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January Newsletter - Keep Calm and Carry On

Keep Calm and Carry On

Not much has changed for many of us as we enter into the New Year. The themes consuming the headlines are the same, and until the vote in parliament decides the Brexit fate – we carry on!

Now is a good time to worry about what you can control, rather than the unknowns and hopefully we will emerge all the better for it! Whether it be Dry January or Couch to 5k, we wish you all good health and happiness in 2019.

Market Update

By Nick Chan, Investment Analyst

Review of 2018

Stock markets started 2018 full of optimism, boosted by tax cuts in the US which caused a surge in corporate earnings.  All this was brought to a halt by the end of 2018 and stock markets around the globe fell sharply as trade tensions increased between the US and China. Emerging market equities were particularly affected by this and also faced rising borrowing costs as a result of higher US interest rates and a stronger US Dollar. Europe also struggled, getting initially hit with increased tariffs from the US and ongoing uncertainty over Brexit negotiations.

What next for 2019?

Predicting stock market returns over the short term is a futile task. Over the last 90 years, on any single day, US stock markets have ended the day up 54% of the time. Odds of making money over this short time frame are only slightly better than the odds of landing a head when flipping a coin. Investing over a longer time horizon tilts the odds in the favour of an investor. Investing for 1 year has produced a positive result 74% of the time, increasing to a positive result 86% of the time when investors held for 5 years and historically, investors have never lost money in US stock markets if they had a 20 year time horizon. Whilst there is no guarantee that history will repeat itself, the data shows that the longer your time horizon, the higher your probability is of seeing a gain in the stock market.

As investors, if our time horizons are long enough, then the short term volatility and negative headlines we are currently experiencing are largely irrelevant.
Along with a long term approach, we take an active approach to investing. This involves picking fund managers who do not simply invest passively into all the companies, good and bad, but picking fund managers who invest into businesses they believe are higher quality and who are able to produce consistent returns in all market conditions. An example of this is the Fundsmith Equity fund which we hold in our growth portfolios. It currently invests internationally into 28 companies. The average year these companies were founded is 1912. With an average over 100 years of experience, these companies have managed to navigate far worse issues than those we currently face and are best placed to continue to grow over the long term.

At Raymond James, Hitchin, we continue to be vigilant of the risks in the market but continue to be fully invested with a long term and active approach.

Keeping it in the family – Inheritance Tax (IHT) Planning

By Faye Silver, Wealth Manager

As we get older our thoughts turn to what will happen to our wealth when we die. For many of our clients this is an important factor of their planning.
Many feel that paying 40% tax charge on an estate that they have worked so hard to build as deeply unfair.

In 2017/18 IHT receipts totalled £5.2bn, more than double the amount paid in 2009/10 when it netted £2.3bn. This is mainly due to rising house prices and a consequence of family’s failure to plan.

Fortunately, there are lots of exemptions that can help reduce the tax paid, but as it is very complex and the rules subject to change, many fail to take full advantage.

47% of UK adults have never discussed passing on their legacy, it is a subject that many find uncomfortable to discuss and delaying it can mean lost opportunities.

If you are thinking ahead and want to start planning, here are our top tips to help you get started.

Step 1. Make a Will

Before you make any start on estate planning it is essential that you have an up-to-date will.

Step 2. Lifetime gifts

You don’t have to wait until death to pass on wealth to loved ones. Details on what you can give can be found online through Special consideration will need to be given to larger gifts that may be subject to the 7 year rule.

Step 3. Make use of pensions

Pensions are one of the most tax-efficient ways to pass on your wealth. If you die before the age of 75 this can be paid as a lump sum or through drawdown with no tax to pay. Post age 75, it is paid at the beneficiaries’ marginal rate.

Step 4. Take control with trusts

Trusts can help reduce an IHT bill and give you control on how your assets are used by future generations.

Step 5. Talk about it – the sooner the better

Talk to your family, friends and wealth manager about your intentions and wishes. Many people find the idea of discussing inheritance uncomfortable and delaying it until the last minute can mean lost opportunities.

You can find further hints and tips on our website or we would be happy to discuss at your next meeting.


It went with a Bang!

Supporting our local community is very important to both Susie and Faye, and we were privileged to support our local firework display. The event raised a total of £3,522 for a number of local charities. Congratulations Michelle Hoskin and her team for such a great event.

Follow us on Instagram - @rjishitchin

You can now follow us on Instagram so you can keep up to date with our events and media coverage.

