The end of the 2023-24 tax year is only one month away. Now, in February 2024, is an opportune time to review your investments and make the best use of your available allowances. Below, our Teesside financial planners offer four ideas to optimise your portfolio before we commence the 2024-25 tax year. We hope these insights are helpful to you. Please contact us for more information or to speak with a financial adviser:

t: 01228 210 137`
e: [email protected]


#1 Tax optimisation

Investors often forget about the impact of taxes on their “real returns” (dividends, capital gains and interest after costs). In 2023-24, for a Higher Rate taxpayer, capital gains tax (CGT) stands at 28% on chargeable gains from residential property and 20% on other chargeable assets. For instance, a £20,000 profit generated when selling shares would incur a £4,000 tax bill.

Fortunately, there are many investor “tools” to help mitigate unnecessary taxes. Right now, the tax-free CGT allowance stands at £6,000 for an individual taxpayer. On 6 April 2024, however, this Annual Exempt Amount will shrink to £3,000. As such, maximising your CGT allowance before the deadline could help you keep more of your hard-earned returns.


#2 Fee mitigation

Investment fees (e.g. fund management fees) are another cost that can erode an investor’s returns. These, again, often go unnoticed. In the view of our financial advisers here in Carlisle, higher costs are only justified if they can realistically deliver higher performance.

However, many active funds simply do not “beat the market” consistently, despite charging investors higher fees on the basis that they can outperform benchmark indexes. Here, a financial adviser can be invaluable in helping you sift through different funds and their fees – building a cost-efficient portfolio which still delivers strong long-term results.

Be careful also with your own investment activity. Excessive buying and selling within an investment platform, for instance, can build up high transaction fees (e.g. commission and/or “spread” costs). Rather, investors will typically benefit more from occasional “rebalancing” of their portfolios with the help of an adviser – perhaps once or twice a year. This keeps costs down and helps to maintain a long-term perspective on your investments.


#3 Asset allocation

Whilst it is important not to try and “time the market”, investors do need to keep an eye on the wider macroeconomic landscape and make timely strategic decisions about their asset allocation. For instance, interest rates (and their likely direction) play a key role in portfolio planning. If you expect these to fall in 2024 and 2025, how might that impact your choices about fixed-term securities (e.g. bonds), money market funds, and your mortgage?

Here, it is vital to consider your investment horizon. When do you expect to need the money from your portfolio? Those approaching retirement should consider speaking with a financial adviser to ensure that they make the best decisions about their pensions. For instance, “de-risking” a portfolio in the years leading up to retirement can help to protect the value of the underlying investments in the possible event of a market crash.


#4 Diversification

This is one of the hardest principles to follow as an investor. A lack of diversification can leave an investor’s portfolio overly vulnerable if a single investment falls in value (or even fails). On the other hand, spreading across too many investments can “dilute” a portfolio – undermining its potential to deliver strong returns.

Moreover, maintaining an appropriate diversification “balance” becomes harder as an investor’s goals and risk tolerance change. The shifting performance of each underlying investment will eventually unbalance the investor’s asset allocation – leading to the need to make complex decisions. Which assets should you buy and sell to bring everything back on track?

A financial adviser is invaluable for helping with these matters. A professional can also highlight important issues that you may have missed in your strategy. For instance, “liquidity risk” can present a hidden danger to many investors – making it difficult to rebalance your portfolio due to a lack of buyers in the market. A financial adviser can help account for factors such as liquidity risk when building a new portfolio and address the issue wisely in an existing one.



Taking time to optimise your investments can have impressive results over the long term. It might seem obsessive to focus on reducing fees by a single percentage point, for example. Yet over several decades, one percent of extra fees (each year) could erode a portfolio by thousands of pounds. Similarly, taking tax planning seriously and selecting funds carefully could make a big difference to an individual’s net worth – possibly bearing upon key matters such as their retirement lifestyle and/or how much wealth is eventually left to loved ones after death.

If you would like to discuss your financial plan and investment strategy, then we would love to hear from you. Get in touch with your Financial Planner here at Vesta Wealth in Cumbria, Teesside, and across the North of England.

Reach us via:
t: 01228 210 137
e: [email protected]

This content is for information purposes only. It should not be taken as financial or investment advice. To receive personalised, regulated financial advice regarding your affairs please consult your Financial Planner here at Vesta Wealth in Cumbria, Teesside and across the North of England.



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