17th July 2017
Ian Gunn considers the impact of a negative discount rate on indemnifying claims against medical professionals, employers and defendants with public liability.
All of our clients have something in common: an unexpected (and perhaps unwanted) sum of money. It is the imperfect measure of compensation that is supposed to turn back the clock to the millisecond before the accident that changed their life, and to reflect the future that would have been.
In reality, no amount of money can do that, but it is all the law can provide.
Choices have to be made about how to use it to improve quality of life, whilst keeping an eye on making it last as long as needed.
The answer for every client is different, often involving a combination of suitably cautious investment, family care and support, maximising and maintaining statutory benefits and care funding and compromises. Today’s best solution is also likely to change over time.
The way in which we tailor our advice to your needs requires understanding, time, patience and trust.
Generally speaking, change is inevitable.
However, even if the nature of change is uncontrollable and unpredictable, there is no reason that the manner in which such change is dealt with and managed should not be controllable.
This is certainly true where the investment of an award of damages is concerned and the wider decisions that can be made in order to effectively plan for unforeseen events and circumstances in the future.
No. This is partly because only you can control how much you spend, but also because the future is uncertain. All sorts of factors could change for the better or the worse, and therefore we keep your finances under regular review and advise you whether your spending is likely to be sustainable, or not.
No. You can keep means-tested benefits by ensuring your award is held in a suitable trust, which can also protect local authority funding for care. This is a vital part of making sure your needs are met from all possible sources, not just your award, which gives you a better chance it will last for your lifetime.
Yes. Many clients find it too intrusive to have paid carers in the house, or too difficult to recruit and keep people they can rely on. Family carers are therefore commonplace. Some accept nothing for the care they provide, and some accept a nominal payment, which is tax-free in certain circumstances. Either way, this can really improve the chance of the award lasting for your lifetime. You can have more peace of mind if you insure family carers. Please note that if you are under the Court of Protection, court approval for payments to family members is required.
Probably not. Most often we will advise you to do it gradually, to avoid the risk of a sudden fall in the markets.
Cash deposits will be fully protected, either under the deposit guarantee scheme or by HM Treasury in National Savings & Investments. We are directly regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, and the financial products we recommend are covered under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. However, this does not cover the normal ups and downs in the value of long-term investments. We also hold professional indemnity insurance in respect of our advice.
No. We choose not to hold client money, and are not authorised to do so. All deposits and investments are held directly with the institutions we recommend.
There is no special tax status for personal injury awards except periodical payments, which are tax-free income. Depending on your circumstances, you are likely to have personal allowances that allow you to have set amounts of tax-free income and capital gains each year. You may also be eligible to shelter some of your investments from tax by using your ISA allowance each year.
Their value is likely to go up and down over short periods of time and once a year is probably enough. There is evidence that the more often you look, the less willing you will be to take on risk, not least because you will see more of the ‘downs’, which may harm your wealth in the long run.
Obviously, that is not the aim, but it happens as part of the normal functioning of markets. A fall in value is not the same as a loss, just as a change in the value of your house is neither a loss nor a profit until you actually sell it. Everyone feels the pain of losses more than the pleasure of gains, and part of our role is to help guide you through the tough times as well as the good ones.
We will be completely open with you about our fees, which will be discussed and agreed with you before carrying out any work, together with the costs of managing and administering your investments.
Authorised and Regulated ConsultantRichard has spent his whole career being involved in providing financial advice to recipients of personal injury damages and takes great pride in the role PFP plays in helping clients meet their ongoing needs, aims, objectives and wishes.
Authorised and Regulated ConsultantIan has been involved in the financial aspects of personal injury claims since the early 1990’s. He cut his teeth in the world of forensic accounting, investigating high value claims and developing experience as an expert witness.
Welfare Benefits and Care AdviserJoanne has been providing advice and support to clients in respect of social welfare law since 2005.
Authorised and Regulated ConsultantIan began his career in financial services in 1993, qualifying as an adviser in 1996. Specialising in advice to recipients of personal injury awards since 2004, Ian joined the team at PFP in 2007 where he has headed the personal injury trust team.
Authorised and Regulated ConsultantJames has spent the last 16 years within financial services, spending half of this time within the technical support team at PFP, being involved in providing financial advice to recipients of personal injury damages.
