Comment

Why EFPG has switched to social media marketing and why your business might benefit from doing the same

EFPG took the decision to stop using radio as a means of advertising a while ago. We thought it was expensive and we were doubtful as to whether it was effective. Also, to relay our vision to our clients (both present and future) is not easily done squeezed between George Ezra songs.

EFPG’s aim is to be a lean mean pension machine – we cut down on our operating costs so we can afford to offer pensions with lower fees and no commissions. Obviously we cannot spread this message if we are paying a small fortune to do so.

The obvious solution was to switch to social media.

Currently EFPG posts a blog on our Website which we then post on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. We use a free version of Hootsuite which enables us to schedule three posts on all three platforms. As we do not intend to annoy people by constantly bombarding them we just need to set up the schedule once a week.

Our aim is not to simply sell via Facebook as people would quickly get tired of seeing the EFPG logo with a boring sales pitch beneath. Being a Facebook user myself, when I see an advert I feel like my privacy has been impinged upon. So what we attempt to do is mix some sales-orientated content with interesting content that in a roundabout way illustrates our core values; namely transparency, low costs and quality advice.

Currently we only boost our posts on Facebook (due to the demographics of Facebook users). By “boost” I mean we pay for our posts to appear on people’s news feeds. In the last week we spent the princely sum of £8.28 and our posts reached nearly 6,500 people out of whom 300 people actively engaged with them. We have seen 25% increased web traffic compared to last month since we boosted our posts. These figures came from the Facebook native analytics tool - Insights – which allows us to see what content we post is effective and what is not. I’m sure we will look into Twitter and Instagram a bit more seriously in the future but for now getting to grips with Facebook and creating content is enough.

Considering more than two billion people use social media every day and the average person spends 135 minutes per day on social networks it is unsurprising that the number of small businesses advertising on Facebook has doubled to 50 million in recent months.

A final point to consider is that although you may be attracted by spending only £8.28 a week on advertising and engaging with 300 prospective clients, there are additional costs. You have to pay someone to create content and that content must look and feel good. So if you don’t have members of staff that have the requisite skills or suitable software, you will have to pay someone else to do this for you.

I hope you find the above of interest but unfortunately EFPG cannot advise you on social media marketing – just pensions, investments and protection plans.

Contact EFPG

EFPG Home

Comment

Comment

Occupational Pension Schemes and Group Personal Pensions

EFPG has just posted an article about considerations that both employees and employers should consider about the Occupational Scheme or Group Personal Pensions that the employer is offering or is going to offer.

The article is not technical but covers general points that EFPG believes to be the most relevant areas that should be reviewed.

For employees the article covers the points:

  • How much will my employer pay into my pension?

  • How much will I have to pay into my pension? Is this flexible?

  • Will the combined contributions be sufficient to provide enough income in retirement? If not can you contribute more?

  • Where is my money going to be invested?

  • What costs will my pension face?

  • How flexible is the arrangement? Are there any penalties for altering/stopping contributions? Can the pension be transferred? Can the arrangement be cashed in and invested elsewhere?

For employers the article covers the points:

  • Should you offer your employees a pension scheme?

  • If so how much should you pay into it?

  • And at the end of the day will your employees thank you?

The full article is quite long but does give insight to the questions as posed above. If you would like to read it, please follow this link.

Contact EFPG

EFPG Home

Comment

Reviewing your life cover

Should you consider replacing your life cover policy?

  • Are you paying smokers rates but have stopped smoking?

  • Did you start your life policy over five years ago?

  • Are you in good health?

  • Have your circumstances changed?

  • Does your current policy cover critical illness?

  • Is the level of cover still sufficient?

  • Is your level of cover fixed or is it periodically reviewed?

The cost of life insurance has dramatically reduced over the last few years, all the above are reasons to review your life cover.

You may be able to increase your level of cover without paying extra.

Did you know smokers rates are twice that of non-smokers? If you have given up for longer than 12 months we may be able to provide a cheaper option.

Old style policies did not have critical illness cover. Considering that you are more likely to suffer from a critical illness than die, this is worth considering.

Have your circumstances changed? Marriage, children it might be a good time to review levels of cover and include your partner.

For a free impartial review of your protection needs please contact us to arrange an appointment with one of our experienced advisers. If you do not ask you will not find out.

Contact EFPG

EFPG Home

The Cost of Free Advice

How much does free advice cost?

That might sound like a daft question. The answer is obvious. Nothing - free means it doesn’t cost anything, Of course that cannot be the case unless a charity, government body or similar is giving the advice - even then that definition of free is arguable.

Financial advisers who offer free advice are intermediaries and are compensated by financial companies via commissions. So, there is always that angle of conflict of interest that one needs to be aware of. You really don’t know whether what they are selling to you is really good for you or good for them as a commission-generating sale. 

There are less clear costs of not seeking advice as well.

The Cost of Education.

Do you want to spend the time to bring yourself up to a decent level of knowledge? Then to stay updated with the constant changes? How long will it take you to become knowledgeable?

The Cost of What You Don’t Know.

There are things that you know you need to learn, but what about the things that you don’t know you need to learn? How are you going to become aware of them?

The Cost of Consequences.

Do you understand how different things are interrelated? Actions in one area can often cause harm in another. How are you going to become aware of all the interconnected relationships and consequences?

