Archive for June, 2013

Ellen’s Babes

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

This year staff, former staff, various friends, relatives and assorted dogs are taking part in The Race for Life 5k run at Aberdeen Beach on Sunday 30th June to raise money for Cancer Research UK in memory of Ellen McKenzie.  Ellen was a dear friend and colleague who sadly died at the end of last year shortly after being diagnosed with Cancer.  Ellen had just completed 30 years service with James & George Collie and her smile and bubbly personality is very much missed around the office.  Please come along and support us and should you wish to sponsor us please go to the undernoted link which will take you to our sponsor page.


Throughout each year the partners and staff raise money for charity by holding various social events and at the end of the year two charities are nominated to benefit form the money raised.  This year one of the charities will be The Anchor Unit at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary where Ellen spent some time when she was ill.


Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

The most seismic change in the provision of benefits in retirement is happening right now, but unbelievably, the majority of employers and employees directly affected by it don’t seem to know anything about it. The largest employers are already complying with the new Auto-Enrolment legislation, but every employer will be obliged to comply over the coming couple of years.

jgc-autoenrolThere is already a series of “staging dates” for the legislation, with each employer allocated a date when they must comply with the new rules based roughly on their number of employees. In addition, there will be a gradual phasing in of increased employer contributions over time, placing a mounting financial burden on employers.

In addition to this extra burden, thanks to the latest government tweak to the rules regarding advice charges, employers will require to fund all advice costs associated with the establishment of the new compulsory pension schemes.

The concept of Auto-Enrolment is pretty straightforward.

The Government want individuals to take more responsibility for their income in retirement, reducing the ever increasing reliance on the State in this area. However, due to fact that most people either don’t want or can’t be relied upon to voluntarily save for retirement, they will now be compelled to do so by the introduction of compulsory employee and employer contributions to a completely new workplace pension system.

Unfortunately, while the concept is simple, the implementation is not.

All of the responsibility is on the employer -  the staging dates for employers, determining who is eligible for the scheme, the calculation of the premiums payable, when employers have to enrol employees into the schemes and the timings  are all subject to strict rules. When these rules are coupled with a punitive array of fines and punishments for non-compliance, it helps to create an extremely dangerous and confusing time for anyone with any size of limited company, partnership or commercial enterprise who employ any number of staff.

In addition, NO existing “group” pension arrangement in place now, either personal or occupational based, will be able to deal with the extended administrative requirements generated by Auto-Enrolment. This will lead to a massive spike in the demand for new pension arrangements that are designed to deal with it, which it is expected will be hard for pension providers to meet.

In an attempt to try and manage this situation industry bodies are recommending that the “safe” lead time that should be set aside to establish a scheme could be at least one year.

This is a very challenging time for employers, but the good news is that James & George Collie Financial Management will be able help.

We can help clients identify when their staging date is, what they will need to do to comply with Auto-Enrolment, deal with the administrative cobweb that surrounds the new legislation and, perhaps more importantly, help formulate a plan for dealing with the additional costs involved with the new arrangements.

By working together we can ensure that Auto-Enrolment does not become the scary monster it could be, but is a properly managed and controlled force for real social change that doesn’t drain valuable time and cash resources.

For further information and advice please contact either Scott Middleton or John Waddell of James & George Collie Financial Management.

Reflections of a Lady President

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Wow, the first woman President of the Society of Advocates in Aberdeen – who would have thought it!

The Society has been in existence for well over 400 years and yet it was not until the mid 1960s that the first woman was admitted as a member of the Society – another Elizabeth – this time Elizabeth Barnett of A C Morrison & Richards.  When I look over the list of distinguished gentlemen who have occupied the role as President – among them a number of former partners of James & George Collie as well as our present Senior Partner, Tony Dawson, I am truly humbled and honoured by the trust placed in me.   As a dinosaur myself, I was keen to preserve the traditions of the Society but at the same time was conscious that any such organisation needs to evolve and remain relevant to the needs of a modernising profession.


It was a whirlwind of a year.  One of our past Presidents defined the purposes of the Society as “Representation, Education and Socialisation”, or rather “Inebriation”, which is a much more apt description.   We have, during the course of the year, raised with the Law Society a number of issues which have caused concern to our members.  We have provided Continuous Professional Development through seminars, and under the heading of “Socialisation/Inebriation” arranged a varied programme of social events throughout the year, which included monthly lunches in our magnificent library, fundraising quiz and race nights, theatre dining evenings, away days to Pitlochry Theatre, Perth Races and Sunday lunch at Creagan, to name but a few.

My chosen Charity during my Presidential year was The Euan MacDonald Centre for Research into Motor Neurone Disease not only MND but also Parkinson’s Disease, MS and diseases generally where the function of the motor neurones is affected.  Members and Friends of the Society have put together a Recipe Book “Canapés at Court and other Culinary Concoctions” which is now on sale price £7.50.  Copies are available direct from the Society by contacting Maria Robertson on or the Firm.  It is a very worthy cause and your support would be appreciated.

I demitted office last November after a very busy and most enjoyable year with the huge and added satisfaction of having broken the glass ceiling which hopefully will result in the appointment of further Lady Presidents in the years to come.   I will now try to reclaim my waistline after the many formal Dinners and Social Events I attended representing the Society.

Liz Mackinnon


Society of Advocates in Aberdeen



Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

James & George Collie are pleased to announce the opening of two new offices in Aberdeen, one dedicated to the sale of residential properties and the other to residential property leasing.


Our dedicated property sales office has recently opened at 450 Union Street, in the heart of Aberdeen city centre.  Located between Rose Street and Chapel Street, the sales office enjoys a high level of pedestrian traffic and provides ideal exposure for properties on the market for sale.

The former shop premises have been completely refurbished with all new fixtures and fittings, a flat screen television displaying properties and a resident solicitor’s office.

The new sales office is designed to help James & George Collie provide an excellent property sales service to all clients and to continue to grow our market share in property sales.  In the year to date we have placed record numbers of properties on the market for sale and have concluded contracts for the sale of properties with a total value exceeding £25,000,000.

Since the start of the year sales activity and property prices in Aberdeen have increased markedly with many properties receiving offers shortly after going on the market for sale and with closing dates returning with some regularity.

With our new dedicated sales office James & George Collie are well placed to continue to expand our presence in the local housing market and to provide for all the needs of our clients.

For further information or advice please contact the property sales office on 01224 572777 or estate agency partner Brian Sutton on 01224 563340.

The leasing office is now at 30 Bon-Accord Street, Aberdeen, the former home of Streetwise First.  This is just to the side of James & George Collie’s main office at 1 East Craibstone Street, Aberdeen.  Significant internal alterations were carried out including the installation of a “glass wall” which has helped transform and open up the building.

The leasing market continues to grow from strength to strength with exceptionally high demand for rental properties, increasing rents and with most city centre flats receiving multiple offers and being snapped up within days of going on the market.

With approximately 300 properties under management, the Property Leasing team are looking forward to serving the needs of clients old and new from their smart new surroundings.

For further assistance or information please contact James & George Collie Property Leasing on 01224 583338 or leasing manageress Joanne Finn on 563389.