Granite guidance

I am delighted to share the news that I have achieved a Distinction in the STEP Certificate for Financial Services - Trusts & Estate Planning. This accomplishment marks a significant milestone in my career and underscores Granite Financial Planning's commitment to excellence in providing financial guidance and expertise to our clients.

The STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) exam is renowned for its rigorous standards and comprehensive coverage of financial services, taxation, and trusts. It tests not only one's knowledge but also their ability to apply that knowledge effectively. Attaining a Distinction in this exam came as a welcome surprise as this was the first exam I have sat for a few years.

This achievement reinforces our dedication to staying at the forefront of the financial planning profession. We believe that ongoing education and professional development are essential to provide our clients with the best possible advice and solutions for their unique financial needs.

At Granite Financial Planning, we understand the complexities of financial services, taxation, and trusts. We aim to ensure that we are equipped with the latest knowledge and expertise to navigate these intricacies, ensuring that your financial future is in capable hands.

I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to our clients for their continued trust and support. We remain committed to delivering exceptional financial planning services and look forward to continuing serving you.


Paul Gibson

Managing Director, Granite Financial Planning

There has been much speculation whether the government is planning to break a key manifesto pledge to maintain the triple lock by increasing the state pension by 2.5% rather than using earnings data.

What is the pension triple lock?

Introduced in 2011 by the coalition government, the triple lock guarantees that the basic state pension will rise by a minimum of either 2.5%, the rate of inflation or average earnings growth, whichever is largest.

What is the new state pension worth?

The full new State Pension is £179.60 per week. The actual amount you get depends on your National Insurance record and 35 years NI credits will provide the maximum amount.

You’ll usually need at least 10 qualifying years on your National Insurance record to get any State Pension.

The cost of buying an equivalent income using an inflation-linked annuity would be around £320,000 at today’s market rates.

The full, old basic state pension (for those who reached state pension age before April 2016) is £137.60 a week. The triple lock only applies to this element and not SERPS and S2P which were earnings related parts of the old system which are linked to inflation.

Why has Covid changed things?

As people come off furlough and return to full pay, this is recorded as a large rise in average earnings.

This leads to a unique situation, and one which economists describe as an anomaly.

Average earnings could go up by 8%, hence the equivalent rise in the state pension.

That is considerably higher than rises seen under the triple lock in the last decade.

Isn’t an increase a good thing?

Any increase in the state pension should benefit everyone over the long term but pensions are paid out of current tax receipts and those footing the bill will ultimately be those who have yet to start receiving their state pension.

The cost of each 1% rise in state pensions costs the taxpayer around £850 million per year so a large increase will have a significant impact on government finances which are already under huge pressure.

Critics say the triple lock is unsustainable in its current form, but it has undoubtedly helped to improve living standards for those in retirement.

What happens next?

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has a difficult decision to make to ensure intergenerational fairness and to avoid any erosion of state pension benefits.

A possible alternative to scrapping the triple lock altogether would be for an adjustment to be made to reflect the unique results of the pandemic causing an artificial increase to earnings.

What should you do?

The decision will ultimately be taken by government, but it is good practice to check your state pension entitlement periodically. More information can be obtained by vising

This service can help to find out: how much State Pension you could get, when you can get and how to increase it, if you can.


Paul Gibson is managing director of Banchory based Granite Financial Planning.

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Online meetings at Granite Financial Planning


As part of our business continuity plan amid the coronavirus outbreak, we have decided to cancel all face-to-face meetings. This action has been taken to protect both our staff and clients.

However, it’s still ‘business as usual’ as far as possible at Granite Financial Planning. All our staff are able to work remotely, and we will still be conducting meetings online or by phone. Where possible, Zoom is our video call software of choice. It’s easy to use and allows us to share our screen with you where necessary.

We can also arrange online meetings on FaceTime and WhatsApp. 

Don’t worry if some of these new-fangled options aren’t for you. We’re still happy to speak to you on the phone. 

Please get in touch if you have any queries and stay safe.

Paul Gibson
Chartered Financial Planner and Managing Director
Mobile 07429 152157
Office 01330 826544
Paul won the coveted FT  Money Management Financial Planner of the Year Award in 2015 and 2016:

Granite Financial Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by Financial Conduct Authority.
Registered in Scotland, Registered No. SC522812, Registered Address Banchory Business Centre, Burn O’Bennie Road, Banchory, Aberdeenshire, AB31 5ZU.

