Pandemic has meant hard work in extreme circumstances

Staff at Beacon Wealth held one-minute silence in November last year.

Staff at Beacon Wealth held one-minute silence in November last year. - Credit: BEACON WEALTH

To state the obvious, Covid has certainly made the last 12 months' finances a lot harder than in previous years.

As someone who owns a number of different companies, I have seen the demands made on both companies to survive, and the hard work many individuals have taken on under extreme circumstances. I also felt the pain of those who moved to furlough and, in some cases, lost their jobs.

Tony Larkins is the owner of the Beacon Wealth Group.

Tony Larkins is the owner of the Beacon Wealth Group. - Credit: BEACON WEALTH

Although the tax year runs from April 6, most companies plan on a calendar year and have their budgets sorted sometime before January.

2020 started as planned for most companies, but March 23 was the day it ended and furlough became a necessity for survival.

Beacon Wealth Management saw a sudden reduction in new clients as individuals held back to see the effects of a market collapse. Our investment team went into overdrive to stem the losses of world stock markets, and although hit hard, the recovery was swift. Despite the Stock Market remaining down (FTSE 100 by 14.3%), our average risk portfolios actually ended up.

Beacon Wealth Legal went quieter as house sales/buying stopped and people stopped making wills. The Stamp Duty change certainly changed that, as did, unfortunately, an increase in probate.

Beacon Wealth Estates owns a number of both residential and commercial properties, but despite shop and business closures, the reduction in rates and Government grants has enabled every company to survive and, with the help of furlough, all tenants to remain in situ.

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We all enjoyed a short return to normality towards the end of 2020, but another lockdown soon arrived. Like most companies, we have re-focused on our methods of working.

We can now see the light at the end of the tunnel if the Government’s dates prove a reality. Some normality has returned with increased new clients to Beacon Wealth Management and Beacon Wealth Legal, and I embrace the new normal.

Companies need new budgets written and furlough ending will mean they can take back staff.

Stamp Duty Relief continuing will keep conveyancers busy and fund management will remain more difficult, but I hope this last 12 months will help people comprehend mortality and plan for the best and worst scenarios. More on that next time.