Posted by Catriona Standingford on December 12, 2017 in Newsletter
12 December 2017
Less than 2 weeks until Christmas? Really? How on earth did that happen?
It’s almost 2018 and I honestly don’t know where the year has gone.
Our 10th Anniversary
2018 is a huge milestone for us. It will be Brand Financial Training’s 10th anniversary.
For 10 years, we’ve been providing learning resources for your CII exams. In that time, we’ve grown along with the increase in CII exams, and we’ve met many of you either in person or via email or social media. It’s been fantastic! Thank you so much for trusting us to help you through your exams. I hope we’ve made your exam journey a smoother one.
As for 2017, we’ve had a very busy year developing numerous new resources as well as improving existing ones along with a whole bunch of ‘behind the scenes’ stuff! 2018 looks like it will be just as busy with us getting more involved in speaking at various events and writing more for various publications and blogs including Money Marketing and Professional Paraplanner. If there’s anything you’d like to see us do or get involved with, do email us at email@example.com and let us know!
Personally, I have to say that I’m looking forward to having a break over Christmas. I feel like I’ve had my foot on the accelerator for the past few weeks, and I desperately need to slow down and switch off for a while. I’m sure you may well feel that way too.
Christmas Opening Hours
A quick note on our ‘opening hours’.
Our website is open 24/7 365 days a year. If your relatives are driving you mad on Christmas Day (really? never…), you can even purchase and download our resources with a glass of mulled wine in hand. The only item that may be delayed over the Christmas period are the activation of logons to our audio masterclasses and e-learning videos (these will be processed when we return on 2 Jan). Other than that, everything can be downloaded as soon as payment is made.
Do note that the Brand Financial Training Team will be off from noon on Friday 22nd December and will return on Tuesday 2 January. During that time, we will not be able to reply to any emails or phone calls. However, rest assured that any messages left will be responded to when we return.
Just a quick reminder that if you have made a purchase from us in recent months, you may receive an email from Feefo asking for some feedback. Feefo independently collects reviews from customers for thousands of companies in the UK. Other similar sites you may have heard of include TrustPilot. If and when you receive an email from Feefo, I would really appreciate it if you would give us a rating on our service and products. This helps us to understand where we are doing well, and very importantly where we can do better. Thank you!
Thank you so much for your custom during 2017. I hope we can continue to help you on your exam journey in 2018.
Have a great Christmas and New Year!
Catriona and the Team Brand Financial Training
How to Spread Tax Relief on a Large Employer Pension Contribution
This week, one of our team members had a call from an adviser who was struggling with the rules around corporation tax relief on a single large employer pension contribution. We had to agree the rules are not easy, so in this article we are looking at one of the examples from our calculation workbook that tackles this very area. Those who are studying for the CII J03, AF2 or AF3 exams will find this useful for their revision.
An Example from Our Calculation Workbook
Up Sticks Ltd has made an annual contribution of £2.2m this year to its SSAS. This is an increase from £700,000 last year and has been made in recognition of the members’ contribution towards the firm’s significant increase in profits. Calculate how the contribution in the current year will be treated for the purposes of tax relief, including the amount that will qualify for tax relief in the first year.
The Steps to Work This Out
Establish the contributions of this year and last and compare the two figures.
There is an excess if the new contribution is more than 2.1 times the previous one.
The excess is the amount of the new contribution less 1.1 times the previous one.
If the excess is £500,000 or more, then tax relief is spread.
Let’s break it down using the figures from the example:
The contribution last year was £700,000 and this year it is £2.2m. Is this year’s contribution more than 2.1 times the previous one? Multiply the previous year’s contribution by 2.1 ie
£700,000 x 2.1 = £1,470,000.
The new contribution of £2.2m is more than 2.1 times the previous one of £700,000.
Tax relief will be spread if the excess is more than £500,000.
The excess is the amount of the new contribution less 1.1 times the previous one.
The new contribution is £2,200,000 and from this, we take £770,000 (ie 1.1 times the previous one). This equals £1,430,000 which is over £500,000
We then need to refer to a table which tells us that if this figure is above £1m but less than £2m, tax relief will be spread over 3 accounting periods ie £1,430,000 ÷ 3 = £476,667.
