Month: April 2022

Virtual Accounting
AccountancyArticlesRegulation

Benefits of Shifting to Virtual Accounting

Virtual Accounting

In today’s digital age, many fundamental business processes are being automated. People are increasingly moving towards virtual operations as they save you time. Making operations such as accounting virtual can make a significant difference in your finance department.

Virtual accounting is getting your accounting done through remote employees, such as virtual accountants or experienced people with good skill sets. Virtual accounting services like Geekbooks manage and monitor your account bookkeeping from afar, saving time and cost and bringing along numerous benefits. Here is how your business can benefit by shifting to virtual accounting:

 

1. Optimized Work-Time

As a third-party accountant will deliver your work, hiring a virtual accountant can free your finance department employees from bookkeeping and accounting worries to focus on other essential business tasks. The job of recording extensive data and analyzing it will be outsourced to virtual accounting, and you can enjoy quality work from experts in this field.

 

2. Saved Time and Costs

Virtual accounting services provide remote access and encryption of your accounting data on the cloud. This provides your team easy access to all records and saves the cost of physically storing and retrieving all the documents and records. It also saves you the salaries that would otherwise have to be allotted for store management, document storage, and the wages of full-time accounting and bookkeeping employees. This quick availability of these valuable financial records can help prove when requesting an overdraft or loan for your business on an urgent basis.

 

3. Convenience

Virtual accounting is also a very convenient option for your overall business operations. It makes all your documents available online and enables all your remote and full-time employees to work on the same projects or accounting records or report anywhere worldwide. This is particularly beneficial during times of urgency or emergency in projects where even if no one is available at the work desk, the employees can manage their work effectively as all the data is available online. This available data in a digital format can also easily be used in annual reports of your business. They can help shareholders better understand the company’s financial progress over time.

 

4. Improved Security

As per research conducted by Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), about 1,291 data breaches were reported by September 2021. This statistic was about 17% higher than the number of data breaches incurred in 2020, 1,108.

Virtual accounting comes with higher data security as all your accounting records and reports have a backup and are well-protected in cloud computing. This prevents any data losses for your company due to natural disasters, theft, or internal data breaches. Cloud security is also significantly cheaper than creating backups for physical accounting records as it requires less storage cost and is more affordable to maintain.

 

5. Virtual Meetings

By shifting to virtual accounting mediums, you can benefit from the skillsets of expert accountants without needing them to be physically present in the workspace. You can take the expert opinion on improving your current financial position and gain valuable insights without hiring an expert full-time at a high salary.

 

6. Superior Technology

By opting for virtual accounting, your business can benefit from up-to-date modern technology and maintain readable accounting records compliant with changing accounting principles without paying for the softwares. Virtual accounting services have these current softwares available, and you can benefit from these services, all included in the fees of outsourcing. Your company will also save the cost of training employees on softwares if you outsource all the work altogether.

 

7. Flexibility and Timeliness

Depending upon the nature and needs of your business, accounting procedures can be outsourced to virtual accounting agencies on a daily, weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, or yearly basis. A virtual accounting service can fulfill the needs of your business and create reliable records for the company in your desired timeliness. Your virtual accountant will deliver the record and assessment of your finances on your pre-determined schedule.

 

8. Scalability

Online accounting services are easily scalable and can meet the changing accounting needs of your growing business. The pay-as-you-go model option of virtual accounting services enables you to grow your business quickly and scale up without paying the expense of high in-house accounting assistance. Your virtual accountant can adjust to changes in work volume, especially in busy seasons of your business where there is an increase in transactions or complexity of work.

 

9. Profitability

Your company can increase its productivity and profitability in the long run by opting for virtual accounting. It can benefit your overall business in time, technology, labor, and productivity. This will result in lower overheads, and your business will have lesser expenses in the long run leading to a positive impact on your overall profitability.

 

Endnote

Virtual accounting has numerous benefits, especially for small-scale businesses that want effective management of their financial records and require expert analysis of the financial position of their business economically. Outsourcing accounting to virtual accounting agents allows companies to benefit from superior softwares and technology and get the best service at a low cost. While having an in-house accounting expert will not only cost you more and require consistent training, a remote team of virtual accounting will provide you the same expertise with lower to no maintenance costs.

In this fast-paced world where businesses are increasingly moving towards remote work, this is your ideal time to shift to virtual accounting. Virtual services like virtual accounting help you recruit the best of all talents on board without the problem of geographical barriers. Your staff can work on creating accounting records from any city, state, country, or even across continents. This also helps you get accounting assistance even when your budget is tight. Your recruitment becomes solely based on skills fit and not the geographical fit. This ensures that you attract the best talent available for your firm.

Investment Research
ArticlesFinance

How to Perform Smart Research Before Investing

Investment Research

Investing in individual stocks is risky, especially if you haven’t done it before. Many people are too scared to do it, so they stick to buying low-cost index funds instead. 

However, don’t let them scare you. We think investing in individual stocks is a good idea and many experts agree with us. Aside from the fact that you’ll know what you’re investing in, mixing things up will also diversify your portfolio.

To do that, you need to perform smart research before investing. 

Now, if you’re not comfortable doing that on your own, you can contact Triad securities. Their experience will help you maximize your investment without too much effort. But if you’re ready to fly solo, here are some tips on how to perform research.

 

1. Understand the Company’s Business

Before you start investing in individual stocks, you need to be familiar with the industry you’re planning on investing in. The American stock market can be divided into 11 sectors:

  1. Energy 
  2. Materials 
  3. Industrials 
  4. Consumer discretionary 
  5. Consumer staples 
  6. Healthcare 
  7. Financials 
  8. Information technology 
  9. Communication services 
  10. Utilities 
  11. Real Estate

Now, experts state that it’s best to include stock from all sectors in your portfolio. That’s easily done by investing in index funds because you’re not hand-picking a company. But things are different if you want to invest in an individual stock. You need to know what the market is like in the company’s industry if you want to invest smartly.

A company selling food won’t perform the same as a company selling cars, right?

 

2. Look at the Finances

The companies’ financial reports are probably the best source of information relevant for investing. Now, people get scared when they hear words like earnings per share, but don’t panic – you’ll master them in no time.

The two most important financial documents you should look for are Form 10-K and Form 10-Q.

Form 10-K is an annual report that includes audited financial statements – the company’s balance sheet, the sources of income, and how the company handles cash, revenues, and expenses. Form 10-Q, on the other hand, is a quarterly update that doesn’t include audited financial statements. While the latter may not be as reliable as the form 10-K, both are equally important and contain valuable information.

Since these reports have lots of numbers and words you may not be familiar with, here’s a little glossary:

 

Revenue

Revenue refers to the total amount of money a company has earned during the specified period. There are two types of revenue: the operating revenue and the nonoperating revenue. 

The operating revenue is the amount of money that company has generated from its core business, while the nonoperating revenue typically comes from one-time business activities. Naturally, the first one is more important and reliable.

 

Net income 

This is the amount of money a company has made once the operating expenses, taxes, and depreciation are subtracted from revenue. 

 

Earnings per share (EPS)

Earnings per share show a company’s profitability on a per-share basis, which allows you to easily compare it with other companies. It’s calculated by dividing earnings by the number of shares available for trading.

 

Price-earnings ratio (P/E)

There are two types of P/E ratios you should be familiar with: a trailing P/E and a forward P/E.

A trailing P/E is calculated by dividing the current stock price by EPS, while a forward P/E is calculated by dividing the stock price by forecasted EPS in the next 12 months.

Keep in mind that since a forward P/E relies on potential EPS, it’s not as reliable as a trailing P/E.

 

3. Get Familiar with the History and Compare

Just because the company is doing well this year doesn’t mean it’s been doing that way in the past. For that reason, you should dig deeper and look beyond the newest financial statements.

We suggest that you use websites like Google Finance and Yahoo! Finance to perform research on historical data. Look into the financial statements from the previous years, as well as price charts and such. 

This way, you’ll be able to tell you how resilient the company is, as well as how it reacts to market fluctuations and challenging situations. 

 

4. Ask the Company’s Employees and Management

Most large public companies have investor relations departments that cooperate with potential investors by providing them with financial details, plans, and other potentially relevant data. They should be able to answer your questions about any press releases you might have come across, for instance.

So, don’t refrain from approaching them. Ask questions and pay attention to the information they give you. Are the company’s employees well-informed? Are they confident about things you’re talking about?

Also, pay attention to the management team and the company’s board of directors. If they’re all company insiders, they may not be able to objectively assess the management’s actions.

 

5. Never Stop Learning

It’s important to always be in the loop. Things can change in the blink of an eye and you need to be ready for that.

Blogs and email newsletters from reliable sources can help you do that. Books are also a valuable source of information, but so are magazines and online articles. Steer clear of forums, groups, and other sources with unverified advice. They might get it right from time to time, but you shouldn’t rely solely on those.

 

Conclusion

While index funds are a great way to start investing, individual stocks offer many advantages. 

For instance, unlike with index funds, you only pay a fee when buying and selling stocks. There are no annual management fees. You also won’t struggle with managing your taxes because you’re the one deciding when you want to buy or sell the stocks. 

So, investing in individual stocks is risky if you’re not prepared to do your research before the investment. But it definitely pays off. 

Third-Party Logistics
ArticlesFinance

How Investing in a 3PL Can Help You Save Money

Third-Party Logistics

Using a Third-Party Logistics (3PL) provider can lessen the financial burden of warehousing, fulfillment, and transportation for your start up business.

The supply chain is complex. A product must first be developed, prototyped, and then delivered. After that, demand must be generated for the product. Customers that require your items will purchase in bulk. This sort of attention is good for business, but it may be stressful. You’ll need to handle inventory, packaging, and distribution. This might be overwhelming for small and medium-sized businesses. This is where a Third-Party Logistics (3PL) company can help!

