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UK's Close Brothers Stresses Long-Term Care Advisory Needs

Tom Burroughes

27 August 2013

UK-based Close Brothers, the private bank and investment house which recently launched a long-term care team, said recent changes to government rules on care for the elderly make it crucial that individuals engage advisors to put robust financial arrangements in place.

“If there is one conclusion to be reached, it is that the complexities surrounding the funding of long-term care mean that financial advice is essential to enable consumers to understand and plan for the costs involved,” Chris Roberts, head of desk-based advice, Close Brothers Asset Management, said in a commentary.

Reforms enacted under the UK government’s Care Bill – if fully endorsed by legislators in parliament - mean there will be a £72,000 cap on eligible care costs, applying to costs an individual has to pay to meet their eligible care and support needs in England. This would be introduced in 2016. There would also be a rise in means-tested thresholds. Under the current rules, help with care costs is only available once assets have fallen below £23,250 but, from April 2016, this will be increased to £118,000.

“Helping clients understand the real cost of care and how to plan for it remains a key, and growing role for advisors, especially with the reforms introducing more rather than less complexity,” Roberts said.

“With the introduction of the cap, the reforms have added further complexity to the rules around care fees. The need for professional advice has never been greater. The UK’s aging demographic means that planning for the cost of care is likely to become a mainstream area of financial planning, and a growing opportunity for advisors. Reviewing your client base will help you identify where this advice could be appropriate.”

In July, a report by Close Brothers Asset Management showed that nearly half of those in affluent households with an annual household income of at least £70,000 worry about having a high enough post-retirement income to meet their needs.