Nick Earl is Managing Partner and Independent Financial Advisor at Olivetree Wealth. To learn more about this area of the business, visit here.
Nick started his career at Sun Life of Canada, before qualifying as an independent financial advisor in 1999, working at Millfield Partnership and more recently Wardour Partners Asset Management.
We interviewed Nick to get an insight into financial planning for both private clients and employees of corporate clients.
Can you tell us more about the types of financial planning you offer to your clients and how this service differs from private clients to employees of corporate clients?
We offer several financial planning services to clients. The main focus for most of our clients is retirement planning, whether this is in the early stage for an individual with 30 years until retirement or someone approaching retirement needing to consider all the options available. We recommend planning solutions to suit the client, including cash flow modelling and an appropriate investment solution. The same approach can be used when advising employees of corporate clients. However, the agreement would determine the level of detail in place and whether the employees require a full financial planning service.
Please elaborate on your holistic tax planning model and what differentiating value-add you provide to provide all aspects of financial planning?
All planning has a tax angle to it. We consider the pros and cons of each investment product and our client’s personal experience to determine suitability. Our knowledge and experience in dealing with clients with different situations means we can identify the most appropriate solution.
Over the next few years what does the landscape look like regarding regulatory frameworks and tax increases?
The gradual squeeze on pension allowances for medium-high net worth individuals, whether it is the cap on annual contributions or the limit on how much an individual can hold in their pension without suffering a penal tax charge, will encourage more investors to consider more complex tax efficient investments such as VCT (Venture Capital Trusts) or EIS (Enterprise Investment Schemes). Potential increases in Capital Gains Tax may also have an impact. However, using a tax planner may not be right for every individual and the tax benefits alone shouldn’t be a reason to invest.
Will COVID-19 have a significant impact on tax planning, and if so, what do you anticipate those changes being and how soon will we see it?
I don’t see that COVID-19 will significantly impact tax planning unless taxation shifts higher than the current rates.
What sort of opportunities and potential risks do we see coming out of Covid from an investment and retirement perspective?
Working from home has allowed people to reassess their personal situations, particularly those who were maybe 5 years away from retirement and are now thinking about bringing this forward. These individuals should be seeking advice to understand how they can achieve an earlier retirement and how their investments can provide the income they want.
We can see that you offer mortgage services? Has the last 16 months been a favourable time for clients to borrow? Are you exclusively operating in the residential mortgage services space, or do you offer commercial and infrastructure advice as well?
Conditions for borrowing are favourable, albeit the criteria for borrowers is more stringent. We offer advice on residential, buy to let & holiday lets.
What impact has Covid had on insurance premiums, and what has the consequential impact been for financial planning at Olivetree and across the industry?
We haven’t seen any impact as of yet, although insurers now specifically ask if people have tested positive for Covid or had Covid symptoms in the past few months, this may lead to higher premiums for those affected.
It would be great to understand more about the Employment Benefit Services arm of Olivetree Wealth. How will Covid impact company investments on employment benefits and how does this impact your business as a whole?
Our target market is small to medium companies who want to enhance their employee benefits package with an adviser available for onsite meetings, video calls or regular seminars on various aspects of financial planning. Employer spend on benefits is often 10% of payroll, yet employees do not understand the benefits they have or the investment options available with their pension scheme. We can work alongside the employer, so they get a better return on their employee benefits investment.
Thank you to Nick for participating in Olivetree’s employee spotlight campaign