In light of the evolving conditions surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak, we want to assure you that all of us at AFL Financial Strategies Limited (AFL) are here to advise and support you.
While the stories we're hearing about people around the globe rallying to help family, friends, and neighbours demonstrate such positivity, we know that money is an underlying concern for everybody. The Coronavirus pandemic has shaken the global markets, and no one can be certain what lies ahead. Uncertainty is challenging to accept when it concerns your finances, and it can lead to making decisions in the heat of the moment, which can have very adverse long-term consequences.
It is important to remember the basic principles of long-term investing remain unchanged. Our mantra is ‘time in the market’ rather than ‘timing the market’, and past events have shown us that maintaining perspective is what is important. This is easy advice to follow in times of prosperity, but now is when this advice really matters. Staying the course with a diversified portfolio of investments, positioned for the long-term, is typically the best route when aiming to achieve your goals.
As you will be aware, we are a Senior Partner Practice of St. James’s Place. St. James’s Place is a strong, robust FTSE100 company with a good credit rating, solid capital position as well as regulatory capital buffers to help support the business and our clients in even the most severe scenarios.
Both St. James’s Place and AFL have always been and will always be managed conservatively with our clients at the heart of what we do. We have enormous experience both within AFL and the wider St. James’s Place Group in helping clients to navigate difficult times in the markets in the past and we will be bringing that experience to bear for our clients over the next few months and into the future in our continued relationships with you.
I hope this has reaffirmed that we’re committed to looking after your best interests and we will continue to do so as the situation unfolds.
If you have any questions about your arrangements, please contact your individual adviser in the first instance, contact details can be found here: AFL Team. Our advisers continue to be available to provide support and advice as usual albeit via phone / video conference or email rather than face to face.
For administration queries please call Samantha Green on 07720 712590 who will liaise with you in the first instance.
Can I still see my adviser?
- Due to the Governments instruction we are unable to visit clients however, we continue to provide advice via telephone or video conferences. If you have any queries or concerns please do not hesitate to contact your adviser. Their details can be found here: AFL Team .
Can I still undertake tax year end investment planning for 2019/20 such as investment into an ISA or Pension?
- Please talk to your financial adviser at the earliest opportunity to discuss appropriate investments. Their details can be found here: AFL Team
Will I still receive my income payments?
- If you are invested in income units within ISAs and Unit Trusts you will continue to receive the distribution in income. However, please note that this income may be reduced if underlying stocks reduce their dividend payments in their management of the coronavirus crisis.
- If you are invested in bonds or drawdown pensions you will continue to receive your requested income payments. This may involve the cancellation of units.
What do I do if I want to stop / start income payments?
- Please contact your adviser in the first instance who will talk through the best options for you before we take things forwards. Their details can be found here: AFL Team
What do I do if I want to pause regular payments to a St. James’s Place portfolio?
- Please contact your adviser in the first instance who will talk through the best options for you before we take things forwards. Their details can be found here: AFL Team. We expect to need at least 15 working days to ensure that a direct debit request can be paused before the next payment is taken. The alternative is to cancel your direct debit at the bank but please note that if this is done we will have to obtain a new signed direct debit mandate before we can restart payments.
With market prices so suppressed is now a good time to invest?
- Current market prices do give an opportunity to enter the markets at suppressed prices. However the decision on whether to enter the markets should be driven by your personal medium to long term goals and current financial position rather than trying to time the markets. Please talk to one of our financial advisers in the first instance and they will be able to advise you on the best approach for you. Their details can be found here: AFL Team
The value of an investment with St. James's Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds you select and the value can therefore go down as well as up. You may get back less than you invested.
The levels and bases of taxation and reliefs from taxation can change at any time and are generally dependent on individual circumstances.