News

Giving can make good come from bad

This week sees the nation come together to once again ‘give’ to a very worthy cause.

Comic Relief was launched from a refugee camp in Sudan on Christmas Day in 1985. At that time, a devastating famine was crippling Ethiopia and something had to be done. That something was Comic Relief. The idea was simple – get a whole bunch of much-loved British comedians to make the public laugh while they raised money to help people in desperate need both in Africa and locally.

Nearly 30 years on it is so heartening to see that even in times of austerity we are still a nation of ‘givers’.

Here at Lifetime we are also committed to ‘giving’ and supporting good things in simple but effective ways. There is no getting away from the fact that our sector is seen as one of the reasons for the recent austerity and this has attracted a lot of bad press over the last few years, but Lifetime is determined to prove that we are different.

In January we launched our Hospice Referral Scheme. We promise to give 10% of the initial fees generated on transactions from a new client you introduce, to your chosen hospice.

More recently we have also supported Penistone Church FC, a local football club who need to raise funds for ground modifications. One of the many things they are doing is organising a Sportsmans Dinner at the Fairway in Barnsley. Our support was simple but effective, we donated the tickets and posters to help promote this very worthy event. Please visit www.penistonechurchfc.co.uk for more details.

We can all ‘give’ in a variety of ways both financially or with ‘time’ for good causes such as Comic Relief. Whether we are doing something to help people who are less fortunate or to simply support our local community either way Lifetime wants to be seen as a ‘giver’ not a taker.

Doing what it says on the tin….or bucket!

Barnsley people can often be wonderful innovators.

Thinkers, doers, movers and shakers. Make no mistake, Barnsley has its fair share.

Not many people know that Ronseal’s legendary slogan ‘It does exactly what it says on the tin’ was dreamed up, not in London, or New York, but here in South Yorkshire, by Hoylandswaine man Ged Shields, who has spent 25 years with the company.

Well, just like Ged, here at Lifetime we like to think we are forward-thinking. We too take pride in our positive brand values.

And our ‘Truth’ product also does exactly what it says on the tin…..or should we say bucket?!

Through our own innovative financial planning tool we tell you, the client, the truth about your financial situation.

We help create this plan by using our eye-catching ‘Financial Bucket’ – to illustrate just what your present scenario looks like. It clearly demonstrates how likely it is that you will be able to live the life you want, both now and in the future.

Gaining a clear understanding of your needs and aspirations requires us to get to know you as people, discovering what’s important to you.

It is an illuminating, exciting and highly beneficial journey of discovery.

Can a bucket change your life? Contact Lifetime to find out.

What is RDR?

RDR, just what does it mean?

Well, it is not the initials of a former Eastern European state (that’s DDR, as in the old East Germany).

It is not even the first names of a famous United States president (that’s FDR, as in Roosevelt, if anyone’s asking).

RDR stands for Retail Distribution Review.

That review, the result of five years’ worth of consultation and eventual agreement between the financial services industry and the Financial Services Authority, has brought about important changes to the way people get financial advice.

From 31st December 2012 clients can now expect:

  • Clearer charges: instead of being paid by commission, advisers will have to agree charges up front.
  • Clearer services: it will be made clear how much of the market an adviser can help with.
  • More professional advice: an adviser will have to meet higher standards of qualification, keep knowledge up to date and sign up to an ethical code requiring them to treat a client fairly.

Now that might come as a shock to many financial firms and individuals, who may well have thought that RDR would never happen. But it has. And those changes are just ‘manna from heaven’ for us here at Lifetime.

That’s because we have already been following that path for many years.

We practice what we preach:

Service, Service, Service

Inspiring trust

Building strong, lifetime relationships

Overall, helping people to reach their financial goals throughout their life is at the heart of what we do. We continually support clients to refresh and renew their financial plans, to keep them on the right track, and to ensure that their financial plans go hand-in-hand with their life plans.

Lifetime managing director Ian Dickinson said: “The reality of the RDR legislation will have a considerable impact on many firms and individuals. But we should be feeling not only confident but also excited about the colossal opportunity which is unfolding before us. That is because quality service to our clients has always been the fulcrum to our long-term success.

“RDR gives us, to use the words of Warren Buffett, the opportunity to ‘widen our moat’ still further.”

Although the RDR door is now well and truly open, a lot of our rivals can be found still perched nervously on the threshold.

Here at Lifetime we have walked confidently through – and continue to make tremendous strides.

Lifetime bucking the trend

A drop of the white stuff during the opening weeks of 2013 led to a reduction in mortgage approvals according to the UK’s major banks.

