The front of a large three-storey red-bricked Georgian house fills the frame. It is set against a blue sky.
Greyfriars Community Centre in Ringwood: destination for the New Forest Assembly on 25 April 2024
This year, organisers of Assemblies in Bristol and the New Forest will be hosting gatherings in community centres and halls. But why?

From time to time, the three of us – Richard, Maxine and Ian – get together to settle plans for the Paraplanners’ Assembly’s year ahead.

Late last year we wanted to meet up midway between Banbury and Sheffield.

We settled on somewhere around the East Midlands airport but the cost of a hotel meeting room for half a day? Well it was just ridiculous. 

Then Max had an idea: how about trying a venue like a community centre or village hall? 

So that’s what we did. 

And armed with an M&S sandwich platter, a big roll of brown paper, post-its and pens, we converged on Kegworth Village Hall on a drizzly late Autumn afternoon.

For a half day’s hire you’re looking at under £50.

This got us thinking. As a professional community ourselves, how about supporting local communities by gathering in civic venues too? 

Now don’t get us wrong, we’re always grateful when supporters host us (see The Other London Assembly hosted at Barnett Waddingham’s office at London Wall Place). 

But community halls are often more accessible than city centres, with free parking (or much cheaper parking) and – so long as we pick the right spot – are within walking distance of a railway station or good bus service too.

So we encouraged organisers of our upcoming local Assemblies in Bristol and the New Forest to scout their local areas for venues. 

Maddy Gooding and Sian Davies Cole opted for Little Stoke Community Hall in Little Stoke north of Bristol. Sarah Lees and Jackie Manning secured Greyfriars Community Centre in Ringwood (pictured at the top of this post).

They’re both top-notch venues with all the bells and whistles we could possibly need to host an Assembly.

The Bristol and New Forest Assemblies: taking place at a community centre near you soon. 

So get booking and we’ll see you there!

Fancy hosting an Assembly for paraplanners at a community centre or hall near you? To find out how, take a look here.

Have you ever wondered how the transfer of pension or ISA or other investment actually gets transferred? Well now you will.

Because Transact’s Sian Ayling and Brian Radbone explain all in this bite-sized Assembly in conversation with host, Richard Allum.

In fewer than 15 minutes, they recap the reasons why transfers became a thing in the first place, why it can be hard to predict the time it takes to complete some in-specie transfers (it’s not just faxes that get a mention here but physical post), and why electronic transfer providers – like Origo – are making a difference to the ease of transfers.

Along the way, Sian and Brian talk about the effect of new UK pension transfer regulations, designed to fight scams, on the pace of transfers between providers.

Tune in and you’ll discover just how much choreography is required to make platform technology perform.

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Richard said we’d include a link to The Pension Regulator’s guidance on transfer requests. Here it is:

Dealing with transfer requests

Rebalancing portfolios is a familiar task for paraplanners. Periodically – often after a client’s annual review – we make sure that fund allocations are tweaked so they’re true to original investment goals.

But how does rebalancing work from a platform’s point of view?

During this second episode in a three-part series on life behind the scenes at platforms,  Transact’s national sales manager, Stuart Fleat, walks you through the rebalancing process.

In just four minutes, Stuart explains how a platform calculates and processes sells and buys, how long it takes and how to check tax impacts upfront.

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Missed out on the first episode?

Catch up now with the first episode in this bite-sized Assembly series.

Part 1: A bite-sized Assembly on what happens when you place a trade on a platform. In just 5 minutes and 23 seconds, Transact’s Glen Sweet lifts the lid on what happens behind the scenes at a platform.

Watch now

Listen now

In the last of his quartet of bite-sized Assemblies on investing, Timeline investment strategist, Laurentius van den Worm, tackles the topic of market forecasting.

Given our recent experience with high inflation, higher interest rates not to mention pandemics, wars and conflict, is there much point attempting to forecast the future?

Or put another way: what’s the outlook for forecasting (geddit? 😉)

Tune in and you’ll soon discover that Laurentius thinks three things are worth remembering:

First, active managers rarely outperform the market long-term. Investors should get low-cost market exposure rather than try to beat it.

