Scream if you want to go faster - Software design is big business Majestic materials - Beautifully crafted jewellery 0330 058 6559 scruttonbland.co.uk
Sipped, shaken or s t i r red; they’re subl ime
The Wilkin family have been growing fruit on their estates in Tiptree, Essex, since the 1800s. Each berr y and plum is hand-picked, then combined with locally distilled Hayman’s gin. The
result is this range of delicious Tiptree Fruit Gin Liqueurs. Enjoy sipped straight over ice, add your favourite mixer for a rather fruity Gin Fizz, or add a dash to Prosecco for a cheeky Fruit Gin Royale.
T h e p r e s e r v e o f g o o d t a s t e
28% Vol. You must be 18 years or over to purchase alcohol. W I L K I N & S O N S L I M I T E D T I P T R E E C O L C H E S T E R E S S E X C O 5 0 R F W W W. T I P T R E E . C O M
Who we are Scrutton Bland provide a wide range of financial services and professional advice to business and private clients. Our services include accountancy, tax, audit, corporate finance, employee benefits, insurance and independent financial planning. Our philosophy is simple, we believe in delivering clear, professional advice and are committee to finding the most effective solution for our clients. If you would like professional advice regarding any area of our services or want to find out more, please contact one of our offices:
Contents Who We Are���������������������������������������������������������������������� 3 Vat: Reverse Charge For Construction Services��������������������������������������������������� 4 Scream If You Want To Go Faster���������������������������� 6 Finance At Your Fingertips����������������������������������������� 9 A Little-Known Tax Advantage For Investors�������������������������������������������������������������������12 History Of Merrick Hill�������������������������������������������������14 Making Hay While The Sun Shines������������������������16 Nature’s Treasures��������������������������������������������������������18 Security In The Cloud��������������������������������������������������22 Guess Who’s Coming To Join Elmer’s Big Parade?�����������������������������������������������������24 Helping School Leavers Make Their First Leap Into Work����������������������������������������25 Money Can’t Buy You Love����������������������������������������26 Perks Of The Job And Engaging Your Employees�������������������������������������������������������������28 An Award-Winning Approach To Care������������������30 Making Tax Digital – It’s Almost Here�������������������32 Chartering A Great Service���������������������������������������34 A Business Case For Being One Of The Community’s Most Responsible Employers��������36 Seeing The Bigger Picture�����������������������������������������38 Hands Across The Sea����������������������������������������������� 40 Protecting Your Legacy����������������������������������������������42
820 The Crescent Colchester Business Park Colchester
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Fitzroy House Crown Street Ipswich Suffolk IP1 3LG 01473 267 000
Chancery House, Victoria Road, Diss Norfolk IP22 4HZ 01379 643 444 Milton Hall Ely Road, Milton Cambridge CB24 6WZ 01223 928 065
Scrutton Bland Financial Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
0330 058 6559 scruttonbland.co.uk
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Natalie Guest and Gavin Birchall in Scrutton Bland’s tax team look at a new initiative designed to prevent fraud in the construction industry. I t’s all change in the VAT world. Making Tax Digital comes into force in April 2019 and October that year will see another major shakeup of VAT rules aimed at the construction industry. According to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), large numbers of labour- only subcontractors are committing a major fraud known as the Missing Trader Fraud, which is costing the Exchequer an estimated £100 million a year. The perpetrators charge the customer VAT and liquidate their company without paying the collected tax over to HMRC. VAT liability is generally determined by reference to a “supply”. A supply can include several transactions, or sometimes a transaction can include more than one supply. VAT legislation does not prescribe what should be done in every eventuality and HMRC do not offer much guidance on the matter and merely observe that ‘there is no simple, single answer as to whether a transaction comprises a single supply or several different supplies — the answer will always depend on the facts of each case. The decision will be a matter of judgement based on an objective assessment of all the facts and circumstances.’
To prevent this perceived loss of tax revenue HMRC has decided to make the customer, ie the person hiring the labour, rather than the supplier responsible for tax accounting. This means that the customer will no longer pay the VAT charge to the supplier, but will instead include it on their own VAT return as both ‘output’ and ‘input’ tax. This should eliminate cash VAT refunds where the supplier fails to pay VAT to HMRC. The new rules will apply to the standard (20%) and lower (5%) rated supplies of ‘construction services’. Construction services are defined in the same way as the current definition within the construction industry scheme (CIS). So if a contractor or subcontractor is already within the CIS, it is safe to assume that they will also need to follow the new reverse charge procedure. Certain activities are specifically excluded, including professional services, manufacturing, delivering equipment or materials. Unlike the CIS there are no provisions to extend the changes to so called ‘end user’ businesses which commission large construction projects, e.g. retailers occupying significant real estate. The view of Gavin Birchall, Tax Partner at Scrutton Bland who regularly advises clients in the construction industry is that: “A few complications will naturally arise. For instance, there is no segregation of labour and materials as currently under CIS. The draft legislation requires that any goods supplied within the “construction services” should be treated as part of a single supply of services. Having defined which services are construction services and which services are specifically excluded, the draft legislation goes on to say that whenever excluded services and construction services form a single supply, they will be subject to the reverse charge procedure.”
