Mantle Financial Planning ® Chartered Financial Planners & Tax Advisers 2017-12-14T17:30:08Z Investment Committee <![CDATA[Weekly Market Update]]> 2017-12-12T08:42:56Z 2017-12-11T14:47:25Z Tech stocks have a volatile week...

Weekly Market Update

High drama amounted to very little reward last week with tech stocks having a volatile week. This reflected the sector’s hefty gains that led to profit taking as some investors eyed the year end. However, the strong structural change within the broader technology industry will likely keep going as euphoria takes hold in the late stages of this bull market. Meanwhile, Bitcoin continued its rocket-propelled rise, crashing through the $16,000 mark on Thursday. The cryptocurrency is now up over 50 per cent for the month. What could possibly go wrong?

After a week of tense discussions on the fate of the Irish border, Britain and the EU finally reached an agreement on exit terms last Friday. The deal enshrines special rights for 4 million citizens and agrees to pay €40bn to €60bn in a divorce settlement that clears the way for trade talks next year. One small step but at least its in the right direction.

Germany’s trade data reinforced earlier poor industrial production figures, showing the country had a weaker-than-expected start to the fourth quarter. However, French factories bucked the trend and significantly outperformed expectations in October.

Japan’s revised third-quarter GDP reading beat expectations, showing annual growth of 2.5 per cent, up from a preliminary estimate of 1.4 per cent reported last month and just below the 2.6 per cent seen in the second quarter.

Most of the suspects detained in a major anti-corruption drive launched in Saudi Arabia last month accepted settlements to avoid prosecution. The current number of individuals detained was 159, while the total number of people subpoenaed to provide information about alleged corruption stands at 320. Meanwhile, the oil price saw a second weekly loss, as investors focused on expanding US oil production and gasoline stockpiles, despite OPEC’s recent agreement to extend supply cuts.

This week, the US Federal Reserve, ECB, and the UK’s Monetary Policy Committee meet to discuss monetary policy and setting of interest rates for the final time in 2017. Clearly the central banks are firmly stuck in different phases of the policy cycle. News of wages growing at an annualised pace of 2.5 per cent for November in the latest monthly jobs report doesn’t shift the needle for US policy expectations, with a quarter percentage rise likely this week.

For the ECB, currently buying €60bn of bonds each month, a tapering to €30bn begins from January with expectations of rate increases still a story for 2019. While for the UK, there appears limited chance of an immediate rise given the undertones of deteriorating economic data.



Weekly Market Update

Rachel Irving <![CDATA[Mantles & Christmas Cards……]]> 2017-12-08T10:57:59Z 2017-12-08T10:57:59Z Mantles & Christmas Cards……

This year, Mantle Financial Planning has decided not to send out Christmas cards. We have instead, made a donation to Macmillan Cancer Support. One of our consultants is a volunteer fund raiser for this wonderful charity and wrote to the local fund raising manager to pass on the good news. He wrote back to say:

‘Instead of spending £2 on a card, £2 could keep a Macmillan information and Support Centre, such as the Butterfly Centre in Epsom (the most local Macmillan Centre to our offices) stocked with all the information resources it needs to support people affected by cancer for an hour. These resources would include booklets, guides, directories and leaflets’.

And that’s the point. As a charity, Macmillan uses donations to help people and their families to cope with the huge personal, medical and financial impact of living with cancer. They do this through providing a range of services including emotional support, direct financial assistance and advice on claiming benefits to make their lives more bearable. They asked us to pass on a link to their website as all donations, no matter how small, are always gratefully received and the money is put to excellent use. 





Mantles & Christmas Cards……

Gill Hollis <![CDATA[More Savers To Complete Tax Returns]]> 2017-11-28T12:16:21Z 2017-12-05T12:05:55Z Do you need to contact HMRC ?

More Savers To Complete Tax Returns

MoneyAge has reported that changes made to how interest is taxed means that some savers will need to complete a tax return and pay tax due by 31 January 2018.

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Since 6 April 2016, tax on interest is no longer deducted at 20% by banks and building societies. Instead taxpayers need to account for this to HMRC and pay any tax due on savings interest by the end of January, following the end of the tax year.