 

Third-Party Logistics Services Save Money

A 3rd party logistics company can help organizations of any size from start up to a large enterprise. These logistics geniuses can save you time, energy, and money by streamlining your supply chain management. Here are five reasons to work with a 3PL:

 

1. More Business Focus

Managing inventory and delivery can be difficult especially if you are a smaller company lacking resources and staff to manage it. These painstaking duties frequently distract you from other commitments. Working with a 3PL provider makes it easier for business owners to keep up with their hectic schedules. Logistics specialists store items and distribute things to clients efficiently. This frees up time for your staff to focus on the business’s core mission.


2. You Have a Logistics Team Leading the Way

Time is money in business. As a business owner, you can’t afford to lose time on the shipping procedures. One of the main benefits of partnering with a 3PL is the knowledge and direction of a seasoned supply chain veteran. These logistics services quickly handle your inventory, delivery, and returns. With these professionals on your side, you can be certain that they are working to constantly keep shipping rules and procedures updated and are working to your advantage.


3. You’ll Never Need to Buy Equipment

Logistics technology is not only costly but also difficult to set up. You’ll also need to train personnel on how to utilize the system. Not to mention, the space needed to store physical product can be expensive. Why go through all of this when a 3PL already has the tools, space, and expertise? Maintaining this complete IT procedure is routine for them. A 3PL expert keeps up with new shipping technologies. They manage all upgrades and technical maintenance, ensuring the best possible service for each customer.


4. Greater Speed and Lower Shipping Costs

3PL experts work relentlessly to improve shipping. Freight hauling is costly, but 3PL suppliers have more negotiating leverage. Your logistics firm has ample room to handle many loads. This reduces travel and saves money on transportation. Most 3PL providers already cooperate with other private shippers, saving time and money. Additionally, many 3PLs have multiple warehouses across the country to store items and ship from for efficiency.


5. Investing Early in a 3PL

Every firm wants to grow and be profitable, but growth too quickly can strain resources and degrade product quality. Investment in a 3PL early on allows for faster growth and less internal conflict down the road. 3PLs can help you grow your business by lowering transportation costs, providing flexible storage, and monitoring inventory and quality. A capable 3PL can help you solve your most difficult logistical difficulties and remove any logistical roadblocks.

Articles

How To Prepare for Tax Return 2022

How To Prepare for Tax Return 2022

One aspect of adulthood that is almost universally dreaded is having to file your tax returns. The murky instructions, countless important details, the need for precise information, or even figuring out exactly what information is needed can become far too overwhelming and cause severe headaches for many. Having to report income from multiple sources will make the already seemingly hopeless situation even more complex.

Unfortunately, missing the set deadlines for filing the required documentation comes with the risk of incurring hefty fees. The same can also happen if you incorrectly pay less than the actually owed taxes. On the other hand, overpaying could reduce the cash on hand you have available and expose you to increased liquidity risks.

One way to ensure your compliance with the HMRC and alleviate some of the stress associated with filing taxes is to turn to a professional. You may also want to look for experts operating in your region, such as chartered accountants in London, as there could be some regional differences in the tax regulations or potential avenues for tax reductions.

Professional accountants can provide personal tax advice and planning that can bring significant benefits, including an increase in the take-home income.Тhey can also consult you on all of the available tax allowances or reliefs that you can claim.

Important Deadlines To Remember

Typically, all taxes must be paid by midnight on 31 January of the following relevant tax year. However, if you have received a notice from the HMRC to make an online tax return, the new deadline is going to be three months from the date of issue to file. There could also be a specified grace period where late filing would not incur any penalties. Otherwise, the fees get exponentially higher.

Filing one day late will be penalized with a £100, while being up to 3 months late could reach a maximum of £1,000 consisting of an initial £100 fine and £10 for each additional day to a maximum of 90 days. Tax returns submitted up to 6 months late will be fined with either £300 or 5% of the tax due, depending on which one is higher. This fine will be incurred on top of all the previous penalties. For delays of 12 months, an additional £300 fine or 5% of the tax due, again whichever is higher, will be added alongside all previous fees.

Income Tax

While filling out your self-assessment tax return, you may need to account for several different types of taxes. The main one is the income tax. It is split into three bands of basic rate at 20%, higher rate at 40%, and additional rate at 45%. The basic rate is applied to any income that is over the personal allowance of £12,500, while higher rate is used to tax amounts over £50,000. Income that surpasses £150,000 has the additional rate applied to it. 

Keep in mind that a wide range of valid business expenses can be deducted from the taxable income. These may include travel and accommodation, staff costs, heating, rent associated with the business premises, purchase of raw materials, etc. 

National Insurance

A different type of tax that all employed or self-employed individuals between the ages of 16 and the current State Pension age must pay is the National Insurance (NI). It is used to fund certain state benefits, such as the State Pension.

Generally, there are 4 Classes of NI. Class 1 is applied to employees and is paid via PAYE. Self-employed individuals whose profits surpass the current small profits threshold will need to pay Class 2 NI, or Class 4 if their profit is above the lower profits limit set for this category. As for Class 3, it is a voluntary NI contribution for people who are not required to pay taxes under any of the other Classes but still want to retain certain state benefits.

Necessary Information

While the assistance of a professional accountant can be invaluable, it doesn’t eliminate your participation in the process completely. For the experts to be able to do their job, they would need some precise, detailed, and relevant information for the self-assessment. For example, they may request employment information, specifically your annual salary and any tax that may already have been paid.

Typically, such information is submitted to the accountant via a P60 or P45 form. The documents will show the person’s gross salary, tax deductibles, or any applicable student loan deductions. 

Articles

Which Crypto Could Be Set For Big Gains In 2022?

Which Crypto Could Be Set For Big Gains In 2022?

When you invest in cryptocurrency, you never know which investments will pay off. You probably heard from people who invested their life savings in a new form of currency and lost it all in almost the blink of an eye. It doesn’t help that there are so many different options on the market today. You may have a hard time figuring out where to put your money and how you can make money from cryptocurrency. A good way to get some investment help is with a look at which cryptocurrency options are set for big gains in 2022.

Fetch.ai

Though using AI is hard, Fetch.ai wants to make it a little easier. With Fetch.ai, you get a digital twin that does tasks for you online. That twin can make payments and send out contracts for you. It can also handle tasks such as finding the best hotel room for a trip or ordering food from a local restaurant. Fetch.ai gives you more free time to focus on your investments.

1inch

One of the cryptocurrency options you may not know is 1inch. 1Inch works as a decentralized exchange aggravator that only requires you to have a crypto wallet. Once you access your wallet, you can trade your cryptocurrency across different networks to make as much money as possible. It’s helpful to look at the current cryptocurrency prices before you trade to get more bang for your buck.

Illuvium

Another option to consider is Illuvium. This open-world role-playing game gives you a virtual wallet that stores any NFT tokens you capture. You can then sell those tokens to other players and cash out any money you make. Illuvium makes investing in cryptocurrency both easy and fun.

Render

You don’t need to know a lot about cryptocurrency to know that Metaverse will bring some big changes to the industry. Render allows you to invest in digital tokens that you can exchange or sell. Many artists work with this network because they don’t have enough computing power. They can partner with people who have the power they need in exchange for a small investment. There are rumors that Render will introduce coin payments by the end of the year.

SushiSwap

Experts believe that SushiSwap will grow a lot by the end of 2022. SushiSwap has good rates that are better than those you’ll find from other services because it uses blockchains to find the best rates. You can also invest your money and see how it grows. SushiSwap is a lot easier to use than similar options are.

Aave

Aave markets itself as a useful cryptocurrency choice for people who are unfamiliar with this industry. You can make a deposit via cryptocurrency and become a lender who lets other users borrow money. Aave helps you earn interest on your loan until you get the full payment back. This is also a popular choice because Aave allows you to borrow money in the form of cryptocurrency.

Though cryptocurrency investing is confusing, it’s easy to figure out where to put your money. All of these crypto options are poised to make some big gains by the end of 2022.

Postit note saying
ArticlesTax

Tax Talk: 5 Tips To Get You Through This Coming EOFY

Postit note saying

Tax time always seems to come around so quickly when we feel unprepared. Whether you are expecting a healthy return or anticipating a big sum to pay, there are lots of things to get in order before you complete your tax. If you feel out of control at the end of each financial year, here are five tips to get you through this EOFY. You might even learn some strategies and frameworks to roll into the next financial year too.

 

1. Clearly collate all information

Before you lodge anything or even get a sense of what you earned and can claim, you need to collate all your information clearly in one document. Your tax provider might have an easy-to-use template, or you can simply log it yourself. Generally speaking, it should include:

  • Tax-deductible donations
  • Earned income
  • Purchased items that can be claimed on tax 
  • Any additional earnings
  • Rental payments made to you from investment properties 

Now, this information is going to vary based on your individual circumstances, so seek guidance to ensure that all the information you capture is relevant and included in your tax lodgement. When you land on a template and format you like, you can start to populate this information in the following year to save you the mad scramble at the end of the next financial year.

 

2. Keep abreast of all tax changes

In Australia, there are often changes to tax requirements, reporting requirements and the overall expectation of taxpayers. By keeping informed of these changes, you might save yourself a lot of draft attempts at your tax, and you are less likely to get a fine for late or incorrectly lodged tax. The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is the best place to see the current tax legislation and note which sectors and business types these changes relate to. For example, there might be new changes to businesses with five employees or less, and so this will not be relevant to businesses outside of that remit.

 

3. Start your tax preparation early

If you have employees, contractors or partners who need to give your information to complete your tax – then start this preparation early. Sure, the tax period does end on June 30, and so all information will have to be up until that point, but that does not mean you can’t start the communication early. Expect a bit of back and forth and some clarification, also noting how these professionals usually communicate. From here, you can work backwards and ensure by July 1 (or soon after), you have all the information requirements for an accurate and compliant lodgement.

