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  • Property Training/Mentoring

    Kevin Whelan & WealthBuilders

    Hi Vanessa

    Under Wealth Builders, Kevin is providing an education service and should not be giving specific financial advice, and there is / would be no need to be regulated.  It is also creating a community to match-make those looking for funding with those who have funding - in their pension.

    I would have thought, however, that it was prudent to make clear that the firm is not regulated by the FCA ... blah .. blah .. blah, as they are unable to give advice and can purely provide education and non-specific guidance (whether they stray from this in reality is arguable or not known).

    I would certainly have some form of disclaimer if it was me, to make it clear.

    Kevin is an experienced business person who has been the director of a regulated IFA firm for many years (albeit not a qualified IFA himself, he has an economics degree I believe - not sure if that alone makes him an economist!?!)

    Kevin also is an owner of the trustee company Empowered Pensions and Empowered Training who provide the trustee training

    This means he owns:

    - the education co. - SSAS experts - and promoting the SSAS vehicle

    - the regulated IFA, and maybe this is the firm that would carry out any pension transfer advice into the SSAS from a final salary (or defined contribution) pension scheme

    - the SSAS trustee, that administers the scheme - I cannot work out whether they take the role that carries liability for decisions made in the SSAS ref. types of investment and whether they are compliant, etc. or whether they just carry out the admin duties like a services provider with no liability (there is quite a difference)

    - the training co. that provides training to help you carry out your duties as a trustee of your own scheme - I have no idea how it compares to the free training here https://trusteetoolkit.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/

    Jon

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    Jon Rose

    Suitable FinLife

    ** As a qualified Financial Life & Legacy Planner, and also an experienced HMO portfolio landlord (& owner of a lettings agency), I understand the financial & legacy planning issues faced by property investors & business owners, and have simple solutions to often complex problems.

    Suitable Life Planning helps people to clearly define the things you want more of in life and helps you establish the financial life plan you need to achieve them - helping you live the life you want to lead without the fear of running out of money.

    Suitable Legacy Planning empowers you to plan for & protect the people you love, leaving a lasting financial legacy that enables them to have more freedom, more choice & more life.

    Suitable Money Advice are a fully independent and impartial financial planner providing regulated financial advice & regulated financial products, if indeed you need any.  We are a SIPP & SSAS specialist

    Please get in touch on 01202 287 990 or jon.rose@suitablefinlife.co.uk


    Heather

    I am a fully authorised & regulated financial planner / IFA (not touting for business BTW).  I have also been an HMO property investor for the past 9 years with a decent sized portfolio.

    This post is not aimed at any one company or provider of services in particular, but a general observation of what I have seen.

    There are many of us in the regulated world who have deep concerns about the activities of unregulated introducers - there have been a number of high profile issues with investments that have been "recommended or introduced" by these co.'s individuals / Co.'s that have gone south - the biggest being London Capital & Finance mini-bond that collapsed with £200+ million of investors cash in the last few months. 

    Very large commissions are paid to these salespeople acting as "advisers" ... and there is zero redress to investors as they are not regulated by the FCA (albeit their unregulated status is often not made clear, or if it is ... the implications of their unregulated status isn't)

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-47454328

    https://www.milsted-langdon.co.uk/radio-...ccountant/

    This is obviously at one end of the scale.

    There are further concerns at the other, where there are unregulated introducers working generally with one (or a small cartel of) IFA firm who "help" people unlock their final salary / defined benefit pension and place it into a SSAS.

    Often you find there are links between these firms either in ownership & control, or perhaps just an uncomfortably close relationship that in my view creates a conflict of interest for the IFA firm that is ignored, and often the advice may be "independent" of a product provider as the words Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) mean ..... however I'd question if the advice was impartial.

    The funds are then in the least regulated of all pension schemes (there is a reason why the SSAS is the pension scammers vehicle of choice) and is ripe for picking with all sorts of investments, many unregulated - these include mini bonds, loans to other property investors, hotel rooms, student pods, storage, car parking spaces .... you name I've seen it.

    Whilst a SSAS can be an immensely powerful vehicle in the right hands, it can be a very destructive power in the wrong hands, or should I say if following the wrong guidance or taking the wrong path.

    Many people get caught in some of these sophisticated sales funnels via networking groups & facebook groups that again look impartial and seem good sources of further shared knowledge and education.