I often get asked “where is the best place to invest my money?”

My answer never changes and goes like this:

 Following the release of the September inflation figures the increases in the State Pension from April 2020 can be calculated  

The state pension and new state pension are increased each April by the “Triple Lock” which is the higher of:  

  • Annual CPI in from the September before the increase;
  • 3-month average wage growth to July before the increase; or
  • 2.5%.  

Average wage growth was 3.9% and CPI was 1.7% so state pension and new state pension will increase by 3.9% from April 2020.  

This means the full new state pension will see an increase from £168.60 to £175.20 per week and the full old basic state pension will see a rise from £129.20 to £134.25 per week.  

This is the second year where the wage growth has outstripped both CPI and the flat rate 2.5%, giving pensioners above inflation increases on the state pension payments.  

These figures still need to be confirmed by Government before being put into legislation. The calculation of wage growth isn’t defined in legislation, although the above figures are usually used. It is therefore possible different figure could be used.


Pensions regularly feature in the financial press and often for negative reasons. In this article I try and dispel some commonly held myths and misconceptions.

Granite Financial Planning is pleased to announce they are a finalist in the Retirement Planner Awards 2019 for the category “Best Individual Pension Advice Firm of the Year’.

Professional Adviser revealed the shortlists for its sister title Retirement Planner's 2019 Awards, the winners of which will be announced on Friday 14 June at a ceremony at The Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square, London W1K.

Firms were invited to provide a submission with all entries then being assessed by an independent panel of expert judges.

As a tax-efficient way to save for retirement, pensions offer a route to long term financial security. To highlight the importance of retirement planning in the UK, this year's Retirement Planner Awards will celebrate how providers and intermediaries are rising to the challenge of pension provision, particularly in light of the 2015 pension freedoms and the increasing number of pension scams.

Those intermediaries who are at the forefront of dynamic and fresh ways to offer retirement planning and pensions advice services have been selected to highlight the work undertaken.

Managing Director, Paul Gibson said: “To be a finalist in this category again is fantastic as we were Highly Commended last year and hope to go one better this year.

Retirement planning forms a major part of our work and we continually try and improve our service in this area.

Retirement can be a scary prospect for many and our job is to help ensure that our clients do not run out of money and are able to live an independent and dignified retirement.”

Granite Financial Planning are based in Banchory with meeting rooms available in Aberdeen.


The investment world recently lost an investment legend and below is a tribute by Vanguard to their founder Jack Bogle.

Vanguard regrets to announce the passing of our founder John Clifton Bogle, who died on 16 January 2019 at his home in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. He was 89.

Mr Bogle had near-legendary status in the investment community, largely because of two towering achievements:

  • He introduced the first index mutual fund for individual investors and, in the face of sceptics, stood behind the concept until it gained widespread acceptance.
  • He drove down costs across the mutual fund industry by ceaselessly campaigning in the interests of investors. Vanguard, the company he founded to embody his philosophy, is now one of the largest investment management firms in the world.

"Jack Bogle made an impact on not only the entire investment industry, but more importantly, on the lives of countless individuals saving for their futures or their children's futures," said Vanguard CEO Tim Buckley. "He was a tremendously intelligent, driven and talented visionary whose ideas completely changed the way we invest. We are honoured to continue his legacy of giving every investor 'a fair shake'."

"The Vanguard Experiment"

Under Mr Bogle's tutelage, The Vanguard Group, Inc., began operations on 1 May 1975. He called the new venture "The Vanguard Experiment", where mutual funds would be operated at cost and independently. Vanguard thus represented a radical change from the traditional mutual fund structure, in which an external management company manages a fund for profit.

"Our challenge at the time," Mr Bogle recalled a decade later, "was to build … a new and better way of running a mutual fund complex. The Vanguard Experiment was designed to prove that mutual funds could operate independently, and do so in a manner that would directly benefit their shareholders."

An aficionado of naval history, Mr Bogle named the company after Admiral Horatio Nelson's flagship at the Battle of the Nile in 1798; he thought the name "Vanguard" resonated with the themes of leadership and progress. The nautical theme can still be seen in Vanguard's logo and communications to shareholders.