Finding the right person to make your investment decisions, was important for my peace of mind. For me, it was more than the performance of the funds, but trusting the person that was pulling the strings. At PFP I felt that I had a team, all working together in order to meet my expectations. From the first phone call I made, to my last meeting. I had complete confidence in their ability to advise me, on how best to manage my portfolio.
Following an accident in November 2007 I was introduced to Ian Rowe from PFP approximately 6 months later. Since then PFP have been able to offer first-class advice on how to set up a personal injury trust, and then manage it over the coming years.
The advice has always been easy to understand, logical and entirely appropriate to levels of risk etc. Investments have been presented in a clear and concise manner, review documentation easy to understand and digest, and any changes necessary provided in a timely fashion.
I would have no hesitation in recommending the services of PFP to anyone if they are faced with a situation similar to mine.
Ian Gunn and his team at PFP have been looking after our daughter's investments since 2006. In that time, the services provided to us have been excellent. We have received a comprehensive, professional and honest service with a helpful, personal, friendly touch.
There would be no hesitation, from us, in recommending PFP to anyone who is looking for expert advice and guidance, who are in the same situation as us.
When our son age 9 was involved in an RTA in August 2001, he was awarded compensation for injuries sustained. We knew this money was required long term and had to work for him. We were introduced to PFP and Richard Cropper by our Solicitor and what a great recommendation it was. Richard has worked tirelessly for our son and his fund has grown, which has enabled him to be independent.
We are always kept up to date on the progress and changes if required and an annual review where Richard comes to us. All the staff at PFP are very knowledgeable and sensitive in all areas and we would have no reservation in recommending Richard and the rest of the company. They feel like an extension of our family.
Since my daughter was awarded a Personal Injury Payment over ten years ago, Richard Cropper and his team at PFP have helped and guided us to ensure her assets are wisely invested to ensure the money she will need to pay for the care she will require for the rest of her life is safeguarded. In spite of the vicissitudes and uncertainties of the times we live in - and a hitherto unknown instability of the financial sector, Richard has done a magnificent job.
I feel, after over a decade of sure advice, that our choice of adviser could not have been better and hope our working relationship continues for many years to come. I would not hesitate to recommend Richard (and his team) to anyone who is searching for a financial adviser with an extensive knowledge of personal injury, the future needs of that individual and whose integrity and honesty is without question. He is also - (and this is terribly important to anyone who is struggling with the complexities of the financial markets and the driving need to care for their loved one) - very approachable and friendly. He makes my life better and eases my worries with kindness and compassion - without making me feel I am asking daft questions (and I ask quite a lot ...).
Richard is ace!
For the last fifteen years PFP have been advising us as trustees about our son's medical negligence award. Not only this, but they have also assisted us greatly on any benefits and allowances that our son can claim. Without exception we have always been treated with the best possible care.
I specialise in Court of Protection and Personal Injury Trust matters. I act as a Financial Deputy and Trustee in numerous matters. Most of them involve very substantial investments. I have dealt with PFP on various cases over the years, and continue to do so. My main contacts are Ian Gunn and Richard Cropper (as well as Joanne Moores for Welfare Benefits Advice).
I have always been very pleased with the services provided by PFP. Based upon my experience of dealing with them, I have always found PFP to be very professional and helpful in their approach and service
Many of our clients with significant compensation awards have used Personal Financial Planning to advise about and manage their investments. We have found Richard Cropper and his staff to be totally professional and extremely knowledgeable. Richard always deals with clients and their families in a kind, supportive and accessible way. Richard is our “go to” financial adviser for clients with large awards.
Ian Rowe and PFP are our go to trusted experts for financial advice for our clients. The client care is excellent, Ian and Richard make the complicated seem simple.
I have instructed Richard Cropper and PFP for many years on behalf of my Court of Protection clients. I have to say the service provided is second to none. Their dedication and expertise in investment of personal injury awards sets them apart from other IFAs they truly are unique.
The investment process is explained in detail to each and every client/parent in a simple and understandable way which is personal to them. The benefits advice service is outstanding. I would have no hesitation in recommending PFP.