The flowchart below illustrates potential areas of difficulty in relation to contractual arrangements observed in the construction industry supply chain. The transaction flows highlighted in red were perceived by HMRC as open to the missing trader fraud and transactions highlighted in green were generally excluded from the scope of CIS and the new reverse charge rules. However there are some grey areas. For example, a project manager providing professional services can bring along a subcontractor. Now they have to apply the reverse charge procedure, but how are they supposed to know whether or not their client is also supplying “construction services”? The draft legislation does not define what a construction business is and instead operates by referencing supplies. Let’s say a person A makes a supply of construction services to person B. If B then makes an “onward supply of construction services”, then both A and B should both follow the reverse charge procedure. However, if B does not make supplies of construction services, then the reverse charge does not apply. It is not clear how A is supposed to know what B does after A has done their work. It is important to correctly identify business practices where the new reverse charge would apply and to prepare in good time before the legislation becomes effective and each case will be different. It is important to seek professional tax advice in order to ensure that you are compliant and to avoid a hefty fine. Gavin Birchall and Natalie Guest are specialists in advising clients in the construction sector on tax and VAT issues. You can contact the tax department at Scrutton Bland on 0330 058 6559.
Developer, also contractor?
Client / End user
Group Co. A
Supply and fit contracror
Group Co. B
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Frontier is a video games developer which is at the forefront of the world gaming industry. Adviser spoke to Yvonne Dawes , Head of HR at their Cambridge headquarters to ask how Frontier have remained a leading player in such a fast- moving industry, and how having a competitive package of employee benefits has enabled them to recruit and retain the best employees in this field.
Frontier started in 1994 but only recently went independent. How has the company changed? Frontier was founded in 1994 and worked with some of the games industry’s biggest publishers for much of our 25 years, but in 2014 we went independent with the release of Elite Dangerous. Since then we’ve developed and self-published our rollercoaster park simulation game Planet Coaster and the dinosaur park-building game Jurassic World Evolution, in which players can build and run their own Jurassic World. from a small handful of developers to the hundreds we have today. Game development is a colossal undertaking these days, requiring game designers, producers, artists, animators, programmers, audio designers, testers and many, many more talented people in all kinds of roles to bring incredible worlds to life. Since going independent we’ve moved into a new studio space on Cambridge’s Science Park and the studio has grown to almost 400 people. Today we’re proud to have been recognised as the UK’s largest independent publisher/developer of videogames. We’re approaching our 25th anniversary next January and since ’94 the company has grown
Elite was the first big game that put you on gaming map – why do you think that succeeded in such a big way? Elite actually launched some ten years before the studio. It was developed by our CEO and founder David Braben and Ian Bell while at Cambridge University and it launched in 1984. David later founded Frontier in 1994. Many people still speak very fondly of Elite, and it means a lot to the studio. Elite was an early example of ‘open-world’ games, giving players a whole virtual galaxy to explore from the cockpit of their spacecraft. That notion of being a space pilot in a far-off future captured players’ imaginations, and there are players exploring the galaxy in Frontier’s fourth Elite game – Elite Dangerous – over thirty years later. Frontier launched Elite Dangerous in 2014 and it is still under constant development. Elite Dangerous fully simulates the entire Milky Way in its full scale, giving players the chance to live a life as a bounty hunter, trader, smuggler, miner or any number of roles out in our real galaxy in the far-flung 34th century.
The industry has changed over the last 20-odd years - what are the main changes to have affected Frontier? The industry has changed a lot! But Frontier has always been on the cutting edge of technology. We’ve developed games for new consoles, virtual reality, Microsoft’s Kinect motion controller and their Hololens augmented reality headset, and worked with many other emergent technologies. Obviously the technology changes, but for us the most decisive change has been the rise of digital distribution in the last five years. Today more and more gamers are buying their games direct from console and PC digital stores, rather than buying games on disc. Frontier is a digital-first company and we self-publish our games on console and PC. This way we can have a close relationship with our community, and can develop living games that are constantly updated with fresh new content.
