The Emperor’s Pants

Dear Friend  

Perpetual speculation seems to be engulfing certain parts of the investment world at the moment… when we read that someone foolish enough to buy a ‘painting’ of/in NFTs (non-fungible tokens) assuming that on the Banksy official website the link would also be official but paying in Ethereum Crypto-currency and having now been duped… then we know something’s broken. Was he duped into paying loads of money for a computer image whoever generated it, or duped by a conman into buying a computer image not by Banksy or duped by using cryptocurrency, or simply being conned in the end? It’s not the emperor’s robe but they’ve sold shirt, vest, trousers and pants – wow!  

Crypto currencies (proven to not be ‘currencies’ as they are too volatile, even if the ascent has been significant in some) rely upon the collective faiths of the participants to support their prices (I can’t bring myself to say ‘value’ as they are worthless to be frank and are not assets) and assisted by their alleged scarcity (despite there being 6,000 different types already and you can make a new one tomorrow, all using wonderfully plausible words like ‘mining’ ‘coin’ and things like that to dupe participants but enough of that… at least all this ‘fiat currency’ run by central governments has tax-raising powers whereas such crypto has nothing at all…. Perhaps it is all a big joke after all but it does portend a giant bubble of pretence, compounded by the criminal underworld trading free of tax and detection and no State regime to trace its uses. Are they ‘undertakings of great advantage but nobody to know what they are’? That is how the South Sea Bubble was described. In the FT on 27 August, highly respected writer Mr Philip Coggan reminded us that one company had discovered the secret to perpetual motion, according to the South Sea literature and today it is crypto and NFTs I guess. As for me, I’ll stick to boring things like shares in Tesco’s which sells groceries and has real assets (albeit rather undervalued at the moment) thank you and an oil painting on the wall.

Remember too, the FCA said it cannot regulate Binance, a leading crypto trading entity and the SEC has said likewise. That in itself is a joke but when the company will not even reply to the FCA’s simple enquiries into where it is based, etc and people trade these things on that platform (despite not presently able to extract money from it) and they trust it… oh dear. And of course, who is the most likely to be suckered-into these things.. the same retail investors who rebound from whatever the last scam was… you really don’t need them, I promise and profits are illusory just like the emperor’s new clothes! Where will you be when the music stops?

Pensions And Higher Rates Of Tax  

Apparently, through an aversion to file Tax Returns, almost £1billion of tax relief for those paying higher tax rates goes begging – unclaimed. This is because tax relief at the lower end may be achieved automatically but the extra tax relief on the top-up between 20% and say 40% can be over-looked. The self-employed don’t do so badly as they have to do Returns anyway and in theory those on PAYE should find the Codings work but… It is often worth paying a switched-on firm like us to do those Tax Returns so we can cast a wary eye over your overall affairs to make sure you are receiving what you should – including transferrable Married Allowances to a non-working spouse for example.  


Investment Opportunity For Non-Taxpayers and Those Not Working

We complete a significant amount of pension contributions to our dynamic investment management systems for those under the age of seventy-five who still qualify for this little opportunity. You can be retired, drawing your pension, not working but you can still qualify! (Sadly not those with Lifetime Allowance issues but that is the minority and they’ll know who they are!). Yes, we do have a few quizzical looks from clients aged say seventy who had no idea they can do this but it’s a brilliant idea and very good returns with a special boost of 25% that is better than any other investments! Even with no earnings, you can contribute £2,880 net and the Taxman will give you £720!

Why do I say this position is a benefit? Because if you contribute money to a Personal Pension, not only will the Taxman give you a 25% boost on the investment immediately but you can secure a tax benefit even higher than the tax you may be paying already! You can then leave the money invested and growing free of all tax either till you want it or the income or even upon your respective demise if wished, at which point it can pass-down the generations free of Inheritance Tax too! If you pay higher tax rates you can save that as well!

Why do I make this rather radical suggestion, especially for the over fifty-five year-olds (and those approaching that age) so effectively to maximise your contributions even consuming your spare cash reserves to this end and other investment reserves if necessary? Because these days such pension arrangements are not simply ‘pots to generate an income in retirement’ any more. For the over fifty-five years olds, they are investment pots, fully accessible to them – on the basis of ‘25% tax-free no questions asked’ and the rest (should you need to touch it) subject to Income Tax at your marginal rate (or no tax if you don’t pay it, under your allowances). In other words, why do you need to keep emergency funds at the Bank earning nothing when you can bolster them by 25% and know that if you needed them at any time, they are accessible to you easily! A ‘Pension’ is simply a wrapper these days, inside which you can put whatever you want, including ‘cash’. Of course it is best for the funds to be properly invested to earn a suitable return but that is the principle! If this is ‘you’, I can send you the necessary forms to consider that and giving you all the details you need to make that decision. Sadly for new clients if this is all you want to do it is not economic for you to pay for thorough regulated advice on the matter however, as the work involved on a single transaction is disproportionate to the value but if you know what you need, we can take your investment and process your application without a single penny of cost to you – how’s that (it takes us years to recoup our costs but we’re happy to make a sensible-term investment in you if you do the same with us!)? We are happy to give you generic guidance – like this! Just drop us an email.