When this change was introduced, the government also introduced a new savings allowance of £1,000 per year for basic rate taxpayers and £500 per year for 40% taxpayers. Top rate (45%) taxpayers don’t get this allowance.

LEBC director of public policy Kay Ingram said: “If the interest earned exceeds individual allowances, HMRC must be told with any tax due being paid before 31 January. Not reporting this untaxed income and paying the tax due on time builds up a debt, and could result in interest and penalties being applied by HMRC.

“To avoid unnecessary tax on savings, it is worth making use of other allowances and different types of investment, which allow savers to keep more of their interest without tax becoming due. For example, Individual Savings Accounts, investment bonds issued by UK insurance companies and pension plans. If the excess over the allowance is small, making an equivalent gift to charity would also reduce the liability.”

If you would like more information on tax planning for your personal circumstances, please contact us >>

More Savers To Complete Tax Returns

Investment Committee <![CDATA[Weekly Market Update]]> 2017-12-04T15:05:04Z 2017-12-04T15:05:04Z FTSE100 stocks struggle as Sterling stregthens.....

Weekly Market Update

FTSE 100 stocks struggled last week as sterling strengthened on hopes that Brexit talks could be progressing. However, British manufacturing received a lift with the latest figures suggesting strong expansion in the sector. New orders for investment goods jumped at the quickest rate since 1994, and companies reported continuing support to exports from sterling weakness.

A second estimate of US third-quarter GDP showed that the US economy grew at a 3.3 per cent annualised rate. Data also highlighted that US consumer confidence surged to a near 17-year high in November, driven by a robust labour market, while house prices rose sharply in September in the latest encouraging reports about the US economy.

US markets hit new trading highs boosted by investors’ hopes that President Trump’s promised tax cuts were coming closer to fruition. Shares of financial companies also got a further boost after Jerome Powell defended the need to potentially lighten regulation on the financial sector in testimony before a Senate committee. Later Michael Flynn, a former Trump official, was charged with lying to the FBI over the Russian investigation, and talks surrounding impeachment rattled markets once move.

Donald Trump came a step closer to the first legislative victory of his presidency as Senate Republicans passed a historic bill in the early hours of Saturday to overhaul the US tax system. The core of the bill is a tax cut for corporations that takes their rates to the lowest level in decades, with more modest reductions for individual taxpayers. Party leaders see turning the tax package into law as vital to their chances of retaining control of Congress in mid-term elections next year.

OPEC and Russia agreed to prolong production cuts through to the end of 2018, in their fight against a global supply glut. However, its impact on oil prices was limited, tempered by news that the US expanded output to another record last week.

The value of bitcoin surged above $11,000 mark and has now risen more than 850 per cent since the start of the year. IG Group, the world’s largest online trading platform, had suspended trading of some of its bitcoin derivatives on Monday after roaring demand for the products left the company facing a high security risk. The price has been buoyed by last month’s decision by CME Group, the world’s largest exchange operator by market value, to launch bitcoin futures by the end of the year in response to demand from some of its biggest users. The move by a traditional market has helped give the cryptocurrency legitimacy in the eyes of some traders.

If you would like more information, please contact us >>

Weekly Market Update

Colin Caulfield <![CDATA[FCA Warns Consumers Over Risky Transfers]]> 2017-12-04T09:34:43Z 2017-12-04T09:34:42Z Beware of cold calls to transfer your pension......

FCA Warns Consumers Over Risky Transfers

The regulator has urged consumers to be careful when considering transferring their pensions into a new scheme, reports Money Marketing.

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The FCA is warning consumers to be wary of any contact out of the blue by call, email or text offering to discuss their pension or a free pension review.

Savers should be cautious about any unusual investments such as overseas property, forestry, storage units, care homes or biofuels, it says. Guaranteed returns, cash lump sums or the requirement to set up a limited company in order to invest should also be treated with caution.

The FCA says: “Free pension reviews are designed to persuade you to move money saved in an existing pension pot to a new scheme. Chance are your money will be invested in something that is either very risky or a scam.”

The regulator warns that some schemes are simply badly run investments while other may be outright scams. Because many are pitched as long-term investments, it says consumers may not even realise something is wrong for several years.

