As we approach the end of another year, we here at Face to Face Finance are wrapping up the year, looking at what’s happened as well as thinking about what our plans are for 2022. So, in this article, we’re writing up our year-end review, giving you a whistle stop tour of some of the events in the financial world this year, as well as what’s been going on right here at Face to Face Finance HQ!

It’s safe to say that this year hasn’t quite gone how we perhaps expected. But, with restrictions lifted for most of the summer, there’s been a real chance to get back to some semblance of normality. Covid continues to dominate headlines and it’s a real driver of economic and financial change, but we also got a budget and plenty of other news in 2021.

So, let’s dive right in to the Face to Face Finance Year in Review for 2021!

2021 Headlines: FTSE 100

Before we go into any specifics, let’s start with a quick look at the FTSE 100 for the year. The FTSE is a tracker of the top 100 stocks listed at the London Stock Exchange, so it’s a good measure for overall belief in the economy as a whole. Despite considerable economic challenges, the FTSE looks likely to ende the year substantially higher than it began.

The FTSE 100 closed on 4th January 2021 at 6571.88, which still reflects a decent rally from the October 2020 lows of under 5600. This year saw mostly steady inclines as public confidence in the economy continued to grow, and at 16th December the FTSE was at around 7255. This essentially means the FTSE is now tracking at roughly pre-pandemic levels, and this comes despite recent announcements of a new variant and some restrictions.

2021 Headlines: The Financial Sector

News in the financial sector this year was broadly dominated by the Chancellor’s announcement of two budgets, first in March, with an Autumn Budget following in October.

The Budget 2021, announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in March, included the freezing of tax thresholds, an increase to the contactless limit, and an extension to the stamp duty holiday. For businesses, the Chancellor announced an increase to corporation tax and extended the reduced VAT rate until the end of September to help promote a post-lockdown economic recovery. You can read more of our analysis on this budget here.

In the Autumn Budget, the Chancellor announced increases to minimum wage, changes to duties on flights and alcohol, a freeze on petrol duty, and increased the taper rate on Universal Credit. Find out more about the Autumn Budget in our article here.

For homeowners, the stamp duty holiday, in place for much of 2021, meant there were substantial savings on offer for those looking to move house, and the house market in the UK has been buoyant for much of the year, with a sizeable amount of us choosing to take advantage and move home.

2021 also saw announcements of changes to the way social care costs would be managed in the country, as well as an increase to National Insurance Contributions, which is then due to be split out into a separate levy.

2021 Headlines: Face to Face Finance

So, it was a busy year for the financial sector, with 2 budgets and a host of other changes put in place. It’s been a similarly busy year for us here at Face to Face Finance. Here’s a quick run down of everything we’ve been up to.

January

Julie Hunt was a guest speaker at an event called Purpose Power Prosperity – Business Breakthrough, a 14-day virtual and interactive business event.

Emma Knights achieved accreditation in Relational Financial Planning, completing a four month training programme.

The Money Compass podcast was a finalist in a Podcasting for Business Award, in the Best Educational Podcast category.

February

Face to Face Finance ran a free webinar for the Norfolk Chambers of Commerce, all about how to use PIPSI to get a grip on your current financial situation.

April

Julie started writing her book, which you all now know as The Money Compass. An Insider’s Guide to Financial Success.

May

In May, we finally returned to the office, ending a long period of remote working (although many of us still work flexibly as we need to!)

June

More exam accomplishments! Phoebe passed her R05 Protection exam, and Sophie passed her R04 Pensions exam. Congratulations to both!

July

In July, we celebrated the first year anniversary of The Money Compass podcast by posting three special episodes with our hosts!

Face to Face Finance won a Money Age Award, in the Financial Adviser Award: Small to Medium Firm of the Year category!

August

In August, Becky celebrated her 10-year anniversary at Face to Face Finance, and she also passed an exam in Long Term Care and Later Life Planning. Emma also passed her ER1 Equity Release exam.

September

Face to Face Finance supported Make A Will Month in August, by supporting the Norfolk & Norwich Hospitals Charity and raising awareness about leaving gifts for charities in your will.

We were also absolutely delighted to launch the Money Compass website.

October

Some big news in October, as Face to Face Finance won the Money Age Award for Small to Medium Firm of the year! This was actually the second year in a row that we won this award, and we were absolutely chuffed.

Face to Face Finance and Julie were also shortlisted for two Norfolk Business Awards, Julie for Business Person of the Year, and Face to Face Finance for the Education in Business award.

We also published two books in October. The third book from our Director of Happiness, Eddie Teddie was released, called Eddie Teddie and the Bees. We donated the proceeds of this book to Sunnyfields Honey and Home to help honey bee populations.

Julie also published her book, The Money Compass, An Insider’s Guide to Financial Success, which was an overnight success, achieving Amazon best seller status in 13 categories! You can still get copies of the book here.

We also went to the B2B Exhibition in October. Whew – what a busy month!

November

In November, we went to the Norfolk Business Awards ceremony and had a fantastic night. We didn’t win either of the awards we were shortlisted for, but still had a great experience, and it was fantastic just to be shortlisted!

December

In December, we were delighted to have been able to celebrate Christmas in the office, with lots of presents exchanged and festivities. Julie even made a gluten free Christmas pudding for all the team to enjoy!

Well, there you have it. A run-through of everything that happened in 2021, for Face to Face Finance and in the financial sector at large.

Hope you all have a very merry festive period, and we look forward to seeing you all in 2022!

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