Year-End Tax Planning Tips

16th February 2021

It is good practice to regularly take stock of your financial affairs to ensure you are making the most of all tax allowances available to you. At Gilbert Stephens Financial Services we offer a wealth management service, after an initial plan is developed our advisers, as part of the ongoing service provided, will meet regularly with clients to update goals and objectives, review the financial/investment portfolio and investigate whether additional services are required. Read more…

A Guide To Our Top Financial Resolutions for 2021

20th January 2021

The start of a new year is commonly known as a time for people to make resolutions like starting a new fitness activity, cooking healthier meals, or scheduling in time to read a book that has been on the shelf for far too long; but how many of us think about what financial resolutions we would like to make and ensure they are realistic so we can stick to them for 365 days? Read more…

What will happen to my pension if I have been furloughed?

6th January 2021

If you have been on furlough, it’s not just the immediate financial consequences that may concern you. Understandably, you may have questions pertaining to your pension and how furlough may affect it.

Furlough was originally implemented so that the Government would pay 80% of an employee’s salary, up to £2500 a month, this included pension contributions. Some employers have then topped this up to ensure their employees still get their full income, however not all have and if you have been earning less than your usual income your pension contribution may well be affected.

Pension contribution amounts are based on qualifying earnings, the first £120 of weekly pay is not counted towards pension contributions, therefore if an employer is not topping up the 80% furlough this may leave employees up to 25% short on their pension contributions whilst in receipt of the furlough payments.

Initially, the Government were paying the 3% pension under their Jobs Retention Scheme, however this was changed in August, when employers were to resume the payments and the Government phased in changes to furlough payments over the proceeding months further reducing them.

What position you are in with regards your pension will very much depend on how much you earn, what you have been paid and if you have been able to afford to pay your contribution on a reduced wage. It will also depend on the type of pension scheme you have, that may be a standard payment of 3% from your employer and 5% from your wages each month or you may be in something like a salary sacrifice scheme.

There was a worry that employers would make the wrong calculations and break regulations in relation to the pension contributions and furlough, though this is likely to be unintentional it is worth checking your pension has continued to be contributed to correctly.

The issue can be very complex in some circumstances, it is certainly something we would advise you check and consider. If you need assistance our independent financial advisors can help. You can contact them on 01392 346464 or e-mail


Getting ready for your retirement journey – 5 steps to aid this process

20th December 2020

You may have a clear plan of when you will retire and a vision of how retirement will be for you, however it’s very important to ensure that any plans are viable and everything is in place to make it happen. Here we guide you through some of the basic steps you need to think about and prepare so you are ready for your retirement in the best way possible.    Read more…

How to check you are investing with Environmental, Social and Governance principles?

28th October 2020

In our second blog for Good Money Week we look at the screening process we use to ensure your investment is ethical, responsible and sustainable. To invest in this way we work with Environmental, Social and Governance principles, these are a set of criteria that help us assess the sustainability and ethical practices of a company as follows:

  • The environmental factor will consider a company’s impact on the environment, this will include its use of energy, how it deals with its waste, how much pollution the company generates and animal welfare.
  • The social factor will take in to considering the company’s impact on the local community, their human rights policies and consumer protection.
  • Governance will consider how the company operates with its employees, stakeholders and internal affairs.

When you instruct us to help find you a socially conscious investment we will ask you to fill in a screening questionnaire.  The questionnaire covers negative & positive criteria for investments.

Negative Criteria

Negative criteria screening will screen out any companies who are involved in a particular type of negative criteria business, for example tobacco, alcohol, pornography, gambling, animal testing, armaments and those that may support the use of fossil fuels or have a negative impact human rights.

Positive screening

When looking at the positive screening aspect we consider things like positive animal welfare practices, climate change impact, positive human rights practices and companies with good policies and practices directed at the community or other social causes.

Using our bespoke screening process we consider all the negative and positive criteria with you, it means we can screen investments more effectively, ensuring we understand what issues are of concern to you alongside your financial needs, allowing us to find the best investment for you.

If you would like the full list of negative and positive criteria or to discuss your future investment then please email us at or call 01392 346464.

A warm welcome back to Hayley Martin-Herkt

26th October 2020

Gilbert Stephens Financial Services are delighted to welcome back Hayley Martin-Herkt from maternity leave.

Hayley is a level four diploma qualified Paraplanner who has been working in the financial services sector for 20 years. Joining Gilbert Stephens in 2014 Hayley brought with her a wealth of experience and knowledge, working in all areas of the financial advice process. Read more…

Thomas Westcott’s Charity Golf Day

23rd September 2019

Gilbert Stephens Financial Services were delighted to support Thomas Westcott’s Annual Charity Golf Day which took place on Thursday, 19th September, at the beautifully refurbished Teignmouth Golf Course. The Golf Day was organised to raise money for the South West Multiple Sclerosis Centre. Read more…

Gilbert Stephens Financial Services come out on top as the ‘Shopper’s Choice’

4th September 2019

The Financial Adviser magazine is a national publication for UK based financial intermediaries. Each week a team of mystery shoppers seek professional advice from independent advisers in the UK to evaluate the advice process. The results are based on the initial telephone conversation between the client and the adviser and highlights their strengths or shows constructively any weaknesses.

The shopper is a 48-year-old woman who has a lump sum of £100,000 from the sale of a buy-to-let property. She wants to mitigate capital gains tax via a pension and wants to know how much to invest to do that and how she should invest what is left. She has a mortgage of £150,000 on her main home and £35,000 in ISA’s, where she is about to invest a separate sum of £20,000. Read more…

It’s Show Time!

27th August 2019

Gilbert Stephens Financial Services is a strong supporter of our local agricultural Shows. Throughout August, the firm had the pleasure of having a trade stand at Honiton, Okehampton and Chagford Agricultural Show.

This year, Marcus Quick, Financial Services Manager based in Exeter and Sidmouth attended Honiton’s 129th Agricultural Show, whilst Wyatt Loake, Financial Services Manager at Exeter, Crediton and Budleigh Salterton joined in the fun at Okehampton’s 112th Show and Carrie Maud, Chartered Financial Planner, attended our last Show in Chagford. Read more…