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PROFESSIONAL SERVICES 2016

of the

CLIENTS The past year has been a dynamic one for Bath’s impressive selection of Professional Services companies – lawyers, accountants, financial advisers and more – but 2016 promises to be better yet… w By PAU L M A R L A N D

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PROFESSIONAL SERVICES 2016

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t’s unavoidable, we’re afraid: at some point in your life – perhaps quite regularly, if you’re in business – you’re going to need a solicitor, and more often than that you’re going to need someone to help with your financial affairs. And good staff – well, they rarely find themselves. To that end, then, we’ve been talking to the leading lights of Bath’s professional services community, to help you find the right legal firm, financial adviser, accountant and recruitment agency for you, and for what you need. We’re here to take the mystery out of locating highquality help and advice to protect you, your family, your business, your income and all your other assets.

LAW FIRMS

For all your litigating, contract negotiating, buyingand-selling and other legal needs…

BLB Solicitors

1 Edgar Buildings, George Street, Bath BA1 2DU; 01225 462871; www.blbsolicitors.co.uk

Who are you? We’re a leading regional law firm, serving Bath, Wiltshire, the M4/M5 corridors and beyond, says James Trescothick-Martin, private client law solicitor. What’s special about the way you work? Client care is at the centre of it. For private clients, this may be a home visit or a chat about their particular, and often personal, issue. It’s about making a person feel comfortable and happy to tell us things, safe in the knowledge that it will be kept confidential. Our aim is to act in our clients’ best interests, and not just provide a legal product.

What exciting things have happened at the company over the last year? We’ve expanded in all our key areas, and have welcomed seven members of staff and appointed three new partners. We took part in the Make a Will Month in aid of the RUH’s Forever Friends Appeal in September, where all fees went to the RUH. We’ll be looking to get involved again in 2016, and with other charitable projects. We remain committed to serving the needs of our clients, including thousands we’ve advised for many years. What are you most looking forward to in 2016? Continuing to grow the team and department. We have some innovative projects and events planned! What might we be surprised to learn? We’ve had a Bath office in Edgar Buildings, George Street for over 30 years – and, in 2014, the company as a whole celebrated its 50th year. Personally speaking, I’m currently a Captain in the Army Reserve, and am being promoted to Major later this year. I ran the Bath Half in March in aid of Time is Precious, a local charity that supports children who find themselves in hospital (and their families), too; www.timeisprecious.org

Mowbray Woodwards

Queen Square, Bath BA1 2HG; 01225 485700; www.mowbraywoodwards.co.uk

Who are you? We’re solicitors for every stage in life, says Jo Stevens, marketing manager at Mowbray Woodwards. What’s special about the way you work? Our priority is delivering outstanding client service. We have a team of exceptional, forward-thinking 122 I BATH LIFE I www.mediaclash.co.uk

From left: the Mowbray Woodwards offices; BLB managing partner Stephen Bishop (centre) and team; Steven Greenwood of Stone King

OUR AIM IS TO ACT IN OUR CLIENTS’

BEST INTERESTS, AND NOT JUST TO PROVIDE A LEGAL PRODUCT OR SERVICE


PROFESSIONAL SERVICES 2016

WE’RE ABLE TO DEAL WITH LARGE

CASES

AND SMALL ONES EQUALLY WELL, BECAUSE OUR FIRM WORKS TOGETHER

legal experts, and our clients benefit from having direct access to senior solicitors, whatever their needs. We’re able to deal with large, complex cases and small ones equally well, because our whole firm works together, in the same building, sharing expertise according to the requirements of each case. What exciting things have happened at the company over the last year? We’re proud to be in the heart of the West Country and the Bath community, actively supporting local charities and events. In April the whole firm spent a day volunteering in the gardens and woodland at National Trust property Chalfield Manor. In the summer we were proud to sponsor the Julian House Garden Opera, a wonderful event held in Prior Park. We also took part in the first RUH Make A Will Month and, along with several firms, helped raise over £30k for the Forever Friends Appeal. What might we be surprised to learn? This year we’re celebrating 70 years in business, and we’ve been based in Queen Square since day one.

seamless, complementary legal advice, covering all aspects of law. Our growth is based on the relationships our people have developed. What exciting things have happened at the company over the last year? We’ve maintained our national ranking as the law firm of choice for the sectors we operate in, and now have a permanent presence in both London and Cambridge, with plans to expand in the north too. (Our new premises in London has a roof garden!) What are you most looking forward to in 2016? Opening our new Leeds office is extremely exciting, and we’re looking forward to developing the firm’s presence in the north of England this spring. We’re also proud to be rated as a leading firm for charity and education law nationally. What might we be surprised to learn? We’re independently recognised as a leading law firm by both Chambers and the Legal 500, and ranked one of the UK’s top 200 law firms by The Lawyer. We’ve acted for 18% of all the schools in the country who’ve so far converted to Academy status!

Stone King

13 Queen Square, Bath BA1 2HJ; 01225 337599; www.stoneking.co.uk

Who are you? We’ve been a business at the heart of Bath city for over 230 years, says managing partner Steven Greenwood, and we still have a fifth-generation member of the King family working for us! What’s special about the way you work? We deservedly have the reputation of being ‘the law firm that cares’. Our ethos is based on understanding your needs, being good listeners and looking at the big picture. We work together to provide you with

Thrings

2 Queen Square, Bath BA1 2HQ; 01225 340000; www.thrings.com

Who are you? We’re a law firm that expects to be measured on the value we bring to our clients, says Lizzie Heffer, director of marketing. What’s special about the way you work? Instead of assuming we know what clients expect from their lawyers, we ask them. A series of independent client surveys has given us insight into what people really need for long-term, successful relationships with their professional advisers. We’ve acted upon these findings, and with great results. What exciting things have happened at the company over the last year? We’ve moved up The Lawyer’s prestigious Top 100 list, to no.84. This gives confidence to clients that we are a firm with credibility and sustainability. Internally, we continue to invest in staff, launching a new intranet for better internal communication and a whole new training programme for our people. What are you most looking forward to in 2016? We’re planning the launch of our new website in May. Throughout the project, we have liaised with staff, clients and contacts, listening to their feedback to ensure they experience the best user journey. We’re looking forward to unveiling it. What might we be surprised to learn? We’re dedicated to contributing to the communities in which we work. To this end, we have strategic partnerships with many charities and not-for-profit w www.mediaclash.co.uk I BATH LIFE I 123


PROFESSIONAL SERVICES 2016

organisations, donating time, energy, money and expertise to various projects.