 

4. Understand and account for depreciated assets and deductibles

It’s a real shame that businesses and individuals usually put depreciated assets and tax deductibles in the “too hard” basket. You could be leaving lots of money on the table and will not be setting yourself up for success. How depreciation works is that the laptop you bought for your business will depreciate over a year, and you can claim back that amount on tax. This means that when your laptop eventually dies, the cost of that laptop will then be $0. There are several platforms that will assist you in calculating your depreciation, and if you use very specialised technology or equipment, you may also like to get professional support in accurately calculating this figure.

As for deductibles, consider all the items that you have bought in a financial calendar year that have contributed to your work. This might be Ubers to a work event, flights to a meeting, hard drives to house your work document storage – really anything that you wouldn’t have bought if it was not for work. Keep the receipts of these purchases and be ready for an explanation of these goods if that is required.

 

5. Review your tax lodgement and position

In the mad dash of completing your tax, you would be forgiven for not actually taking the time to review your tax lodgement and reflecting on your position. This is really important, as we tend to just work in the business and not on the business and have few opportunities to weigh up what is and is not working. You might be surprised at what you can glean from this intimate assessment of your business, and you might also spot opportunities doe the year ahead. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by, and allocate time in your diary to understand your position.

 

We hope you are feeling more prepared for the next EOFY and know that you can always work towards a better system each year. Working with a tax professional is a fantastic place to start, but it is not necessary if you have a methodical approach and follow the ATO guidelines.

Articles

The Path to Financial Freedom from Start to Finish

Many people strive for financial freedom. It primarily refers to having sufficient personal funds to live comfortably without working hard to meet basic needs. Financial independence seems to be a daunting task, and many people are unclear about where to begin. While almost everyone faces obstacles, the following behaviors may point you in the right direction.

Determine Your Life Goals

How do you define financial independence? A vague desire for it is an inadequately defined goal; thus, be specific. Make a list of the funds you need in your bank account, the lifestyle you want, and the age you want to achieve it. The more specific your goals are, the more likely they will be accomplished.

Create a Financial Plan

Creating and adhering to a monthly home budget is the most efficient strategy to assure on-time bill payments and savings. It is also a long-term habit that helps you stay focused and resist the temptation to spend money.

Pay Off Your Debts

Credit cards and related high-interest consumer loans pose a threat to some people’s wealth building. Each month, make a point of paying off the whole loan. Paying on time is crucial for maintaining a favorable credit rating.

Keep an Eye on Your Credit Score

Even if you don’t currently have a plan in place to build credit, you should. It starts with using a credit builder card meant to establish a positive credit history. Lenders do credit checks on applicants for loans/credit cards. They might lend to applicants if they meet certain credit criteria, like having a great credit score.

Automatic Savings

Priority should be given to self-preservation. Enroll in your employer’s retirement plan and take advantage of any available matching funds. Having an emergency fund and making regular contributions to a brokerage account or similar account is also a good one.

Savings should ideally be set aside on the same day as income is received. This step ensures that they never come into contact with your hands, and you are free of temptation. Bear in mind that the suggested amount to save is very contentious. In some circumstances, the fund’s utility may be questioned.

Start Investing

There’s never been a more advantageous time to invest in the last 20 years than now. Pick wisely, and you may never have to work again. With that said, attempting to be an expert stock picker with no experience or believing you can be the next Warren Buffett are both irrational pursuits. Instead, create an online investing portfolio to learn how to invest, develop a sensible portfolio, and contribute to it.

Bargain

Many people detest negotiating for goods and services because it gives the impression that they are inexpensive. You may be able to save hundreds of dollars each year by conquering this cultural barrier.

Adequate Maintenance

Taking care of your possessions and maintaining them over the years may extend the lives of various items. Maintenance is an investment worth making since it is a fraction of the cost of replacement.

Keep a Debt-Free Lifestyle

It’s easy to cultivate a frugal mentality and live life to the fullest on a tight budget. Many rich people learned to live within their means before they were rich. This is not a call to become a minimalist or discard everything you’ve gathered over the years. Separating what you need from what you want is a financially helpful habit to cultivate.

Utilize a Financial Advisor’s Services

After accumulating a significant amount of wealth, hire a financial consultant to educate and aid you in making decisions. They may help you manage your liquid investments or more difficult-to-convert tangible assets.

Take Care of Your Health

Your body needs proper maintenance. Invest in your health by regularly seeing your doctor and dentist and sticking to medical advice if you have any problems. Increasing physical activity and eating a balanced diet may help minimize or avoid getting many diseases. Certain businesses impose a cap on sick days, resulting in a considerable economic loss after such days are exhausted. Besides higher insurance premiums, poor health may cause early retirement and reduced income.

Final Verdict

The approaches described in this article vary in difficulty. You may realize that certain tasks come readily to you while others require significant effort. The more stages you complete, the faster you will gain financial independence. It will be a personal option depending on what works best for you.

IRA Savings
ArticlesFundsPensions

How to Use IRA Savings

IRA Savings

You may withdraw money out of your IRA whenever you choose, but be aware that if you’re under the age of 59 ½, doing so could result in a tax penalty. This is because the government wishes to discourage you from withdrawing funds from your IRA until you reach the age of retirement. Since an IRA is a retirement account, it’s understandable.

If you are under the age of 59 ½ and you withdraw any money from a conventional IRA you will be subject to a 10% penalty on the amount of money you take out of the account. Additionally, you’ll be liable for standard income tax on the amount of money you take out of the account. This is a bad concept.

 

Traditional Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) vs Roth Individual Retirement Accounts (Roth IRAs)

Traditional IRAs, at their most basic level, are available to people who make an income for as long as they continue to do so. This sort of IRA may allow you to deduct your contribution from your taxable income in the tax year in which it was made, as well as possibly allowing your profits to grow tax-deferred. In most cases, withdrawals from an IRA account begin when the account owner reaches the age of 72, at which point they will be subject to taxation.

Roth IRA contributions, in contrast to traditional IRA contributions, are made after tax. This means that there is no tax deduction available. Roth contributions are not taxed when withdrawn as long as you are at least 59 ½ years old. This is because you have previously paid taxes on the money you contributed.

Traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs are controlled by income levels, which determine who is allowed to make contributions to the accounts and how much they may contribute. The total annual contribution maximum for Roth and regular IRAs in both 2019 and 2020 is $6,000 if you are under the age of 50 and $7,000 if you are 50 or over, regardless of your age.

To put it another way, with a Traditional IRA you pay taxes on your income and profits when you withdraw the funds, but with a Roth IRA you pay the taxes up front. You may be eligible for a tax deduction for the year in which you make your contribution, and your contributions may grow tax-free. Roth IRAs are exempt from required minimum distributions (RMDs) since they are taxed at the time of contribution.

In most cases, you may make penalty-free withdrawals (also known as “qualified distributions”) from any IRA if you are 59 ½ years old or older. However, if it is a typical IRA you will still be liable for income tax. To be eligible to take qualifying withdrawals from a Roth IRA, you must be at least 59 ½ years old and have been contributing to the account for at least five years. Furthermore, if you converted a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA you will not be able to withdraw the money from the Roth IRA until at least five years following the conversion.

 

What Happens to My IRA When I Reach the Age of Retirement?

Knowing what will happen to your IRA when you reach a specific age is just as essential as understanding what an IRA is and how to use one effectively. Here are a few things you should be aware of in order to avoid penalties:

  • Your money can’t just sit in your IRA for an indefinite period of time. Because of congressionally mandated minimum distributions, if you do not remove any money from your IRA throughout your lifetime (RMDs) you will not be able to refuse to take any money from your IRA and just pass the entire account on to your spouse or children. Regardless of whether or not you are employed, once you reach the age of 72, you must begin taking funds from your account to cover living expenses. This need is necessary in order for the IRS to be able to tax money that had previously been exempt from taxation.
  • RMDs are calculated differently for each individual. It is not necessary for everyone to have the same retirement plan, nor have they all invested the same amount of money throughout their working years. As a result, the amount of money that individuals must remove from their accounts each year will vary and rely on a variety of circumstances.
  • The failure to take an RMD leads to a severe penalty. It is true that if you do not remove the requisite minimum amount from your IRA you will be subject to a tax penalty. The penalty is calculated as a 50% levy on the amount of money that was not withdrawn in a timely manner.

 

Another great method of investing the money again would be to put it in self-directed IRA real estate. That way your money could continue to work for itself just as it has for all of these years.

Invest in Gold
ArticlesFinance

Does It Still Pay to Invest in Gold?

Invest in Gold

There are two sides to every gold coin — investing in gold may be profitable or it can be a losing proposition — and then there’s the truth. The truth is always in the center, and in this situation the reality is based on a variety of criteria that include your investing goals, time horizon, and, ultimately, your investment approach.

Gold, the most malleable of commodities, has suffered a setback in 2021, owing in part to rising bond rates. But even if everything isn’t always perfect, it will always be there. For millennia, gold has been a desirable commodity for investors, serving as a money and a symbol of wealth in many forms.

However, there are a few downsides to gold acquisition. For example, gold does not have a stable rate of return. While there are several advantages to investing in gold, there is one significant disadvantage. Gold is not a reliable source of revenue for investors. Gold has no production, whereas publicly listed corporations generate goods and services that customers value. This is a “severe structural disadvantage relative to other asset classes,” according to Michael Reynolds, vice president of investment strategy at Glenmede. While equities provide dividends to investors and bonds pay interest, Reynolds states that “gold does not spontaneously spawn additional gold.” Rather, you profit from the rise in gold’s price. 

“Gold gets 100% of its rewards from price movement, which may and has resulted in extended periods of underperformance,” adds Reynolds.

However, there seem to be more reasons today to invest in it still. Here are three compelling reasons to invest in gold.

 

Gold is Easy to Sell

Physical gold is available in two forms: gold coins and stamped gold bullion (bars) with a purity level. The gold content, rather than the quality or rarity, determines the worth of your gold.

While this value fluctuates, actual gold is easier to dispose of, which is one of the main reasons investors seek it out. Even if the return rate isn’t what you’re hoping for, there are always customers willing to buy gold.

