"I think it’s fair to say we are
not short of news!"
From Brexit to the US Presidency, the Italian
referendum, elections in the UK, France and
Germany, Catalonia’s fight for independence and
not least the involvement of US aides being cited as
colluding with Russia over the US elections, there
is never a dull moment… and then there is North
Yet life still goes on. Personally, I’m very selective
nowadays over how I receive the news. I find the
main TV channels very sterile in the quality and
choice of their reporting and equally, I find the
jingoism of the newspapers quite depressing in
that they are so focussed on their own agendas.
Despite all the uncertainty, stock markets continue
to push on with the VIX index in the US (a measure
of volatility) resonating around all-time lows.
Good news on the one hand but a concern on
the other, with valuations in some sectors looking
overstretched. Traditional bond markets don’t
look attractive as quantitative easing programmes
begin to unwind and interest rates rise in response
to high inflation. Alternative asset classes with low
correlations to stock markets are now becoming an
Throughout the year there have been many
encouraging developments within Blue Sky, with
new additions to the team, the development of our
client management system and an expansion of
our services allowing us to offer advice to a broader
range of clients.
We have been inundated with enquiries concerning
transfers from final salary pension schemes. The
significant increase in transfer values has led to
many considering moving into a personal pension
environment. For the right person, in the right
situation, we have facilitated a transfer but only
after we have stress tested all possible scenarios
and are convinced that the benefits are worthwhile.
However, we deem this as high-risk business and are
selective as to who we work with.
Managing risk is a key element within any business
but especially in a regulated financial services
company. We have an avalanche of new legislation
impacting us by the end of the year but we have
everything in place to meet the requirements,
including recording all telephone conversations.
At Blue Sky we have always been innovative and
it was a privilege to be recognised as a flag bearer
of best practice when we were asked to contribute
to the first Work and Pensions Parliamentary
Review, which was published in September 2017; a
testament to the hard work and professionalism of
the Blue Sky team.
I hope you enjoy reading this newsletter, giving you
a flavour of what’s been going on and what may be
Gary Neild, Managing Director
BLUE SKY FINANCIAL PLANNING SHARES BEST
PRACTICE IN 2016/17 PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
We are delighted to announce that Blue Sky has featured
in the 2016/2017 Parliamentary Review for Work and
Pensions, published in September 2017.
Blue Sky Financial Planning features alongside the
Prime Minister and a small number of outstanding
organisations in a document that looks back on
the year in industry and Westminster. The main
aim of the Review is to showcase best practice as a
learning tool to the public and private sector.
Across all policy areas, the Parliamentary Review
is sent to over half a million leading policymakers.
The articles in the Review act as both a blueprint
for success and a template for reform.
The Prime Minister commented that “this year’s
Parliamentary Review follows a significant year
in British politics” and this is reflected in the
articles from leading journalists and best-practice
Theresa May’s former cabinet colleague, Sir Eric
Pickles, who was recently appointed Chairman
of the Review, said “it has never been more
important for government to hear the views of
businesses and the public sector, in a constructive
forum. It is also a vital time to share best practice
The Parliamentary Review’s director Daniel Yossman
concurred, saying “Blue Sky Financial Planning and
other hardworking organisations from across the
country have come together to make this year’s
Review possible. Sharing knowledge and insight
with both peers and Government is essential
work, and I am delighted that this year’s Review
will reach every corner of the British economy. It’s
always a real joy to hear from policymakers who tell
me that something they have read in the Review
has had an effect on their thinking. It is my belief
that innovation is contagious, if only it is given the
platform to spread. It is the Review’s purpose to
provide this platform and I am confident we are
Clearly, we are delighted here at Blue Sky and Gary
stated “we are honoured to be chosen to contribute
in this way. We have always been committed to
delivering the best possible outcomes for our
clients and have continually reinvested to improve
efficiencies and to enhance our service. I’m a great
believer that a culture defines an organisation and
being one of only fourteen companies chosen
across the UK is testimony to the hard work and
commitment from the Blue Sky team”.