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Why stay in Cambridge? Have you been tempted to move to another location? Cambridge is our home. Since Elite was published in 1984 our founder and CEO has had close links with the city. We’ve moved through a number of studio spaces in and around Cambridge before settling in our most recent home on Cambridge’s Science Park. We think Cambridge is a great place to recruit talented graduates, and a terrific place for developers who are further into their careers to really thrive. What are your ambitions for the business in the coming years? Everything we do is about making great games. We went independent a few years ago to make great games, we grew our team to create great games and we moved into a new studio space to create great games. As our Chief Creative Officer says, ‘if you look after the games, then the games will look after you’. We have lots of ambitions, but they’re all facilitated by making great games that players love.
It is clear that your people are critical to your business, and you have used Flex Benefits to help create a more enjoyable and useful environment for them. Can you explain a bit more about the rationale for using Flex, and which benefits have worked best for your workforce? People at Frontier are motivated by the exciting and challenging games they work on. We recognise the amazing people on our team and reward them with a range of excellent benefits, allowing everyone to share in Frontier’s success. Everyone at Frontier is different and the advantage of a flexible benefits plan allows people greater control in choosing benefits that best suits their individual needs. Our team especially appreciated our new Private Medical Insurance which is paid for by Frontier, is Medical History Disregarded and is extended to partners and dependants. Our people like having speedy access to specialist treatment that includes pre-existing conditions.
The Scrutton Bland Employee Benefits team work with businesses and organisations to create bespoke employee benefits and reward packages tailored to fit a range of circumstances and goals. For more information on the range of benefits available or to review your current package contact James Bolton , email james. firstname.lastname@example.org
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With the launch of a new online investment facility, opening your first investment, or growing your financial portfolio just got easier.
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I t is a well reported trend that private investors are choosing to manage their finances online, favouring the ability to view their fund performance 24/7 using their smartphones or laptops. While the need for independent and qualified advice will always prevail when it comes to looking after your future finances, keeping up with changing customer needs is something which financial adviser firms are having to do, and online investing is one way in which Scrutton Bland are keeping up with the trend. Adviser spoke to Grant Buchanan , Financial Planning Partner to find out how he sees the web in the future of financial planning.
Isn’t it a bit strange for an advisory firm to offer a ‘click to buy’ online investment service? Maybe in the past, but we recognised some time ago that not all of our clients have the time or desire to meet face to face and realised that we needed to find a way to match our services to the changing way in which people wanted to look after their finances. People are busy, and meeting during the ‘normal’ working day can be difficult. Modern financial advisers have to acknowledge that now, more than ever, many people are choosing to take out financial products online. As with any transaction made online, there are dangers and some unscrupulous people. But we have worked hard to create a brand which people can trust and so felt that the time was right to offer a web based service.
So, just what is it that you are offering? Our service is called sbinvest and is a non- advised offering which allows you to take out tax efficient investments online. Put simply, we understand that for some transactions, our clients don’t need advice, so sbinvest allows you to make an instant investment from the comfort of your own home, without conferring with an adviser in person. There are two different products available: an ISA and a general investment account. An ISA has an annual allowance of £20,000 for the current tax year, which means that any capital gains, income or dividends are free from tax and is a great way to save. A general investment account has no limit on what you can save, but it does not have any tax privileges so you may be liable to tax on any dividends or capital gains on disposal. Who is sbinvest designed for? This is the great thing, sbinvest suits pretty much any investor. With a minimum monthly investment from as little as £50, anyone can start the saving habit. Even if you have built up ISAs elsewhere, these can be transferred once you have opened up an account, which will help to ensure all your investments are in one place and being looked after. Alternatively, we have had seasoned investors using sbinvest as a vehicle for some significant lump sum investments, it really is a flexible solution.
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Do you have to have experience in investing to use sbinvest ? No, as I say, it is a perfect way to start saving or open your first ISA. There are many people out there who recognise that their money could be working harder for them, but are not confident about putting together their own portfolio. Our sbinvest facility will design a portfolio for you based on a series of questions, including your appetite for and resilience to risk. The process is designed to ensure that the investment solution offered is suitable for each individual. The system will show you some example performance and highlight the potential upsides and downsides; this process takes around ten minutes and you can save your application and come back to it later so there is no high pressure rush to sign up. If you are happy to go ahead you will be asked for your personal details and a few more questions. You will then be issued with a report and illustrations which you can download or print – it’s that easy. There is a common misconception that an investment ISA will only invest in stocks and shares or equities, but that is not the case for the investment portfolios within sbinvest . Each of the 10 risk-graded options has a blend of different asset classes including exposure to commercial property funds, fixed interest securities (which means lending to the government or to corporate organisations) and equities across the globe including the UK, Europe, America and Emerging Markets. The more risk you take, the higher percentage exposure you will have to overseas equities. The portfolios are also designed to be rebalanced on a quarterly basis, so it’s not a case of signing up to a fixed selection of asset classes, which you are stuck with for years to come. What kind of portfolios will investors be investing in?