 

Preservation of One’s Wealth

Many investors have put their faith in gold because of its ability to preserve wealth. Consider the difference between possessing £50 in gold and owning a £50 note in 1980. Because gold has increased in value since then, the value of the gold now significantly exceeds the original £50 investment. The £50 note, on the other hand, has not risen in value and, as a result of inflation, cannot purchase as much as it might in 1980.

 

Hedge

The value of gold is usually inverse with the rest of stocks. This means that it can be a balancing asset for you in your investments. People will buy gold in order to hedge their investments. They know that if the stock market plummets they’ll still be able to use their gold to build their portfolio and trade at that time. Then once the market equalizes again they are able to buy gold bars at a cheaper cost and sell their stocks. No matter how the market is looking, they are able to find balance in their investments and create revenue out of their diversification.

 

Safe Haven

Gold, unlike currencies, is unaffected by interest rate changes and cannot be created to manage supply and demand. Gold is a rare asset that has held its value throughout time and has demonstrated its usefulness as an insurance policy in the case of a downturn in the economy. As a result, many investors perceive gold to be a safe haven — and it’s proving itself right.

ArticlesMarkets

As 2022 Opens, Investors Flock to Defensive Dividend Stocks

We are only just about the fourth month into 2022 and we have a war breaking out, coronavirus continuing to plague the earth, and shaky markets – it’s not looking great, both as a species and as an investor.

Still, the markets are perhaps yet to top some of the craziness of 2020-21, with the rise of meme stocks, NFTs, and social trading. The pandemic was actually an accelerator of tech stocks, which is understandable, because it pushed us towards working and entertaining ourselves online.

So, if we accept the pandemic appears to be winding down, that may take some of the legs away from tech stocks. But more than that, the incredibly high inflation rate is causing a bit of panic – panic which seems to be causing a sell-off of high-risk assets, of which tech stocks are very much the center of that.

Liquidity in times of crisis

As a result of the current invasion of Ukraine, along with the selling off of high-risk assets, commodity prices are soaring. It’s understandable to see how some commodities, which are being directly sanctioned or indirectly threatened are rising, but commodities more generally are conducive to the idea of a defensive repositioning.

Furthermore, commodities like gold are a little closer to being a currency, and liquidity is exactly what we want in a time of potential crisis – not least if you’re a Russian citizen right now.

Another way to stay solvent during a potential economic crisis is to ensure some income. Cash is king, at the end of the day, and you can’t pay your rent in securities. In fact, selling off stocks or funds during a time of crisis is precisely what loses people money, because they’re selling their portfolio during a temporarily bad price.

Besides the obvious advice to have a healthy emergency fund for a cash buffer, we can also adapt our portfolio to generate income. Things like real estate are a little costly, inflexible, and potentially illiquid, so dividend stocks seem like a natural choice.

There’s a solid argument to make that, the income you receive from dividend stocks is merely factored into their price anyway (i.e. they have slower growth, generally) – so you’re not getting anything for “free” per se. But, that’s not the argument in favor of them anyway, it’s that we need income during those moments of a market downturn.

Plus, dividend stocks are often popular among value investors because they’re less risky and therefore less likely to be overpriced. Value investing, intuitively, feels like a winner during a selling-off period of high-risk assets.

How to choose the right dividend stocks

Firstly, before deciding on the right stock, it’s important to know the limitations of dividend stocks as mentioned before. During vast periods of growth, dividends + the equity won’t necessarily outperform other stocks that don’t pay dividends – it somewhat works out to be equal. The advantage of non-dividend stocks is that you simply get more choice over when to sell and liquidate, as opposed to fixed dividend payments. However, during times of crisis, receiving income without selling off our underpriced stock is ideal.

This is important to clarify because an important factor in your choice of stock is the likelihood that it will pay out during a market downturn. One way to gauge this is simply to look at how many years it’s been without the dividend payout falling – some boast many years, which gives an investor a lot of confidence. This will increase your chances of being paid during a recession.

Of course, how much you’re being paid is important, and how much this dividend grows by. Dividend yields differ between industries, but considering the FTSE 100 has an aggregate dividend yield of 4.2%, anything above this is pretty good. As for the dividend yield, this is a percentage of the annualized dividend relative to the stock price. Whilst a high yield may be great, be careful because it may also be because of a recent fall in the stock price – perhaps triggered by an anticipated fall in dividends.

What exact stocks you choose will depend on your portfolio strategy too – but here’s the dividend kings list for some inspiration. For example, if it’s a dividend-focused portfolio, your choices may differ from a portfolio that’s just looking for some dividend diversification. In the latter, you’re going to be more focused on firms that are recession-proof with a solid dividend history and great value, whilst if you’re filling the whole portfolio up with them, you want a wide range from different industries and countries – including developing ones, perhaps.

The dividend payout ratio will reflect the dividend as a percentage of the company’s earnings. Don’t be fooled into thinking higher is better because it’s more generous – lower payout ratios generally reflect that they’re going to be more sustainable. If you’re using dividend stocks as a hedging/diversification tool, then lower payout ratios are more crucial here too.

As touched on with being cautious around ratios and yields, it’s clear that they do not tell the whole story. It’s therefore vital to perform some further research beyond purely a quantitative analysis of these metrics. Value investing techniques accompany dividend investing very well, but also perform some qualitative research on the market, economy, and customer sentiment.

This is because you never know when a war or pandemic will break out. On paper 10 days ago, many Russian companies may have been persuasive on their financials – but fast forward a week and their entire stock market is closed. Whilst we can be fooled into thinking the US market is perfectly safe, because it’s the strongest, geopolitics, natural disasters, and other events cannot be predicted.

Therefore, whilst the USD is looking to remain strong and US stocks have historically great growth, geographical diversification is still important. Canada, the UK, Australia, and many other countries are offering fantastic dividend yields too. If we’re looking to mitigate the dangers of a US-centered tech crash, or anything remotely similar, then Asia too could be a useful hedge.

Loan Application Rejected
ArticlesFunds

Common Reasons Mortgage Loans Are Rejected

Loan Application Rejected

Without the existence of mortgages, relatively few Americans would be able to realize their dreams of homeownership. So, when submitting a home loan application, you’d do well to remember that a lot hinges on lender approval. Needless to say, considering how much money is at stake with the typical home loan, lenders typically aren’t keen on making unwise bets. As such, homebuyers preparing to start submitting loan applications should familiarize themselves with some of the most common reasons for rejection.

 

Poor Credit

It should come as no surprise that poor credit can be a huge detriment to mortgage loan approval. After all, if you have a history of failing to pay off debt, many lenders are liable to conclude that you won’t be able to keep up with monthly mortgage payments. So, if your intent is to make yourself an attractive borrower, take care to get your credit in order before proceeding to submit any loan applications.

When trying to maximize your chances of loan approval, you’ll want to have the lowest possible debt-to-income ratio. This means getting your credit card debt as close to zero as you possibly can – if not paying it off entirely. This also entails paying off any bills that have been sent to collections in full. Virginians who are looking for Virginia Beach mortgage lenders would do well to get a handle on outstanding credit card debt before proceeding to apply for loans.

You should also abstain from submitting mortgage loan applications immediately after paying down your credit card debt, as your credit score needs time to recover. Furthermore, avoid adding to your debt throughout the loan application process. So, if the need to make any large purchases arises during this time, either pay for them in cash, put them off or borrow money from a trusted friend or family member. 

  

Lack of Credit History

Just as a troubled credit history can hinder your chances of loan approval, so too can a lack of a credit history. While you may view having no credit history as a positive, most mortgage lenders are unlikely to share this opinion. If you’ve never had to make monthly payments or purchase anything on credit, lenders won’t have any evidence of your trustworthiness or reliability with regard to financial obligations. So, unless you have a good cosigner, it’s generally recommended that you take the time to build your credit history before proceeding to apply for a mortgage loan.

 

Insufficient Down Payment

The higher your down payment is, the better your odds of approval are likely to be. Putting forth a high down payment illustrates a firm commitment to homeownership, as well as a strong sense of financial responsibility. As an added bonus, a large down payment stands to lower the cost of your monthly mortgage payments. The more you put down at the outset, the less you’ll have left to pay off.

On the flipside, a low down payment will have the opposite effect. Low payments often give off the impression that borrowers aren’t particularly serious about buying homes and aren’t in a great place financially. So, if you’re hoping to wow lenders from the outset, try to muster up the largest down payment possible.

 

Lack of Regular Income

It’s only natural that mortgage lenders would regard regular income with importance. After all, if someone isn’t making money consistently, how are they going to keep up with monthly mortgage payments, home insurance, property taxes and other house-related expenses? Of course, this isn’t to say that regular income has to come from a traditional job. Pensions, trust funds and strong investment portfolios may also be viewed as acceptable sources of income. So, if you’re currently without a consistent source of income, it’s strongly recommended that you find one in advance of applying for a mortgage loan.  

Since mortgages serve as a gateway to homeownership for countless Americans, all homebuyers should approach the loan application process with seriousness. While it’s not unusual to be approved for a mortgage loan on one’s first attempt, it’s also very common for applications to be denied for a variety of reasons. Fortunately, educating yourself on these reasons can help prevent you from inadvertently sabotaging yourself during the application process. So, if you’re looking to get approved for a good mortgage loan posthaste, be mindful of the factors discussed above.

Finance Goals
ArticlesFinance

Financial Goals to Strive For

Finance Goals

When we are first introduced to the aspect of money, it’s when we see our parents hand over some paper slips and swipe their cards. However, what we don’t realize at a young age is that the funds were used for a purpose. Money isn’t something we spend just to spend. Having financial goals is important for a variety of reasons. For one thing, they’re what propel you forward in establishing security. But maybe you’re unsure of what goals you should be striving for. Here are a few financial goals to work towards.

