Why should I have a Financial Advisor?

Stuart Yeomans - FA

Financial advice and financial planning covers broader areas than just guidance for investing.  Nowadays, planning professionals are an essential resource.

Financial advisor’s manage and combine all aspects of individual’s financial life from saving to planning for retirement, to educational funding, managing tax exposure and satisfying insurance needs.

A prepared financial plan can help an individual to take decisions that optimise their financial situation to make the most of their wealth – now and in the future.

Nowadays with the financial industry having a negative reputation, individuals easily assume that given advices just help advisor’s to lure money into their own pockets. And while there are many cases of screwed up portfolios by untrustworthy investment advisers, many individuals should take advantage from having the aid of a financial expert.

A professional planner understands the complexity of the financial environment and is equipped with knowledge to make decisions that help to achieve financial confidence and security.

Following are some of the advantages of using a financial adviser:

  1. Identify and Set Realistic Goals. Setting financial goals will help individuals to achieve their needs and will suggest right list outlining what they want or need to accomplish.
  2. Secondary Opinion. One of the reason investing is not successful, majority of individual investors take decisions on their own with no training or education. The financial adviser will give you an unemotional, honest and non-obligatory assessment of what needs to be done.
  3. Asset Allocation. Individuals may not always allocate their investment strategically, which can lead to under-allocation or over-allocations. Financial advisers will identify risk appetite and tolerance of individuals and set a strategy to achieve widely-diversified portfolio of assets with a suitable risk.
  4. Tax Minimization. The tax regimes of countries are constantly changing and becoming more widespread in terms of offshore investments.  Financial advisor’s can help by looking at individual’s investments and how they are structured. Recommendations are done after assessing specific country’s tax regulations in terms of investment and tax liabilities. This may involve the use of trusts to protect assets and even to take them out of estate altogether.
  5. Security and Comfort.The right financial advice can also help in planning retirement in terms of how much individuals will need and also provide the guideline to get there. Often pensions suffer from poor returns and a lack of transparency. Financial planning specialists can help you simplify pensions and maximise returns to give the best possible income in retirement.

In a world where personal financial issues have become increasingly and often unnecessarily complex, professional advisor’s help plot a financial course with the confidence that individuals are using their resources wisely while avoiding the common pitfalls that so many fall prey to.

If you have any queries on the above, please do not hesitate to get in touch,

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this post.

Stuart Yeomans


Farringdon Group

Kuala Lumpur : Malaysia





Selangor Set New Price Floor on Properties for Expatriates

As you may know, the Malaysian government have recently changed the minimum purchasing price for expatriates on properties in the Selangor region. I have included some information for your perusal so you can get a better idea of the changes and how it may affect you.

house pic stuart yeomans

Selangor’s new restrictions on property ownership for expats have started to implement since 1st September 2014.

The new guidelines now restrict expatriates from purchasing any types of properties that cost less than RM2mil in most of the districts in the state. Previously, the price floor was set at RM1mil, the Malaysian government are now trying to price expatriates out of the market with this 100% increase.

According to the new restrictions, residential, commercial and industrial properties are categorized into three zones, Zone 1 covers districts of Petaling, Gombak, Hulu Langat, Sepang and Klang, while Zone 2 eventually covers districts of Kuala Selangor and Kuala Langat. Lastly, Zone 3 will be covering districts of Hulu Selangor and Sabak Bernam.

The new restrictions have increased the threshold price for different properties that the expatiates wish to purchase.  Below is the table of the new restrictions on property purchases by expats.

Before Jan 1, 2014 After Jan 1, 2014 Effective Sept 1, 2014
Residential properties Zone 1 and Zone 2 RM500k RM1mil RM2mil
Residential propertiesZone 3 RM500k RM1mil RM1mil
Commercial properties Zone 1 and Zone 2 RM500k RM1mil RM3mil
Industrial/Manufacturing propertiesZone 1, Zone 2 and Zone 3 RM500k RM1mil RM3mil

Expats are not permitted to purchase Malay reserve property, non-strata landed residential or those sold by public auction. The expats are not allowed to acquire any properties that are set aside for the Bumiputera. Also no more than 10% of the non-Bumiputera units can be sold to expats under the new restrictions. Expats must purchase directly from the developers and not from any secondary market, limited to only one residential unit per family. Furthermore, expats are permitted to acquire strata and landed strata properties only.

The Expat Group’s chief executive officer, Andy Davison, who assisted in the Malaysia My Second Home programme (MM2H), confessed about his disappointment and said, “It seems Selangor is changing its attitude to foreigners, they used to have some of the lowest minimum prices for foreigners to purchase but now they have the highest.”

As you can see from the above information, the expatriate property market is being tightly regulated and it seems that the government are trying to price expats out of the market.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this post.

Stuart Yeomans


Farringdon Group

Kuala Lumpur : Malaysia

Market Wrap – 2014 Quarter 3

S&P 500

The S&P 500 saw a third monthly loss for this year, closing 1.4% lower in September. Energy stocks experienced the steepest fall together with other sectors such as industrial, consumer discretion and tech which are all sensitive to the economic cycle.