    Within these groups, I have also seen lots of "personal recommendations" by individuals that normally end in "talk to me offline if you would like to understand more about my experiences" and again often there is a relationship between the person sharing their experience and the firm they are talking about (whether that be direct monetary, or just introductions to further investors when they require money for their own projects).  Again, impartiality can be conflicted here as this is often not disclosed.

    The groups, etc are often just a feeder into the connected companies who might offer:

    - education via their training co.

    - an intro to an "Independent" IFA (but I'd question whether they were an impartial one)

    - an intro to an "independent" trustee to run the SSAS pension scheme (again, questionable how independent and impartial they are when they could be in the same ownership)

    - expensive training to become a trustee of your own scheme, when it is freely available on the Pensions Regulator site https://trusteetoolkit.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/

    and ultimately it is often a way to unlock pensions monies into a more "flexible" pension which I then often see loaned out to other property developers and investors as a main goal.

    This opens up its own can of worms to do with strength and risk of this investment ... etc .... etc.

    For some, this is a suitable route.

    For many, it is not.  As they are often heavily invested in property themselves personally, and are then generally going all-in with their pension investments into property too - so no diversification whatsoever.

    I am also seeing loanbacks - one of the benefits of a SSAS scheme, but have specific criteria you need to meet and many cannot in a compliant way - being completed from the client's SSAS pension back to their Co. that would not pass further investigation by HMRC often due to concerns over the security given for the loan.

    Again, in the right circumstances, loanbacks can be a powerful vehicle in property investment .... but the circumstances are quite specific and many do not fit them for the loan to be compliant.

    Within the SSAS pension scheme, there must be a Scheme Administrator, which is an official position that takes on some liability for activities carried out by the pension scheme.  I am seeing a lack of clarity whether a service provider is taking on this position officially and hence the liability or whether they are just providing outsourced administration services for the pension scheme and hence have no liability for anything that is not compliant in the scheme and that sits with the trustees - the actual pension holder(s).

    This is pertinent with the potential issue described above regards loanbacks.

    As I say, for the right people with the right circumstances, a SSAS can be a suitable pension vehicle.  Then there needs to be ongoing discussion and advice around suitability of investments.

    I have seen many within these groups state "I spoke to an IFA and he didn't seem to get the whole SSAS thing", but quite often what I am seeing is that the IFA will not do the work to transfer the final salary pension as he understands that for many people it is not in their interest to do so and would not be deemed suitable under FCA guidance.

    The route to successful (but not necessarily suitable) transfer often leads back to 1 or 2 specific IFAs.

    In some cases, I feel that the pension holder almost needs saving from themselves, and what they are wanting to do is not in their best interests.  This is often the role of an independent and fully impartial financial adviser.

    Most IFAs are very market funds centric

    The introducers and education co. side of things seem to pretty much shun traditional market funds and push people towards third party loans and other debt related schemes (lending to a German co. that refurbishes listed buildings in Germany is one I have seen, and there are many who have invested that are no longer receiving interest on their investment)

    I very firmly sit in the middle and believe there is a need for traditional market investment where suitable, together with potential property and property related activities.

    At the end of the day, although I see the SSAS pension being marketed as this amazing new discovery for building wealth, it is at the end of the day a tax wrapper and financial product.

    A financial product is a tool in the bag of a decent financial planner or adviser, but it a tool.

    What most people need is a full and better understanding of their financial life, that will lead to better money decisions ... and may lead to them requiring a financial product, or not ... whatever the case may be.

    Heather, interesting that you use the word cult .... as some I have spoken to share that assessment.

    Sorry for the long post, but hope it gives you some useful comment and observations.

    Jon

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    Jon Rose

    Suitable FinLife

    ** As a qualified Financial Life & Legacy Planner, and also an experienced HMO portfolio landlord (& owner of a lettings agency), I understand the financial & legacy planning issues faced by property investors & business owners, and have simple solutions to often complex problems.

    Suitable Life Planning helps people to clearly define the things you want more of in life and helps you establish the financial life plan you need to achieve them - helping you live the life you want to lead without the fear of running out of money.

    Suitable Legacy Planning empowers you to plan for & protect the people you love, leaving a lasting financial legacy that enables them to have more freedom, more choice & more life.

    Suitable Money Advice are a fully independent and impartial financial planner providing regulated financial advice & regulated financial products, if indeed you need any.  We are a SIPP & SSAS specialist

    Please get in touch on 01202 287 990 or jon.rose@suitablefinlife.co.uk


    Thank you Jon for such an in-depth post.