 

Opening Your Own Business

One goal that many hope to achieve is to put away enough money to start their own business. Businesses, despite how common they are these days, require a lot of funding to get up and running. Some people even dive into their personal savings and retirement account just to launch it. While you’re more than able to pay for everything yourself, it’s good to avoid depleting your savings. Rather than risk everything, you can play it safer if you take out a small business loan. There are companies that commit themselves to ensuring the success of every business they give loans to. In additional to offering favorable interest rates, they can connect their borrowers to a rich, diverse support network.

 

Having Children

Children are the future, but they also cost more money than you’d expect. Similar to opening a business, many people want to have a family of their own. Some people even start planning for it when they get their first job. The average price of child care is between $10,000 to almost $15,000 annually. This goal should also teach you the fundamentals of budgeting and saving your money as well. When you have something as important as a child to take care of, you need to be extremely diligent with your money. Following the 50/30/20 rule into your budget is a great way to get a good grasp on your finances.

The 50% goes to necessities such as child care and rent, 30% goes to whatever you may want and the remaining 20% goes to your savings. If you’re looking to maximize your saving potential, you can combine the 30% with the 20% and have an even 50/50. The first half goes to what you need and the other goes right into your bank account.

 

Take Up Investing

You should know your own net worth before determining how much, if any, money you have to invest since investing is one of those high-risk, high-reward financial goals. Granted, there are many ways you can invest ranging from the traditional stock market to trying your hand at cryptocurrency. The choice is yours to make. Regardless of that choice, however, you need to have an appropriate amount of money to get started. You don’t just throw $20 and expect it to multiply by the hundreds overnight. It’s a process you need to be careful about because the risk can cause almost irreparable damage to your finances.

Personal Loan
ArticlesFinance

What are the Benefits of a Personal Loan?

Personal Loan

There may come a point in your life when you realize that you need (or want) to borrow money. Maybe you want to do this so you can renovate your home. Or perhaps you’re seeking a loan to use for debt consolidation. Thanks to a variety of benefits, a personal loan is one type that you should strongly consider. Here are just a few of the many reasons to get in touch with a personal loan agency.

 

Flexibility

A personal loan can be used in a variety of ways, ranging from home renovations to debt consolidation to paying off medical or educational expenses. Furthermore, you don’t have to explain to the lender how you’ll use the money. As long as you’re using the funds legally, you don’t have anything to worry about. This type of flexibility opens up a world of opportunities. 

 

Variety of Terms

With a variety of loan terms to choose from, you can find the one that best suits your short and long-term budget. Generally speaking, personal loan terms range from 12 months to 84 months. If you’re seeking the lowest possible payment, opt for a longer-term. Conversely, if you want to save on interest and pay off the loan as quickly as you can, a shorter term is the way to go. Before you do anything, compare the monthly payment and overall cost of multiple terms. This will help you understand what works best for your financial circumstances as a whole. 

 

No Collateral 

As an unsecured loan, you’re not required to provide your lender with any collateral. This is in contrast to a secured loan — such as a home equity loan — that requires you to put up collateral to reduce their risk. The only thing you need to keep in mind is that unsecured loans generally have slightly higher interest rates than secured loans. This is the result of the bank taking on more of a risk. If you default on the loan, they don’t have anything to repossess to make up for their loss. 

 

Competitive Interest Rates

Even though a personal loan is unsecured, interest rates are competitive with secured loans. Get the best deal by requesting quotes from three to five lenders. This will give you the opportunity to see what’s available both in regards to terms and interest rates. Note that shorter-term personal loans have a lower interest rate than those with longer terms. This means that you pay less money in interest over the course of your loan if you opt for a shorter term. 

 

Easy to Manage

When it comes to managing your money, it’s critical to implement a system that won’t bog you down. You want to make things as easy on yourself as possible. A personal loan is easy to manage, especially if you have good advice on handling your finances. You’re left with one fixed monthly payment for a predetermined period of time. For instance, you may have a payment of $500 for 36 months. This makes it simple to plan your short and long-term budget. Adding to this, most lenders have an online system for managing your personal loan. You can make payments, view your balance, request statements, and more. 

 

Questions to Ask Your Lender

There are sure to be questions on your mind as you compare lenders and loan products. Here are some to start with:

  • What terms do you have available?
  • What are the eligibility requirements for a personal loan?
  • How long does it take to receive funds?
  • Are you able to send the funds via bank wire? How about a check?
  • How long does it take to receive an answer on my loan application?

Asking questions like these will help you better understand your situation, what’s available to you, and how to proceed.

 

Final Thoughts

Now that you understand the many benefits of a personal loan, you can decide if it makes sense to move forward in the near future. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with taking your time and comparing personal loans to other types of financial products. The most important thing is that you make the right decision at the right time. What are your thoughts on applying for a personal loan? Have you benefited from this type of loan in the past?

Pension Scams
ArticlesFundsPensions

Pension Fraud Is On the Rise – Here’s 5 Simple Tricks to Stay Savvy Against the Latest Scams

Pension Scams

Pension and investment scams can have a serious impact on your financial health, losing you a lot of money. Falling victim to fraud may affect your wellbeing and leave you feeling anxious, stressed, and worried.

New research from Lottie has found a recent rise in scams targeting the over 55’s. Over the last three months, online searches for those looking for support after falling victim to pension and investment scams has significantly increased:

  • 75% increase in online searches on Google for ‘scam help’ and 50% increase for ‘fraud support’
  • 24% increase in online searches for ‘pension fraud’
  • 22% increase in searches for ‘pension scam’ and ‘investment scam’

 

Here’s why pension frauds are on the rise, according to Lottie’s Will Donnelly:

“More people than ever before are seeking online support after falling victim to fraud. With more flexibility in managing your pension at retirement, it is no surprise there has been a recent rise in pension and investment scams.

Fraudsters have exploited the uncertainty around the pandemic and the recent rise of living costs to trick people into transferring over their life savings. Many people choose to retire at the end of March because of a lower rate of Income Tax, so there is now more opportunity to fall victim to pension and investment scams.

Anyone can fall victim to a fraud – especially as they are becoming more sophisticated – but the over 55s are most likely to be targeted, according to previous research by Citizens Advice.

Scammers will often try to persuade you to remove some or all money from your pension fund. They may ask you to invest in unusual, high-risk investments, including overseas property. Or they may contact you out-of-the-blue for a free pension review, promising advances on your pension pot.

Thankfully, there are ways to reduce your risk of falling victim to fraud and we must raise awareness about staying savvy to scams.”

 

Five simple tricks to lower your risk of pension fraud:

Frauds are becoming even more sophisticated, so it is important to stay clued up on the warning signs of pension and investment scams. They can lead you to losing a lifetime’s worth of savings in one moment, so you must stay cautious.

  1. Watch out for warning signs

Scammers will often contact you unexpectedly, whether that is via a phone call, text message or email. Remember – since January 2019, there has been a ban on cold-calling about pensions. So, if you do get contacted and offered a free pension review or investment opportunity, it is likely that it is a scam.

Simply hang up or ignore any unsolicited text messages promising you more money.

  1. Seek financial guidance first

If you are keen to review your pension, there are ways to receive free, impartial advice, including Money Helper’s Pension Wise service. Before changing any of your pension arrangements, seek out impartial financial advice from a reputable source, first.

Take the time to check any investment opportunities before transferring over any money. Make sure that whoever you are dealing with is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and they are authorised to provide you with financial advice.

  1. Keep up to date with the latest scams

It is no surprise that fraudsters are becoming even more sophisticated. An important part of reducing your risk of falling victim to fraud is staying clued up on the latest scams. Age UK provide information on the latest scams – including fake Ukraine fundraisers and fake energy refund emails.

  1. Speak to your loved ones

If you have fallen victim to fraud, do not suffer in silence. Anyone can be susceptible to scams, especially as they are becoming more sophisticated. Even the most careful people can be caught out.

Make sure you speak to your friends and family, as it can feel a huge relief to open up about how you’ve feeling. They can support you in reporting the fraud and help you cope with any stress, anxiety or worry you are experiencing.

  1. Report a scam

Most importantly, do not feel embarrassed about reporting fraud. There are organisations that can support you and you will help them track down the fraudsters. Contact the police via 101 immediately if you feel threatened or if you have transferred money to the scammer in the last 24 hours.

You can also report fraud to the Citizens Advice service – make sure you note down all details about the scam, including whether you have transferred any money, who you have been in contact with and the type of information you have shared.

Finance Funding
ArticlesFinance

How to Fund Your Small Business: Seven Key Options to Consider

Finance Funding

If you need to make a major investment for your business, you shouldn’t be afraid to explore financing options. It’s a good idea to speak with a financial advisor so you have a clear view of how taking on debt can impact your taxes and cash flow.  

There are multiple funding options available for entrepreneurs. Proceeds can be used to purchase new equipment, expand the locations of stores or warehouses, or inject money into your business to help your cash flow. Be sure to check with your lender to make sure the way you want to use the loan is acceptable. 

Here are some of the main financing options available for business owners.

 

1. Crowdfunding financing 

Crowdfunding can be  a great way of funding new projects, primarily through online forums and specific crowdfunding platforms, by raising money from the general public. 

The crowdfunding option works best for consumer-facing businesses that have a product or vision that everyday people can get behind. You can get started on popular sites like Kickstarter®, GoFundMe®, and Indiegogo®

One of the main advantages of using crowdfunding to fund your new investment is that you gain access to a larger and more diverse group of investors. Equity crowdfunding is also an option available to you. It enables public investors to take a proportionate slice of the equity in your business in return for their money. 

But there are drawbacks, such as the fees associated with crowdfunding platforms and, on some sites, the inability to use pledged funds if you don’t reach your funding goal.  

 

2. Equipment financing 

If you need to invest in equipment for your business, you have the option of getting a loan from a lender that’s an expert in your industry. You can then make simple repayments and eventually own the equipment. 

For example, if you run a machine shop business, you would need to make major investments for equipment like lathes, mills, and press brakes. In which case, you could find a dealer that offers financing facilities

Look for a true simple-interest loan with flexible financing structures.