Saroo is delighted with our new Instaframe!

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Pension Advice & Assistance

Pension Advice & Assistance

Pensions offer tax-efficient ways to invest, but deciding on which ones to use when planning your financial future, and organising any past pension into one, can be confusing

At Raymond James, Hitchin, we offer pension advice alongside investment management, and your Wealth Manager will work with you to provide a one-stop shop solution to your retirement planning. 

Susie, one of our Branch Principal's, recently received this review for helping a client organise their pensions. 

It reads:

"Dear Susie,

In my 
business I work with people to enhance life quality and bring together elements of peace and calmness. That’s exactly what you have brought to me, an almost tangible peace of mind!

I came to you for help, I needed to sort out my somewhat disparate, 
mish-mash of pensions that I had accumulated over years of job hopping.

You have succeeded in combining these into an investment model that I would never have achieved myself and with you and your team’s expertise they are expected to perform better for me in the next few years.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you and your team at Raymond James for all of your help in getting me to this peaceful state.

I should also thank you for introducing me to this wonderful BNI Chapter, so thank you again.

I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending you to anyone and indeed have already got my wife on your books.

I wish you a wonderful Xmas and a very prosperous New Year!

Thank you"

If you have questions about your pensions or investments, then give us a call on 01462 422507.
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Raymond James ranked #7 in FTAdviser's Top 100
We are delighted to share with you that Raymond James Investment Services has recently been ranked number 7 in the FTAdviser’s 2018 Top 100 Financial Advisers! This is such a huge achievement for the Group as we’ve secured our place in the Top 10 in the UK for the first time. In less than a year, our Group has jumped an impressive 14 places; Peter Moores, Chief Executive Officer, explained this as the result of a fantastic business model.

“Firstly, our wealth managers can deliver the bespoke investment proposition they believe is suitable for their clients. Secondly, wealth managers like the fact we do not impose restrictive covenants on them, which can often indirectly restrict a clients’ ability to choose who they work with.”
FTAdvisors 2018 Top 100
For the past five years the Top 100 Financial Advisers list has been celebrating the country’s very best financial advisory businesses based on gross sales using data from Strategic Insight, however this year the ranking algorithm took a broader approach.

This year, the list was based on how well different advice businesses recommend assets in an array of economic and interest-rate environments and how highly qualified the advisers are. The change was made to incorporate smaller businesses within the list and award the quality of service over the profit made.

Peter Moores also reflected on the success of individual branches, which have all seen strong growth throughout the year. Raymond James has seen a client asset inflow to outflow ratio of 20 to one – just highlighting the importance a high-quality service and expert team plays in strong client retention.
Raymond James was built upon a client-focused approach, and each branch constantly strives to improve the service they offer their clients. We recently received the results from our ‘Client Opinion Survey Report 2018’ and are proud to say that is doing exceedingly well in client satisfaction. 

  Read more here 
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The Results Are In!
The results are in from our ‘Client Opinion Survey Report 2018’ and Raymond James Hitchin are out in front for client satisfaction!

You may remember a time before the never-ending heat wave (way, way back in the Summer!) when we sent out a Client Opinion Survey. Well, whilst the country was basking in the summer sunshine, our Organisation Effectiveness Team in the U.S. were busy collating all the survey responses and generating branch reports for client satisfaction.

We want to thank every single person that responded to the survey, we were overwhelmed by your comments and delighted by the scores you gave us for various satisfaction criteria!

The Client Opinion Survey asked a series of questions to determine the overall satisfaction our clients had with the service and support we provide. Thanks to their honesty, we managed to outperform the company average, here are some of the highlights:

- 91% of our clients are satisfied with their dealings with our branch.
- 96% are in favour of continuing to use our services.
- 96% are likely to recommend us to a friend or colleague.

“I came to Raymond James from a good friend’s recommendation. I’ve enjoyed a tailored personalised service from friendly knowledgeable advisors. I feel my funds are in safe hands.”

“I have confidence in Susie and Faye and genuinely feel valued as a customer, in spite of only making a relatively small investment; they seem to appreciate that, for me, it is so much more.“


The survey also asked respondents to rate their Wealth Manager on a range of metrics, from overall service, to trust, to communication satisfaction. In every single metric measured, Raymond James Hitchin either outperformed or matched the company average! Here are some of the fantastic scores:

- 100% of our clients are satisfied with the service from their Wealth Manager.
- 100% agreed that their Wealth Manager spoke to them with consideration for their level of understanding.
- Our Wealth Managers are trusted by 99% of our clients.