Withy King

5-6 Northumberland Buildings, Queen Square, Bath BA1 2JE; 01225 730100; www.withyking.co.uk

Who are you? We’re highly respected solicitors with two Bath offices, offering specialist advice to corporate and private clients, says Natalie Birrell. What’s special about the way you work? Our feedback proves that we are not like typical lawyers to deal with. Clients say they find us approachable and empathetic, and feel confident that we will go out of our way to meet their needs. We are also very well connected to the communities we serve, through – for instance – our sponsorship and involvement in Bath Boules, the Prince’s Trust charity auction, Bath Rugby Foundation, The Bath Percent Club and Dorothy House Hospice Care, the latest charity to be chosen by our staff as the main beneficiary of fundraising activities. What exciting things have happened at the company over the last year? We achieved our ambition of becoming a UK Top 100 Law Firm, entering the league table for the first time. We were also 45th in the Sunday Times Top 100 Best Companies to work for in 2016 – the third year we’ve been ranked – and achieved an ‘outstanding’ two star accreditation for levels of staff engagement. What might we be surprised to learn? Our size! Withy King has grown by 40 per cent over 124 I BATH LIFE I www.mediaclash.co.uk

the last five years, and employs 357 people. We are the biggest law firm in Bath and, while size isn’t everything, it does mean businesses, individuals and their families have access to a wide range of specialist services on their doorstep. We’ve raised over £75k for our chosen charities in the last two years, including £18k for the RUH Forever Friends Appeal. We’re just launching our Summer of Sport for good causes, starting with the Bath Half in March and a 200 mile Bath to Paris cycle ride in April.

Withy King’s Bath Half Marathon runners in full pomp

ACCOUNTANTS

Offering expert advice to help you grow your business

Bishop Fleming

Minerva House, Lower Bristol Road, Bath BA2 9ER; 01225 486300; www.bishopfleming.co.uk

Who are you? We’re a leading provider of accounting, tax and business consultancy in the UK, says Lucy Cook. What’s special about the way you work? Building strong and lasting relationships is central to our ethos, and brings benefits to clients through our knowledge of their business and an understanding of the owner’s ambitions. What exciting things have happened at the company over the last year? We organised a charity bike ride, dubbed the ‘Tour of BF’, where 100 people took part in relays between our seven offices, cycling 325 miles in total. We raised more than £27,000 for a variety of charities, local to each of our offices. Also, we were recently ranked 49th in The Sunday Times w

CLIENTS

FIND US EMPATHETIC, AND FEEL WE WILL GO OUT OF OUR WAY TO MEET THEIR

NEEDS


PROFESSIONAL SERVICES 2016

Best 100 Companies to Work For 2016, after being awarded coveted ‘two star’ status and being rated as an ‘outstanding employer’ at our first attempt at entering the list. What are you most looking forward to in 2016? The launch of our new service, Bishop Fleming Accounting Solutions, a packaged cloud accounting service which we believe will provide great value for our clients. Plus, of course, working with our clients to help them achieve their goals in the year ahead, and continuing to grow our own business. What might we be surprised to learn? After an encounter at the Ministry of Munitions between Messrs Bishop and Fleming during the First World War, the pair decided to set up an accountancy practice and, in 1919, Bishop Fleming was born. We’re unusual in having a full-service payroll operation; an independent financial advisory service; tax partners with international experience; and, finally, a VAT director and a technical tax manager.

Moore Stephens

The Coach House, Kelston Park, Bath BA1 9AE; 01225 788088; www.msfsbath.com

Who are you? The ethos of our business is very much that “professionals should work with professionals”, and this is the basis upon which our business has been built, says Adam White, senior personal tax manager. What’s special about the way you work? My many years working as a tax adviser, and interacting with clients, has helped me realise that my role is less about plugging numbers into a tax return, and more about helping clients who I come to know very well. I’m always happy to sit down with a client and talk as much about things that are going on with them as about their tax affairs. What exciting things have happened at the company over the last year? Aside from hiring me – in December 2015 – to run the personal tax team and take things forward, we’ve had a great deal of success using our expertise in building up our offering to health care professionals, and now have over 200 clients in this area. We’ve also set up an IT support and consultancy service [see next entry], supporting local businesses. What are you most looking forward to in 2016? I’m a relatively new starter here at Moore Stephens, but I bring with me a great deal of experience – and a few new ideas. I’m excited about meeting clients and helping people with their tax affairs. What might we be surprised to learn? For many years I had dreams of becoming a professional golfer, and would find myself on the golf course at all sorts of unsociable hours of the day. 126 I BATH LIFE I www.mediaclash.co.uk

Perhaps making it to the level of Tiger or Monty was unrealistic, but I’d have been very happy to spend my time giving lessons and helping others improve. I’d never planned on working as a tax adviser, but actually I get to help clients every day, and so am able to get the same enjoyment as I may have had giving golf lessons.