What kind of charges are involved with online investing? Scrutton Bland currently manage around £400 million of funds for our financial planning clients which means that we have substantial buying power and can negotiate attractive terms for our sbinvest clients. Each sbinvest portfolio has a different mix of funds which can affect the total price, but most portfolios will have a total annual cost of less than 1%, with no initial set up fee being applied. How can you ensure that a client is managing their investment responsibly and in their best interests if it is online? All of our advisers are careful to remind clients that it is vital for them to review their investment portfolio regularly and the sbinvest system will prompt clients to do this annually. Each of the portfolios offered through sbinvest are automatically rebalanced on a quarterly basis. This is important to ensure that a portfolio is balanced and adjusted if required because if you do not manage the balance of a portfolio it can very quickly become over exposed to one asset class, therefore potentially increasing the overall risk of that portfolio. The beauty of sbinvest is that it provides you with the flexibility to access your account and check on your investment at any time, and from any location – as long as you have internet access!
If you would like to find out more about getting started with your investments online, or any aspect of investment planning you can visit www.scruttonbland. co.uk or speak to one of the Financial Planning team on 0330 058 6559 or email email@example.com sbinvest is a service for anyone seeking effective and low cost investment management of their disposable income and/or capital. It does not offer a holistic assessment of your financial situation or take into account any existing investments that you may hold. Scrutton Bland Financial Services Limited offers independent, chartered financial planning advice and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
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Despite the myths, not everything in business is driven by tax efficiency. As a business angel or potential investor there may be several different reasons for wanting to get involved at some level in a company and tax relief isn’t always high on the list. Instead it may be that you have an interest in a specific industry, want to share knowledge or expertise that you have gained in your own working life, wish to help out a friend or family member or are simply looking for a return on surplus cash. H owever, as any good adviser should remind you, tax advantages shouldn’t be ignored as these can make an investment in the right business even more attractive and less risky. Conditions As with most things tax related, there are a number of conditions that have to be met before relief can be claimed: • The shares must be ordinary shares, newly issued and paid for in cash at the time of issue. This means that they cannot be existing shares purchased from an existing shareholder. • The company must be unlisted (this Who could use the relief? This relief would be useful for investors that may already have used up their £10m lifetime limit under Entrepreneurs’ Relief as it provides further CGT relief on the sale of shares. For an investor that meets the criteria for both reliefs this could mean gains of £20m being made over a lifetime with a tax bill of just £2,000,000. Careful planning would be needed particularly with regard to the length of time shares are held while other criteria are met.
Income tax reliefs such as through the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) or the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) have been around for a while, along with Entrepreneurs’ Relief that can be applied to capital gains made. A couple of years ago, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) introduced another relief called Investors’ Relief to try and encourage entrepreneurial activity and investment in unquoted trading companies. This “new” relief is used less frequently than the others, but it can be attractive in the right circumstances and can also work with Entrepreneurs’ Relief if planned for carefully. How the relief works Investors’ Relief works by reducing the Capital Gains Tax (CGT) charged on the eventual sale of the shares. The gains made are taxed at a rate of 10% (instead of potentially 20%), with every individual having a lifetime gains limit of £10,000,000. It is similar to Entrepreneurs’ Relief but is aimed at external investors or business angels rather than directors or employees involved in the business.
includes shares listed on AIM) shares in a trading company or the holding company of a trading group throughout the entire time they are held. A company that carries on investment activity such as owning rental properties, owning shares in other companies or making loans would not qualify as trading unless these activities represented less than 20% of certain indicators (level of income, asset base, expenses and management time spent on the investment activities). • There is no minimum shareholding required but the shares must have been issued on or after 17 March 2016 and must have been held for 3 years from 6 April 2016 to qualify. • The investment must have been made for commercial reasons and not simply to avoid tax. • The investor or their family members must not have been an employee or officer of the company at any time after the shares were issued. However, the legislation was changed slightly after it was issued to make it more attractive to business angels so that directors who do not receive remuneration in the form of income or benefits can utilise the relief. A second exemption applies if the investor becomes an employee more than 180 days after the shares were issued and this was not contemplated at the time.