"Father of indexing"

In 1976, in the United States, Vanguard introduced the first index mutual fund for individual investors. Ridiculed by others in the industry as "un-American" and "a sure path to mediocrity", the fund collected a mere US$11 million during its initial underwriting. It has now grown to be one of the industry's largest, with more than US$400 billion in assets. Today, index funds account for more than 70% of Vanguard's US$5.1 trillion in assets under management globally; they are offered by many other fund companies as well and they make up most exchange-traded funds (ETFs). For his pioneering of the index concept for individual investors, Mr Bogle is often called the "father of indexing".

Standing up for the individual investor

Mr Bogle and Vanguard again broke from industry tradition in 1977, when Vanguard ceased to market its funds through brokers and instead offered them directly to investors. The company eliminated sales charges and became a pure no-load mutual fund complex – a move that would save shareholders hundreds of millions of dollars in sales commissions.

A champion of the individual investor, Mr Bogle is widely credited with helping to bring increased disclosure about mutual fund costs and performance to the public. His commitment to safeguarding investors' interests often prompted him to speak out against practices that were common among his peers in other mutual fund organisations.

"We are more than a mere industry," he insisted in a 1987 speech before the National Investment Company Services Association. "We must hold ourselves to higher standards, standards of trust and fiduciary duty. Change we must – in our communications, our pricing structure, our product and our promotional techniques."

Early career

The New Jersey native began his career in 1951 after graduating magna cum laude in economics from Princeton University. His senior thesis on mutual funds had caught the eye of fellow Princeton alumnus Walter L. Morgan, who had founded Wellington Fund, the nation's oldest balanced fund, in 1929, and was one of the deans of the mutual fund industry. Mr Morgan hired the ambitious 22-year-old for his Philadelphia-based investment management firm, Wellington Management Company.

Mr Bogle worked his way up through the ranks, and, in 1967, he was named president. Mr Bogle became the driving force behind Wellington's growth into a mutual fund family after he persuaded Mr Morgan to start an equity fund that would complement Wellington Fund. Windsor Fund debuted in 1958.

In 1967, Wellington Management Company merged with the Boston investment firm Thorndike, Doran, Paine & Lewis (TDPL). Seven years later, a management dispute with the principals of TDPL led Mr Bogle to form Vanguard in September 1974 to handle the administrative functions of Wellington's funds, while TDPL/Wellington Management would retain the investment management and distribution duties.

Beyond Vanguard

Health problems caused Mr Bogle to step down as Vanguard's chief executive officer in 1996. The same year, he underwent a heart transplant. A self-described "battler by nature", Mr Bogle came through the surgery with flying colours. He returned to work as senior chairman until 1999, when he turned 70, the maximum age for a Vanguard board member. Mr Bogle never actually retired; he became president of the Bogle Financial Markets Research Center to continue his work on behalf of investors. He also continued to write and speak about the industry.

Awards and accomplishments

In 2004, Time magazine named Mr Bogle one of "the world's 100 most powerful and influential people" and Institutional Investormagazine presented him with its Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2010, Forbes magazine described him as the person who "has done more good for investors than any other financier of the past century." Fortune magazine designated him one of the investment industry's four "Giants of the 20th Century" in 1999. In January 2012, some of America's most respected financial leaders celebrated his career at the John C. Bogle Legacy Forum.

Mr Bogle served on several US investment industry boards: chairman of the board of governors of the Investment Company Institute (1969–1970) and chairman of the NASD's (now FINRA) Investment Companies Committee (1972–1974). In 1997, he was appointed by then-SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt to serve on the Independence Standards Board.

Mr Bogle was sought after in the corporate community and served as a director for several corporations. He received honorary doctorate degrees from 14 universities, including his alma mater, Princeton.

Civic work

An avid booster of Philadelphia and the surrounding area, Mr Bogle was active in civic affairs. "I loved Philadelphia, my adopted city that had been so good to me. I established my roots there, finding even more unimaginable diamonds," he wrote in one of his many books.

His civic work extended to organisations involved in education, leadership and public affairs. He served as the first chairman of the board of trustees and chairman emeritus for the National Constitution Center. Former US President Bill Clinton was also on the board and later wrote the foreword to the paperback edition of Mr Bogle's book Enough. True Measures of Money, Business, and Life.

Sportsman and family man

Mr Bogle was born on 8 May 1929 in Montclair, New Jersey. He worked his way through Blair Academy and Princeton University as a waiter and also managed Princeton's athletic ticket office.