Secondly, missing just a few of the stock market’s best days over decades can seriously affect overall returns. Timing the market is extremely difficult, so investors should stay invested.

And finally, equities have created significant wealth over the past century and remain an essential feature of long-term financial plans.

What’s more fixed income can help reduce volatility (and traditional asset allocation still makes sense despite recent volatility).

The takeaway? Long-term historic trends remain a pretty sound basis for forecasts despite recent volatility. And equities tend to reward patient investors with long time horizons.

Rather than market timing, appropriate asset allocation and risk management enable investors to endure short-term swings.

But don’t take our word for it. Listen yourself now.

Listen now
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Missed out on previous episodes?

Catch up now with the first three episodes this bite-sized Assembly series.

Part 1: On modern portfolio theory. Laurentius explores modern portfolio theory’s key principles – like diversification and concepts such as the ‘efficient frontier – illustrating the topic with practical examples.

Watch now

Listen now

Part 2: On asset allocation. Join Laurentius as he explores the topic of asset allocation, asset classes, diversification of risk, real estate investment, and performance of real estate investment trusts compared to global equities.

Watch now

Listen now

Part 3: On sequencing risk. Laurentius brings the issues of sequencing risk to life by using an example of two sisters with equal returns but different retirement income due to market loss timing. (And explores essential concepts along the way too.)

Watch now

Listen now

About Laurentius van den Worm CFA

Head and shoulders shot of Laurentius van den Worm of Timeline

Laurentius joined the Timeline Investment team in January 2022 after moving to the United Kingdom from South Africa. He serves as an investment strategist who oversees the fund research and selection, asset allocation and portfolio construction functions in collaboration with the CIO.

Laurentius has seven years experience in the South African investment markets.  In his previous role, he served as an investment analyst and financial consultant in the wealth management industry in South Africa, where he gained experience in various financial activities, including portfolio management, investment research, financial analysis, and wealth management.

Laurentius holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Investment Management and a post-graduate diploma in financial planning from Stellenbosch University. He obtained his CFP® designation in South Africa in 2017 and is CFA Level 3 qualified in the UK.

The team from Transact recently joined us to record a series of fantastic 5-10 minute audio treats. We hope you enjoy them.

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes when you place a trade on a platform? In this bite-sized Paraplanners’ Assembly Transact’s head of distribution, Glen Sweet, does just that.

In just FIVE minutes, Glen tells host, Richard Allum, all about trading points, settlement periods (including the difference between settlement of equities and funds), reconciliations, execution prices, trading windows…you get the idea. 

When you consider the intro takes about 60 seconds it’s AMAZING how much insight and knowledge Glen packs in to his remaining 4 minutes and 23 seconds.  

So if you’ve ever wanted to lift the lid on the workings of a platform, tune in to this episode for insights galore!

In the third episode of his series of bite-sized Assembly on investing, Timeline’s Laurentius van den Worm takes on the topic of sequencing risk.

In just 15 minutes he offers a working definition of sequencing risk he brings the topic to life with an example of two fictional sisters who – despite enjoying identical returns over their 30-year retirement journey – experience starkly different levels of income during…all because of the consequences of sequencing risk.

What’s more, Laurentius explores pound cost averaging and ravaging as well as the ‘4% rule’. 

For paraplanners keen to top up on your investment know-how, it’s the ideal lunchtime listen.

Listen now
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Missed out on previous episodes?

Catch up now with the first two episodes this bite-sized Assembly series.

Part 1: On modern portfolio theory. Laurentius explores modern portfolio theory’s key principles – like diversification and concepts such as the ‘efficient frontier – illustrating the topic with practical examples.

Watch now

Listen now

Part 2: On asset allocation. Join Laurentius as he explores the topic of asset allocation, asset classes, diversification of risk, real estate investment, and performance of real estate investment trusts compared to global equities.