It may also be attractive to investors who have shares that qualified under EIS or SEIS but no longer do or who are interested in investing in companies that do not qualify for these schemes such as running a hotel or a nursing home, property development or farming activities. Companies that don’t want to apply to HMRC to qualify for EIS or SEIS could use this relief as a way of attracting investors. To invest or not invest? Obviously there are other things you should consider if you have surplus cash that you are thinking of investing in shares in a company, not least the level of risk that you are comfortable taking. This relief, and its interaction with the other measures available, could help you make your decision on whether to invest. It is important to get things set up correctly at the start in order that you can maximise your tax position in the future. Scrutton Bland have extensive experience working with investors to provide advice on the tax advantages of the numerous options which may be available. Furthermore we are able to bring our clients the professional expertise of our insurance, financial planning and accountancy teams in a joined-up approach which provides information and guidance without the need for lots of separate meetings. Contact Sarah Healey Pearce on 0330 058 6559 or sarah.healeypearce@ scruttonbland.co.uk
It does not give Income Tax relief in the same way as EIS or SEIS.
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Decimal coins had just hit the high street, Martin Luther King was assassinated and the musical Hair opened in London’s West End. The year was 1968 and in Diss, Norfolk, Merrick Hill Insurance brokers was founded. Acquired by the Scrutton Bland Group in 2004 Merrick Hill, now known as Scrutton Bland, continues to thrive. Adviser takes a look into company’s history and speaks to staff past and present. T he Merrick Hill business was set up in Diss in south Norfolk by Sidney Hill in 1968 and at that time traded as S Merrick Hill Business Services. Offering general business administration services such as payroll, invoicing and bookkeeping from their offices in Church Street (and later St Nicholas Street) Merrick Hill served the breadth of the local business community. As these administrative jobs came and went, it became clear that a more stable line of income was needed for the firm, and David Leeder was taken on in 1975 to increase the level of insurance broking business. David recalls that his ‘word of mouth’ approach was very successful in a market town where so many people and businesses knew each other, and over the next year and a half he picked up at least one new policy each working day. However, whilst Diss maybe have been a quiet market town, there was nothing sleepy about Merrick Hill’s marketing strategy. Recognising In 2004 Merrick Hill took the decision to sell the business to Scrutton Bland, and Andrew Eaglen, John Burrell and David Leeder all retired. Merrick Hill continued to be an active part of the local business community, such as the Diss Business Forum, for whom Ed Nottingham acts as Secretary and which works to encourage local firms to work more effectively together. In 2014 the office moved to Victoria Road on the outskirts of Diss, and the Merrick Hill name remained in use until 2018 when the Scrutton Bland brand refresh was rolled out across the firm.
As you might expect, in Diss and the surrounding area there were plenty of farming and agricultural clients, but other businesses also called on their services, not least Anglia Television who were based in Norwich. In the 1970s, during the height of the package holiday firms would advertise on television, and viewers were given a number to call to send for a brochure. That number would go through to a 24-hour answerphone at Merrick Hill, where a team of outworkers would transcribe the details of the people calling in, type them onto labels and then send to the relevant holiday company to post out their brochure. Andrew Eaglen, a partner in the firm from the beginning, remembers that this was a hugely successful campaign for the business, so much so that they had to move to a new office to accommodate the volume of equipment and staff needed to process the enquiries. However as the need for manual recording and processing declined, other lines of business had to be explored. An interesting revenue stream was to emerge from the processing of money off vouchers. Merrick Hill landed the contract to process money off coupons from the Key Markets national chain of supermarkets, and in the 1970s and early 80s each branch of the supermarket would send large sacks of vouchers each week to Merrick Hill where they would be manually sorted and sent on to the various product manufacturers, who would then reimburse Key Markets. Like the holiday brochures, this was a laborious, but lucrative project for the Merrick Hill staff, not least lifting and sorting the sacks of paper vouchers, but it came to an end when Key Markets were taken over by Somerfield and automatic bar code recognition came into use.
that advertising was helpful in generating awareness, they had beer mats printed and distributed to local pubs. In 1978 Sid Hill retired and John Burrell joined the business to help grow the insurance brokerage. The back office organisation was comprised of manual cardex systems, handwritten receipts, and of course, says David, “everyone paid in cash”. At that time there weren’t many high street insurance brokers, and many local people placed their personal insurance with Merrick Hill, including the former international speedway star Geoff Pymar, the Monte Carlo rally driver Raymond Joss, and the carriage driving expert John Parker whose coach and four can be seen on many period films and television dramas. David Leeder even ended up helping John out on a number of occasions such as Royal Ascot and on a London-Norwich carriage driving event. of several local insurance businesses. It was at this time that a number of staff joined and who are still working in the firm’s Diss office today. Gary Stannard, Ed Nottingham and Alison Wilby all joined in the early 1990s and contributed to the firm’s success as a motor and fleet broker and specialist in placing agricultural insurances. Gary and Ed are now directors of the firm, Gary recalls: “In the 1980s we were one of the few local businesses who offered a photocopying service, and we charged 10 pence per copy. It was a really popular service, as well as being a great way to keep in touch with other firms and promote our own insurance.” The 1980s and 90s saw an expansion of the insurance broking business, with the acquisition
There are still many interesting and unusual clients on the books including a local car collector whose collection includes the famous ‘flying’ car Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and the titled landowner who leases parts of his scenic estate each year to the organisers of the Latitude Festival near Southwold. Another client was Pete Gillings, who was one of the best known residents of Diss. Each year he would lead the Diss Carnival, taking the carnival queen through the town in his Rolls Royce, except in 2010 when he had booked to go on holiday, before realising it clashed with the carnival. Ed recalls: “He called me to ask about adding a driver to his insurance policy for the day, and when I asked for the driver’s name he said “you!” He left me the chauffeur’s hat and gloves and that year I drove through the town, getting plenty of odd glances from people I knew. It was a great day!” The Merrick Hill name may now be no more, but the business continues to thrive under the Scrutton Bland Group: a great example of professional expertise and local knowledge combined with personal service.