“They always make me feel welcome no matter how long it is since I stepped over the threshold.”

“Reliable and dependable service. Raymond James 
have always provided an excellent service. I believe they always act in the best interest of their clients.”
Raymond James was built upon a client-focused approach, and regular surveys allow us to constantly improve the service we provide our clients. We are incredibly thankful for the great feedback we have received and look forward to continuing to build our fantastic relationships with our clients over many years to come.  

The team at Raymond James in Hitchin offer jargon-free investment advice for Pensions, ISAs, Savings and Investments. We believe investing should be available to everyone, so we have no minimum entry level. We are local, friendly and community focused, and all initial meetings are free with no obligation.
If you have questions about your pensions or investments, then give us a call on 01462 422507.
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Caring by Numbers – John’s Story

There is no doubt that the life of a Wealth Manager is a privileged one. I am not referring to money or financial gain, but the privilege of getting to know and help our clients.

The Hitchin community is culturally diverse and this is reflected in the wonderful mix of professions, talents, and characters we meet as clients. None more so than John Evans, who sadly passed away in December 2016. It was a real honour to have worked with John and his family and (with his family’s permission), I would like to share his story.

We first met John in 2008. John had never married and he lived alone in a house that seemed excessive for a single man, but he loved the location and his neighbours, so there was no moving him. He spent his spare time cycling, tackling daredevil house repairs and contemplating the world’s unsolved mathematical problems.

He had a small portfolio of company shares that he enjoyed managing. He was interested in the markets, and had the time to watch them, being such a wonderful mathematician it was a natural synergy. He was a human computer, some may say a genius. Yet he never boasted about it and it was only after he died that we truly understood just how brilliant he was.

In 2011, John came to us with his Nieces who were visiting from Germany. His health was deteriorating, but his mind was not. He was less inclined to manage his investments and wanted Raymond James, Hitchin to look after them, in the knowledge that he was preparing to move on to a different stage in his life.

With his next of kin so far away, he needed a network of professionals that he could trust. We were now an integral member of John’s team, alongside his doctor, accountant, solicitor, and carers. Eventually, John had to sell his home and he moved into a local care home. It was like a hotel and he loved it. At last, he was being pampered and cared for in a way he had never known, being alone for so many years.

For the next five years, the proceeds of his home and his investments would provide funds for his care, and provide substantial legacies to his family.

This is how it worked: The strategy was to invest for income in a Balanced Income and Growth Portfolio. This was invested 50% in Defensive Assets and 50% in Growth Assets.

In the five-year period from October 2011 to October 2016, the portfolio generated a regular monthly income which covered the cost of care and it also rose in value by 26%. The total adjusted return of capital gain and income paid out was 43.8%, net of all fees and charges.*

Although this strategy may not have been appropriate in all cases, it worked for John and gave his family peace of mind. Not only were their immediate financial needs met but the growth in the portfolio provided a comfortable cushion which covers the majority of fees and taxes that John’s estate now faces without affecting the original capital invested 5 years previously.

Both John and his family also knew that they could come to the team at any time with their questions, and regular contact was maintained throughout the whole process.

John was a man who lived independently his whole life. We worked with him for three years before he and his family entrusted us to fully manage his investments. At John’s funeral, we learnt that amongst many of the achievements in his life, he wrote the instruction manual for the cockpit of Concorde. It was at this moment we appreciated just what trust meant to a man who held the lives of so many in a guide to flying the world fastest commercial passenger plane.

If you would like to invest for your future, or the future of your loved ones, have pensions, ISAs, and Investments that you feel could do better, then come and talk to us. Our initial meetings are free with no obligation.

*Growth figures correct as at October 2016.

Risk Warning. Certain Investments carry a higher degree of risk than others and are, therefore, unsuitable for some investors. The value of investments, and the income from them, can go down as well as up, and you may not recover the amount of your initial investment. Where an investment involves a foreign currency, changes in the rate of exchange may cause the value of investment, and the income from it, to go up or down. Before contemplating any investments, you should consult your wealth manager.

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New Website
We are very excited to announce the launch of our brand new website.  We've spent time putting together the information on the website to help better inform our customers about us and what we provide. We hope you find it useful and informative.  Have a look through the website and feel free to let us know your thoughts, we hope you like it as much as we do.  If you have any questions about us or what we provide, then please do get in touch.

This website was designed and created for us by Fluid Studios in Hertfordshire. Find them at
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