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Tom Sutcliffe: Work Experience

This week I, Tom Sutcliffe, spent my week at ICF Financial Services on my work experience. I worked at the Melton office learning new skills and gaining valuable experience which I will be able to use in the future.

On my first day I shadowed a Financial Services Administrator, learning basic administration duties including how to use back office systems, how to process reviews and the mail the company receives. This helped me for the rest of the week as it gave me background knowledge about what the company does and how they do it.

On Tuesday, I carried on learning about financial services administration and then spent time with a Director who is a Financial Advisor. I was shown the different types of insurance cover that businesses need and what each of them mean and include. We went through a real life case which gave me knowledge about how different client requests are processed.

On Wednesday, I was given the task of marketing using the company’s social media Networks. I edited and published articles on the company’s blog and posted this to both Twitter and Facebook. Later in the day, I shadowed another financial adviser, learning about cash flow forecasts which predict how long pension funds will last and how to prolong this. This gave me a good insight into how I need to prepare for my future and later life even though it seems a whole life away. I think that this is vital information that will help me further forward in my life.

On Thursday, I had GDPR training, learning the importance of data protection and how we protect data. This will help me greatly in the future as I know the parts of GDPR before I start working. In the afternoon I was shown how to use the company’s case management software. This allowed me to complete additional tasks more efficiently throughout the rest of my time at the company.

On my last day, I shadowed two of the company’s Mortgage Administrators, learning all about the other side of the company – lending. I learnt the process of going through mortgage cases. This gave me a knowledge of something that I otherwise knew very little about and I believe it will help me in the future. Later on, I used the information I learnt the day previous about the case management system, inputting clients and cases onto the system. I also improved my communication skills as I rang different product providers for client updates.

Overall, I think that the week I spent at ICF Financial Services was extremely valuable. It taught me about what the world of work is like and it helped me improve skills that I will use for the rest of my life.

How Do You Step in for Someone Who Can’t Manage Their Investments Any Longer?

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Fiona Heald, partner at law firm Moore Blatch, says: ‘Around 70% of people don’t make plans to ensure some else can look after their property and financial affairs should they be unable to do so themselves.

Contrary to popular belief, nobody has an automatic right to make decisions on someone else’s behalf – even if they are related, married or in a civil partnership with them. That is why many people set up Lasting Power of Attorney while they are still in good mental health, as this ensures one or more trusted friends or relatives are legally entitled to act for them if necessary.

Getting an LPA is certainly advisable for anyone who plans to manage an investment portfolio throughout old age, as this involves work and the kind of financial acumen you might not have as you become frailer. Assuming it is too late to get an LPA, authority to become the deputy/deputies needs to be granted instead. This requires an application to the Court of Protection.

Once granted, the deputy can manage any assets and any income. The deputy could also appoint other professionals such as an independent financial adviser to assist. The Court of Protection prefers family and friends to be appointed as deputies, as opposed to the local authority or a professional, such as a lawyer. However, if there are problems, it can be best to appoint a professional. Having completed the forms, a £400 fee is payable to the Court of Protection. The Court will take about a month to issue the formal application. In extreme cases, it would be sensible to ask for an urgent order so that the investments can be dealt with quickly. This would include the power to appoint a financial adviser to help deal with any investments.

Assuming no one objects, the Court will then consider how much security the deputies need to provide. This is an insurance bond which pays out should a deputy illegally take the money. If this occurs, the insurance company will pursue the deputy.

Once the Court knows the insurance bond is in place, they will issue the property and financial affairs deputy order to the deputies along with guidance so that they are aware of what they can and cannot do. Once the Order has been received, a separate deputy bank account needs to be set up to manage any financial affairs. The Order also needs to be sent to all financial companies where accounts are held so they know who to deal with from now on.

This whole process takes about six months. Once appointed, all deputies are supervised by the Office of the Public Guardian to which any further fees, such as the annual supervision fee and fees for the appointment of new deputies, are paid.

If you have any questions about anything in this article, please contact ICF Financial Services on 01482 638300 and we’d gladly help.


This article written by a reporter from ThisisMoney.co.uk

Source – http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/pensions/article-5817015/My-dad-invested-pension-hes-ill-handle-it.html

Property market continues to lose steam as average house prices dip 0.2% in May

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  • Average UK home now valued at £213,618, says Nationwide
  • Annual pace of growth slows to 2.4% from 2.6% in April
  •  Proportion of privately rented homes has doubled from 10 to 20% since 19


UK house prices fell by 0.2 per cent in May and annual growth slowed down further as the housing market continues to lose steam.