The FCA adds: “Professional pension advice is not free. Professional advisers looking to act in your best interests are very unlikely to cold call you offering their services.”

Consumers should be sure to check any company offering advice or a pension review is authorised by the FCA. The regulator advises anyone considering investing their pension pot in unregulated schemes to seek impartial advice unconnected to the firm which has contacted them.

Savers releasing cash sums from their pension funds could have to pay tax of up to 55 per cent, and those who have taken unregulated advice will not be entitled to protection from the FOS or FSCS.


FCA Warns Consumers Over Risky Transfers

Clive Shaw <![CDATA[What Is Bitcoin ?]]> 2017-11-27T18:16:14Z 2017-12-01T12:48:05Z What Is Bitcoin ?

Virtual currency Bitcoin is at a record high of $9,700 and this takes it to 20% above the level it stood at on Friday 24th November, according to the Luxembourg based Bitcoin exchange, Bitstamp.

It started the year at around $1,000. Virtual currencies are largely unregulated and bypass traditional banking systems. Their growth is of increasing concern to international regulators.

JP Morgan Chase’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon said “it’s just not a real thing, eventually it will be closed.”

Currencies such as Bitcoin use blockchain, which is an online ledger of transactions maintained by a network of anonymous computers on the internet.

They are not backed by any government, nor central bank and therefore there is no-one responsible for backing their value.

We think that this is a highly volatile and risky asset. People should take a great deal of care and understand the risks before opting to buy into Bitcoin.

If you would like information on investment planning opportunities centred on your personal circumstances, please contact us >>

What Is Bitcoin ?

Gill Hollis <![CDATA[Pension Auto Enrolment]]> 2017-11-17T14:52:58Z 2017-11-29T11:41:38Z Minimum contribution levels set to increase next April

Pension Auto Enrolment

There are changes coming from April 2018 which will affect the minimum contributions that must be paid in respect of employees to the workplace pension scheme used for auto-enrolment.

The changes, set out in legislation, will be introduced in two phases, with an increase in the minimum required contributions applying from the start of each phase.

The following figures apply where contributions are calculated using ‘qualifying earnings’.

Critical dates Employer minimum contribution1 Employee minimum contribution2 Total minimum contribution


Until 5 April 2018


1% 1% 2%
6 April 2018 – 5 April 2019


2% 3% 5%
From 6 April 2019


3% 5% 8%

1 The table assumes the employer is paying only the employer minimum contribution. An employer can agree to pay more, but can’t pay less, than this.

2 The employee only needs to pay any difference between the employer contribution and the total minimum.

Employers and employees can arrange to pay more than the minimums.


If you would like more information on pension planning, please contact us >>

Pension Auto Enrolment

Investment Committee <![CDATA[Weekly Market Update]]> 2017-11-27T14:50:30Z 2017-11-27T14:50:30Z The UK economy grew at 0.4 per cent in the third quarter of the year, in line with expectations

Weekly Market Update

The UK economy grew at 0.4 per cent in the third quarter of the year, in line with expectations. However, UK consumer confidence fell sharply reaching lows last seen in the aftermath of the Brexit vote. Consumers remain concerned over potential interest rate hikes, and signs of a slowdown in the housing market.

Within the Budget, UK growth was revised downwards for the next five years, attributing much of the blame to continuing low productivity. The downgrades will complicate the Chancellor’s target to reduce the UK’s deficit to 2 per cent of GDP by 2021. Whether Hammond’s announcement of extra funding for research and development, artificial intelligence, and electric and driverless cars helps boost productivity remains highly debatable.

The US Federal Reserve signalled a near-term rate rise despite addressing the inflation question. The US is faced with above-trend growth and a labour market that is at full employment. However, inflation remains below target and presents policymakers with a challenging balancing act to manage. If interest rates remain at low levels, then this could create imbalances and further excesses in financial markets.

Investors seemed undeterred by the resignation of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who stated that she will leave her position once her tenure ends in February. Yellen’s departure comes well before her position as governor ends in 2024, giving President Trump an unexpected opportunity to further shape leadership of the central bank.