In the first year, the amount allowed for relief is £476,667 plus the figure of £770,000 which totals £1,246,667. In the next two accounting periods £476,667 will be given in the end totalling the contribution of £2.2m.
It doesn’t come up often in the corporate papers or AF3, but it’s in the manuals, so it’s always a possibility it will be tested.
Brought to you in association with Lysette Offley at Genius Material
12 of the Biggest Mistakes Students Make When Revising
If you’re struggling with passing your exams, it’s not you, it’s your revision strategy! In this article, we share with you 12 of the biggest mistakes students make when they’re studying for their exams. Do you find yourself doing any of these?
Would it surprise you to know that there is only one difference between people who pass professional exams easily and people who struggle?
And don’t you go thinking that it’s all about intelligence! It’s not.
It’s all about having an effective revision strategy. People who pass Financial Services exams easily have a good revision strategy that works for them. So perhaps it wouldn’t come as a great surprise then to know that you could also pass your exams easily if you also had a good revision strategy that works for you.
If you are having trouble remembering the information you’ve studied then maybe you are falling into some of the traps mentioned below.
1. Expecting to find a short cut
Learning new material is hard work. And you’re the one who’s got to do it. You can be efficient and cut down the amount of time you spend, but there’s no cheating on actually doing the work.
2. Leaving your revision until the last minute
Part of the memory consolidation process means you’re highly unlikely to retain much, if anything, if you leave it all to the last minute. You might even scrape a pass, but the information will be lost – to you, and to your clients. Why waste your time and energy then?
3. Taking the same exam over and over, and failing each time
I know of a chap who failed the same exam 9 times! 9 times! Imagine the cost – of the exam fees, travel, time lost at work, to his stress levels… Why put yourself through that, when there’s an easier and extremely reliable way to pass exams easily?
4. Writing too much information in your revision notes
No one’s brain is built to cope with more than up to 7 bits of information in one go. So don’t make it difficult for yourself by designing revision notes that cram too much information on the page. Better you spread that information across multiple sheets. Really! Try it and see!
5. Not scheduling study time
Come on! You know what happens to good intentions when you don’t make space for them in your diary. Do I need to say any more?
6. Spending too long revising
We’re all much better at learning small chunks of information in short bursts of time, so take lots of short breaks, and check you still know what you’ve learned before going on to the next bit.
..."Your MP3 audio masterclasses were of great quality. I felt they reminded me of some things I had not thought about for some time and prompted some wider study. The content was accurate, relevant and up to date for the exam and the length of each class was very good. The approach was not patronising like so many learning MP3s. I would definitely recommend..."
Richard Baxter, Senior Financial Adviser, Gower Financial Services, Guernsey
Available for AF1, AF3, AF4, AF7, R01, R02, R03 and R04
Every individual has his/her own learning style. Learning by listening provides an alternative to reading and re-reading the study text, and can help with absorbing and understanding materials. Our MP3 audio masterclasses come in digestible chunks allowing you to listen at home, in the car, at the gym or wherever else you may be.
For a list of each masterclass in your chosen exam, go to:
Psssst… Did you know it’s our 10-year anniversary in January 2018?… It is!
Updates to CII Study Texts
Are you aware that the CII update their study texts throughout the examinable year to either incorporate new legislations, correct errors or clarify information? Many candidates aren't aware of this, which can result in candidates studying out-of-date information. To make this easier for you, we have collated the most recent CII study text updates.
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Quote of the Month
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"5 Questions in 5 Minutes Every Friday"
This is a bit of Friday Fun where we provide you with 5 questions (and answers) relevant to a mix of CII exams. The challenge is for you to answer the questions in 5 minutes.
Where do I find the Friday Five?
We post each week's Friday Five to our blog first thing every Friday. You can either visit our blog every Friday at https://brandft.co.uk/blog/ or you can simply go there now, and click on the subscribe button in the top right-hand corner of the blog and sign up to receive notifications of our Friday Five posts.
Note that we don't email the Friday Five out to everybody every Friday, so we recommend you sign up to our blog at https://brandft.co.uk/blog/ so that you receive an email notification when it is posted. It will only take you a minute to sign up.
A bit of Friday Fun, but with the added benefit of testing your exam knowledge!