I have analysed my funds from the start in 2009 to date 2021.
I have compared the cumulative percentage gain of the fund compared with the FTSE100 and with the RPI.
The investment has substantially outperformed the FTSE since about 2015 - when the FTSE suffered from first a downturn and more recently from the impact of covid. And of course the investment compares favourably with the growth of the RPI.
I have also tracked the performance of the 10 or so asset types over the period 2012-2021.
The overall performance of the investment has been 5.9% growth on average since 2012.
The growth of individual equity based asset types has fluctuated considerably from year to year, but the top three over the period have been N America (12% pa), Europe (11% pa) and Far East excluding japan (10% pa).
Next come the other equity based assets at between 6-7 % pa. All the equity based sectors recovered very well in the past year from the impact of covid with increases of between 17% and 39% in the year to May 2021.
Its to the great credit of Nicola and her advisers and of the fund managers they choose to achieve good performance especially in recent years - many thanks.
'I wanted to write to you personally to say "thank you" for listening to my request when we first met last November and for supporting my belief that a pension transfer was in my, and my family's, best interests. With that now completed and the monies transferred and in place "thank you" once again and I look forward to our onward journey.'
It has been a real pleasure to be part of the journey that Nicola and the team here are on. From my first meeting I have felt comfortable and informed, indeed the journey for me has been made quite special by the way the team have made my journey, theirs. The professional advice has always been spot on and has left me feeling excited and looking forwards to the next phase of my, and my family's life. Long may the business and the people of Trentham Invest prosper and grow. May I finish by thanking Nicola and the team.
I just want to thank you, and also Vicki, for meeting with me yesterday to go through the options for my pension. I'm really pleased with the annuity that's been identified, and considering it only constitutes three-quarters of my 'pot', it's a very good result - more than I had expected. Thanks for expertly guiding my funds to this scenario, and also to Vicki and the team for working so hard on my behalf.
What is it that you have achieved that makes you feel so good?
In 2005 I was feeling rather undervalued at work and so took the option for redundancy. I enjoyed a short "rest" and was unable to find any employment that would have stimulated me (age discrimination existed)!
Short-term income was in place (all debts had been deliberately cleared over the preceding years) but being able to take my company pension without having crippling penalties was years down the road.
I wanted to ensure our family quality of life was not drastically impacted and so experimented with income generating schemes (Stock Market investments, Spread Betting etc.). At first, the experiment was strictly controlled, enjoyable and generated some income. However, I soon realised the magnitude of risk that would have to be taken to attain the income I required; this was a major gamble.
I wanted to solidify my investments and survive financially through to pension age; generating a sufficient income in the interim. All this during a severe economic down-turn.
Well, to date, despite consuming some £160,000 as income and transfer of capital to ISA's in wife's name, my funds have crossed a significant boundary for the first-time. I understand they will likely slip below and bounce-back a number of times yet but the overall trend against all the headwinds impresses me and lets me sleep soundly at night!
What have we done to help you get there?
My meetings with Trentham Invest in 2006-2007 helped me explore how I could attain my financial aims (without jeopardising my family's future). They mapped out a safe and secure financial pathway to maintain the lifestyle I desired.
Firstly, after unravelling all the details and possible incomes at different ages from the main company pension rights (and additional AVC's I had made) plus a transferred-in pension fund, we found my ex-employer totally inflexible to my situation. All or nothing basically. No halfway houses, no splitting out AVC and transferred-in funds. It was surprising to me that they took this approach despite promising to underpin the generous benefits from my previous employer.
In subsequent discussions with Trentham Invest we decided to transfer the whole pension out to a personal pension plan. 25% Cash was taken from the pension fund and invested separately and is subsequently being used to generate a future tax-free income by feeding into ISA funds for me and my wife. All this with a single admin centre which gives a plethora choice of investment funds.
Trentham Invest manages the admin centre for me, frequently discusses my attitude to risk and regularly reviews my portfolios. And at any time I can review my financial affairs on the admin centre web-site, discuss my attitude to risk with Trentham Invest and tailor the recommended portfolios as required.
What is it that makes you stay with us and ignore the temptations of others who say ‘we can make better performance at less cost’?
I have discussed my financial set-up with a few ex-colleagues, some of whom have joined me at Trentham Invest. Initial reactions of us all have been an adverse reaction to charges of all of the Financial Industry; introductory fees, management fees of administration and fund managers, bid and offer spreads on individual investments.
The latest Government review has blown away some of the sharper practices and dragged into daylight the charges that were being made. Some are unavoidable whether as an individual investor or as a client of a financial advisor. Overall, the temptation is to eliminate the financial advisor.
However, as I found early on, the time and attention that would have to be given to monitoring markets, keeping up to date with Government and pension legislation and political "intentions" - all of which influence sentiment and, hence, move markets world-wide - is hugely time consuming and incessant.
The fear of "taking time out" and missing a market turn that could cause catastrophic damage to wealth does not induce a feeling of well-being and contentment. (Consider a drop of 15% in either Government Bond Prices - could happen if inflation kicks-off - or Equity Markets slump due to EURO crisis or US slipping back into recession. That would need a bounce back sometime of 30% to get back to where Portfolio's values were.)