Germany’s biggest opposition party may have thrown a lifeline to Angela Merkel. Social Democrat Secretary General Hubertus Heil said he was open to talks on backing a government led by the embattled Chancellor, which may eliminate the need for new elections. However, Merkel has made clear she would prefer a fresh election to leading a minority government to break the political stalemate. Economically, German companies are more confident than ever, with recent surveys hitting record high.

Chinese shares saw their largest one day fall in 17 months, with the Shanghai Composite falling 2.3 per cent last Thursday. Although a relatively limited fall, surveys are suggesting that more than 2,000 Chinese companies pointed to contraction in the industrial sector over the third quarter, as overcapacity persists, and the cost of raw materials has increased.

Oil prices rose last week following the shutdown of TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline. In addition to the pipeline remaining at just 15 per cent of capacity, investors are also hopeful that OPEC, the cartel of oil-producing nations, will extend the current production cuts beyond March 2018.


Weekly Market Update

Jenny Jackson <![CDATA[More Budget Numbers…..]]> 2017-11-23T15:38:32Z 2017-11-23T15:38:32Z More Budget Numbers…..


  • The pension lifetime allowance will rise to £1,030,000 and reassuringly there are no changes to the pensions funding limits – i.e. the annual allowance remains at £40,000 and will not be tapered (to a minimum of £10k) until adjusted income exceeds £150,000.

Income tax

  • The personal allowance and higher rate threshold will increase to £11,850 and £46,350. The income tax rates and bands which will apply to Scottish taxpayers will be announced in Scottish Budget on 14 December.
  • The dividend allowance will be cut to £2,000 as already announced. In particular, this will hit small and medium sized business owners who take their profits as a dividend. Employer pension contributions will become an even more attractive way of extracting profits from a business.
  • There are no changes to any other income tax bands.

Capital gains tax

  • The capital gains tax allowance will increase by £400 to £11,700.

Inheritance tax

  • As expected, the IHT nil rate band will remain at £325,000 until April 2021 and the residence nil rate band will increase from £100,000 to £125,000. In total that will mean that, from April, couples can leave assets up to £900,000 to future generation free of IHT.


  • Annual ISA limits stay at £20,000 per person, with a range of different ISAs to choose from. Each has its own rules and limits and is designed for different purposes, whether that’s medium or long term investing, or saving for a house deposit.

If you would like more information, please contact us >>

More Budget Numbers…..

Jenny Jackson <![CDATA[The Budget’s Key Points]]> 2017-11-23T13:35:59Z 2017-11-23T13:35:59Z The Budget’s Key Points

Wednesday’s Budget was a bit of a damp squib for financial planning, with no significant changes apart from the Stamp Duty saving for 1st time buyers. Here are some of the key points:

The state of the UK economy 

  • In 2017, growth is expected to come in at 1.5 per cent, falling to 1.4 per cent in 2018
  • Through 2019 and 2020, growth is set to fall again to 1.3 per cent, before picking up to 1.5 per cent in 2021 and then to 1.6 per cent in 2022
  • The Bank of England’s will continue to target 2 per cent inflation
  • £3bn to be set aside over next two years to prepare for every possible outcome as the UK leaves EU



  • Personal allowance on income tax to rise to £11,850 in April 2018
  • Higher-rate tax threshold to increase to £46,350
  • National living wage to rise in April 2018 by 4.4 per cent, from £7.50 an hour to £7.83.
  • Tax evasion crackdown to raise £23bn a year
  • VAT registration threshold of £85,000 kept as it is

Stamp duty

  • Stamp duty abolished for purchases up to £300,000 for first-time buyers and the the first £300,000 of the cost of a £500,000 purchase


  • A ‘patient capital’ action plan that aims to unlock £20bn of new investment in UK scale-up businesses
  • Investment for over £500m in a range of initiatives supporting technology
  • EIS limits doubled on certain investments
  • A further £2.3bn added for investment in research and development


  • Universal Credit to get £1.5bn package to address delivery concerns
  • Initial week wait to process claims to be scrapped

If you would like more information on tax planning opportunities centred on your personal circumstances, please contact us >>

The Budget’s Key Points