Case Study: When there's no time to do it yourself

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He lives in London with his wife Sarah and their children Helen, four, and Jack, two. He approached wealth managers Cripps Harries Hall 18 months ago, on the recommendation of a friend, just before receiving a cash bonus of 110,000 (66,000 after tax).

'Although I am fairly financially sophisticated, I wanted a wealth manager to get an efficient one-stop service.

'I work extremely hard and travel frequently, so I need to spend my free time with my family, not filling out tax returns and talking to different advisers/brokers all the time.'

Before going to Cripps Harries Hall, Grey had concentrated on repaying the mortgage on the 450,000 family home in Fulham, and beyond his company pension had virtually no other savings.

'As most of the mortgage had been paid off, I wanted to provide for my children's school fees and an early retirement for myself,' says Grey.

The Greys' relationship with their personal manager at Cripps Harries Hall, Simon Lough, started with a detailed financial health check of all their affairs, and a written quotation of what needed to be done.

'After a good fact find, the first thing we did was set up tax-efficient wills, writing Andrew's company pension and life assurance policies in trust, so they fall outside his estate.

'The remaining 30,000 of the mortgage was also repaid,' says Lough.

Next, Grey and his wife used their PEP allowances to start an 18,000 global blue-chip equity portfolio, supplemented with 9,000 of zero-dividend preference shares.

'These ZDPSs are low risk, but highly tax efficient investments and are dedicated to Helen and Jack's school and university fees,' says Lough.

As Grey wants to retire at 50 with an income of 60,000 a year, he needs to build up a pension and other investments of around 25 times that sum (ie 1.5m equivalent at current values), says Lough.

Grey accordingly boosted his pension with a 15,000 additional voluntary contribution (AVC), which came to 9,000 after tax.

This was done via a salary sacrifice, whereby the money was paid direct by Grey's employer before his bonus was awarded, so that the contribution did not eat into Grey's 87,600 pension cap.

This year, Grey's bonus rose to 140,000 (84,000 net).

Lough advised another AVC of 15,000 for his pension, a further 18,000 of PEP contributions and more zero-dividend preference shares - 16,000 worth this year.

'I then recommended Andrew put another 40,000 into the blue-chip equity portfolio, this time in Sarah's name, to take advantage of her income tax and capital gains tax allowances,' says Lough.

'We have also set up a Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) account for an annual 1,000 donation to various charities including Fairbridge, a charity that supports socially excluded young people in inner cities.

'CAF accounts are very tax efficient - for each 1,000 donation, the charities actually receive just under 1,300, and after tax rebates, the cost to Grey is only 780.'

Grey paid Cripps Harries Hall 800 for the initial financial health check and pays about 1,000 a year for on-going financial advice, including preparation of tax returns.

His fund management costs, including annual fees, commission and dealing costs, also come to just under 1,000, equivalent to roughly 1% of his portfolio.