Written by: Bentley Jennison Financial Management Limited
Tax planning and financial planning must by used hand in hand when advising an individual or family. You can’t do one without the other, but it is difficult to find a reference book that brings together the key points of both personal tax planning and the attributes of the various financial products that may be used to achieve the client’s goals. However, the Bentley Jennison Personal Financial Planning Manual does just that, in one very accessible volume.
The manual is divided into five main parts:
2. Retirement Planning.
4. Tax Planning.
5. The Life Cycle.
In addition there is a very useful introduction section that includes a summary of the regulatory framework that all financial advisers have to work under, and a standard financial planning questionnaire. Most IFA firms should already be using such a questionnaire for all new clients, but it helps the tax planner to be aware of the sort of information his financial adviser colleague will ask for.
The insurance section covers the various types of insurance products which are designed to provide some sort of protection to the client on death or illness. Insurance products that are generally used as savings vehicles or to produce income are discussed in part 3.
The retirement planning section is a very comprehensive run through of all the pension arrangements that are now possible for an individual, post A-day. This part also contains an invaluable summary of the key concepts under the new pensions regime. This is essential because pension terms do not always mean what you think they mean, or indeed their current definition may be different to that which applied pre A-day. The Editor admits that is it a constant battle to keep up with the government’s changes in this area, and the publication date of this book just before the 2006 Pre Budget Report meant that the proposed changes to Alternatively Secured Pensions (ASPs) announced at that time, have not been included.
The tax planning section has been considerably revised in this edition to cover the destruction and rebuilding of the tax rules for trusts which exploded out of the 2006 Finance Bill. I greatly admire the skill of this editor in summarising all the new trust rules in a few pages, and explaining the new regime in such a clear matter of fact fashion.
That is one of the big attractions of this book: Plain English is the norm and financial gobbledygook is banished to the glossaries at the end of parts 1 to 3. I also like the standard layout of each chapter, which starts with a boxed summary for the particular product or tax vehicle. This summary includes one line, or one-word descriptions of the advantages and disadvantages of the type of product, who it may be suitable for, and if appropriate the sort of charges that apply.
The statutory references are included for those tax geeks like me who need such reassurance, but they are collected at the end of the chapter, so do not litter up the text. Each chapter also includes helpful cross references to other products or planning areas described in the book.
In summary this is an excellent book for both tax advisers and financial planners, as each will benefit from the clear descriptions of the tax planning measures and financial products. Personally I have keep the current edition handy to dip into whenever I need to remind myself of the rules for a financial product, and I hope to do so with many future editions. For there is one certainty other than death and taxes, and that is new financial products will constantly be invented and new tax rules will quickly follow.
Rebecca Cave, Director, Taxwriter Ltd
For anyone embarking on a serious career in financial planning over and above that of a pure 'product seller', this book would be a fine set of introductory materials. It could be used in a training context as it attempts to cover the subject of financial planning from top to toe. As always with a book of this size, it cannot cover everything in the depth that an experienced financial planner would need to know, but it does a good job as an overview.
There are very useful statutory references at the end of each chapter so that the serious minded can go straight to the relevant legislation. This material will need updating a bit more next year to include references to ITTOIA 2005. There is also a useful précis of the relevant points at the beginning of each chapter to 'warm the reader up' as it were.
The book is effectively in a number of parts with the life cycle planning coming at the end after descriptions of products and other aspects of financial planning, including the tax implications. The order is very logical and, if a series of tests devised by a trainer were to be added, it would be enhanced as a training manual.
I have one minor criticism. The section on National Savings products is a reproduction of a Government publication and it has been squashed onto one page. This means that the writing is so small that a particularly powerful magnifying glass is needed to be able to read it. When you get to my age this can present a bit of a problem!
This apart, this is a good publication for the right person which can be used as a quick reference to gain an overview, particularly of all the products on the market, to enable you to have enough knowledge to be able to then look at more extensive materials on any given subject relating to financial planning.
Reviewed by Brian Lawless, Taxation Magazine 22 March 2007
Bentley Jennison Financial Management continue their successful series with this updated annual guide. The book covers an array of topics including insurance, retirement planning, investments, tax planning and the regulatory framework.
It highlights the different financial considerations that might apply throughout a person's life from childhood to retirement in a practical way.
It is systematic, simple to use and there is a contents list for each section for easy reference. This is a useful tool for any professional adviser or individuals who take a keen interest in their own financial arrangements.
Pensions World, May 2007
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