Once you pay back the loan, you’ll own the equipment, which means you have another physical asset as part of your portfolio. 

 

3. Bank loans

Whether you need to purchase machinery or make another type of major investment for your business, you have the option of obtaining a loan from a bank. The key advantages of borrowing from the bank are, as long as you keep up with the repayments, banks generally shouldn’t set restrictions on what you can use the loan for, and you can often get favorable interest rates. 

Also, if you already have an account with the bank, you could get sound lending advice about your options from a financial advisor. 

However, there are disadvantages to getting a bank loan. The application process can be lengthy, eligibility criteria are often strict, and secured loans carry risk. Start by contacting your own bank to discuss your options. If that route isn’t suitable, you can always apply for a loan with another bank.

 

4. Angel investor financing

If your business is quite new, you could have an angel investor on board. Angel investors are high-net-worth private investors that provide entrepreneurs and small businesses with either a one-time investment or an ongoing injection of financial support, in return for ownership of equity in the company. 

When an angel investor is a part of your business, you should approach him or her for funds to cover your major investment needs. 

While investment from an angel investor can be a great way of securing funds for your immediate requirements, funding via angel investors does come with risks, but it usually comes with more favorable terms in comparison to other lending options. Angel investors are often friends or family, so if you want to go down this funding route, start by asking the people you know if they would be interested in supporting your business. 

 

5. Venture capital financing

If you need to make a major investment in your business but haven’t yet actually started earning revenue and profits, you could have the option of venture capital financing. Venture capital investment funds are pooled funds from investors who want private equity stakes in small to medium-sized businesses that have strong potential for growth. 

However, venture capital financing is known to be high risk. The funding option is usually best reserved for new businesses that seek accelerated growth. Tech companies and businesses in emerging industries typically go down the venture capital financing avenue. 

 

6. Peer-to-peer lending

Peer-to-peer financing works like this: smaller-scale investors are matched with a small business that requires funds.

With peer-to-peer lending, you effectively cut out the need for a middleman. You can apply for peer-to-peer financing on various online sites and obtain a loan from a pool of investors. 

Repaying a peer-to-peer loan is similar to repaying a bank loan. You’ll agree to an interest fee upfront. If you should fail to make repayments, the usual debt rules will apply.

 

7. SBA loans

The most prominent assistance program that the Small Business Administration (SBA) offers is a guarantee on loans made through banks, credit unions, and other lenders they partner with. By securing a portion of an SBA loan in the case of the borrower defaulting, the lenders are presented with less risk so they are more likely to offer an affordable loan.

SBA 7(a) loans from $30,000 – $350,000 from banks can be used for debt refinancing and working capital. Working capital includes operational expenses, marketing, hiring, etc. SBA loans can be used to fund new equipment purchases as well. SBA 7(a) loans can also be used for refinancing existing business debt not secured by real estate (such as cash advances, business loans, and equipment leases). With low rates and long terms (10 years), an SBA loan can be a great solution. 

 

Summing up

It’s important that you carefully consider each of the above funding options to determine which is most suitable for your needs. Begin by thinking about your specific requirements and the pros and cons of each investment option.

Then, create a list of the options, with your most preferred financing option at the top and your least preferred option at the bottom. You can then try each option in order. Hopefully, your first option will be able to provide you with the cash you need to fund your major investment. 

To recap, here are the main financing options you have available:

  • Crowdfunding
  • Equipment financing
  • Bank loan
  • Angel investor financing
  • Venture capital investment
  • Peer-to-peer lending
  • SBA loans

 

Don’t be afraid to explore each option in detail. Get answers to any questions you have before you decide on your course of action, and always read the terms and conditions before signing on the dotted line. 

As long as you spend time determining which financing option is the best choice for your specific circumstances, you’ll more easily be able to find the right financing route for you and expand your business further.

Articles

4 Ways To Save Money On Car Insurance

Keeping insurance costs in check is a priority for most people, and it’s particularly relevant in the case of cover that’s a legal requirement rather than just a nice-to-have product designed to give you peace of mind.

Car insurance certainly falls into this category, so how can you cut costs while still getting the right type of package from a reputable provider?

Making improvements to your credit score

You might not realize it, but if you have bad credit it’s likely that this will have an undesirable impact on the price you pay for car insurance. So if you want to learn how to get cheap car insurance, doing something about a poor credit score is a great first step.

Your credit history is a factor that insurers take into account if you live in most states across the US, and will have a marked impact on the premium price you are quoted.

While this is not so much of a cost consideration for those in the UK, it does mean that you’ll pay more if you are taking out insurance on a monthly basis, rather than shelling out for a full year of cover up front.

A bad score doesn’t always mean you have a poor credit history, as people who don’t have a track record of borrowing can score lower marks, regardless of their net worth or income.

This means that even wealthy individuals still have a reason to leverage borrowing facilities, and repay any lines of credit on time.

Benefitting from insurance bundles

As with many finance packages, car insurance can be made more affordable if you combine it with other types of cover, rather than sourcing a single car policy from just one provider.

If you have more than one vehicle in your household, getting a bundle that protects all of them at once, and covers other family members’ use of them as well as yours, is often a cost-efficient option, for example.

Likewise if you are able to get insurance for your car alongside home insurance, travel insurance or anything else you might need for your lifestyle and to protect your interests, this may be a way to make a saving.

Increasing your exposure to risk

The core of any insurance policy is the calculated risk taken by both the insurer and the customer. The riskier an insurer considers you to be as a prospect, the more they will charge for their cover.

However, you can bring down car insurance expenses if you offer to accept more risk by exposing yourself to a larger proportion of the financial fallout of making a claim.

This is done via increasing the deductible, or the excess, which is the amount you’ll have to hand over if a claim is made in order to cover some or all of the repair costs and other fees.

Increasing your excess agreement can lead to a lower car insurance quote from the insurer of your choice. This is not always the case, so beware of exposing yourself to this risk for no good reason, and always read the small print.

Another way to take a risk on your car insurance with a view to making a saving is to opt for a less comprehensive package.

Picking a basic insurance product which gives you just third party protection, while leaving you to foot the bill for repairs needed for your vehicle, is a popular cost-cutting option.

Making the right choice

Finally, don’t forget that saving money on car insurance is not always going to leave you with the best possible type of cover, even if it does leave a little more cash in your account.

You have to consider your priorities, and think about the potential costs involved if you are overly frugal when it comes to insurance. You might decide that spending a little more is worthwhile.

Press releases

Wealth & Finance Magazine Announces the Winners of the 2022 Retirement Planning Awards

United Kingdom, 2022- Wealth & Finance magazine have announced the winners of the 2022 Retirement Planning Awards.

Retirement Planning manages and maintains in the background for many reasons. Over the last couple of years, this has become an increasing need. In response to the growing need and unparalleled work carried out, Wealth & Finance Magazine launched the 2022 edition of the programme. We endeavour and aspire to support, encourage, and celebrate both businesses and individuals that are surpassing many challenges, growth, and development with their unmatched talent and expertise. Adapting to the trials they face, they have not only nestled into their industry but taken the lead and inspired others.

Speaking on the success of these deserving winners, Awards Co-ordinator Victoria Cotton said: “When it comes to impeccable business, we are proud to showcase these accolades awarded to a variety of bodies that have excelled in their industries. We sincerely hope you enjoy the rest of 2022 ahead.”

To learn more about our deserving award winners and to gain insight into the working practices of the “best of the best”, please visit the Wealth & Finance website (https://www.wealthandfinance-news.com/awards/retirement-planning-awards/) where you can access the winners supplement.

ENDS

Note to editors.

About Wealth & Finance International

Wealth & Finance International (http://www.wealthandfinance-news.com/) is a quarterly publication dedicated to delivering high quality informative and up-to-the-minute global business content. It is published by AI Global Media Ltd, a publishing house that has reinvigorated corporate finance news and reporting.

Developed by a highly skilled team of writers, editors, business insiders and regional industry experts, Wealth & Finance International reports from every corner of the globe to give readers the inside track on the need-to-know news and issues affecting banking, finance, regulation, risk and wealth management in their region.

About AI Global Media

Since 2010 AI Global Media (https://www.aiglobalmedialtd.com/) has been committed to creating engaging B2B content that informs our readers and allows them to market their business to a global audience. We create content for and about firms across a range of industries.

Today, we have 12 unique brands, each of which serves a specific industry or region. Each brand covers the latest news in its sector and publishes a digital magazine and newsletter which is read by a global audience. Our flagship brand, Acquisition International, distributes a monthly digital magazine to a global circulation of 108,000, who are treated to a range of features and news pieces on the latest developments in the global corporate market.

Alongside this, we have a luxury-lifestyle magazine, LUXlife, which appeals to a range of high-net-worth individuals, offering them insight into the latest products, experiences and innovations to ensure they can live the high-life to its fullest.

Awards

Showcasing the companies who have worked hard in striving to give their clients the best service and products is important to us. We know and understand how tough making a successful business can be, and so everyone at AI Global Media takes great pride in our awards programmes.

Our awards programmes run across each brand and are completely free to enter, take part in and win. All our winners are offered complementary marketing packages, meaning all businesses despite their size and marketing budget can be rewarded. Additionally, we offer a wider range of marketing materials which winners can purchase for extra coverage on our platform including: cover features, magazine articles and newsletter inclusions.

Extra Income
ArticlesFinance

How to Earn Extra Cash While Working Full Time In the UK

Extra Income

Many immigrants move to the UK to increase their economic status. That is good, as the UK has a lot of opportunities for immigrants. For some, their breakthrough is finding a good job, which a UK skilled worker Visa can guarantee. 

On the other hand, a good job is not enough for immigrants with many financial responsibilities. Well, the way to go is getting a side-hustle that brings in extra income. There are many legal things immigrants can do to increase their income. 

Here, we’ll give you a list of ideas that can help you earn extra cash while working in the UK. 