A tall, athletic man who sported a crew cut for most of his life, Mr Bogle played squash, tennis and golf, and also enjoyed sailing. He was often described as a "fierce competitor" on the court and course, a demeanour he also maintained on the job. Reading was among his pleasures, as was The New York Times crossword puzzle, which he often completed in less than 20 minutes.

He married Eve Sherrerd in 1956. The couple had six children – daughters Barbara Bogle Renninger, Jean Bogle, Nancy Bogle St. John, and Sandra Bogle Marucci, and sons John C. Bogle Jr and Andrew Armstrong Bogle. They had 12 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Books by John C. Bogle

  • Bogle on Mutual Funds: New Perspectives for the Intelligent Investor (1993)
  • Common Sense on Mutual Funds: New Imperatives for the Intelligent Investor (1999)
  • John Bogle on Investing: The First 50 Years (2000)
  • Character Counts: The Creation and Building of The Vanguard Group (2002)
  • Battle for the Soul of Capitalism (2005)
  • The Little Book of Common Sense Investing (2007)
  • Enough. True Measures of Money, Business, and Life (2008)
  • Common Sense on Mutual Funds: Fully Updated 10th Anniversary Edition (2009)
  • Don't Count on It! Reflections on Investment Illusions, Capitalism, "Mutual" Funds, Indexing, Entrepreneurship, Idealism, and Heroes (2011)
  • The Clash of the Cultures: Investment vs. Speculation (2012)
  • The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: 10th Anniversary Edition (2017)
  • Stay the Course: The Story of Vanguard and the Index Revolution (2018).

Important Information

The material contained in this document is not to be regarded as an offer to buy or sell or the solicitation of any offer to buy or sell securities in any jurisdiction where such an offer or solicitation is against the law, or to anyone to whom it is unlawful to make such an offer or solicitation, or if the person making the offer or solicitation is not qualified to do so. The information in this document is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, or investment advice. Potential investors are urged to consult their professional advisers on the implications of making an investment in, holding or disposing of [units/shares] of, and the receipt of distribution from any investment.

The value of investments, and the income from them, may fall or rise and investors may get back less than they invested.

Vanguard Asset Management, Limited only gives information on products and services and does not give investment advice based on individual circumstances. If you have any questions related to your investment decision or the suitability or appropriateness for you of the products described in this article, please contact your financial adviser.

Issued by Vanguard Asset Management, Limited which is authorised and regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Granite Financial Planning is delighted to announce they were "Highly Commended" in the CISI (The Chartered Institute for Securities & investment) David Norton Building Excellence Award at the 2018 Financial Planning awards held in Birmingham.

The nationwide award is named after one of the founding members of the Institute of Financial Planning, David Norton, and since its launch in 2007, the award is given annually to one business that has demonstrated excellence in their values, business strategy and structure.

Managing Director Paul Gibson said “As a relatively new business being recognised at national level is a fantastic endorsement of the work we do. David Norton was passionate about delivering financial planning and we believe it is the most important function a financial planner can perform.

The application and interview process looked at our approach to financial planning, our business plan, use of technology and whilst we were Runners Up on this occasion we will aim to continually improve our service going forward."

CISI head of Financial Planning Jacqueline Lockie CFP FCSI, said: “We are delighted to congratulate such worthy winners of this year’s Financial Planning awards.   

“It shows how good and healthy Financial Planning is in the UK.  The winners are at various stages of their own personal and business Financial Planning journeys and it is a privilege to be able to recognise the best.   

“We congratulate all the entrants for their hard work and effort that they put in not just for these awards, but on a daily basis to provide great Financial Planning to their clients.”  






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Granite Financial Planning Ltd is Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority | FCA No. 734432.
Registered in Scotland | Registered no. SC522812 | Registered address: Banchory Business Centre, Burn O’Bennie Road, Banchory, Aberdeenshire AB31 5ZU | Telephone: 01330 826544 | Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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The general financial planning guidance provided in this website is based on our understanding of current law and HM Revenue & Customs practice, which are subject to change in the future. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the content of this website is correct, it does not constitute personal financial advice and Granite Financial Planning Ltd cannot accept any responsibility for it. There is a risk that investment returns may not achieve the desired result. Investments can go down as well as up. The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is an agency for arbitrating on unresolved complaints between regulated firms and their clients. Full details of the FOS can be found on its website at Cookies are used on this website to record visitor numbers for analytics purposes.