Gary added “to receive this level of
recognition and to be categorised as
leading the way in Financial Planning,
is a tremendous achievement for us”.
RUSSELL AND TAMMY
We are pleased to announce that
both Russell Skinner and Tammy
Smith have become Directors of
Blue Sky Financial Planning Ltd.
This is good news for all concerned
and ensures continuity of advice for
clients as we move forward.
Russell is 35 and has worked at
Blue Sky since 2009. He has been
instrumental in delivering support
planning services to clients, whilst
also developing technology
solutions to drive efficiencies
and enhance the Blue Sky service
proposition. Russell is our pensions
specialist and is a Chartered Financial
Tammy has been a member of the
team since 2010. Tammy is renowned
for her organisation and efficiency,
which allows her to provide a ‘top
notch’ service to clients. Tammy
is a Fellow of two Institutes, the
Chartered Insurance Institute and
the Chartered Institute of Securities
In many instances, both Tammy and
Russell are solely responsible for
clients’ affairs and are lead planners.
A WORD FROM RUSSELL
In my view, financial advice in isolation will become less
and less desirable as comprehensive planning becomes the
‘go to’ approach whenever financial decisions need to be
made. Whilst there will still be a need for individual advised
transactions, many of these may be possible via digitalised
systems in the future.
The key for personalised advice is for it to be given in context
of a broader financial assessment of lifetime objectives. As
in physics, where every action has an equal and opposite
reaction, short-term financial decisions may have unforeseen
long-term effects. Through planning, recommended
strategies can be stress-tested to explore the possible effects
in other areas and to ensure these would not derail overall
At the root of all these future services, there will need to
be planners with the right skills to understand what clients
hope to achieve overall. Tools and technology will develop
over the years, which will seek to automate even this aspect
of the client/planner relationships. I do not believe, however,
an Artificial Intelligence will be capable of the empathy
required; not this century anyway. Adopting and embracing
new technology as it becomes available will allow planners
to provide a better, more efficient service, but hiding behind
computers and expecting them to build and maintain a
client relationship certainly isn’t the way forward.
A WORD FROM TAMMY
I’m really pleased to become a Director of Blue Sky and be
part of an organisation which has always put our clients
first. Blue Sky have always been innovative and free thinking
about how it communicates, with the core emphasis being
about ‘making a difference’. In the years I have been here I
have frequently heard comments from other experts in our
field commenting that we are “ahead of the game”.
The Financial Advisory sector, up until recently, had a poor
reputation as, historically, the focus was on selling products
with the aim of making the company the most commission
possible. Thank goodness the industry has moved on to more
transparent charging and a focus on providing comprehensive
planning strategies, as opposed to single transactions with
little on-going support.
Young advisers are more technically proficient than their
elder peers were at the same age and with the qualification
requirements, it’s pleasing to be recognised as Professionals.
Moving forward, whilst the introduction of technology will
remove the need for advice in some areas, with a higher
complexity of regulation, and products and services, good
quality financial advice will be required more than ever.
There are some things that a computer can’t do and so having
a knowledgeable adviser who understands an individual’s
needs cannot be underestimated.
Blue Sky have always sought to be innovative in our use
of technology to drive efficiencies and keep our clients
informed regarding investment and regulatory changes.
However, it’s our team that makes the difference and helps
clients live the lives they want.
LAUNCHING OUR CLIENT PORTAL
With all the new technological advances we see
in our daily lives, it seems clear the march towards
digitalisation is unstoppable. Here at Blue Sky we
have embraced this as an opportunity and are now
proud to offer all clients an Online Portal.
Yet another log-in to remember? Well, yes, We're
afraid so. But, there are huge benefits to be had.
Our new client portal will enable each client to
see all their financial information in one place –
investments, pensions, assets, liabilities and so on.
This is a tool for helping to plan, make decisions
and see financial worth at any one time, all in one
There are other benefits too – it offers a means
of direct and secure communication with your
Financial Adviser, as well as secure online document
storage. This will make it so much easier for clients
to share paperwork and information with us
quickly, as well as encouraging communication to
help clients set goals and track progress.