Watch now

Listen now

About Laurentius van den Worm CFA

Head and shoulders shot of Laurentius van den Worm of Timeline

Laurentius joined the Timeline Investment team in January 2022 after moving to the United Kingdom from South Africa. He serves as an investment strategist who oversees the fund research and selection, asset allocation and portfolio construction functions in collaboration with the CIO.

Laurentius has seven years experience in the South African investment markets.  In his previous role, he served as an investment analyst and financial consultant in the wealth management industry in South Africa, where he gained experience in various financial activities, including portfolio management, investment research, financial analysis, and wealth management.

Laurentius holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Investment Management and a post-graduate diploma in financial planning from Stellenbosch University. He obtained his CFP® designation in South Africa in 2017 and is CFA Level 3 qualified in the UK.

What can you do to treat a case of fluctuating emoluments?

Join Barnett Waddingham’s James Jones-Tinsley as he takes us on a third exploration of old pensions jargon for paraplanners – that’s what.

James joins host Richard Allum to shed light on acronyms and concepts that paraplanners may encounter in the wild including FURBS, UURBS, cash balance schemes, the difference between final salary and career average, CARE, fluctuating emoluments and straddling PIPs.

Didn’t catch the previous two episodes in James’s popular plain English trilogy? Scroll down in a moment and help yourself.

In part one, which was recorded in May 2022, James covers s226, s32, AVC, FSAVC, EPP, GMP, with profits annuities, GAR and SSAS.

And in part two, he lifts the lid on UFPLS, NMPA, master trusts v deeds, SERPS, S2P, QROPS, ROPS and TIEA. This episode was recorded in January 2023.

This bite-sized Assemblies is available as a podcast episode too. You can listen now on Acast or search ‘Paraplanners’ Assembly’ in your favourite podcast app.

Part one
Part two

Meanwhile, in part one, he covers s226, s32, AVC, FSAVC, EPP, GMP, with profits annuities, GAR and SSAS.

Timeline’s Laurentius van den Worm returns for the second in his series of four fast-paced fact-filled bite-sized Assemblies.

In the last episode, investment strategist Laurentius looked at modern portfolio theory (you can watch or listen to that episode after this).

This week, he takes on the topic of asset allocation.

Watch and – in less than 20 minutes – you will explore what asset allocation is and why it’s important. You’ll consider the characteristics of assets classes and what different types are. And you’ll dig into the question of whether asset class really are helpful if you want to diversify risk. Plus you’ll discover what the nature of the risks are.

Laurentius also asks why real estate is important before setting out the potential routes to gain exposure to property in a portfolio.

Finally, he takes a look at the performance of real estate investment trusts vs global equities – including a brief look at the correlation between global equities and real estate and what it tells us about the nature of diversification benefits.

Download Laurentius’s slides

Throughout his talk, Laurentius refers to a slidedeck. Follow the link below to download the slides as a PDF.

Slidedeck: Portfolio asset allocation and diversificationDownload

About Laurentius van den Worm CFA

Head and shoulders shot of Laurentius van den Worm of Timeline

Laurentius joined the Timeline Investment team in January 2022 after moving to the United Kingdom from South Africa. He serves as an investment strategist who oversees the fund research and selection, asset allocation and portfolio construction functions in collaboration with the CIO.

Laurentius has seven years experience in the South African investment markets.  In his previous role, he served as an investment analyst and financial consultant in the wealth management industry in South Africa, where he gained experience in various financial activities, including portfolio management, investment research, financial analysis, and wealth management.

Laurentius holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Investment Management and a post-graduate diploma in financial planning from Stellenbosch University. He obtained his CFP® designation in South Africa in 2017 and is CFA Level 3 qualified in the UK.

Timeline’s investment strategist, Laurentius van den Worm, serves up a fast-paced fact-filled bite-sized Assembly exploring the elements of modern portfolio theory.

Following a whistle-stop summary of the origins of modern portfolio theory, Laurentius introduces the five key principles driving the approach: risk and return trade-off, diversification, risk assessment and the correlation of assets.