Contact Scrutton Bland’s Diss office on 01379 643444.
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Nick Banks , Partner and agricultural specialist at Scrutton Bland reviews the 2018 cereals harvest.
Projected yield for 2018 wheat harvest 13.7m/t which is below the five year average
A s the seasons change it is at this point in the year that data starts to emerge about the 2018 UK cereals harvest, and we can start to identify trends and consider the financial ups and downs for those farmers with their crops in store. Over what has since turned out to be the hottest summer in England since records began, I was in regular contact with my farming clients checking how they were faring in the weather. This is just one of the replies I received: “It’s bloody hot and dry, and we’re busy on the combine. Wheat is at 11 / 12% moisture yields, which is down by 10 to 15 % on last year.” Interestingly though, it would appear that this analysis from the field is consistent with the national picture we are now seeing. The AHDB Planting and Variety survey recently reported a UK wheat cropping area of 1,751k/ha. Winter wheat yield data currently stands at 7.8t – 7.9t/ ha compared to the five year average of 8.2t/ha.
This derives a projected yield for 2018 wheat harvest 13.7m/t which is below the five year average: see table above. The reduced output this year will give rise to concern over the domestic market supply, and this is being reflected in futures prices. This time last year, in my article on the 2017 harvest I mapped the wheat futures prices on a graph and it is interesting to see how prices in November compare to the future price set in 2017 – prices are up some 20% on those predictions as can be seen from the graph on page 17. What does this tell us? The low harvest yield is compounded by the position of UK opening wheat stocks in June 2018 which were at a four year low at 1,718 kilotons, which may give markets cause for concern about supply meeting demand.
So, the short term forecast is encouraging and indicates that prices may strengthen. Reports suggest that farmers are holding on to crops, and that those with on-farm storage and sufficient working capital to establish 2019 crops, can ride the market to maximise price. Those farmers in pools will need to have confidence that prices will be optimised and will need to analyse the performance of those to whom they’ve committed their crops. of the pound against the dollar and euro is another factor to cause spot prices to climb. The outlook for the harvests of other key EU member states does not look that dissimilar to the UK, and tight domestic markets in Europe are anticipated, notably in Germany where reports suggest it may be necessary to increase imports to meet demand. Foreign currency is another element which can have an influence on crop prices. The softening
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Feed Wheat Futures Prices £/t
190 180 170 160 150 140 130 120
Data as at 30 September 2018 per AHDB
I am not sure any pundit can confidently predict how the pound will fare as we head toward March 2019 and our exit from the EU. Here in the UK we have seen a sharper focus on food security against a backdrop of Brexit, which has highlighted our vulnerability and reliance on imports. Perhaps, if other EU member states also experience this sense of vulnerability, it may provide some useful context in the negotiations for trade agreements between the UK and the EU - which would be mutual benefit of both parties. Our role as advisers is to appraise the risks to our clients businesses and identify strategies for how these risks can be mitigated. A common measure of risk used by advisers is an analysis of the pressures on businesses called PEST (Political, Economic, Social and Technological).
In my opinion, never before have arable enterprises felt the impact of so many and so varied a range of risk factors. Brexit, the changing social context of the millennial generation and the development of artificial intelligence in farm technology are all impacting how arable farmers are operating today. So whilst some farmers may take comfort in the market data forecasts and predicted strengthening prices for their 2018 harvest, in the short term, it is those who appraise their business risks, and take action to mitigate them, who will be best positioned to withstand and maximise the opportunities in the medium term which presented by the changing economic and political landscape.
Scrutton Bland have almost one hundred years experience in advising farmers, landowners and those working in rural and agricultural industries with tax, accounting, insurance, employee benefits, and development and diversification. Contact Nick Banks on 0330 058 6559 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Nature’s Treasures how a COUNTRY PURSUIT has become the centerpiece of a luxury jewellery business Jorie Grassie is the founder of Jorie
Jewellery. Originally from America, Jorie moved to Scotland over twenty years ago and now splits her time between London and Fort Augustus in the Scottish Highlands. Adviser spoke to Jorie about her business, and the inspiration she draws from the natural world to create her unique pieces.