The modest monthly drop is the third fall in four months, with the average home now valued at £213,618, according to the latest index by Nationwide. Annual price growth also slowed, from 2.6 per cent in April to 2.4 per cent in May, according to the report.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said there were few signs of an imminent change in the housing market as both demand and supply remained subdued. ‘Surveyors continue to report subdued levels of new buyer enquiries, while the supply of properties on the market remains more of a trickle than a torrent,’ he said.

Looking ahead, Nationwide reiterated it expects house prices to rise by 1 per cent over 2018, with employment and interest rates decisions set to influence how the housing market will perform.

Gardner added: ‘Subdued economic activity and ongoing pressure on household budgets is likely to continue to exert a modest drag on housing market activity and house price growth this year, though borrowing costs are likely to remain low.’

Brian Murphy at the Mortgage Advice said Nationwide’s figures suggest that whilst there has been a small monthly decrease in terms of values, average annual growth figures are still in positive territory, in line with expectations.

But he added: ‘That said, conditions are becoming increasingly fragmented, with more granular housing data from other sources pointing to some areas seeing significant price increases because of lack of stock and strong buyer demand, and other conurbations seeing a similar lack of properties coupled with fewer levels of buyers, meaning that values are stagnating or, in some cases, moving into reverse gear.’

Nationwide’s figures chime with official data that point to a slowing market.

Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics shows British house prices dropped in March, with London recording its weakest performance since 2009. The ONS said the decline in London can be linked to reforms to stamp duty and the Brexit vote, which has deterred foreign buyers and seen net migration to the city fall.

If you have any questions or queries about how this may affect you, then contact ICF Financial Services on 01482 638300 and we’d be happy to help.

Article written by Camilla Canocchi for ThisisMoney.co.uk

Source – http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-5790267/Property-market-continues-lose-steam-average-UK-house-price-falls-0-2-says-Nationwide.html

How to buy a home with a small deposit



Should you buy a home with a small deposit rather than pay rent?

With low rates meaning that mortgage payments could be similar to rent, that’s a question weighed up by many potential first-time buyers struggling to save a substantial deposit for a home.

Swapping renting for buying with a 95 per cent mortgage has got easier in recent times, with banks and building societies considerably keener to lend to both first-time buyers and home movers with small deposits than they were after the financial crisis.

It always pays to have a bigger deposit, because that wins homeowners better mortgage rates and a bigger buffer against house prices falling. However, that’s not an option for everyone – so does it make sense to buy with just 5 per cent down?

How much money do you need to raise to buy a home?

Through the 1980s and 1990s, the average first-time buyer deposit was just 6 per cent, according to industry figures from UK Finance. Today’s average first-time buyer puts down considerably more – at 16 per cent of their property’s purchase price – but those looking to buy with a smaller deposit do have decent mortgage choice.

There are now 295 mortgages on offer for those with a 5 per cent deposit, according to financial information specialist Moneyfacts, compared to 269 available a year ago.

To illustrate the potential costs of buying with a 5 per cent deposit, we have used the example of a £200,000 home and a £10,000 deposit – as this is close to the average first-time buyer house price and an easy round number to deal with.

On a £200,000 home, a couple able to save £10,000 could buy their first home and face monthly mortgage payments of £820 a month – like what many would pay in rent for a similar property.

What will remain the same, however, is that if you can double your deposit then you will substantially cut your borrowing costs. While there are decent rates and choice for 5 per cent deposits, there are better rates and a wider selection of mortgages for those with 10 per cent.

How much would a mortgage cost?

Mortgage rates depend on two main things, how much of a deposit you put down and what kind of deal you take.

Variable rate mortgages, which are generally either at a discount to a lender’s own benchmark rate or track the Bank of England base rate, can be cheaper – but if interest rates rise then your mortgage rate probably will too.

In fact, those mortgages linked to lenders’ standard variable rates could move at any time, as banks and building societies are free to change these at will.

A fixed rate tends to be the better option for first-time buyers, or anyone borrowing with a small deposit. Their mortgage rate and monthly payments will be set for a defined period and this provides an element of security.

This has led to the two-year fixed rate mortgage being a perennial favourite, but five-year fixed rates are also an increasingly popular and widely-recommended option.

How long you fix for depends on several things, including your attitude to risk and how likely you are to move – although bear in mind most people underestimate how long they will stay in the same property.