    So I guess the answers to my questions are:

    1.  No.

    ​2.  Yes.

    ?????

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    This is an eye opening post for me. I have a personal pension and I am a higher rate tax payer. I have often wondered if I could use an investment vehicle for a pension rather than just a personal pension, I could then buy a new rental each year instead!

    Sorry if I have missed it, but which site is best for impartial, independent ifa advice on alternatives to a personal pension with a focus on buying property?
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    I used to own a fca regulated insurance and consultancy firm. We set up a ssas which owned our office. We became associates of an emerging pensions and wealth management firm. They have grown to be aim listed and have over 750 employees. They still personify the values they had when they were much smaller. I recommend them as I am a personal client and they are one of the number of firms i can count on one hand that i feel comfortable to recommend as opposed to simply refer people to. 

    Because of this I have invited them to talk at property events. 

    It surprised me that a couple of years ago noone in property was talking about pensions and understanding the significant inpact pensions can have in the affairs of a property investor. 

    More recently others have latched on and there are those that market their services into the sector. 

    I am not fca regulated now and cant give advice. Instead i get a qualified advisor to give a free half an hour phone call followed by a meeting where appropriate. 

    In summary, a pension is a way you can reduce your tax bill. You can even claw back past tax bills with contributions 

    Everything a pension does is free of tax so compound interest compounds to much greater figures. 

    It is free of iht

    Historically, funds were raped by fund managers and rules were tight. 

    For many years I advised to avoid pensions, pay the tax and maintain control of whats left. 

    That all changed. Pensions are now an important tool in a property investor’s toolbox. 

    Not just your own pension! When looking for peer funding the pension of funders is an important consideration. 

    Pensions can be used to invest in all property types, commercial and residential. I have done both. 

    Pensions can replace your mortgage. Interest rates can be set as low as 1.25% or as high as 12% and more. This is an example of the flexibility. 

    I have borrowed from my pension, lent to my pension, sold a property to my pension, earned rent in my pension, joined my pension with other people, saved tens of thousands on a tax bill by contributing to my pension. One day my kids will own my pension without iht. One day i may make tax free drawings from my pension.
    I have made bridging loans to individuals repaid on their 55 th birthday with a pension drawdown.  

    Dont get hung up on ssas and sipp etc. They are words designed to exclude you from a world and make those in the know feel important. 

    You need a pension advisor and a pension administrator ( normally the same company). 

    They will advise and discuss options and make it happen. To you and I it is a pension. 

    You dont need a book or a course. If you have a pension and want to make use of it or you would like to reduce your tax bill send me your number and e mail and Greg or one of his colleagues will call you. 

    Heather will be receiving a call, she has already messaged me.
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    I've looked in to this a few times and it is possible to use a pension to invest in projects for your limited co BUT you have to get a trust setup which has costs, you can only use 50% of it to invest in the ltd co AND you have to give a first charge to the trust over a property for security.

    This last bit is the pain: if you have an unencumbered property it would be cheaper to stick a BTL mortgage on it and use that money for investing.

    Hope this helps Smile
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    Hi All

    I can vouch for Kevin Whelan offering a legitimate service.

    I've met with him in person on a number of occasions and he has briefed the front office team at Nova on the potential benefits is SSAS pensions for business owners. He has dealt with a few of our clients and we've always received good feedback. See below a link to an episode of my TV show, Proper Wealth on SSAS pensions;

    https://nova.financial/videos/proper-wea...thbuilders

    He clearly knows what he is talking about and although he may advertise on social media (as do most of us) I wouldn't call him a social media marketeer.

    I hope this is helpful and I'm happy to answer any further questions.

    There is a whole chapter in my recently published book on Pensions and SSAS and the book is now International Amazon #1 best-seller. It's called The Property Pension Plan, Financial Freedom Through Buy to Let Investing, it may be of interest to anyone interested in Property as an alternative to pensions or using pension funds for property investment through a SSAS;

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Property-Pensio...way&sr=8-2

    Nova Financial Group is my business and we assist clients with such as;

    • Goal Setting
    • Strategy
    • Implementation (sourcing inc research and due diligence)
    • Finance
    • Management
    • Portfolio Building

    I can be contacted directly on pm@nova.financial or call our office on 0203 8000 600. You can learn more about us here; https://www.nova.financial

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Kind Regards,

    Paul Mahoney

    Founder & Managing Director

    Nova Financial Group

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