The Cost of Mistakes.

Can you afford to learn from your mistakes? Some mistakes are minor, while others can be quite serious. If you make a mistake, how costly will it be, and do you have the time and resources to rebound from your mishap?

The Cost of the Unknown.

Do you have the temperament to do what is necessary to succeed? Sometimes the correct action or behaviour is counter-intuitive. Professionals are trained to cope with unplanned difficulties and disasters. How will you cope?

The Cost of Time.

What is the value of your time? How will you determine when you are spending too much time trying to solve a problem versus the alternative of paying someone else to solve it?

While there is a clear cost associated with engaging a financial adviser these subtler costs of not working with one when the situation warrants it should be taken into consideration.  When you stand to gain more than the fee charged by your adviser, the time is right to ask for advice.

How EFPG Charges - transparency

EFPG prefers to follow the UK’s RDR framework even though there is no requirement to do so in Gibraltar. When providing advice e.g. for a personal pension plan we would state the cost of the advice to you, the costs associated with investing your pension contributions (trading and custody) and the costs of the selected investments so you can clearly see all of the costs associated with your pension arrangement. We are completely transparent in this respect to give you the comfort in knowing that your investment for your retirement has no hidden charges or commissions that could negatively affect the quality of your retirement.

For the full article please follow this link

Contact EFPG

EFPG Home

Fancy moving to Italy

Tax incentives to move to Italy

New measures introduced in the Italian 2019 budget are designed to attract people who have sufficient economic resources to be able to contribute to the Italian economy.

From 1 January 2019, any retired immigrants who are not resident in Italy and are in receipt of a pension could be eligible for a 7% flat-rate tax on all their foreign income.

Some local authorities are even offering houses for as little as €1 if certain conditions involving restoration of those properties are met.

If you would like to know a little more please see the main article.

Comment

Blockchain - emerging from the shadow of cryptocurrencies

Everyone has heard of blockchain but most consider that it is synonymous with cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin.

Since the rise and fall of cryptocurrencies with Bitcoin trading at $3,588.38 (at the date this article was written) from a high of $19,783.21 in December 2017, one might consider Bitcoin and hence blockchain is dead or of little relevance.

This could not be further from the truth.

Blockchain technology has far more applications that are being researched and exploited.

This week HSBC has claimed to have settled three million foreign exchange transactions and made payments worth $250 billion using blockchain technology.

Blockchain is certainly not limited to facilitate financial transactions. The technology is being applied for uses in the logistics industry, to develop a decentralised internet, for real estate transactions and more.

Although crytocurrencies may have not been the best of investments at the end of 2017, investment opportunities in companies developing innovative solutions using blockchain might be very rewarding in the coming years.

For the full article please click here.

Contact EFPG

EFPG Home

Comment

Comment

Property Fund Update

In December two billion pound plus property funds reduced the value of their funds by close to 6% by changing their pricing policies.

There is no concern about the quality of their investments but as investors are taking out their money, the funds are facing costs associated with the sale of properties to meet the cash flow demands of investors redeeming shares.

Whilst property funds in general have shown that some property exposure is a relevant part of one’s portfolio of investments, such changes in pricing have reignited the debate with regards to whether those funds manage their cash flow within appropriate boundaries for retail investors.

For the full article, please follow this link.

Contact EFPG

EFPG Home

Comment

Wealth Killers

How hidden costs can affect your savings

Occasionally EFPG health-checks plans and policies that clients already have in place to judge whether it would be better for them to stick with their current arrangements or jump ship to save money.

In doing so, we have to look under the bonnet of a range of different products that we are not familiar with.

EFPG has found that two of the most insidious wealth-killers are bid/offer spreads and trading costs.

EFPG’s regular contribution local pensions and savings plans do not apply bid/offer spreads and for regular investments in investment funds, there are no trading costs.

In the main article (available here) we have described bid/offer spreads and have designed a basic interactive model that allows you to estimate what the potential cost of trading fees might be if your portfolio is re-balanced periodically.

UK Pension Options

QROPS are useful but are not the only answer

Despite QROPS being touted as the only solution, if you have left the UK permanently and have pension benefits in a UK Scheme that you have not accessed there are three main courses of action.

download.jpg

• Leave the benefits where they are

• Switch to a QROPS

• Switch to a UK SIPP

In 2017 Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs removed a number of advantages of transferring to a QROPS. For pensions that were transferred prior to April 6th 2017, most of those advantages are still applicable.

Post April 2017, a QROPS is still a useful option but for a narrower range of people depending upon their particular individual circumstances.

EFPG has written an article covering the subject in a little more detail (link) but to cover such an important issue as your pension, you should discuss the matter with a financial adviser who will provide you with appropriate advice rather than advising you on a QROPS.

If you would like to contact EFPG about the above or the article please click here and send us a message or call us during office hours.

The EFPG Blog

edited.jpg

Our Blog

Welcome to the European Financial Planning Group Blog.

The staff at EFPG often come across interesting articles and relevant developments that we think may be useful and of interest to our clients.

Instead of sending out monthly e-mails we thought it would be less intrusive to publish a blog and allow people to choose to read our analyses and views.

Our intention is not to blog every day or week but only when something relevant to our clients or anything of interest with regards to pensions, investments and life insurance does hit our radar.

We hope you find our blog informative and perhaps on occasion entertaining.