Whilst acting as professional deputy and trustee to many brain injured clients, I having dealings with PFP on an almost daily basis. I cannot praise Richard Cropper and James Rooney highly enough for the advice they provide in their detailed yet easy to understand reports. The manner in which they interact with my clients is second to none, always speaking in plain English and putting the clients at ease in sometimes difficult circumstances. The support staff I deal with are very efficient and always happy to help.
Over many years, Ian Rowe has provided prompt and timely advice to many of my Clients, often in cases where it has been appropriate to set up a Personal Injury Trust. He has frequently taken the time to visit my Clients at their homes, at whatever time has been convenient to the Client, with a view to providing detailed but clear independent advice to enable the Clients to make a decision as to how best to proceed.
In the past, some of my Clients have commented upon Ian’s pleasant and pragmatic manner and others have commented upon his willingness to go the extra mile, as and when any issues have arisen that required his early intervention.
For many of our catastrophically injured Clients, Richard Cropper of PFP provides us with extremely comprehensive Viability Reports, which are of enormous assistance when Clients are seeking advice in relation to the most appropriate form of award e.g. whether a lump sum basis and/or periodical payments. His professional input is often invaluable, particularly in the run up to Joint Settlement Meetings or Trials.
I have worked with Joanne Moores of PFP for several years now. Joanne’s advice in welfare benefits matters has been invaluable to me in my capacity as Deputy appointed by the Court of Protection to manage the financial affairs of various clients who are deemed not to have capacity.
Joanne’s knowledge on all matters related to benefits and the Department of Works and Pensions is very comprehensive and wide ranging. I have found her to be extremely approachable, very thorough in the advice that she gives and she always offers sensible and practical advice. Her depth of knowledge in her field is invaluable for those who are advising clients on all matters relating to personal injury trusts and deputyships. I will have no hesitation now or in the future in recommending Joanne to my colleagues for professional advice and assistance.
I have been with PFP for 10 years and their advice and knowledge has been invaluable.
They regularly provide updates and have always been available to answer any queries or to explain options within my portfolio. As I find it difficult to travel Mr Cropper comes to visit me at home on a yearly basis. I would recommend PFP to anyone in need of help with their financial planning.
We have known Ian Rowe for nine years, he has always dealt with us with care and attention. Ian is always very professional. He is always one step ahead regarding our investments and his forecast is spot on. Ian is very good at listening to our needs for this year and for the long term. He makes great decisions regarding our investments.
Personal Financial Planning has provided financial support and understanding over the past few years for my husband’s injury trust. They have at all times provided a comprehensive and holistic approach to his needs, been mindful of his limitations, and worked within his capabilities of understanding. The whole team at PFP are always friendly, helpful and knowledgeable, and provide a service that is accessible and supportive. Ian in particular has always taken time and shown patience in making sure we both fully understand exactly the financial aspects and implications of any advice being given, whilst making sure any recommendation is relevant, clear and concise. I would highly recommend the financial service they provide.
Richard Cropper is the personal injury equivalent of a rocket scientist. He has been able to grapple with complex issues providing sound analysis and practical advice. As a specialist in catastrophic injury claims Richard remains a valuable tool in our armoury.
Claims for damages for future loss in catastrophic injury cases regularly throw up a variety of difficult questions relating to lump sum assessment, discount rates and periodical payments etc. Solicitors who have taken the opportunity to engage PFP know that they will be receiving the very best advice on these topics. Richard Cropper and Ian Gunn can be relied upon to provide careful reports, combining accurate analysis with insight which always adds value and not uncommonly serves to identify, and then solve, potential problems before they cause real difficulty.
I am my son’s Advocate, Mum and Carer. I organised his activities, timetable and daily living. Myself and my late husband have tried to obtain the appropriate care and support throughout his life.
Due to changes in the Social Services Department in Derbyshire four and a half years ago, when they withdrew his entitlement of 12 hours per week direct payments, saying he no longer fitted their criteria, two years ago we were put in contact with Joanne Moores (Welfare and Benefit Advisor) through my son’s Financial Adviser, Ian Gunn.
Joanne came to our home and advised us to contact Derbyshire Social Services and ask for a re-assessment. Joanne gave us confidence and support to start this process again. Her role was invaluable, taking over the appointments, liaising directly with the social workers and managers at Derbyshire, arranging the meetings, coming to our home, there are lots of things that Joanne has helped with to improve my son’s life.