And if you’re wondering ‘But that’s just four principles!?’, you’d be right. That’s because Laurentius goes pretty deep into the fifth principle: the idea of the ‘efficient frontier’.

As well as looking at the efficient frontier in theory before seeing how it really plays out in practice (using Timeline’s technology to illustrate it, of course).

Along the way, he considers criticisms of modern portfolio theory too.

Altogether, it’s a great primer that’s packed full of insights and information that will appeal to paraplanners at every stage in their career.

Listen to this Assembly
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Download Laurentius’s slides

Throughout his talk, Laurentius refers to a slidedeck. Follow the link below to download the slides as a PDF.

Slidedeck: Modern Portfolio TheoryDownload
About Laurentius van den Worm CFA
Head and shoulders shot of Laurentius van den Worm of Timeline

Laurentius joined the Timeline Investment team in January 2022 after moving to the United Kingdom from South Africa. He serves as an investment strategist who oversees the fund research and selection, asset allocation and portfolio construction functions in collaboration with the CIO.

Laurentius has seven years experience in the South African investment markets.  In his previous role, he served as an investment analyst and financial consultant in the wealth management industry in South Africa, where he gained experience in various financial activities, including portfolio management, investment research, financial analysis, and wealth management.

Laurentius holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Investment Management and a post-graduate diploma in financial planning from Stellenbosch University. He obtained his CFP® designation in South Africa in 2017 and is CFA Level 3 qualified in the UK.

There are times when we’re recording an online Assembly or bitesize video or dedicated podcast episode and we just think OMG EVERYONE IS GOING TO ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS.

And that’s the case with this interview with consultant and founding director of About Consulting Group, Jon Dunckley.

Because this podcast is all about neurodiversity.

(Its origins lie in this comment by Planner12 posted at The Big Tent last year.)

And, as Jon (who is autistic) says very early on in the episode, neurodiversity matters to me, you and everyone.

After all, we each have a way of thinking that’s unique to us. We all occupy our place in a neurodiverse world.

But if the way we think is plotted on a spectrum, most of us would be considered ‘neurotypical’.

Yet plenty of us – at least 1 in 10 in the UK – function, learn and process information differently from the neurotypical.

Neurodifference and work

We may be neurodifferent but, despite thinking differently, we’re expected to adapt and succeed in a world that’s geared towards neurotypical people.

And that’s why we thought Planner12’s question – and the thread that their comment sparked – was such a great starting point to consider neurodiversity and its consequences personally and professionally whether we’re neurodivergent or neurotypical.

Because even if we’re not neurodifferent ourselves, people we work with will be. Either way, what do we need to consider about day-to-day working life so we each get the chance to thrive, contribute and gain fulfilment from work?

What do we mean by neurodifferent? What conditions are considered neurodifferent? If you’re neurodifferent, do you mention it to your employer? Do you need a diagnosis? What’s your approach to studying and sitting exams? How should you adapt your leadership style for a range of neurodifferent conditions? And how does your condition influence the way you manage your team?

Invaluable insights and practical tips

In just under an hour, host Richard Allum and Jon explore just about everything you could possibly want to cover.

Expect talk of autism, ADHD, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, dyslexia and dysgraphia. Learn about TIC syndrome, the ‘Pygmalion effect’, why people with ‘spiky profiles’ are good for business. Plus why job adverts should (a) encourage applicants with spiky profiles and (b) be really clear about what a job will actually involve.

And there’s so much more.

In fact, this is an area we’re going to explore more – and not leave it too long before we do. So if you think of anything that the Assembly could explore once you’ve listened please get in touch and tell us what you think.

Now, tuck in to this latest episode. We think you’re going to love it.

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A few of links mentioned by Jon during the episode

British Dyslexia Association: Dyslexia-friendly style guide

The Neurodiverse Workplace by Victoria Honeybourne

Think Human Business Writing course

BTS podcast: Neurodiversity and studying for regulated exams

PFS Power: Working with vulnerable clients

Cornell note-taking system (YouTube video)

Online Assembly: Design principles for reports