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The situation

A 60-year old business owner and chief executive had acquired various pension arrangements during his career. Naturally, he wanted to ensure his pensions were structured correctly to provide the maximum possible benefits on retirement.

However, as he had never previously received advice regarding his pension arrangements, he approached Cullen Wealth for help.

We discovered that due to unforeseen circumstances one of his company pension arrangements was at risk. Without taking action, he may have lost a proportion of his pension benefits.

We also considered the possible advantages of transferring his other pension schemes.

The solution

Following our review, we transferred the pension from his previous arrangement to his current pension scheme. We also recommended moving his other schemes to more advantageous arrangements.  Reducing the charges that applied to his pension plan and providing an opportunity for more effective investment planning.

Additionally, our team identified a potential issue with his lifetime allowance. We investigated various tax-efficient options for the client, which will enhance his benefits when he comes to retire.

The results

By transferring his pension arrangements, we have secured a significant sum of additional money every year for the rest of his life when he retires. In addition, through increased flexibility, our client now has more control over his retirement income.   Through our restructuring work, his wife’s annual pension also rose significantly.

The client is delighted with our help in securing his retirement, and has appointed Cullen Wealth to look after his entire portfolio.

Name withheld. Not photo of actual client.

The situation

A firm of solicitors in North Wales was administering the estate of an 83-year old lady’s husband and acting as her lasting power of attorney. While the firm advised the widow that they couldn’t assist with her personal finances, they were concerned about the returns on her cash holdings, the risks to her investments and the apparent lack of a coherent investment strategy.

To fulfil their obligation to always act in their client’s best interests, the solicitors called on Cullen Wealth for support. On reviewing the clients’ assets, we discovered her wealth was split between two extremes of high-risk investments and cash deposits delivering negligible returns.

The lady held many single company shares and a significant sum of money in her bank account. Conversely, she also held purely equity-based collective investments.

The solution

We advised the client that her assets were highly volatile and inappropriate for her age and objectives.

The client agreed for us to rebalance her surplus cash and equity funds to a more appropriate level of risk, while leaving her with ample cash reserves. This involved investing some cash, which increased risk and, in turn, restructuring her investments to reduce risk.

To avoid the risk of incurring capital gains tax, we also agreed a strategy to rebalance her wealth over time, in the most tax-efficient ways possible. One of our tax-efficient strategies involved completing a tranche of transactions before the approaching year end, and scheduling more in the forthcoming tax year.

The results

By acting honestly and sensitively, the client now feels confident that we have reduced the risk to her investments while enhancing the returns on her cash. We have also maintained the value of her investments, without generating unnecessary tax bills.

What’s more, the solicitors have gained a valuable professional partner that can fulfil its investment management responsibilities.

Name withheld. Photo not of actual client.

The situation

Adam was introduced to us by an existing client who believed he may benefit from meeting with us. As a shareholding Director, Adam was busy within his business and had little time to properly consider some important elements of personal wealth planning.

We met with Adam to understand his financial goals and the thoughts he had for his financial future. We gathered information that helped us build a clear picture of his requirements, both for his business and his family.

The solution

We completed a comprehensive review of his pension arrangements, resulting in an exercise to consolidate these funds. In addition, we considered his retirement options and, by looking at projections of future income, we recommended contribution levels that would help him achieve his target retirement date. These pension contributions also form part of an effective tax planning strategy.

As well as pension planning, we reviewed how well his lifestyle and family were protected in the event of illness or death. The result was to put in place policies that would provide financial protection for those closest to him. In addition, we established policies that would mitigate the impact on his business.

The results

Adam remains focused on growing the business knowing that his personal financial plans are on track to secure his family’s financial future. We meet regularly to review the plans and the performance of his pension funds, ensuring that they remain on track to achieve his financial goals.