Joanne has reduced the Community Tax drastically with exceptions we were unaware of.
Joanne handled the re-assessment of our son, dealing directly with Social Services. She gained the re-instatement of his Care Plan, a weekly amount of £224 back dated for 12 months. Supported us throughout this period taking a lot of stress out of the situation. She also checked that my son was receiving the right benefits e.g. (DLA, Mobility etc.).
I know that also in the future if there are any changes in the Law I can call on her expertise.
Joanne has an empathy with the clients and a knowledge of disabilities which proves exceptional in her role.
I needed an injury specialist Independent Financial Advisor/consultant. Nothing anywhere explained what to do, what there was and how they can help you. So many websites and companies, no references or guidance. PFP was recommended by my solicitors. I was frightened of putting my money somewhere that it shouldn't be and risk losing it, I needed someone to listen, give reassurance, respect, confidentiality and support.
Ian Rowe went through the process, my questions and options. It was all so daunting. The main thing was that I was advised to open a personal injury trust for the money to be protected straight away from means tested benefits.
We discussed what happens, my needs for the future options of funding, investments, stocks and shares, financial levels of risk, short and long term goals, the benefit system, wills and more. A portfolio was set up covering everything.
I have annual reviews to discuss and show where my money is, income, expenses, costs and a running total, followed by a plan for the next year and more, dependent on my needs and any changes. Ian has been thorough, honest, gained my trust and respect.
I have been with the company now for over 7 years and would recommend them to anyone who has a personal injury claim and awaiting compensation that needs to be put somewhere safe. They are there to protect you and your money.
Potter Rees Dolan has for very many years instructed Richard Cropper of PFP in relation to its most difficult catastrophic cases in which settlements have invariably been in the £millions. Over the years, Richard Cropper has been my “go-to” IFA and I have found that the written and verbal advice which he provides in the most difficult of cases, to be both crystal clear and authoritative. He has a natural ability to understand difficult legal principles in a case and balance those with a Claimants’ needs, taking into consideration the procedural requirements. His advices on mode of award are invaluable, especially at settlement meetings. Quick on his feet and similarly quick in producing written reports, he is always a very welcome addition to the expert team in these most complex of cases and is also able to provide comprehensive advice on what is often a very difficult statutory landscape. Richard consults at the highest level but always has the Claimants’ interests at the heart of what he does.
I have worked alongside Ian Gunn for many years and have found him very professional and trustworthy and have no hesitation in recommending him as an advisor to my clients, the majority of whom have suffered life changing injuries and require very careful management of their award - from the creation of special needs/personal injury trusts to investment. Always approachable, clients have found him very clear in his advice and highly efficient in all aspects of the service which he provides.
From the time our Daughter received her damages award we have consulted PFP on all financial matters. We have been extremely pleased by the courteous, and professional advice provided by Ian Gunn and his team. Whatever the query we have found them very approachable always receiving a personal service in return, and we would have no hesitation in recommending them to other parties.
I have worked with Richard for more years that I care to remember. His advice during the course of complex personal injury litigation and on forms of award is cutting edge and invaluable as a result. For post settlement work Richard has the perfect understanding of the disabled client’s needs. I have always been impressed by both his sound advice and by the quality of all the administration associated with managing a client’s portfolio. I couldn’t speak more highly of him and his team.
I have worked with Richard Cropper and Ian Gunn ever since they set up PFP, many years ago.
I have always found them extraordinarily easy to work alongside, because they combine great expertise and knowledge with a deep commitment to helping us achieve the right result, and sort out any problems which may arise.
I have worked with Richard Cropper for many years. He was one of the first financial advisers to teach me how essential it was for those involved in catastrophic injury work to involve a good financial adviser in settlement negotiations and the decisions as to how to structure awards. As we worked our way through the early days of the new regime of periodical payments he was always ready with sage advice about the various courses of action that might be followed – particularly as to which elements of a claim to take by way of lump sum and which by periodical payments and how to ensure awards were financially secure. Often advising at short notice he has always been a ready and reliable source of financial advice in some of the most complex and significant claims I have handled over recent years. I have no hesitation in recommending him as one of the very best in his field.