The Bishop Fleming team get on their bikes for charity

Moore Stephens IT Solutions

30 Gay Street, Bath BA1 2PA; 01225 486100; www.msbit.co.uk

Who are you? We provide IT support and solutions, with a focus on providing the very best customer service and experience, says Tom Cannon. What’s special about the way you work? Our response times are money back-guaranteed for peace of mind, and we are able to adapt our support packages to focus on each business’s individual needs. We can provide a free IT audit that identifies any issues with your IT network/system before we begin working with you, to make sure things are running smoothly from the start. What exciting things have happened at the company over the last year? We’re particularly proud of a project that we completed a few months ago, providing all the technology for a new school building in Bath. This included indoor/outdoor managed Wi-Fi, interactive screens, laptops and tablets. This was a blank canvas for us, and needed completing within tight deadlines. What are you most looking forward to in 2016? Bath Boules! We thoroughly enjoyed that last year, and any new emerging technologies that we get to

I’M ALWAYS HAPPY TO SIT DOWN WITH A CLIENT AND TALK AS MUCH ABOUT THINGS THAT ARE GOING ON WITH THEM AS THEIR TAX

AFFAIRS


PROFESSIONAL SERVICES 2016 work with. Wearable technology is set to increase again in 2016: smart watches, fridges, fitness technology, glasses… We may even get to hear more about the driverless car! What might we be surprised to learn? We like to donate recycled IT equipment to schools. We do our bit to help the environment – and schools that do not necessarily have the budget for the latest tech – by refurbishing unwanted computers, interactive whiteboards and printers and passing them on. So far in 2016 we’ve donated 10 computers to schools, and two interactive whiteboards.

Old Mill

Wessex House, Challeymead Business Park, Bradford Road, Melksham, Wiltshire SN12 8BU; 01225 701210; www.oldmillgroup.co.uk

Tom Cannon of new outfit Moore Stephens IT Solutions

Who are you? We offer life-enhancing tax, accountancy and financial planning for you, your family and your business, says Alan Stone, head of marketing.

What’s special about the way you work? We changed our business to ensure our clients get the best possible advice to help them become more successful. We start with the needs of the business in our key target areas – rural businesses, family, business and private clients – and tailor our services accordingly. A lot of our competitors say they put the client first, but we really do. What exciting things have happened at the company over the last year? A lot of time and effort has gone into developing our sector focus, and ensuring we understand what our clients truly want. We recently relaunched our food & drink team, and we’ve built on our position as the leading audit adviser in the South West for the food and drink sector. We’re also pleased for the recognition of our business processes by the British Standards Institute, and winning ‘Emerging Partner of the Year’ at the Xero Awards, run by the accounting software company. What are you looking forward to in 2016? It is a challenging business environment out there for many of our clients, and we want to do everything we can to help these businesses not only survive, but thrive, in 2016 and into the future. What might we be surprised to learn? Each of our offices chooses a charity to support. Our Exeter offices broke records in supporting Children’s Hospice South West, and the Yeovil office have raised nearly £30,000 in total for the charity School in a Bag.

Pearson May

37 Great Pulteney Street, Bath BA2 4DA; 01225 460491; www.pearsonmay.co.uk

Who are you? We’re a leading firm of chartered accountants and chartered tax advisers in the West of England, says Jacqui Bowden, one of the partners. What’s special about the way you work? We specialise in helping our clients create wealth, and save on tax. With more qualified members of the Chartered Institute of Taxation than any other local firm, we are much better able than most to guide our clients through all the complexities of the tax regime – and, of course, its ever-moreburdensome red tape. What exciting things have happened at the company over the last year? It’s our 175 year anniversary! We can trace our origins back to 1841, the year Brunel completed his Great Western Railway in Bath – a time that was just as exciting for business in the city as it is today! What are you looking forward to in 2016? As a leading firm of chartered accountants and chartered tax advisers, we represent a wide range w www.mediaclash.co.uk I BATH LIFE I 127


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PROFESSIONAL SERVICES 2016

who’ve previously been unaware of these advances continues to give great job satisfaction. There are still a lot of clients doing things ‘the old way’ who relish the chance to bring their systems up to date. What are you most looking forward to in 2016? Continuing to see growth in the firm, and developing our relationships with both new and existing clients. We’re also looking to give our offices a bit of a revamp, which will improve facilities. Eventswise, we have the Bath Expo coming up, and we’re planning a fashion show for April at White Stuff.

The senior team at Pearson May, with Jacqui Bowden centre

of businesses and individuals. As a client-focussed business, we delight in supporting our clients and helping them achieve their aims. Nothing is more satisfying than seeing them fulfilling their objectives. What might we be surprised to learn? We actively support local charities, and we organise one of the major Charity Golf Days in the area, which attracts a large number of local business people and provides support for local charities including Dorothy House Hospice, Bath Cancer Unit Support Group, and Bath Cats & Dogs Home. It takes place each September at Cumberwell Park Golf Club.

Richardson Swift

WE PREFER TO GIVE

CLIENTS KEY FACTS IN CLEAR

LANGUAGE, THEN GIVE GUIDANCE ON WHAT THEY NEED TO DO, AND

WHY

11 Laura Place, Bath BA2 4BL; 01225 325580; www.richardsonswift.co.uk

Who are you? We’re a leading independent firm of chartered accountants in central Bath, providing a wide range of professional services to owner managed businesses and private individuals, says Debbie Boulton, one of the directors. What’s special about the way you work? Generally, accountants are good at delivering technical information but can ‘sit on the fence’ when it comes to actually giving advice. We prefer to give our clients the key facts, in clear, jargon-free language, and then give them guidance on what they actually need to do and why – this is our area of expertise, after all, and good advice is what our clients are wanting! What exciting things have happened at the company over the last year? On a personal note, I’ve become a shareholder in the business, an exciting event for me. We’ve recruited some great new team members, who’ve really strengthened our expertise, too. New technology continues to change the way we interact with our clients, and discussing these changes with those

What might we be surprised to learn? The perception, of course, is that accountants are boring – I would say that we’re not boring people, but we do get excited by boring things! That said, we do have fun in the office, and partake in a lot of charity events. Last year we had a competition to design the best teddy bear out of Play-Doh. The competitive edge ramped up pretty high, and there were some great designs – all to raise money for the RUH Ted’s Big Day Out!