It’s worth talking this through in detail with a good independent mortgage broker and you should avoid simply being swayed by lower rates.

One extra piece of good news for those buying with a small deposit is that the first-time buyer stamp duty exemption has removed another extra barrier to buying a home – saving someone £1,500 on a £200,000 home.

How quickly do you start paying down the mortgage?

One of the arguments for opting for a shorter-term fixed rate is that a couple of years’ mortgage payments should clear some of the debt and allow you to then remortgage to a better deal – a 10 per cent deposit loan instead perhaps.

But in the early years of a mortgage, a greater proportion of your payments go on interest than paying off capital, so how quickly would you make a dent in what you borrowed?

In two years’ time interest rates are forecast to be higher than now – and while borrowers will do well if house prices rise, they may struggle to remortgage if they fall.


If you have any questions or queries about how this may affect you, then contact ICF Financial Services on 01482 638300 where we would be happy to help.


This article was written by Simon Lambert from This Is Money

  • Source (http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-5690643/How-buy-home-5-deposit.html)

Moving house? Take a mortgage with you: How ‘porting’ can save you thousands



Spring often sparks thoughts of a house move – and questions over what to do with the home loan. But it is often the case that a home mover can take their existing mortgage with them – and save potentially thousands of pounds – in a process known as ‘porting’.

New research suggests widespread confusion surrounds this option. Two thirds of borrowers have not heard of porting and of those who have, one in five would not attempt it because of a dearth of information on how it works. Chris Irvin, senior mortgage manager at Yorkshire Building Society, says: ‘Porting a mortgage is not the first thing people think about when planning a home move. ‘But it may be a good money-saving option, especially if a borrower is part way through a mortgage deal that has exit fees or early repayment charges.’

Not all mortgages are portable, so the first step is to ask your existing lender. Taking this route does not avoid paperwork – borrowers essentially need to reapply for their current deal. But it might still be well worth the hassle.

Reasons to port…

If a homebuyer just moves an existing loan – and is not borrowing more money in the process – they usually avoid any early repayment charge. This might appeal to borrower’s keen to keep a low-cost deal that has a significant period still to run. Since penalty charges can amount to between 1 per cent and 5 per cent of an outstanding loan, the savings could add up to anything between £1,500 and £7,500 on a £150,000 mortgage.

Porting could also mean you do not have to pay a deeds release fee. This is often charged by a lender when a loan is paid off in full – and can cost borrowers several hundred pounds. Finally, porting can mean escaping some of the pricey set-up charges attached to a new mortgage deal, including product fees that often top £1,000 – though a valuation fee may still apply.

Reasons not to…

Stricter affordability rules introduced in 2014 mean borrowers who want to take a mortgage with them to a new house must reapply for the same loan. This means that if their circumstances have changed, such as becoming self-employed, they may be subject to different terms – and denied the porting option.  This leaves them with the choice of staying put in their property – or finding a new loan from another source.

Borrowers moving to a more expensive property may be able to port their mortgage but only for the current loan amount. Any extra must be paid for through a so-called ‘top- up’ mortgage – from the same lender.

This extra will most likely be on a higher interest rate. For example, if the current home loan is £150,000 but a further £70,000 is required, this extra sum would attract the new rate – and the lender will usually insist on affordability checks.

Malhi says: ‘Your options will be limited to your current lender who may not have the most competitive deals. You will also end up with two separate loans with different end dates.’ If downsizing, the new property will need to meet the requirements of the current deal. A smaller loan may also trigger an early repayment charge on the amount paid off.

Borrowers who are not locked in to their current deal, such as those on expensive standard variable rates, are usually better off searching for a new home loan deal instead of porting – even if there are fees to pay up front.


If You have any queries about how this may affect you, then contact us on 01482 638300 where we will be happy to help you.

This article was written by Sally Hamilton from the ‘Financial Mail on Sunday’

Source- http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-5512795/How-porting-home-loan-save-thousands.html


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ICF Financial Services
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Melton, East Yorkshire,
HU14 3RS

Tel: 01482 638300
Fax: 01482 638302

ICF Financial Services/Alan Bell Mortgages
58 Flamborough Road,
East Yorkshire, YO15 2JN

Tel: 01262 213333
Fax 01262 333471

ICF Financial Services
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2 Station Avenue,
Bridlington, YO16 4LZ

Tel: 01262 602456
Email: info@icf-fs.co.uk