We have thoroughly tested the platform and the
results have been brilliant. We look forward to
encouraging those that wish to utilise this service.
If you wish to register please speak with your
adviser, or visit https://blueskyfp.mypfp.co.uk/
account/register. To register, you will need to enter
the email address we have on file for you and you
will be asked some additional personal details to
create the link between your existing investments
and the portal. Any investments or pensions we
manage for you will automatically appear shortly
after you register. We can then help you build the
detail within the portal to include other accounts,
your property or other assets and any debts.
The result will be a financial hub you can refer to
whenever considering your overall circumstances
– a powerful tool to have at your fingertips.
CHARTERED STATUS FOR BLUE SKY
The Chartered Financial Planners
title is awarded by the Chartered
Insurance Institute (CII) and is
widely accepted as the ‘gold
standard’ for professional financial
planners and advisers in the United
By definition, holders of the
Chartered Financial Planner
qualification are among the most
experienced and most qualified
advisers in the profession.
Being Chartered, we now carry
comparable qualifications as other
established professions such
as Chartered Accountants and
Chartered Surveyors. Membership
of the Personal Finance Society,
the leading professional body for
financial planners, allows us to
use the professional designation
'Chartered Financial Planner'. A
badge of honour if you like!
FINANCIAL ADVICE IS FOR EVERYONE
We are pleased to announce a new service that
ensures financial advice is available for all via our
new automated investment offering.
A bi-product of strict legislation and the
requirements laid down by the Financial Conduct
Authority (FCA), is that the cost of transacting
business has increased for advisory practices.
Whilst we are keen to protect clients from any such
cost increases, (in fact we are lowering costs for
those with over £500,000 invested), it has meant
that we have questioned the level of investment
we can advise upon. This feels to us somewhat
elitist and doesn’t resonate comfortably with our
ethos. Blue Sky works with schools and the Young
Chamber of Dorset and we feel that we have a
responsibility to be able to advise everyone who
needs help and has the right attitude towards
building a stable financial future.
As the Blue Sky business matures, so do our clients
but we believe that we need to be able to help
their children and grandchildren in making astute
financial decisions early in their lives. Hopefully,
this will create strong and robust habits.
The automated advice system is commonly referred
to as ‘Robo Advice’ and is now deemed an actual
class of financial adviser. This provides financial
advice and portfolio management with moderate to
minimal human intervention. It works by providing
digital financial advice based on mathematical
rules or algorithms. These algorithms are executed
by software and thus financial advice that does not
require a human adviser. The software utilises its
algorithms to automatically allocate, manage and
optimise clients' assets.
If you know people, perhaps younger family
members or friends, that have savings earning
very little interest, then it would be worth talking
to us about this possible low cost solution. Please
contact Roy Saxty on email@example.com.
ROLE WITH 7IM
WHAT A DIFFERENCE
A YEAR MAKES!
January 2018 marks a year of working with another of our investment
partners, LGT Vestra. We are pleased to report that we are delighted
with our choice and the relationship has gone from strength to
strength over the past year.
We chose to work closely with LGT Vestra for a number of reasons:
Seven Investment Management
(7IM) have been one of Blue Sky’s
investment partners for a number
of years and we are thrilled to
announce that Gary Neild has
been invited to join their Financial
Planning Advisory Panel. The aim
is to provide a channel for the 7IM
Management Team to request and
receive open and unbiased feedback
on strategic areas of interest within
the UK intermediary market, with
specific reference to 7IM’s current
and proposed sales and marketing
activities. Feedback will be provided
with the end client at the forefront
of the thinking. This enables 7IM to
understand the key requirements
that clients have, to help 7IM ensure
that their thinking, application
and product design meets both
client and planner demand. Being
instrumental in positive change is
very much what Blue Sky is all about,
and so this appointment for Gary is
a great step for the company - Gary
is pictured above with 7IM's Justin
Track record on minimising losses when markets fall
Active investment approach
A culture of transparency and co-operation, placing clients
at centre of everything they do. This is particularly important
to us at Blue Sky.