Waldron Partnership

1 Walcot Gate, Walcot Street, Bath BA1 5UG; 01225 319371; www.waldronpartnership.co.uk

Who are you? We’ve been serving clients in the Bath area for over 25 years, supporting businesses small and large, and we pride ourselves on the personal service that we provide, says Marco Andrew Martin, director. What’s special about the way you work? We always listen to our clients, and try to tailor our support to best meet their needs. As well as accountancy and tax skills, we also have individual specialisms, which enable us to provide clients with a full range of support. We work with clients who differ greatly in size and sector, and give advice on how to improve and develop their businesses, providing specialist tax advice, and even assisting with implementing IT systems, such as Sage or Xero. What exciting things have happened at the company over the last year? In addition to being chartered certified accountants, we are also now chartered tax advisors. This reflects the skills and knowledge we now have to advise on more complex tax areas, such as how to mitigate some of the changes planned regarding buy-tolets, the statutory residence test, claiming more complicated capital gains tax reliefs, and many other areas. What are you most looking forward to in 2016? The Olympics! It comes around every four years, so it is quite special – and there always seems to be some obscure discipline that catches the attention. Go, Team GB! w www.mediaclash.co.uk I BATH LIFE I 129


PROFESSIONAL SERVICES 2016

What might we be surprised to learn? That accountants don’t always wear grey suits! We are just like everyone else, really: doing sports, walking dogs and bringing up young families as best we can. While we mostly work with businesses small and large, we also help community organisations and charities, and this can be especially rewarding.

FINANCIAL SERVICES Helping you achieve financial independence

Bath Building Society

15 Queen Square, Bath BA1 2HN; 01225 423271; www.bathbuildingsociety.co.uk

Who are you? Bath Building Society is a mutual organisation owned by its customers, says Tiffany Hardie-Albutt. What’s special about the way you work? We provide mortgages, savings and investments, and are passionate about giving our customers something special, something difficult to get elsewhere. We continue to be active in the first time buyer mortgage market, predominantly with our holiday let mortgage, buy for uni and parent assisted mortgages. We also have a new mortgage – rent a room mortgage – whereby an individual applicant can borrow more by renting out a room and using the rent towards the mortgage payment. What exciting things have happened at the company over the last year? We recognised that it has been a difficult time for savers with a prolonged period of very low returns, so our strategy was to limit new funding and instead to provide competitive rates to existing savers. We were also delighted that our chief executive, Dick Jenkins, was installed as the chairman of the Building Societies Association, and we continued to promote our Bath Reward Card to our members, and to work with a number of local charities across Bath. 130 I BATH LIFE I www.mediaclash.co.uk

Overall we had another successful year, in which we have further cemented our reputation as a good example of a small institution competing effectively with far larger players, and also making a very big difference in the lives of local people. What are you most looking forward to in 2016? We continue to base our strategy on the enduring need for a different style of lending, in which manual underwriting remains key. This approach suits borrowers with unusual circumstances for whom the mainstream offering of the ‘factory’ mortgage processors is often unsuitable. This position is essential to compete effectively in a highly concentrated market. We will be exploring further ways of assisting keen borrowers to get onto the housing market in 2016, plus we expect to steadily increase our level of lending to older customers in coming years. What might we be surprised to learn? Dick Jenkins, our CEO, is a man of very many talents – and he’s a huge country and western fan. He plays and sings in a band.

Beckford James

Queen Square House, Queen Square Place, Bath BA1 2LL; 01225 437600; www.beckfordjames.com

Who are you? We’re independent chartered financial planners, says Patricia Lake, one of the partners, which means we work across the whole market to find the best solutions for your needs. What’s special about the way you work? We aim to provide a truly client-centred approach to financial planning, giving our clients the understanding and confidence that they will be able to achieve their financial goals. This may sound obvious but, in our experience, many companies start with the solution in mind and then taper the w

The Richardson Swift senior team, with Debbie Boulton in red

WE BASE OUR STRATEGY ON THE NEED FOR A DIFFERENT KIND OF LENDING, IN WHICH

MANUAL UNDERWRITING IS KEY


PROFESSIONAL SERVICES 2016 committed to bringing new and young trainees into the profession.

Bluefin Insurance Services

Frome House, Lower Bristol Road, Bath BA2 1EY; 01225 444553; www.bluefingroup.co.uk

Who are you? We’re one of the UK’s leading insurance brokers, with over 1,400 staff over 40 offices, says Ian Sandham, branch director.

The Beckford James partners, with Patricia Lake second from right

best fit to a client’s circumstances. We start with the client’s needs and goals, and then construct a solution from an independent foundation. We would like to think that another key differentiator is our people. We aim to make the complex world of finance more easily understandable for our clients. What exciting things have happened at the company over the last year? We are very proud of our growth. We have fantastic people working with us, with a common commitment to providing client-focussed advice, and this has shown in the strength of the relationships we have with clients and professional partners alike. As well as increasing business metrics over the last 12 months, we have taken on two graduate trainees, had our first ‘apprentice’ qualify, and established a presence in London.