 

Start a Small Service Business

Skilled people can start a small service business to make extra income. It is easy to grow a service business with word-of-mouth marketing, so start by advertising to people in your direct network and ask them to spread the word. For a service business, the list is long. Just pick a skill you are good at and sell it.

 

Freelance Content Creation

Immigrants with a good command of English and subject matter experts can freelance on the side. Many companies seek writers who can help them with blog posts, marketing copy, website content, etc. Even bloggers are constantly on the lookout for writers, as they don’t have enough time to do all the writing. 

First, it is great you have an adequately edited portfolio of written content that can be shown to potential employees. After that, search for jobs in the freelance marketplace or pitch to blogs that caught your interest. Some tools and software will make this work easier. So, conduct research, find an employer and earn more income.

 

Get Paid to Do What You Love Doing

It’s simple! Document what you love doing in your free time. If you are good at trivia, ask your local bar to host their trivia game. If you love swimming, then offer to teach people swimming. Whatever skills you have, you can teach other people and generate revenue. Whether playing a musical instrument, cooking, driving, dancing, etc., you could organize a fitness class if you are good at sports. You could even teach about your home country’s culture and tradition.

Even if you don’t have a hobby, you could take online surveys or attend focus group discussions. Many companies and organizations conduct consumer and market research, and they are ready to pay for data. So, you can earn some extra bucks (or gift cards) while sharing your two cents about a product you love. You can boost your account balance by becoming a tour guide in your neighborhood.

 

Teaching Online

If you have advanced certification like a master’s degree or PhD, you can teach online. Even if you have a full-time job, you could always teach part-time. Those with specialized knowledge in a particular subject can also tutor students online. To make extra cash, it is best if you know the current curriculum. Nonetheless, if you study the right resources, you’ll do great.

If you intend to migrate to the UK with your advanced certification, you should learn more about the work EB2 Visa to know your eligibility.

 

Rent Out Your Stuff

As an immigrant, it is now easy to make money by leveraging the stuff you own. Many are familiar with Airbnb, where you can rent out your properties. The exciting part is that you don’t need to rent out your whole apartment. By renting out a spare room in your apartment, you can increase your income.

Asides from AirBnB, there are other things you could earn income from. Rent out your car, cameras, parking space, and so much, provided there’s a listing platform.

 

Virtual Assistant

Immigrants with a personal assistant, secretary, or other administrative experience can become virtual assistants. This is an excellent job as you can do it from your home’s comfort and spare time. You can succeed in this role with a computer, internet access, and administrative skills. This job is an incredible way to earn extra even with a full-time job in the UK.

 

Invest In Real Estate

Before now, all the ideas highlighted are all active income streams. How about making money passively? One good way to earn returns is real estate investments. You can start by buying a small condo in a nearby country and let it out to renters and vacationists. Alternatively, immigrants can get started with commercial properties. With as little as 4000 GBP, you can tap into this income stream.

 

Final Words

Getting a side-hustle is a fast way to make extra money and stay on top of your finances. Even with a full-time job, other gigs can be done in spare time to earn extra. 

Articles

Achieve your Financial Goals with Instalment Loans

There are months when you barely have any money left at all, but the responsibilities are still there. Handling such huge responsibilities requires an additional source of funding that you can use when the times are hard.
With the use of loans, for instance, you will be able to get the amount you need to get your responsibilities taken care of, and the payments will be easier to make since you will be working with easier and friendlier repayment terms.

Whenever you are looking for someone that will provide you with a loan in the middle of the month, you must look at their terms and conditions before accepting to take a loan. Some terms involve the repayment of the loan, and these determine whether it is the ideal kind of loan for you or not. For instance, installment loans are ideal since you will not have to worry about paying them back. They have been designed to make the repayment of the loans more straightforward for you since you only have to pay the designated instalment for the month, and you are good to go.
Additionally, you can take a more considerable amount of money in an instalment loan than you can with the other kinds of loans.

As such, you will be able to handle all the pressing financial needs that have to be taken care of at the moment, and the repayment is more organised and manageable. You will be paying back these loans in terms of monthly instalments which also means that you do not have to worry about the amount being too much for you.

The repayment can be spread out over a more extended period to ensure that you only pay as much as you are willing to for each month. Whenever you are looking for a loan, it is essential that you also look at the interest rates associated with the loan.

Sometimes, loans come with very high-interest rates that make them barely manageable and more complicated to pay back. Others have lower interest rates but require that you pay back the loan in very little time. This can be difficult for some borrowers to pay back since they need more time to pay back the loan entirely. With loans, you can achieve your financial goals and get your projects funded with the money you need. They are also easy to manage, and you won’t have to worry about getting the loan paid back in time.

The fact that you will be paying back the loan in instalments also means that you can easily slot in monthly repayments and set aside a certain amount of money to take care of the loan. As such, you will not have to spend all your salary on paying back the loan since the repayments have been distributed to equal instalments that can be made more comfortable.

The instalment loan works to your convenience and is one of the more comfortable loans you can turn to in times of need. The amounts you can borrow with such a loan are also higher, and you will not have to worry about getting your financial troubles sorted more effectively.

You can borrow more with this kind of loan, and as such, your financial needs will have been more adequately taken care of. Whenever you are looking for a loan, you must know what kind of loan is the best for your needs.

Someone who is employed and is receiving a monthly salary can borrow a higher amount since paying back in instalments is easier to manage, and they will also be allowed to take a bigger loan.

Additionally, the monthly instalments can be added to the person’s expenses for the months to come, making paying back the loan more manageable and less stressful for the person who had taken the loan.
No matter your financial needs, instalment loans are the best alternative for you. They are easy to apply for, take less time to process and ensure that all the expenses you need to take care of are handled. By working with a reliable provider, you will get a loan that will cater to your financial needs.

Big investments
ArticlesFinance

Major Investments You Need to Prioritize

Big investments

You probably know all too well that business can be low when you first open. However, as time progresses and you’ve gained more customers, you might notice you have enough savings to finally invest into your company again. This can be an exciting change and you likely already have a laundry list in mind of things you want to put money towards within your business. But with so many things your business needs, you might not be sure what to prioritize. Here are a few major investments that you need to prioritize.

 

A Fleet

Depending on what kind of shop you’re running, you’re going to need a fleet. A fleet is a group of vehicles that’s exclusively used for a company. It’s used to distribute products and administer services. You might think these vehicles are best suited for grocery stores and restaurants. However, fleets can also be used to advertise as well. Since fleets are composed of multiple vehicles, you’ve probably guessed that you’re going to be spending quite a bit.

However, that’s just for the cars. That isn’t counting the cost of fleet insurance and the necessary technology. Before you can operate your fleet, every vehicle needs to be equipped with the proper technology to ensure driver safety. Dash cams and wireless devices are to name a few. You’ll also need to implement tachographs, ELDs, and GPS tracking systems. These allow you to go more in-depth with the vehicle telematics, which is what allows you to keep track of every operating vehicle in your fleet.

 

Renovations

There are times you need to spend money to make money as a small business owner. Whether it’s adding new equipment or appliances or simply expanding the space, renovations are a key part of any growing business. Adding more space gives you more room to organize things while being able to house more customers and employees. As for the equipment, what you need depends on what business you’re running. If you own a restaurant, for example, you’ll need to have the following:

∙ High-quality refrigerators

∙ Freezers

∙ Ovens

∙ Safety gear

∙ Grease traps

∙ Food processers

∙ Employee Training Programs

If there’s one thing that has allowed your company to thrive, aside from your hard work, it’s definitely the employees. Employees help keep a business stable by tackling the less-demanding tasks while you prioritize more demanding concerns. And since you’re planning on expanding, that means you need to plan on having more workers.

However, you might not be able to single-handedly train everyone you bring on board. That’s why it’s in your best interest to invest into a training program. You’d be surprised at how far an employee training program can take you, and your employees for that matter. It ensures you can trust them to get the job done, attract your ideal candidate and have a serious advantage over your competitors.

 

Invest in Yourself

Investing in yourself may sound a bit unorthodox when it comes to business. We don’t mean treating yourself out to lunch on the company credit card. By investing in yourself, we mean bettering your knowledge and skills to benefit your company further. This could look like personal enrichment courses to better your leadership skills or earning advanced degrees or certifications in your field to level up your expertise. Whatever you decide on, investing in yourself is rarely a losing bet.

 

Your Physical Location

Depending on the nature of your business, the location in which you operate can be another opportunity to invest in your company’s future. If you are a business that relies heavily on foot traffic, maybe relocating your business to a walkable downtown area might make sense for you. If you are operating out of warehouses, maybe a location closer to freeway access to optimize fleet routes is a good choice.

Either way be sure that you do some research before uprooting your operations. In some cases, location matters more than others and you want to be sure that you are not going to negatively interrupt your customer base with a move. If you have employees that are reporting to the office each day that is also something to consider. While it would be impossible to optimize commute times for each employee, recognizing that they have all created routines around your current location and how a move might impact that can go a long way.

Private Equity
ArticlesFunds

Resilience Within the Private Equity Market Can Lead to New Opportunities

Private Equity

Philip Dakin (Managing Director) Restructuring advisory, Kroll.

According to Preqin’s 2021 Global Private Equity and Venture Capital Report, the global private equity market is now worth over $4 trillion. The UK, long the most developed private equity sector in Europe, remains at the centre of this trend. However, as we come out of lockdown there are two sides to this picture—the dry powder available to private businesses, and the impact the pandemic has had on private equity vehicles.

 

Supply and demand meet

COVID-19 has been without a doubt one of the biggest challenges ever to confront the economy. No more so than for the private sector. However, for businesses, both large and small, government support has been available in the form of loan schemes, the job retention scheme (aka furlough) and moratoriums on rent and HMRC liabilities. 

While cash flow may look strong today, the rollback of government support will start within months, and for some, pressure on balance sheets will follow soon after. This is not to say that the financial pressures facing businesses will drive many into insolvency but dealing with an increase in working capital requirements is a challenge facing many business owners in the short term.