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Where does your inspiration for the pieces come from? Are there any historic or contemporary jewellery designers whose work you particularly admire? I definitely get my inspiration from nature. The ever-changing rich vegetation in Scotland is always encouraging, and most of my jewellery is named after a Highland feature. I am in love with all of the big jewellery houses, especially the House of Garrard, as well as the historic designs of HM Queen Victoria’s designer of deer tusk jewellery. I also find today’s younger jewellery designer brands very inspirational. Britain’s Robinson Pelham has a cheerful use of coloured stones, USA’s Feral Jewelry has a ‘fearless beauty’ in using animal bone or horn in their designs. The glitterati animal creations by Angry Jewellery from Italy are captivating. Kenya’s Jeweler, Mayana, uses vibrant Maasai patterns in traditional colours, and Rosenkrantz African luxury jeweller ‘hunts’ for their own stones in the deep African bush. You obviously have a close affinity with the natural history of the Highlands. Can you explain what it means to you to be able to spend time there? I am at peace in Scotland. I am always thinking of the next design by watching wildlife, gazing at landscapes or observing the seasonal changes. The Highlands are a perfect environment for me to think and create.
Making jewellery from deer tusks seems quite unusual, but it is a natural material that has been used for many years. How did you discover its use in jewellery and what was the first piece you made? After a day of stalking on a nearby Highland estate, I came across a large bunch of cashew-looking objects in a jar in the game larder. I asked the gamekeeper what they were, and he explained that they were the top two incisor ‘teeth’ of the red deer stag (male). The proper name for them is ‘tusk’ because they are ivory. He also explained that people used to trade and sell the ivory or make jewellery out of them. My eyes widened.... I have been designing jewellery for family and friends for over twenty years and this was something wonderfully different whilst in keeping with the confines of using deer tusks. He very kindly gave me the entire jar of over 250 tusks. I knew I wanted to make one single piece out of that entire jar. I designed a necklace with six rows of tusks cascading downward, all set in 18k gold with over 12 carats of diamonds. I wore this everywhere, it became a conversation piece.
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What are your plans for future pieces? Do you have an idea or source of inspiration in mind? I am very excited about the future. JORIE has many new designs coming out. For my next collection I am using new materials, metals, and stones. I am now using sterling silver and platinum in my designs and have introduced the holy stone, turquoise, to the collection. Tie clips, lapel pins and of course the acclaimed kilt pin (bespoke by birthstone) are all launching soon at the Dallas Safari Club show in Dallas, 17-20 January 2019. Many of our clients have collections of valuable jewellery. What is your advice for the best way of storing and cleaning them? First and foremost, when not wearing the jewellery, it must always be kept in a safe or a vault, full stop. When storing jewellery, it is always best kept in its original box, but if space is limited in your safe, try to store your gems in small pouches or even tiny plastic bags for easy viewing and protection against tarnish. It has been said “You never know how dirty your jewellery is until you clean it”. I believe jewellery should be cleaned often, especially diamonds. For a quick fix I use a toothpaste and a toothbrush rinsing with warm water. For a more thorough clean, I use a sonic cleaner, but this should never be used on delicate pieces or jewellery containing coloured stones. For a quick sparkle, dry your washed jewellery with a hair dryer on a warm setting.
Pearls, deer tusks or anything else made of organic material should never be washed or even get wet for that matter, especially salt water! Also creams and oils could be damaging as well. Spray your perfume on another part of your body not containing jewellery. Lastly, don’t wear complicated jewellery when travelling, such as big cumbersome rings or huge hoop earrings. Also, do not take off your jewellery for any reason until you get home. If you must take your ring off to wash your hands, never put it down, instead store it in your teeth until you’ve finished. Finally, what would your advice be to people thinking of setting up a design-led business? After finishing your logo, slogan and idea, it’s very important to trust the people around you. Designers don’t always have the best financial background so it’s very important to find someone who does. Recognise there is huge competition out there, so your idea must be different and difficult to copy. Believe in and know your product so well you could recite the story in your sleep. First impressions are key. Your packaging must stand out.
Most importantly, you win some... you lose some, so don’t get hung up about losses, learn from your mistakes and move on.