WE’RE ONE OF THE FEW BUSINESSES, LOCALLY OR NATIONALLY, WHO ARE COMMITTED TO BRINGING NEW TRAINEES INTO THE PROFESSION

What are you most looking forward to in 2016? “Looking forward to” is an interesting phrase! However, we do feel 2016 will be full of threats and potential opportunities. Politically and economically we will have to contend with a Brexit referendum, the slowdown in China and the falling oil price – all having potentially negative effects on portfolios. The trick is to try to balance the negatives and reduce the risk, whilst still leaving opportunity on the table. Juggling this with the changing regulatory landscapes and, not least, the now-annual revision of pension legislation, and we’re looking forward to never having a dull day! What might we be surprised to learn? As a business, we hope our chartered status makes us stand out. This is a hard won title, allowing Beckford James’ clients to be confident that they are dealing with highly qualified professionals, rather than advisers who have simply achieved the minimum regulatory requirements. As well as holistic financial planning, our specialist areas include later life planning; pension and retirement planning; inheritance tax and trust planning; and working with professional partners in areas like clinical negligence, matrimonial and trust work. Interestingly, with a national adviser age in the mid-50s, we are one of few businesses, either locally or nationally, who are

What’s special about the way you work? We’re a national company, but each office is encouraged to consider itself a local business. Our Bath office is staffed by people who live locally, and know the area very well. This gives us valuable insight into the issues facing our clients, as we face some of them too. We appreciate that many buildings in Bath are listed, and require special attention to get the cover right. However, I think what is really different is the passion that drives our staff to provide a truly personal service, as shown in the results of the Investors in Customers survey, in which we were awarded the top grade. What exciting things have happened at the company over the last year? We strengthened our team with an additional account executive, to ensure we continue to grow. And we’ve got a lot more involved with the business community in Bath, taking part in a number of networking events and exhibitions. We sponsored, for the first time, the Creative Award for the Bath Life Awards, which was a brilliant event. Also, to show the fun side of working in Bath, we entered a team for Bath Boules – which we may not have won, but we had a great time anyway. What are you most looking forward to in 2016? We love working with local professional services businesses, who share our desire for excellence and customer service. We expect this to continue to be a big part of our success, as a referral from a trusted advisor is the best way of meeting new clients. What might we be surprised to learn? As a team, we do a lot of work for local charities through cake sales, rattling tins and joining in with events such as the Walk of Life. We have raised funds for many of the best known organisations, including the Carers’ Centre, Forever Friends Appeal, Dorothy House and more. We choose three new charities each year, and raise funds for them for three months.

Combined Financial Strategies

38 Gay Street, Bath BA1 2NT; 01225 471462; www.cfsorg.co.uk

Who are you? We approach planning ‘synergised thinking’, w www.mediaclash.co.uk I BATH LIFE I 133


PROFESSIONAL SERVICES 2016 carefully integrating your policies, accounts and investments so they’re working harder together, says Jonothan McColgan, chartered financial planner. What’s special about the way you work? We offer independent financial advice, tailored to each client’s specific circumstances. We plan to take away their greatest financial fears, and give them confidence for the future, so that they can get on with enjoying their lives. Most of our clients are focussed on when, and how, they can afford to retire. Unfortunately, retirement has become increasingly complicated, with many changes to legislation, and an increasing number of available financial products to use. This means that we need to be able to offer clients a joined-up approach to their financial plans, covering investments, pensions and tax planning. What exciting things have happened at the company over the last year? I’m the Combined Financial Strategies Director, and an award-winning Chartered Financial Planner, receiving nine national industry awards over the last year, including At Retirement & Estate Planning Adviser of the Year, Multi Asset Planner of the Year and Young Financial Adviser of the Year. And I was runner up as Financial Adviser of the Year too! What are you most looking forward to in 2016? We have a number of clients that have planned to retire in 2016, and have spent the last few years getting their finances in shape. It will be fantastic to see them start to enjoy all their hard work.

Chase de Vere

11 Seven Dials, Sawclose, Bath BA1 1EN; 0345 300 6256; www.chasedevere.co.uk

Who are you? We provide bespoke face-to-face advice on areas such as investments, pensions and tax planning, says Patrick Connolly CFP, head of communications. What’s special about the way you work? Chase de Vere was formed in 1969, and has had offices in Bath since 1982. Such is our expertise that we are regularly quoted in the national financial press, and have won many financial and other awards, including being named as one of the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2015. What exciting things have happened at the company over the last year? The Bath office was named the company’s Team of the Year in 2015, based on our business performance, and the quality of advice we provide our clients. What are you most looking forward to in 2016? We are giving more advice on pensions since new rules were implemented last April, and look forward to this continuing in 2016. We have pension specialists in our Bath office, and work with many local clients. We also give advice to medical 134 I BATH LIFE I www.mediaclash.co.uk

practitioners through our affiliation with the British Medical Association. Chase de Vere is the only firm of IFAs accredited by the BMA.

Ian Sandham, Bath branch director at Bluefin

What might we be surprised to learn? We take part in many local community events, and are actively involved in raising money for charities. For example, we had 10 staff members taking part in the Bath Half Marathon, and enter a team each year in the Bath Boules event in Queen Square.

Epoch

Queen Square House, Queen Square Place, Bath BA1 2LL; 01225 487772; www.epochwm.co.uk

Who are you? We ask our clients to recognise sound financial planning as a way to achieve personal goals and aspirations, and not simply financial objectives, says Tom Annear, chartered financial planner. What’s special about the way you work? When we take on a client, we are taking on a lifelong relationship. We want to be viewed as their trusted advisers; the team who can help ratify a financial decision in almost any part of their lives, not just regarding their investments. To be able to do this, we visually show clients the long term impacts of the financial decisions they face – it could be they’ve received an offer to sell their business, or they want to send their children to private school or buy that holiday home. We can show them whether they can live life on their terms after the decision has been taken. What exciting things have happened at the company over the last year? We’ve won a number of independently judged national, regional and local awards (including the w

WE VISUALLY

SHOW OUR CLIENTS THE LONGTERM

IMPACTS

OF THE FINANCIAL DECISIONS THEY FACE


PROFESSIONAL SERVICES 2016 What’s special about the way you work? Our local focus and high street offices makes us unique within our industry. What exciting things have happened at the company over the last year? We won the AltFi ‘Best Lending Platform for Small Businesses Award’; we saw a significant increase in the number of existing lenders returning to invest further funds, with around 75% now being repeat lenders; and we doubled our lending to businesses. In total we have facilitated over £88 million of local investment by introducing lenders to borrowers in various industries, and helping to deliver a broad range of projects. We continue to reinforce our local high street presence (even though customers can access us online), and recently celebrated the first anniversary of our Somerset branch in Midsomer Norton.