There wasn’t a distinctive reason for the broader market fall, but stocks that were hit tend to be more exposed to higher interest rate.  It has been a general view that the recent strong economic performance in the US may spur the Fed to increase interest rates sooner than expected, although the Fed had maintained its assurance that interest rates will remain low for a “considerable time” after the asset purchase ceases.

A larger increase in exports and business investment had contributed to the US economic growth, growing at the fastest rate since 2011 for the period between April and June. The economic growth was revised upwards to an annual rate of 4.6% and growth in consumer spending remained unchanged from its previous estimate of 2.5%.

In Europe, equity markets advanced slightly following speculation on the European Central Bank’s QE programme.  The FTSE World Europe ex UK closed 1% higher for the month of September. The pharmaceutical sector had the biggest gains together with utilities and financial stocks and the consumer goods and services were the biggest losers.

On broader economic perspective, data out of Europe was mixed, indicating a slowdown in the European economy. The Germany economy is reeling from weakness both within the Euro area, including France (a key trading partner), and the fallout from the crisis in Ukraine which prompted sanctions to be imposed on Russia, an important customer for heavy German goods. Business expectation surveys declined in September and the Purchasing Manufacturing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell below 50 indicating a contraction.

To spur growth and combat low inflation, the ECB reduced its rates in main refinancing, deposit facility and marginal lending facility by 10 basis points respectively. The central bank also announced a new program to buy asset-backed securities and covered bonds, while implementing the first tranche of its Targeted Long-Term Refinancing Operations package (TLTROs) which provides cheap financing to banks. A little confidence was restored into the European markets following moves being taken by the ECB and its commitment to resuscitate growth in the European region. This in return saw the euro currency falling to a two-year low against the US Dollar.

Following speculation and hype regarding the Scottish independence from the UK, the FTSE All-Share index closed 2.8% lower for the month of September. An analysis of the month’s primary market sector price movements shows that the personal goods sector was amongst the better performers, whereas the food & drug retailers were amongst the worst.

On a macroeconomic perspective, the UK continued to show good growth although there were a few disappointing reports. Q2 GDP growth estimate was revised up 0.9% compared to 0.8% as previously estimated by the Office of National Statistics. Industrial production, which is a factor influencing the GDP, was reported to have risen in July by 0.5%, which is above the median growth of 0.3%. This would mean the annual growth in industrial production is at 1.7% compared to the 1.2% which was recorded in June. Although the economy has been experiencing better growth, inflation for August remained low at 1.5% compared to 1.6% for the previous month. An update on the public finances for the UK is reported to have worsened, as the Public Sector Net Debt rose over the month, and it is now about 6% higher than last year.

In the minutes released by the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee, it indicated that “the downside risks to UK growth in the medium term had probably increased” based on all the recent data and issues.

Asian equity markets declined sharply in September as increased volatility in currency markets and a correction in commodity prices led to a sell-off in riskier assets. Further monetary easing by the European Central Bank (ECB) and strengthening conviction that the US will raise interest rates sooner than expected were the primary drivers of US Dollar strength, while some weak economic data from China also weighed on equity markets.

Chinese economic data for August reported a decreasing momentum in industrial production growth, retail sales and fixed asset investment which were all weaker than expected. Preliminary readings of HSBC’s manufacturing survey for September however showed that activity remained steady at subdued levels, which eased fears that growth would continue slowing in the Chinese economy. Political protests in Hong Kong led to further volatility in the markets.

In Japan, the yen experienced a significant depreciation against the US dollar which was beneficial to large exporters, such as transportation equipment, machinery and electric appliances sectors, where all had solid performance. Though there seemed to be poor visibility on the domestic side of things, Japanese equities made strong gains in September.

Consumer spending and consumer confidence in Japan both fell in August. A drop in the service sector overlooked a slight improvement in the manufacturing sector. An initial estimate in industrial production also came out weaker than what was expected. However weaker economic data has strengthened the speculation that there will more be monetary and fiscal policy stimulus. This caused the depreciation of the yen, as it would mean higher profits for the exporters, which led equity markets higher.


Stuart Yeomans - Dilma Rousseff

In emerging markets, equities fell sharply due to the strengthening of the US Dollar, disappointing economic data from China, and geopolitical issues. Latin America was the worst performing region, with Brazilian stocks falling heavily as President Dilma Rousseff gained momentum in opinion polls ahead of October’s election. A few emerging countries that had posted positive gains for the month were Egypt, UAE and Czech Republic. Consumer discretion and energy sectors fell the most but all other sectors in the emerging markets, with the exception of healthcare, also fell.

In the fixed interest sector, Investment Grade (IG) corporate bonds outperformed government markets. According to data from Merrill Lynch European, IG corporate bonds returned 0.19% while Bunds lost -0.16% with European IG credit spreads unchanged over the month. However, reflective of the general risk adverse mood, European High Yield lost 0.9%. In the UK gilts lost 0.67% while sterling IG corporates returned -0.59%.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this post.

Stuart Yeomans 


Farringdon Group

Kuala Lumpur : Malaysia