The wintry weather was a key reason for the downturn the British Bankers’ Association have stated.

They revealed there were 32,288 mortgages approved for house purchases during January 2013, down on December and 14% lower than January 2012.

Well, if that is the case then Lifetime is happily bucking the trend.

Michelle Youel of our Mortgage and Protection department enthused: “We have been doing very decent business since the turn of the year and we have more in the pipeline.

“Mortgage Adviser Ken Abbott again displayed Lifetime’s commitment to quality client service by carrying out an appointment on a Saturday morning, as the clients could not be seen during the week.

“Referrals continue to come in as a result of Lifetime’s reputation as a business people can trust.

“We also recently had a positive meeting with our new Virgin Money Business Development Manager Nick Holden and he gave us some excellent information on their lending criteria, especially for self-employed clients and limited companies.”

It is hoped that cheaper deals and greater availability of mortgages, as well as increased interest from first-time buyers, will lead to improving statistics in the mortgage market during the course of 2013.

Lifetime is only too pleased to lead the way!

In, out, shake it all about!

It is being heralded as the biggest shake-up of pensions for a generation, and will result in millions of workers across the UK being pushed into saving money for their retirement, many for the first time.

Yet lots of people, including employers, are still very much in the dark about Auto Enrolment.

Well, let Lifetime switch on the light. We excel at simplifying complicated financial matters. We can cut through the murk to find the precious nuggets of information vital to an uncertain employer, who may well be wondering:

What is Auto Enrolment?

What do I need to do?

When will I have to comply?

What happens if I don’t?

Are all my workers affected?

How much will it cost?

We can answer all the big questions – and help deliver the answers. Clients can rely on us to reduce their concerns.

By planning ahead and taking action now, employers can avoid taking a wrong turn. By letting Lifetime operate as the ‘sat nav’, the right destination could be reached, in comfort and with time to spare.

Contact us on 01226 208600 and ask for the Pensions Department, or email either d.vickers@lifetime-fm.com or t.nelson@lifetime-fm.com

Lifetime going ‘superfast’ on broadband highway

It is a fast-paced world we live in – and to make sure Lifetime remains at ‘top speed’ in an ever-changing environment we are fully connected to ‘superfast’ broadband.

It is all due to a tie-up with the Digital Region network via local Internet Service Provider littlebigone.com

Victoria Oliver, Communications Manager at Lifetime, has been delighted by the results brought about by connecting to superfast broadband.

“We have financial advisers working remotely out in the field and they need to access all their business information for planning, form filling and a whole host of other activities using the Internet,” said Victoria.

“Before connecting to superfast broadband we couldn’t get the bandwidth we required to be able to operate efficiently. We spoke to our previous provider about alternatives but there were none. We were already aware of the Digital Region project and had been actively looking for a while to see when it was going to be live in our area.

“We spoke to a representative from Digital Region and they directed us to the websites of their ISP’s, and from there we decided littlebigone.com was the service provider we wanted to connect with.

“Our main contact at littlebigone.com ‘held our hands’ throughout the process. That was incredibly helpful. There was a lot riding on a smooth transition as we couldn’t afford to lose our connection at all, and it was seamless.

“And littlebigone.com not only delivered everything in the timescales but they have been a great help since that time too.”

“One of the biggest differences we have noticed has been with our advisers who work remotely and log in online. It has made their lives much easier and their work a lot more time-efficient. The speed at which they can complete work online has improved significantly.

“We have also seen a difference in the office too where almost all of our applications require a fast and secure Internet connection. Superfast broadband has helped improve process efficiencies and the way we work.

“Connecting to the Digital Region network via littlebigone.com has been fantastic for the company.

“Lifetime continues to grow as a result.”

David at the wheel in drive towards Auto Enrolment

Here at Lifetime we are now motoring along nicely into our second decade as a company.

We celebrated our ten-year anniversary in September 2012 and thanks to your loyal support we continue to slip comfortably through the gears, picking up more and more clients as we build a strong and profitable company.

Service has always been at the heart of what we do – and all the talented people who make up the Lifetime ‘engine’ have put us in a position where we are able, equipped and eager to serve our clients for the next ten years and beyond.

As Lifetime continues to grow in size and stature, while remaining true to our core values, we will from time to time ‘pick up extra passengers’ to join us on our exciting journey.

One such man is David Vickers (pictured). Having spent 38 years in financial services with three different companies, Pearl Assurance, Lloyds TSB and Leeds Building Society, he has great experience and expertise. We have recruited David to drive our presence in the immense market that is Auto Enrolment.