It’s the Chase de Vere awards, and guess who won Team of the Year?

Bath Life Award for Best Legal/Financial Business), which reinforce our belief that we have a superior client proposition. We are recruiting across the board as we continue to grow, and are developing new services for our clients. We’ve grown client numbers, turnover, profits and staff, and have also developed new and exciting relationships with local and regional professional services firms. What are you most looking forward to in 2016? We’re really beginning to accelerate our growth, and are very conscious of ensuring that our clients do not suffer a loss of service standards as we grow. We’re taking steps to recruit a number of people to the business to ensure we keep pace. Beyond that, further growing our reputation through winning more awards, developing our network of professional connections and generally increasing the profile of the firm, will allow us to continue to expand.

WE OFFER A STRAIGHTFORWARD WAY FOR

PEOPLE TO INVEST MONEY IN LOCAL BUSINESSES

What might we be surprised to learn? We joined the Bath Percent Club last year, committing to giving at least 1% of our profits to charity and local causes. There are so many worthwhile causes in the area, and it’s fantastic to be able to support some of them. We are also a young but surprisingly experienced firm. The average age here is around 40, yet partners and management have a combined 100+ years of Financial Services experience between them.

Folk2Folk

124 High Street, Midsomer Norton, Somerset BA3 2DA; 01761 568081; www.folk2folk.com

Who are you? Folk2Folk believes in making money work within local communities, says Veryan Skinner, so we offer a straightforward way for people to invest money in local businesses while benefiting from a competitive interest rate.

What are you looking forward to in 2016? We’re expanding nationally, and are excited to be enabling people across the country to fulfil their business dreams and ambitions by funding projects that might not otherwise get off the ground. What might we be surprised to learn? People tend to think of peer-to-peer lending as a new and ‘alternative’ form of lending, but Folk2Folk can trace its lending roots back over 300 years! What we do, in effect, is a modern incarnation of solicitors’ private mortgages, albeit now an FCA regulated industry.

Handelsbanken

3rd Floor, Upper Borough Court, Upper Borough Walls, Bath BA1 1RG; 01225 330680; www.handelsbanken.co.uk

Who are you? We are known as a strong and stable bank, with the highest credit rating of all the UK banks, says Chris Johnson, branch manager. What’s special about the way you work? Our success is built on satisfied customers: we have no central marketing, and simply grow through recommendation. We offer local advice, service and decisions based only on customer needs – no bonuses or sales targets – and we’re committed to long term customer relationships. What exciting things have happened at the company over the last year? We announced our 200th branch in the UK – the Bath branch opened in 2007, and was the bank’s 30th branch in the UK – and we were ranked top for customer satisfaction and loyalty for the seventh year running in an independent survey of bank customers. (Source: EPSI Rating UK 2015). What are you looking forward to in 2016? Continuing to support local individuals and companies in realising their aims and ambitions. w www.mediaclash.co.uk I BATH LIFE I 137


PROFESSIONAL SERVICES 2016 What might we be surprised to learn? We hold an annual table football tournament for local professionals which, as well as being fiercely contested, raises money for charity – Julian House and Jessie May, in the last two years.

Investec

Royal Mead, Railway Place, Bath BA1 1SR; 01225 341580; wealthinvestment.investec.co.uk

Who are you? We put the client at the centre of everything we do, says Richard Sharman, investment director. What’s special about the way you work? Our investment process allows us to provide genuinely bespoke client portfolios, underpinned by a market-leading risk management system. What exciting things have happened at the company over the last year? One of the most exciting developments has been our Click & Invest proposition. This is intended for launch in the second half of the year, and will enable our services to be available more broadly. What are you most looking forward to in 2016? From a personal perspective, I am fascinated to see how the Brexit vote will go. It seems in the balance at the moment, and the result will clearly have a profound impact on the UK. What might we be surprised to learn? Being originally a South African company, we’re heavily involved with preservation and protection of African rhinos. I have a great love of southern Africa and its wildlife, and so wholeheartedly support them.

RECRUITMENT

Helping employers find the best people, and great staff to find new opportunities

Juice

12 Miles’s Buildings, George Street, Bath BA1 2QS; 01225 447870; www.juicerecruitment.com

Who are you? We love finding the ideal opportunity for each of our candidates, says Emma Summers, managing director. What’s special about the way you work? There’s a real passion for what we do. We work with many superb businesses in Bath and Wiltshire, and we take the time to understand their organisations, building long-standing relationships where we feel we can source individuals who will add value. What exciting things have happened at the company over the last year? We saw great growth in our Contact Centre and Creative divisions. 138 I BATH LIFE I www.mediaclash.co.uk

What are you most looking forward to in 2016? We started with a wonderful Vision Day for the team, where we mapped the growth of Juice with new branches and team members. We have so much to look forward to in 2016: a new website, new branding and our Juice Bike Ride between the offices in support of The Prince’s Trust.

Chris Johnson, branch manager at Handelsbanken in Bath

What might we be surprised to learn? Juice is full of vibrant, energetic individuals and, as you can imagine, our days are full of laughter and lots of stories. And the team love what they do!