The message at my time of life is "get a life and enjoy it"! Let someone else who is good at their job do the hard work and worrying for you. Sure I will set personal targets and monitor performance but when I choose to do so! I have flirted with other "Financial Managers". Their advertising is enticing and headline returns are magnificent. But on exploration of one I found that they were mostly actively trading Equities, based in the US with subsequent time lags and were exposed to currency swings. Additional services, such as drawdown facilities, were sub-managed, and at additional cost.
We bother to insure the major assets in our life (house, cars, etc) and happily pay a premium. Consider your financial advisor's fees as such. They will not prevent all losses but should prevent a financial wipe-out!
Existing client of 7 years.
"We had a problem which was beyond our expertise, in fact probably the biggest quandary of our married life. It was causing friction between us and one which would materially affect our financial standing for the rest of our lives.
I had a reasonably sized Final Salary Pension (like most, unfortunately, now shut), and a pretty ordinary replacement Occupational Salary version. We were informed by the Trustees of the Pension Fund (eventually) that the Company was behind on the payments that should have been made to the Final Salary Pension, and that the likelihood of these arrears being made good in the next few years was uncertain.
Did we hope against hope that things would be 'alright' within the next five years before my retirement, (and just carry on worrying and bickering) or withdraw the greatly diminished value and invest elsewhere? What if the Company went under? We soon learnt that the much trumpeted Government Protection Legislation in place was not a solution.
We weren't qualified to make a decision either way. We needed help.
In addition to the above, both of us had had our hours reduced and were struggling to meet our financial commitments which was having a detrimental effect on our quality of life.
We did fairly extensive research and started making enquiries; we quickly found that many financial advisors were reluctant to advise regarding transferring out of a company pension scheme. However, Trentham Investment kept surfacing as a possible solution. We made contact with Nicola Downs, the Principal, and immediately felt we had a 'fit', someone who almost innately understood our predicament, our fears and our hopes for the future. Ms Downs has an awesome CV that can only be achieved by somebody extremely highly regarded in her field of expertise, (wonderful thing is Google) and if such a thing as an 'holistic' approach to Finances exists, she has it.
We spoke to existing Clients who all echoed what we believed; the gut feelings we had when we first approached Ms Downs. We spent many hours in her offices in Surrey on a beautiful day in July, exploring options, desires and expectations. The weather was propitious! Our final decision as to the way we chose to proceed is irrelevant to anyone else; however, we obviously believe we made the right decision both for now and for the future, and would never have been able to reach that decision without her valued input.
We are now feeling positive about our retirement again, and with the help of Nicola have also been able to rearrange our financial commitments resulting in a massive improvement in our quality of life.
We now value Nicola as our Financial Investment Advisor totally and absolutely. The added bonus is we feel very fortunate that we have made a lasting friendship with a person of great personal integrity."
A valued client of Trentham Invest. Manchester.
"From the start of my involvement with Trentham Invest I have been delighted by the personal service I have received. I had never consulted professionals regarding financial matters before, and the whole subject of financial management filled me with dread as I knew absolutely nothing about it. It was vital that the right decisions were made for me, and Nicola's calm, reassuring and professional manner, meant I was able to leave the problem with her, which was a great relief.
I do feel Trentham Invest are a great team, and Vicki did a wonderful job chasing my ex husband's pension fund providers. I feel well supported and confident that you are all trying to do your best for me."
Claire Fulston, Reigate
"Thanks again for all the hard work
you and your team are undertaking on my behalf and I am very
pleased to have taken the opportunity of asking you to handle
my pension investment."
Morton Corbitt, Civil Engineer at Costain
"Having carefully considered whether
to engage the services of a large well established company
of Financial Advisors, which were recommended to me by my
bank, or to come to Trentham Invest, I am delighted that I
chose you. Trentham has made the whole minefield of pensions
and the passing through A day both understandable and much
easier than originally expected. The efficiency and care shown
to bring about a satisfactory conclusion has been appreciated,
as has the fun element along the way."
Hugh Evans, Evans Autos
"I am writing to formally thank
you for taking over the administration of my pension scheme
which, prior to your controls, was difficult to understand
and manage. I congratulate you that your estimates both, financial
and in timing of completion of the first part of the scheme,
have been accurate. I look forward with confidence to the
smooth, successful running of the ongoing aspects of my pension."
Richard J Evans, Evans Autos
"We came to you because we wanted
a local adviser who has a proactive approach and knows what
she is doing in the complex world of pensions. Each of the
Partners had their own IFA adviser from the past, but none
of us felt that any had the right mix of skills and approach.
We have been particularly impressed by your professional knowledge
in the pensions field, but even more so by your ability to
communicate complex issues clearly and in a human way, treating
each of us as individuals. Getting six lawyers to move in
the same direction is not easy, and you have just the right
mix of assertiveness, determination and grit to take our project
forward to a successful conclusion, at the same time looking
after each of our individual interests."
Christopher Shipley, Downs Solicitors
"Pensions have become so complicated
that I have erred on investing in things I understand. Since
my discussions with Nicola, overall I feel much clearer about
my general financial picture."
Rick Parish, Ellis Atkins Accountants
"From my initial meeting with Nicola
12 years ago, a good working relationship has developed. I
have no hesitation recommending Nicola to friends and colleagues.
I do this knowing she will provide a knowledgeable first class