Dave Vickers

Auto Enrolment involves employers having to auto enrol, by law, all eligible employees into a qualifying pension scheme. It will have significant implications for employers of all sizes.

“My aim is to help employers get through the trauma of what will be a complex and time consuming process because here at Lifetime we feel we have a duty of care,” said David.

“We have put together a bespoke proposition that offers a solution to meet all of a company’s obligations to Auto Enrolment.

“We have a dedicated specialist pensions team who are highly qualified to provide a focussed strategy to reduce the burden of implementing the setting up of Auto Enrolment.”

David, who lives in Stocksbridge and was born and raised in Stannington, has quickly bought into the ‘Lifetime family’ ethic. Not surprising, considering that he has been married for 35 years, with two children and four grand-children!

He is a keen golfer, and an avid gardener. He admits to a passion for picking up seeds and ‘making things grow’.

With that sort of philosophy, he’ll be a crucial cog in our team, as we continue to map out exciting new avenues on our memorable journey!

Changes in 2013

There are some important changes within the Financial Services Industry we would like to communicate to you, and some exciting changes at Lifetime that we would like to make you aware of.

We celebrated ten years as a company in September 2012 and would like to thank you for your loyal support helping us to build a strong and profitable company, able and equipped to serve our clients for the next ten years and beyond.

If you have seen your Adviser over the last few months, they will have told you about some of the changes the Financial Services Authority have made which came into practice on 1st January 2013, and how these will affect our relationship going forward.

For clients of Lifetime the good news is, there is little change as we have been working within the new rules for many years. This is because our focus is on Financial Planning, establishing a plan that is reflective of your financial journey. We only give advice once we are sure it fits in with the objectives of how you want to live your life.

The major change is that we now need to formalise our Service Agreement with our clients, many of whom have already been through this process and the remaining few will have this opportunity over the next twelve months.

Service has always been at the heart of what we do and with the formalisation of our service proposition to our clients; this gives us an opportunity to agree with you what you want from Lifetime and how we are able to fulfil your requirements. At your next review and for our new clients, we will be discussing this proposition (if you haven’t already done so) and we will agree between us the level of service you require from us in the future.

To coincide with our tenth anniversary and to mark the changes to our industry, we have launched a rebrand of our current logo and literature. We spent a lot of time talking to clients, our Administration Team and Advisers to try to capture the spirit of the company and to give us a brand that will help take us forward into the future. You can see the new logo at the top of this website and you will be able to see it in all our literature going forward. We hope you like it!

There are some exciting additions to the service we are currently offering as we strive to provide you with the most complete financial service. At your next review we will be introducing these to you including the opportunity to support the Hospice in your local area by introducing friends, family and colleagues to Lifetime to see if they can benefit from our proposition.

We have also taken note of your concerns over the office parking challenges….all we can say is watch this space!

We hope 2012 was a great year for you and that we have been able to play a part in that. We are looking forward to helping you maintain your lifestyle now and achieve the lifestyle you want in the future through our relationship with you and we hope to provide you with a service that we can be proud of and you can depend upon.

Finally, if you are happy for us to communicate with you via e-mail, please e-mail us at office@lifetime-fm.com and we will contact you with information periodically that you may find useful and interesting.

Are you male and approaching retirement? This may concern you….

How the new EU gender directives will be affecting you!

Sounds very PC…It is – some would say absurdly so. Under the existing edict from Brussels, insurance companies have been allowed to discriminate between the sexes when setting insurance premiums and pensions pay-outs – as long as they can justify doing so.

So what? This has meant men have paid more for their motor insurance – largely because younger male drivers are more likely to have a serious crash. The flipside is they receive a bigger pension when they buy an annuity as they have a shorter life expectancy.

What’s changing? EU bureaucrats have had a change of heart and decided to ban insurers from ‘discriminating’. Critics say this flies in the face of a mountain of evidence which warrants treating men and women differently. This includes the fact men under 22 are ten times more likely than women in the same age group to have a serious crash.

So what does this mean? From December 21, women will have to pay more for their motor insurance. Analysis from Labour estimated women could end up paying an extra £362 a year – around £30 a month. Young men will see their premiums reduce by 9 per cent, according to Treasury analysis. Meanwhile, it is estimated men will receive a cut of up to 13 per cent in their pension. Those already drawing a pension will not be affected.

Get in touch if you think your pension will be affected by these latest changes. An early draw down may save you thousands.

A birthday celebration! Lifetime is 10 years old

It is with great pride that we announce that Lifetime celebrates 10 years of trading today.

Thank you to all our clients that have stayed loyal to us through this time, and we hope you have seen our service proposition improve year on year.

Here’s to the next decade!