Jorie Jewellery can be found at Harvey Nichols in London and Hamilton & Inches in Edinburgh. www.jorie.co.uk
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Ryan Pearcy , Business Advisory director looks at the safety of financial data held in cloud accounting systems
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A s the world becomes increasingly digital, we are storing more and more personal data online. In business, the growing use of cloud accounting solutions has seen a high volume of corporate data hosted by software providers, interconnecting and spreading the data across various systems and multiplying it over many locations. There are many positives for businesses utilising these powerful cloud resources, but as the data is no longer in the control of the business owner there are understandable concerns about how it is being handled. 1. System security There are many different cloud accounting platforms, and the market leaders use high level encryption protocols, similar to those used by banks, with multiple firewalls, so if one section is hacked the data is useless without the other. In-built alerts identify when a non-human user (such as a bot) has gained access and shut them out. They will also restrict access to your data from their own staff, only allowing access when you authorise it. The benefits of using cloud based software can often be that the security protocols which these big software houses offer are often far higher than anything a small business could afford. 2. Storage and backup Put simply, using the cloud means that any information uploaded or stored is replicated automatically, in multiple locations. This means that if any one location goes down, the data is fully recoverable and the system operates as normal. It also means you can access your data from anywhere with an internet connection so that you can operate more effectively and, should you need it, can provide a valuable recovery system for free. 3. Passwords and 2-step authentication The greatest threat to any online system is almost always the users themselves. Most of us admit to using the same password across multiple websites. Hackers aim to steal emails, names and passwords, which they then publish on the dark web. This means that any replicated password will be tied to your name, and allows a hacker to access any programme that you use this password with.
One solution is to use a password manager. There are free ones available which allow you to create a random complicated password, making the password difficult to hack, and you should encourage every user who has access to your system to manage their passwords. Some of the paid password generators will allow your IT department to manage the passwords, enabling security to be managed centrally. An additional security measure, often used by banks is two step authentication, which requires you to go through a second security procedure to access the data, this is often done by issuing a code sent by text message. This is a very strong system as it means anyone trying to hack the system would also need to have access to the user’s phone, which is very unlikely. 4. User control The fact that both you and your adviser can access your accounts ad records online, and at the same time makes working with them easier and more effective as they can see your finances in ‘real time’ and so can work on accurate data. However, it is important that you know and trust who has access to your data, to manage this, only work with advisers who have suitably robust internal controls and procedures. 5. Apps Cloud based accounting packages are becoming increasingly interconnected with a wide range of specialist apps. In simple terms you can ‘bolt-on’ applications which provides you with specialist software and which can ‘talk’ to your cloud based accounting package. These apps allow you to tailor your cloud package to your specific sector or industry, but are often supplied by a wide range independent providers. Before you sign up to each app you should ensure that you have reviewed it for its related risk level, and if you are signing up to an app as part of a cloud accounting package, you should ask your adviser if they have reviewed the security. Cloud software can provide many benefits for business, but ensuring that you use the best software and the right security measures is paramount to protecting you and your customers’ data and complying with the General Data Protection Regulations which came into force earlier this year. At sblive we review the security of our software partners and adopt internal policies and procedures to maximise the security of our clients’ data.
To find out more about cloud accounting and business support packages, you can contact Ryan on 0330 058 6559 or email email@example.com
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Elmer © 2017 David McKee. Licensed by Andersen Press, London
Scrutton Bland has signed up as a sponsor for Elmer’s Big Parade 2019, a unique art trail featuring fifty individually designed elephant statues, which will be taking place throughout Ipswich next year in aid of St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich. B ased on the much loved children’s book character Elmer the patchwork elephant, Elmer’s Big Parade 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of both St Elizabeth Hospice and Elmer. The parade will consist of fifty uniquely designed Elmer statues placed in an art trail around the town. Elmer is one of the best known and instantly recognisable children’s book characters. Written and illustrated by David McKee Elmer the Patchwork elephant has sold over eight million books worldwide. Nick Banks, Business Advisory partner at Scrutton Bland said: “We are delighted to sponsor an Elmer and support St Elizabeth Hospice to raise much needed funds to continue their amazing work. We are looking forward to our Elmer being sited outside our Ipswich office as part of the trail which will be a colourful and engaging draw for the town.” Schools and youth groups will also be invited to take part in an art event called The Learning Herd, to celebrate the uniqueness of Suffolk, and it is hoped that the art trail will attract at least as many visitors as the 250,000 people who visited Ipswich to see ‘Pigs Gone Wild’ in 2017.
Each 1.1 metre high Elmer statue in the parade will be individually decorated by an artist and is being sponsored by a local business – which is where Scrutton Bland has joined the herd. Organised in collaboration with Wild in Art, who are behind some of the UK’s most successful animal parades, and new partner Andersen Press (the owners of the publishing rights to Elmer), the parade is due to start in June and finish in September next year.
More information about Elmer’s Big Parade is available at www.elmersbigparadesuffolk.co.uk
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