We take the time to listen to you, understand your financial needs and goals and then, using our wealth of combined experience, propose and, with your agreement, set up a comprehensive plan to meet them. Once the plan is in place, we can review it regularly to ensure it remains on track and aligned with your possibly changing needs. In essence, our job is to guide you through the various financial ups and downs as you progress through life. We explain all aspects of your plan clearly, including details of the associated costs; our over-arching goal is for our advice to be of real value to you and your family. Below we explain how we work in more detail.
To understand you we need you to tell us about your life, your financial circumstances and what you would like to achieve in terms of lifestyle now and into the future. It is preferable to involve your partner, if appropriate, in these discussions. We will ask for specific information about your lifestyle and your current financial position, including those of your partner, family and any other dependents. We help you think through what you would like to achieve in life, for instance help your children financially, start a business or retire aged 50. We ask you about your attitude to and your beliefs about money: are you a spender or a saver? All investments carry a degree of risk, and, using risk profiling software that involves answering a few straightforward questions, we establish the level of investment risk you are willing and able to take. To give your plan the best chance of achieving your goals it is important to be frank and open during these discussions – there are no right or wrong answers.
Preparing your financial plan
Armed with this detailed information, we start by reviewing your current financial position including any products and plans you already have, checking that they are fit for purpose. These could include pensions, ISAs, shares in a business and rental property. Next we work out how much you need to achieve your various goals and the timescales involved, for instance, helping your children through university in five years and retiring in 15 years. We consider various scenarios that might help you achieve them, often with the help of cash flow modelling software to assess how much you are likely to need in the future. When assessing the scenarios we take into account variable factors such as taxes, inflation and market conditions together with your attitude to investment risk. Having selected the scenario we think best suited to your and your life goals, which might involve taking action to reduce tax and optimise investments (including their ongoing costs), we put together a detailed proposal which we talk through with you in depth.
Setting up your financial plan
If you decide to go ahead with our recommendations and you have given us the authority to proceed, we start setting up your plan. We call this the implementation stage. If any changes are to be made, we work out the best time to do them (they may not all be made at once, for instance, some may be made in the current tax year and others in the next, to make full use of annual allowances) and the order in which they happen and agree this with you in advance. For new investments and plans we contact the product providers on your behalf, give them the required information, and prepare all the paperwork for you to sign. We regularly update you with progress. You can decide how you want to receive information about your holdings: by post, secure log in to our client portal, or on our client App.
Check and refine
It makes sense to check that your financial plan is on track to achieve its objectives every year or so. If you have appointed us as your financial adviser on an ongoing basis, we will check progress against your agreed plan regularly, generally once a year. We will ask you if your or your family’s financial circumstances or your life goals have changed in any way, review your current plans and provide you with a suitability assessment. This will indicate whether your investments and financial products continue to meet your needs and remain tax-efficient in light of any government changes, and highlight any actions you could consider taking.
Plus, life doesn’t stand still. There are bound to be some changes along the way: you may get promoted, change jobs, take a career break, inherit some money, or maybe you will rethink your life goals. If anything in your life changes it is likely to have financial implications. We therefore encourage you to keep us up-to-date with any significant changes so that we can adapt your plans accordingly.