax wrapper actually is, highlight some of the more common tax vehicles and explain some of their most important features. This can be quite a complex area, so please don’t hesitate to give us a call if you have any questions. We are always happy to help.

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Monday 5th April, 2021

The art of tax efficient investing

The best way I can demonstrate the impact of effective tax planning is through a little theoretical exercise I do with my UK clients. The first thing I ask them is how much income can a married couple, both aged 65, earn in retirement before they have to pay tax? The standard answer is £25,140 based on two personal Income Tax allowances. This answer is understandable, but incorrect.

Read about the art of tax efficient investing, or watch the video

If you would like further information, please don’t hesitate to ask us for one of our more complete digital guides to finance.