Simple Recruitment

Chanel House, South Road, Midsomer Norton, Radstock BA3 2EZ; 01761 235741; www.simplerecruitmentltd.co.uk

Who are you? We’re an independent employment business, says Jayla Wilcox, one of the directors. What’s special about the way you work? We offer a very personal and honest service, and keep the recruitment process as ‘simple’ as possible. Reliability, approachability and professionalism are all of paramount importance throughout the process. What exciting things have happened at the company over the last year? We had an amazing response – over 300 chocolate eggs! – to our Charity Easter Egg Collection; this year we’ll be collecting board games instead. We sponsor the shirts for Midsomer Norton Rugby too! What are you most looking forward to in 2016? We’re launching a new radio campaign, a new app, and we’ll have a billboard campaign too. What might we be surprised to learn? Jayla was a black belt in Taekwondo; Belinda was a ballroom dancer as a child; Annette can drive a forklift; and Hannah used to be a cheerleader.

OUR

DAYS ARE FULL OF LAUGHTER AND LOTS OF

STORIES,

AND THE TEAM LOVE WHAT THEY

DO!


www.richardsonswift.co.uk

The big picture matters, but so does the detail and the deadlines

Call us now or pop in for a chat

Chartered Accountants, 11 Laura Place, Bath BA2 4BL | 01225 325580 | info@richardsonswift.co.uk | www.richardsonswift.co.uk


ad v ertisi n g feature f i n a n c e

Create an investment strategy and take a longterm view To make the most of your investment opportunities, allow your lifestyle and not stock market fluctuations to dictate your investment approach

Y

our goals are what count, so keep them firmly in mind when you make financial decisions.

Long-term strategy

Use a consistent, long term strategy to build a more secure financial future through steady purchases of well-diversified investments. Speculators and market timers switch investment philosophies on an emotional whim, sometimes treating their investments more like play money than the serious money needed for their financial future. During a bull market, typified by a sustained increase in market share prices, it can be relatively easy to be a long-term investor. However, when the stock market really starts fluctuating, this is when an investor’s resilience can be tested – revealing many closet speculators. It’s important to remember why you’re invested in the first place and make sure that your rationale hasn’t changed. Historically, the longer you stay invested, the smaller the likelihood you will lose money and the greater the chance you will make money. Of course, it’s important to remember that past performance is not a guide to what might happen in the future, and the value of your investments can go down as well as up.

Market timing

In theory, market timing seems fairly rational, but in practice it rarely works. Even the most sophisticated investors, with years of experience and the best analytical tools, cannot predict the whims of the financial markets. What’s more, market timers are often misled by emotional

“Give your money as much time as possible to grow”

factors such as greed or fear. Many end up potentially buying at the tail end of a market rally or selling in a panic at a loss. To avoid falling into the speculator’s trap, focus on the term ‘individual’ before making any investment decision. Your individual long-term goals and your individual financial circumstances – not the daily fluctuations of the stock market – should govern your decision.

Emotional factor

Disciplined, systematic investing does not promise a profit or protect you from a loss, but it does reduce the odds of you putting too much money into an investment when prices are high, and it also removes the emotional factor from your investment strategy.

Time to grow

Give your money as much time as possible to grow – at least 10 years is best. You’ll also benefit from ‘compounding’, which is when the interest or income on your original capital begins to earn and grow too.

Lifestyle change

Do you need to withdraw money within the next year or so to begin funding your retirement or to make some other lifestyle change? If so, you might want to rebalance your portfolio to a more conservative mix of assets.

first place l Be prepared to view the occasional downturns simply as part of a long-term investment strategy, and stay focused on your goal Creating and maintaining the right investment strategy plays a vital role in securing your financial future. Whether you are looking to invest for income, growth or both, we can provide quality professional advice, comprehensive investment solutions and ongoing service to help you achieve your financial goals. To discuss your situation, please contact us for further information.

Needing an income

If you need your investment capital to provide you with an income to supplement your pension be realistic about the level of income that it will generate. Putting too much strain on the capital or taking too much risk may lead to its value eroding too quickly making you vulnerable in the long term. l Allow your lifestyle to dictate your investment approach l Remember your reasons for investing in the

Group Wealth Management

n

Investments

n

Employee Benefits

Fidelius Alexander House, James Street West, Bath BA1 2BT 01225 334000; www.fidelius.co.uk

Fidelius

Group

This article is for your general information only and is not intended to address your particular requirements. The content should not be relied upon in its entirety and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute, advice. No individual or company should act upon such information without receiving appropriate professional advice and after a thorough examination of their particular situation. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of the content. Fidelius Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Our FCA reference is 188615. Registered No.3658809 ENGLAND. Registered office: Alexander House, James Street West, Bath, BA1 2BT

www.mediaclash.co.uk I BATH LIFE I 141


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Combined Financial Strategies Ltd, 38 Gay Street, Bath BA1 2NT TEL 01225 471 462 EMAIL jonothan@cfsorg.com WWW.CFSORG.COM “Combined Financial Strategies Ltd is an appointed representative of The Whitechurch Network Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. *Tax Strategies are not regulated by the FCA.”