All great stuff, but the really exciting news is that Blue Sky will continue
to run bespoke portfolios for our clients. Blue Sky’s Managing Director,
Gary Neild, also sits on an the Asset Allocation Committee and has the
facility to override LGT Vestra’s core proposition in the interest of Blue
In essence, LGT Vestra offer an experienced, personalised, flexible
and direct approach to investment planning across multiple asset
classes. The ability to move money quickly has meant that Blue Sky no
longer has to provide switch notices requiring an individual response
from each clients. Like Blue Sky, LGT Vestra is privately owned which
ensures stability and long-term outlook instead of a focus on shortterm
Phoebe Stone and Sanjay Rijhsinghani from LGT Vestra
New reforms will impact our business, and indeed all our clients, on 3rd January 2018. It is called MiFID II. It
doesn't exactly roll off the tongue we grant you but it's important in that it focuses on giving clients greater
insight into what is happening with their money.
The broad aims are:
Increased transparency of markets
Improved best execution
More structured trading marketplaces
Orderly trading behaviour within markets
Lower-cost market data
Costs of trading and investing made
The reality is that many of these initiatives will not have a great impact on our clients. The changes that will
have an affect have been translated into something meaningful below:
We will record all phone calls as from 3rd January.
NOTIFICATION OF A 10% FALL IN VALUE
If there is more than a 10% fall in the value of a
portfolio in any one day we will be duty bound
to inform you within 24 hours. Logistically, this
will present a number of challenges although
this doesn't happen very often. As an example,
according to Quilter, this has happened with the
FTSE 100 only eight times since 1998.
INFORMATION, COSTS AND CHARGES BREAKDOWN
Under MiFID II, a significant change is that clients
must receive a breakdown of all proposed costs
and associated charges related to investment or
ancillary services and financial instruments, ahead
of making an investment. Blue Sky do currently
provide a breakdown of costs and charges, but
the investment houses must provide greater
REPORTING AND FEE DISCLOSURE
Blue Sky will need to ensure that clients receive
quarterly valuations, transaction reports and
We believe that many financial advisory firms
will struggle to cope with the new requirements.
However, in 2016 Blue Sky invested heavily in a
new business management system, and for most
of this year have been working towards complying
with MiFID II so that we have a compliant business,
and happy clients.
CASH DEPOSIT RATES
We have just introduced a service, which enables
people, businesses, trusts, charities, power of
attorneys (and court deputies), pensions, clubs
and associations to maximise the value they
receive from ALL CASH DEPOSITS.
Not only this, we can demonstrate how to structure
your deposits to get the most out of them. The
worst place to leave any money is in a 'dormant'
instant access account. This is exactly where the
banks and building societies want you to leave
money because it maximises the profits they make.
Power of Attorney Deposits
Court of Protection Deposits
As interest rates slowly rise, then
this cash management approach
will prove to be a valuable tool in
managing money on behalf of our
OPEN BANKING IS ABOUT TO IMPACT OUR LIVES…
WHAT IS OPEN BANKING?
Under the Open Banking Standard, banking data
will be shared through secure open APIs. What
on earth are those we hear you cry? Application
Programming Interfaces! In other words, a direct
line between one system and another allowing
data to be shared easily and with minimum fuss.
The purpose is for customers, be it individuals
or businesses, to more effectively manage their
money. This should result in helpful services and
tools that customers can utilise.
HOW WILL THIS AFFECT YOU?
Open Banking doesn’t actually just apply to
Banking. Open Banking brings both the consumer
and companies the possibility of new types of
interactions. This will solve some of the challenges
that lie at the core of creating a new open market,
particularly when it comes to exchanging sensitive
data in a way that is both secure and transparent.
Expect huge innovation in this space resulting in
greater transparency of information and lower
costs for the end user.
As our business grows, so do the demands, not least
because of the increased legislation. As usual, Blue
Sky will continue to re-invest in our proposition.
