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Technical articles

The growing range of specialist mortgage options »
The range of specialist mortgage options available for personal or professional requirements is a growing business and for mortgage brokers, the challenge is how to meet consumer requirements and identify the right product solution. From second charge loans and buy-to-lets to commercial and bridging options the opportunities available is wide indeed.
Another reason to review a will – don’t forget the holiday home abroad! »
We have looked at the subject of wills several times over the last couple of years yet it seems that there is a never-ending stream of proposals that affect estate planning, the latest being the introduction of the residence nil rate band and the review of the use of deeds of variation.  We have looked at some of these issues in recent articles. There is, however, something else to consider this month - which is relevant to clients who own assets in other EU Member States - due to changes in the law which came into force on 17 August 2015.
Flexible pensions: the next stage »
The present government is showing a commendable commitment to getting the job done when it comes to pension flexibility. Those who thought that the original proposals to make pensions more accessible were more hot air have had to revise their thinking. Under a strategy that restricts pension saving for the better-off, the Chancellor has, at the same time made pension funds available to anyone of a certain age who chooses to cash-in (or in modern betting parlance, should we say 'cash out') their savings.
Back to basics with protection trusts »
Now that we have the Finance Act 2015 and so the uncertainty of the changes to the taxation of relevant property trusts is over, it may be useful to review the use of trusts with protection policies.  Which trusts are still suitable? Are there any new developments? Is IHT planning using the Rysaffe principle still valid? This month we look at trusts used with personal protection policies.
The truth about claims »
I like consumerism. It helps prevent consumers being ripped off and with a business like insurance, which is based around trust and the promise of future delivery if something nasty occurs, that's crucial.
So what's China got to do with you? »
"Well it's over there, not here, and after all every stock market has to go through a crash or two as they grow up" - is not a very helpful way of looking at what has happened to the overblown Chinese stock markets. Over recent years the two mainland stock markets and their indices, theShanghaiand Shenzhen markets, have frankly borne more resemblance to a gambling den rather than investment markets. 
The reform of the tax treatment of dividends - part one »
This is the first of two articles on the subject of dividends and the reforms announced by the Chancellor in the Budget of 8 July 2015. In this article we look at the background to dividend taxation, how the new regime will operate from 2016/17 and the impact on individual investors.  In the second article we will look at the position for business owners and trustees.  Both articles are based on material published to date by HMRC/Treasury, which is sadly thin on detail. The necessary legislation is not due to emerge until Finance Bill 2016, so we are unlikely to learn much more until the draft Bill emerges, probably shortly after the Autumn Statement at the end of the year.
Mortgage Professional Issue 7 »
In the seventh issue of Mortgage Professional, Gary Little heads up a host of articles covering an overview of the mortgage market, buy-to-let, mortgage credit directive and more.
To be or not to be a trustee »
Many of those involved in financial services are also active members of their communities and this will often involve acting on boards of local associations, schools, churches and charities. A local sports club for young people will often be set up as a charity.  Those who advise on trusts are often asked by their clients to act as trustee and that alone may cause a variety of potential problems, more on which later. But what does it actually mean to be a trustee in practice? Can anybody be one? Should you be one if you are asked? 
Metal madness »
Have you ever considered investing in Antimony, Cadmium or Zirconium? Could you identify which was which out of a collection of similar looking lumps of metal? Would you even be interested in doing so? I suspect for most investors the answer to all three questions above is a "no" - and a fairly disinterested one at that. However if you could achieve the long-held dream of alchemists and add a few extra electrons, protons and neutrons to the above metals, you'd end up with gold. Now that's a metal that gets investors excited.
Pension reforms - matters arising »
As we continued to digest the new flexibilities introduced by last year's Taxation of Pensions Act and this year's Finance Act, the Chancellor picked up where he left off in his July Budget.
The summer budget July 2015 - a summary »
Two months and a day after the general election, George Osborne presented his seventh Budget which was the first purely Conservative Budget since Ken Clarke's finale back in November 1996.
The rights of beneficiaries and challenging trustee decisions - part two »
Last month we looked at the rights of beneficiaries to information about the trust they benefit or may benefit from in the future. Having received that information, what if the beneficiary is not happy about what has happened? This month we look at the beneficiaries´ rights to challenge trustee decisions and to seek a remedy for a breach of trust. We will also consider how trustees can limit the risk of a challenge by a disgruntled beneficiary.
A month head start »
Immediately following the election, the Conservative Party gained a month head-start on its term in power. Prior to the election, a coalition of some kind seemed all but certain and so the whole month of May was blocked out in political calendars for wrangling about the future government - yet come the morning of May 8th, David Cameron found himself with an entire month more than planned to think about the future policy.
ISA update »
The increase in the subscription limit from 6 April 2015 combined with the increased flexibility of the ISA which, while valuable to all who qualify, will be particularly welcome for those who are:

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