The situation

Our client had multiple investments built up over his lifetime. He wanted to create a legacy for his family, passing on his wealth to future generations. He was concerned about the tax implications for his estate on death. He was also unclear of his previous adviser’s costs, charges and services.

We spent a considerable amount of time with our client, gaining an understanding of his aims and helping him understand how we may be able to help him and his family over the longer term.

The solution

Having an agreed understanding of what we were looking to achieve we established a number of arrangements that would allow him to pass his wealth to his children and grandchildren. We also ensured there was enough capital invested to maintain his lifestyle.

This work included establishing a Trust. Trustees were agreed and involved in a number of meetings so everyone was clear on what our client was looking to achieve.

In addition we reviewed and restructured the investment portfolio to reduce exposure to investment risk and the overall portfolio costs.

The results

The client now fully understands the costs and charges related to his investments. Thanks to the restructuring of his portfolio his investments are now aligned to his financial goals of capital income and creating a legacy.

The inheritance tax and legacy planning review has ensured his Will and investments are effective in fulfilling his wishes. His legacy can now pass to his children and grandchildren largely free from Inheritance Tax.

Confident in the advice and service we provide, he has introduced his daughters and son-in-law as clients of Cullen Wealth.

Name withheld. Photo not of actual client.

The situation

A married couple we’re referred to us by an existing client. They had invested in multiple pension plans going back a number of years. There were a wide range of issues to consider, including effective tax planning and an assessment of their funds to ensure their investments were aligned to their retirement plans. Their pension plans were invested across a number of both a high and low risk funds, with no clear investment strategy.

The solution

Over a number of meetings we gathered information and gained a clear understanding of what they were looking to achieve, both with regard to their retirement plans and their wider financial objectives. We undertook a thorough review of their existing pension policies. This was an important stage in the process and it was found that one of the older policies had additional benefits that may have been lost should it be transferred to a new arrangement. We discussed the merits in keeping the policy against transferring to a more modern plan, benefiting from lower charges and wider investment opportunity.

We provided advice on pension contribution levels, taking into account their tax position and providing an opportunity to reduce the couple’s tax bill.

We discussed the amount of investment risk they were willing to take with their pension portfolio. This was a detailed discussion that took into account a wide range of factors. Following this conversation we advised on a portfolio that would meet their financial objectives balanced against their attitude to risk.

There was additional money available to be used for the children. We set up investment portfolios for both children with the intention that these would be used to fund future education costs. In addition, we ensured adequate financial protection was in place for the family.

The results

Our clients now meet with us each year to review their plan. We review their investments and make changes to their portfolios as required, ensuring their funds remain on track to achieve their financial objectives. Working with them over the long term they now have confidence in knowing that the future life they want will become a reality.

Name withheld. Not photo of actual clients.

The situation

Upon disposal of his business, Steve accumulated a capital lump sum. He needed to make a transition from a position of regular income and full time employment into retirement.  Advice was needed to consider restructuring his financial affairs to ensure both a regular income and capital appreciation.

In addition, careful consideration was required to ensure his financial plan took into account his potential current and future tax liabilities.

The solution

A full review of all his finances was undertaken, uncovering a number of pensions, investments and insurances that had been neglected.  These were appraised and, where appropriate, restructured as part of the overall plan.

We identified with Steve a risk targeted investment solution aimed at generating the net monthly income he required, whilst clearly focusing upon managing portfolio risk, capital return and minimising liabilities to income, capital gains and inheritance taxes.

The results

Steve now has full confidence that his financial affairs are being professionally managed, enabling him to enjoy his retirement without worrying about his finances.

Providing financial peace of mind, we now meet every six months, actively managing Steve’s financial plan and catering for any changes to his personal circumstances. In addition to being available to Steve as required, we also contact him on a regular basis, keeping him informed and updating him with information relevant to his circumstances.

We are delighted that Steve appreciates the value of our relationship and the work we do. We have now started to work with his children, helping them plan for their financial futures as they start their respective careers.