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A D V E R T I S I N G F E AT U R E L E G A L F O C U S

THINKING AHEAD Local legal expert HELEN STARKIE offers up some advice for issues that may arise in the years before you

S

ome of the most common questions we get asked in our practice are along the following lines:–

My friend has transferred the ownership of her house to her children to avoid nursing home fees when she gets old, and inheritance tax when she dies. Should I do the same? Almost certainly not! Your friend has not solved either issue by transferring her ownership. Should she need care she will be assessed as if she still owned the house as she has deliberately deprived herself of an assessable asset – and if she continues to live in the house her gift will be treated for inheritance tax purposes as not having been made. She has also created the possibility of a whole variety of other problems – among them the exposure of her children to a significant liability to capital gains tax. But there are other sensible ways of planning to minimise the impact of future care costs about which your solicitor can advise you. My friend tells me that I do not need to make a Lasting Power of Attorney now because my husband will be able to deal with my affairs if I become ill. All our assets are in joint names. Your friend is wrong again. Your husband will not automatically be able to deal with your affairs even if your assets are in joint names. Indeed he may find he is unable to access even his own funds in your joint account. Some banks freeze all accounts, including joint ones, when a customer loses their capacity to deal with their finances. And whereas all investments may be held jointly there will almost certainly be some things in your sole name – your pension for example. Surely as I am mentally fully capable there is no need for me to make a Lasting Power of Attorney yet? After all I may never

“YOUR AFFAIRS WILL NEED DEALING WITH AS SOON AS YOU BECOME ILL”

become ill – and I can make a Lasting Power of Attorney if and when I do. You need to have mental capacity to make a Lasting Power of Attorney. Loss of capacity is not always gradual, allowing us to plan; it can happen suddenly (a stroke or a road accident for example) in which case you will have left things too late. Furthermore a Lasting Power cannot be used until it has been registered at the Office of the Public Guardian and that process takes time – often as long as three months. Your affairs will need dealing with as soon as you become ill. My mother suffers from dementia. She has never made a Lasting Power of Attorney or a Will. I cannot access her money to pay her bills and I think there may be a big tax bill to pay when she dies. I am worried sick. What can I do? It is a pity that your mother did not save you the angst you are suffering by taking the simple steps of making a Lasting Power of Attorney and a Will while she was fit and healthy! However it is not too late to sort things out. Although your mother suffers from dementia and may not have sufficient mental capacity to manage her own affairs, she may still have enough understanding to make a Lasting Power of Attorney. Legal tests for capacity differ according to the exercise being undertaken.

Your mother may even have capacity to make a Will (the capacity test here is more complex than that for making a Power of Attorney, but more specific than what is required to manage one’s own affairs independently). A solicitor specialising in the field will be able to assess your mother’s capacity for both exercises and prepare the relevant documents for her to sign if capable. And if your mother does lack capacity all is still not lost. An application can be made to the Court of Protection for a Deputy (possibly you) to be appointed to deal with her affairs – and it is possible to apply to the same court for a statutory Will to be made on your mother’s behalf to address the tax issues you mention.

Helen Starkie Solicitor 5 Gay Street, Bath BA1 2PH 01225 442353 www.helenstarkie.co.uk

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a d v ertisin g feature F I N A N C E

60 per cent Inheritance Tax – Don’t be caught out Get the lowdown with senior tax manager Adam White of MOORE STEPHENS

W

ith the continuing resurgence of the economy and property market, many residents of Bath and surrounding areas will find themselves increasingly exposed to what some say is the least fair of all the taxes – Inheritance tax. In broad terms, inheritance tax is chargeable at a rate of 40 per cent on the value of a deceased estate exceeding the ‘Nil Rate Band’ (“NRB”) currently £325,000. When you consider that the estate has been built up net of income taxes already some see further tax on death as a form of double taxation. The most valuable asset held in the estate is often the main family home which doesn’t currently qualify for any relief or special treatment for inheritance tax. However this is set to change from 6 April 2017 which sees the phasing in of the new ‘Main Residence Nil Rate Band’ which will mean an increase from the existing £325,000 threshold up to as much as £500,000. This complex and wordy new provision is known by the appropriately catchy acronym “MRNRB”.

Main Residence Nil Rate Band

The increased threshold will be available to those estates where the deceased’s main residence is worth over £325,000. The Nil Rate Band is effectively increased in line with the property value up to a maximum of £500,000. This potential increase is doubled for husband and wife with the MRNRB being transferrable on first death, giving a surviving spouse a potential inheritance tax threshold with the MRNRB of up to £1million. Excluding transfers to a surviving spouse, the main residence must be passed to a direct descendant of the deceased in order for the MRNRB to take effect. The inheritance tax savings as a result of these new rules could be as much as £140,000 per couple, so it is important to ensure wills are written appropriately in order to take advantage. Anyone wishing to downsize can do so without jeopardising the relief, the increased threshold can still be used to offset the equivalent value of the former residence. This is all welcome news for those opposed to inheritance tax. However, the maximum available MRNRB will be limited for those with estates valued over £2million. For every £2 the estate exceeds this threshold the MRNRB will be tapered back by £1. As a result, for those with estates valued

over £2million, an additional 40p of inheritance tax would be payable on every additional £2 of assets. This creates a further 20 per cent liability for the estate and gives an effective tax rate of 60 per cent on estates between £2million and £2.35million. For those with estates valued at over £2.35million no MRNRB will be available, although the original £325,000 threshold continues to be in place. Moore Stephens recommended steps to reduce your inheritance tax exposure; l Take professional advice and plan early – this will allow you more time to decide what you wish to achieve and what your own needs are. l Review your Wills to ensure these are effective – some investments such as AIM listed holdings are exempt from IHT after 2 years ownership. Understanding the relief available on existing investments will enable you to plan accordingly and ensure relief isn’t wasted through your Will. l Make lifetime gifts – gifting to loved ones direct or through a trust is a simple and effective way to reduce your taxable estate. Lifetime gifts from disposable income are immediately free from inheritance tax. Trusts could be used when

gifting larger lump sums so that you may retain some control over how funds are utilised by beneficiaries.

How can Moore Stephens help

We have specialist private client tax advisers with a wealth of experience providing inheritance tax solutions to our clients. We recognise that no two cases are alike, so we use our experience and knowledge to help clients make informed decisions based on their own situation. If you would like to discuss your circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Adam White, Senior Tax Manager 30 Gay Street, Bath, BA1 2PA 01225 486100 adam.white@moorestephens.com www.moorestephens.co.uk

www.mediaclash.co.uk I BATH LIFE I 145


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Bath Life Professional Services – Issue 309