Parents and grandparents are also doing this with us, for children and even babies as another great way of passing capital down the generations – a very long-term investment for them but what a great start in life too!    


Bursaries Available – Deadline 1st October 2021.   s the independent trustee, I am pleased to support this generous scheme for all eligible youngsters in the greater Ilfracombe area:-  

The Tubby Foundation (charity reference EW09862) is offering students from the local area (Ilfracombe or surrounding areas) who are going to university to study science/engineering based subjects a bursary to help them in their first year.

We expect to offer two bursaries of £500 but this is at the discretion of the trustees.
Please email, using the subject heading ‘Bursaries – application’ with;  

– proof of your home address (being in the local area),
– proof of university course
– an explanation as to why you believe you merit the bursary and your intentions for it.
– references from teachers are not required but are beneficial.
– any other information you feel may help the trustees come to a decision.  

Any information you provide will be circulated amongst the Trustees but held confidentially. By applying, you indicate your consent, if a winner, for your name and photograph to be used in publicity by the Foundation for the purpose of declaring successful awards but no other purpose.

Good luck and please circulate this to any of your friends who may qualify.

Charitable Donation  

Some years ago we created an endowment fund with Devon Community Foundation. I am pleased to say that this year’s applications can now be considered so if you represent an eligible organisation, may I make all encouragement to you to consider making an application? The funds cannot cover capital projects as such but otherwise, within our geographical remit, many projects can be considered and we’d be delighted to support them – the more the merrier to be frank! The total available from this scheme this year is just over £4,000.    



Here is a great example of an opportunity for the likes of ‘us’. So Black Rock, the world’s biggest fund manager with gazillions under management, responds to the latest minutiae regarding its own internal policy changes on environmental investments and decides to offload a stake in a quoted energy fund. Yes, the energy company satisfies all necessary regulatory requirements for ESG at this time but in a way, that’s a red herring. What counts is how such a manager manages the disposal of an investment – and the ludicrousness with the way that is handled. The manager decides that it has to go and ‘just stuff the price’ so it sells shares to cut its stake. On 3 March 2021, the shares were £1.31. swamping the market with a big chunk (anything it has is ‘big’ after all) pushed the price down to under 98p. We increased our prioritisation for the stock, the cheaper it became. On the latest announcement that Black Rock is below 5%, the shares rallied some more to £1.13. Oh and did I say – the dividend income we receive is over 10%pa at these levels. Thank you very much Black Rock.

Funny Investments  

Things do have a price. We have been buying a small commercial property Investment Trust whose shares are at a deep discount to the underlying net asset value. We receive a nice income as well, from the rents. So the shares are trading at a 38% discount – in other words for 62p we are buying £1’s worth of real estate. So if ‘tomorrow’ the company decided to cash-in its chips and sell up, we’d make a capital gain of 61% thank you very much. Well, that might not happen and it doesn’t have to do so but it’s in there for free. This was one of Mr Woodford’s stocks which he was obliged to dump at any price. Thank you very much! We now have a few of his stocks… and in commercial property, there are quite a few very interesting such opportunities like this but just spread your eggs around – as we do as we have widened the net.


Inheritance Tax  

Well apparently, there are nigh 700,000 properties with prices over £1million so what will that do for Inheritance Tax receipts in the future! People don’t realise too that when they add-in all their other assets, if they breach the £2million threshold they start to lose the special Main Residence Exemption rapidly as well – to the tune of £2 lost for every £1 of the estate over the figure. All I should say is ‘seek competent guidance’ on what options you may have to ensure more of your capital goes to the Family and not the Taxman.    

Risk Warning  

Stock market investments can offer income through the payment of dividends and interest and good opportunities for capital appreciation over the longer term. By this, generally we mean periods in excess of five years, preferably much longer. However, we can never promise you particular returns, especially in the short-term. At any point in time but especially in the short term, your capital could be worth less than the original amount invested as some of the selected holdings may fall in value, regardless of expectations at the time of acquisition. We may also invest in funds that hold overseas securities. The value of these investments may increase or decrease as a result of changes in currency exchange rates. Returns achieved in the past cannot be relied upon to be repeated.

To remind you, why do I send out occasional emails? Because everyone can save money. We have no connection with any companies mentioned and you have to make your own contacts and satisfy your own enquiries. What is in it for us? If we can prove that we are knowledgeable and that our service and advice have good value, then you might contact us for professional financial planning and investment help. You don’t have to do that though and there’s no charge for emails. If simply they save you money, then accept them with our compliments! However, you’ll know where we are!

If you have any queries of any form or indeed any subjects you think I could include, please contact me. I also refer you to our website We celebrate our 35th anniversary in 2020 and have been publishing a well-respected independent column in the local Paper for most of that time and free client newsletters as well.

Do not forget however the usual caveats – this is not ‘advice’ and you are encouraged to seek that before embarking upon any financial route involving investments, etc.     My best wishes

Philip J Milton DipFS CFPCM Chartered MCSI FPFS FCIB
Chartered Wealth Manager
Fellow Of The Personal Finance Society, Fellow Of The Chartered Institute Of Bankers