Potential changes to capital gains tax are also beginning to focus the minds of many business owners who may now see this as a time to invest or indeed sell.

For many, public ownership has fallen out of favour as an exit strategy, and selling to a competitor, especially in the current circumstances, can have its own business risks. The private equity market has been the beneficiary of a trend that has been happening for over a decade following the last great economic shock of 2008.

With the supply of investment opportunities looking healthy, what does the demand curve look like? 

As mentioned previously, there remains a high level of market liquidity and a strong desire from funders to invest in quality businesses, with private equity funds—a continued firm favourite route—to market for institutions, family offices and high-net-worth individuals. In other words, there is lots of opportunity for investment and acquisition. This has already been demonstrated, with global M&A activity in Q1 2021 being at its highest for over a decade.

However, whilst there is plenty of dry powder, the stage at which a private equity fund was in the normal fund lifecycle when the pandemic hit, will have a potential impact on the success of that fund and its ability to raise its next fund. How the portfolio of investments within a fund have been managed through the pandemic and how they recover post-pandemic will be crucial.

 

Portfolio Resilience

PE firms themselves have faced their own unique issues as a result of the pandemic. Funds briefly stopped active transactions back in March 2020 as economies closed and people were ordered to stay home. All attention was instead focused towards an almost A&E “triage” assessment of their portfolio companies at the start of the pandemic, with origination and portfolio teams working together to support the management teams of their portfolios.

Many sponsor-backed companies struggled to access government-supported loan schemes, such as CLBILS and CBILS, ironically due to EU laws on state aid for “undertakings in distress.”

The typical private equity investment structure using quasi-equity debt instruments to fund investments being the root cause. However, most have taken advantage of the job retention scheme by furloughing employees and sought access to grants and the deferral of accrued HMRC liabilities to weather the storm. Needless to say, in some instances, this has resulted

in a squeeze on working capital, and any top-up funding has had to come from existing lenders and/or equity injections from the PE houses themselves. The question now is how much of that dry powder has been utilised in supporting their portfolios to maintain a status quo for 12 months, and what impact does that have on their ability to make new investments.

But despite the uncertainty, many PE firms are adapting and keen to point to their funders’ patience and understanding in what has been a difficult period for the business world. Equally, there will undoubtedly be opportunities to acquire some assets cheaply as some corporates fail in the post-pandemic market. These may provide bolt-on opportunities for existing portfolio investments or create a new platform investment.

We are without a doubt entering uncharted territory, and unlike previous recessions, the pandemic may have long-term effects on consumer behaviour and business models.

Like all other markets, private equity needs to negotiate the current COVID-19-induced economic crisis. But the sector is immensely well placed to weather the storm because one of the key characteristics of PE is its ability to be nimble and respond quickly to changing trends.

Investment Scheme
ArticlesTax

Enterprise Investment Schemes – Four Tax Reasons That Make Them Great

Investment Scheme

Since 1994, Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS) have been an important tool in the investors’ kit, but many potential investors worry that EIS-eligible businesses are too high risk. Here, Craig Harman, a tax specialist at Perrys Chartered Accountants, explains everything you need to know about Enterprise Investment Schemes, and the tax savings you might be missing out on if you’re not getting involved.

A government-backed initiative, the Enterprise Investment Scheme was designed to encourage individual investors to buy shares in higher-risk companies by offering generous tax reliefs to those who invest. To be eligible for funding under the EIS, a business must be within seven years of its first commercial sale, not have gross assets worth more than £15 million before shares, and have less than 250 full-time employees. It’s true that investing in less established businesses may carry a greater investment risk. However, there is the potential for higher returns and the tax relief available can minimise any loss should the worst happen. 

 

Income tax relief

Of all the benefits of investing in an EIS, one of the most attractive is the income tax relief you can receive. You can claim relief for a maximum annual investment of £1 million, or £2 million if you have invested in a knowledge-intensive company. You can claim for up to 30% of your investment, meaning that you could receive up to £300,000 tax relief a year – or £600,000 for investments in knowledge-intensive companies. This is one of the most generous tax relief schemes currently on offer in the UK.

 

Loss relief

Of course, returns are not guaranteed when investing in early-stage companies, and indeed most investments carry an element of risk. However, the EIS provides attractive loss relief at your marginal tax rate. When you combine this loss relief with the income tax relief you receive when investing in an EIS eligible company, you greatly reduce the amount of capital you have at risk.

 

They support small/medium businesses

Since its launch in 1994, the EIS has been pivotal in helping small to medium, new starter companies in the UK achieve vital growth capital. Over the last two decades, the scheme has helped EIS businesses access billions of pounds which might otherwise have been ploughed into lower risk companies. The EIS stipulates that those receiving investment under the scheme must use it to grow their business – increasing revenue, customer base and number of employees. This means that you can be sure that your investment is helping small businesses to thrive, while providing valuable jobs and services to local communities.


Profits are tax free

Another initiative of the EIS are the Capital Gains Tax advantages. For most non EIS investments, any returns will be liable for Capital Gains Tax (CGT) above the CGT-free personal allowance. When you invest in an EIS, provided you meet the conditions, all growth in value is exempt from CGT, meaning you can achieve a greater net profit, while saving your personal allowance for other investments.

 

The use of the scheme is subject to detailed conditions. Therefore, it is important these are met otherwise your investment may not qualify. If you have any doubts, it is best to seek advice from a specialist EIS accountant. 

Anti-Money Laundering
ArticlesRegulation

Enforcing Sanctions and Combating Money Laundering

Anti-Money Laundering

Creating beneficial ownership registers is an important step in combating money laundering and evasion of sanctions but it has to be done in tandem with ensuring public access and information accuracy. 

The discussion around beneficial ownership registers has made many headlines in the last few years but has intensified recently in the context of the war in Ukraine and the global sanctions imposed on Russian businesses and politically affiliated oligarchs. Sanction circumvention is however a reality through the use of asset ownership concealment schemes and doing business via countries that have not joined or committed to the global sanctions efforts.

Wally Adeyemo, deputy U.S. Treasury secretary even issued a warning to anyone assisting Russia in bypassing the economic sanctions by way of shell companies or crypto currencies. “What we want to make very clear to crypto exchanges, to financial institutions, to individuals, to anyone who may be in a position to help Russia take advantage and evade our sanctions: We will hold you accountable,” said Adeyemo.

The main purposes of establishing and maintaining Beneficial Ownership Registers are to deter Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, to help enforce sanctions and to identify those who seek to conceal their ownership and control of corporate entities. Such registers will ensure that the ultimate owners/controllers are identified and that this information is readily and publicly accessible.

 

Shell companies and nominees

In order to comprehend the issue of beneficial ownership, we need to understand some of the terminology : a beneficial owner is commonly defined as a person who ultimately owns or controls an asset. Shell companies, according to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, are a key feature in schemes designed to disguise beneficial ownership. History, and a long list of leaked documents such as the Panama Papers, have taught us that shell companies often enable money laundering, sanctions circumvention, tax evasion and other unlawful activities. According to sources, tax evasion costs governments globally close to $427 billion in losses each year. Europe loses $184 billion a year, more than half of which is from private tax evasion. 

Another vulnerability of beneficial ownership registers is the practice of using nominee directors and shareholders. The role of these “straw-men/women” is to conceal the identity of the real company or asset owners. This is often done using undisclosed agreements which essentially allow for one individual to hold shares of a company in the name of another person. While the appointment of nominees is legal in many countries, this practice is seen by the FATF as a cause for grave concern.

 

The benefits of beneficial ownership registers

Ieva Tarailiene, who holds the positions of Head of Registry practice and principal consultant roles at NRD Companies and served as interim CEO of the Lithuanian State Enterprise Center of Registers explains. “It is clear that if a business wants to hide the ultimate beneficiaries, the real shareholders, and to conceal its links with sanctioned persons or hide the origin of ill-gotten capital, it is likely to find ways to do so. However, imposing an obligation to provide mandatory beneficial ownership information to public authorities, to registers, will make it easier for law enforcement agencies to identify illegal activities or attempts to bypass sanctions. Failure to provide such information or falsifying data should carry serious consequences”.

In the last few years, both the FATF and the EU have issued recommendations and directives relating to beneficial ownership. FATF’s Recommendation 24 states that “Countries should ensure that there is adequate, accurate and timely information on the beneficial ownership and control of legal persons that can be obtained or accessed in a timely fashion by competent authorities”. The 4th EU Anti Money Laundering Directive (AMLD 4) from 2015 required member countries to establish beneficial ownership registers and “ensure that corporate and other legal entities incorporated within their territory are required to obtain and hold adequate, accurate and current information on their beneficial ownership, including the details of the beneficial interests held”.

As this 2021 illustration demonstrates, some countries in the EU have failed to establish such registers while others have imposed a myriad of obstacles — geographic access restrictions, registration requirements, paywalls, and public access limitations.

Transparency International has also called for a number of fixes to ensure global standards for improving beneficial ownership transparency including closing loopholes such as the use of nominees and clearly defining the term “beneficial owner” which differs between jurisdictions. To illustrate the inconsistencies in global regulations and according to the World Bank, registering beneficial ownership was mandatory in only 64 economies in 2020 (out of 191 economies included in the sample), and more common amongst high income economies. Beneficial ownership disclosure requirements in certain world regions are substantially lower — 20% in East Asia and Pacific; just over 20% in Sub Saharan Africa; and just under 30% in Europe and Central Asia.

Ms. Tarailiene concludes that “registers of beneficial owners are at the heart of a robust system aiming at financial transparency. Register of beneficial owners is a starting point towards a more transparent business environment and an essential part in a system to fight ill-gotten wealth, money laundering and terrorist financing, and circumvention of sanctions. Governments should take steps to not only establish the registers and make them freely accessible, but should also build mechanisms to validate the accuracy of the beneficial ownership information provided to them. Such mechanisms would require the involvement of other agencies such as Financial Intelligence Units and other law enforcement agencies to uncover false fillings and deter others from doing so”.