A combination of technological development, in
harmony with individual expertise, ensures our
In February, Roy Saxty (pictured right) joined us
as part of the support team - the engine behind
Blue Sky. Roy previously worked for Capita and his
understanding of technology has already helped
Michelle Watson (pictured left) joined us from
Investec in September as a lead administrator
and trainee support planner. Her impact has been
significant and has proved a great conduit for an
We thought we should lower the average age in
the office too by employing Max Morgan (pictured
second from left). Max is a Brighton University
student and ex-pupil of Bournemouth School for
Boys. He is on an internship with us for one year.
Having to get up early each morning has been a
shock but he is now effortlessly resonating with
the demands of full time work. Having new and
youthful ideas has thrown up some interesting and
stimulating conversations, some of which will be
embedded into our proposition.
Our latest recruit is Paul Andrews (pictured second
from right), brought in to be our Compliance
Manager. With all the changes in compliance
that lie ahead, we thought it prudent to have a
dedicated person helping us embrace change. Paul
has a wide and varied background within financial
services and his all-round knowledge will help us
PROUD SPONSORS OF
THE YOUNG CHAMBER AWARD
One of Gary’s great passions is working towards
better financial education for young people.
This led him to become involved in the Dorset
Chamber’s ‘Young Chamber’ programme –
working particularly with Queen Elizabeth School
Gary firmly believes that there is so much more
that businesses can do to engage with children of
all ages, to teach them not only about money but
share experiences and inspiration to get young
minds thinking beyond the school walls.
It seemed a natural progression therefore to accept
Ian Girling’s invitation to sponsor one of this year’s
Dorset Chamber Awards categories; the one that
honours an organisation making a huge difference
to young people through their engagement
with schools, colleges, universities, clubs and
other educational establishments. The Young
Chamber Award looks to recognise companies
that strengthen the link between education and
Gary was responsible for putting together a panel
of judges to review and mark the award entries, and
in early October our three finalists were announced:
Atlas Elektronik UK based in Dorchester, Biotrack
Ltd based in Wareham and LoveLove Films based
in Bournemouth. Representatives from all three
businesses are pictured below with Gary.
Gary says “it has been an eye-opening experience
to find out just how much effort some businesses
go to in order to engage with youngsters. Not only
for their own gain in recruiting excellent new talent
but for the greater good of society, showing a real
dedication for spreading knowledge, experience
and information. The business leaders we have
met have been nothing sort of inspirational!”
We are all looking forward to the Gala Dinner on
the 23rd November when the winner for the Young
Chamber Category, and all the other categories, will
be announced. Nothing like a good celebration!
WE ARE HUGE SUPPORTERS
OF DORSET BLIND
Our friends at the Dorset Blind Association deserve support for all
the great work they do. They are all lovely people and have a positive
impact in improving people’s lives which resonates with us at Blue Sky
on so many levels.
For the second year running we were the sponsors of their fantastic
Film Premiere! The title was ‘Victoria and Abdul’ and it stars the
exceptional Dame Judi Dench. If you haven’t yet seen the film we
recommend you do
as it’s great viewing.
This follows on from
last year of the film
premiere in Dorset
for 'Florence Foster
Jenkins.' This year,
the charity raised
Another second for us was sponsoring Dorset
Blind's Masquerade Ball, this time held at the Hilton
Hotel in Bournemouth. A great time was had by all,
and some looked better with masks on!
The evening raised £16,042.30.
AND THE RED BRACES
MADE AN APPEARANCE!
On the 17th October 2017, Gary and the team
held an afternoon tea event for clients and special
guests, with Justin Urquhart Stewart from 7IM.
With an early career that spanned the vineyards
of Europe, the docks of Southampton and finance
in Asia, Justin went onto establish Broker Services
at what became Barclays Stockbrokers. Today he is
one of the most recognisable and trusted market
commentators on television, radio and in the press.
He is also one of the co-founders of 7IM.
Justin, in his inimitable
style, provided insight
on world events and
the likely impact on
financial markets. The
audience was also
invited to submit any
questions to Justin in
advance in order for him
to tailor his talk around
topics of interests. His
views and presentation
style both informed and
Blue Sky Financial Planning
7 Vista Place ! Coy Pond Business Park
Ingworth Road ! Poole ! Dorset ! BH12 1JY