Our Approach to Services

We provide our financial advisers with a range of all-inclusive services for them so they can focus on their clients and this is not to be confused with the advice services our financial advisers provide for their clients.

However, for their clients, we provide a comprehensive Terms of Business that covers all the services (and support) our advisers issue:

  • Client Advice Agreement (CAA)
  • Client Support Agreement (CSA)

Here are twenty adviser dos and don’ts which include many of the processes we have adopted in our business and where adoption of these changes is essential to your progress too and to you providing a first class, trouble free and comprehensive client service experience.

  1. Connect with clients about their lifestyle. This is what the client wants to keep, and the adviser needs to be interested in that. Make a fact find discussion less about facts and more about helping them achieve dreams and goals.
  2. Find your client’s lifestyle wealth figure. They’ve either surpassed it, so they can consider giftings; or they have a shortfall, so they can consider savings and accumulating assets. Make sure you truly engage with the client and explain the principle of enough money; that enough money is needed to fund a lifestyle and no more.
  3. Avoid the product discussion. Do not discuss products and avoid getting drawn into any product discussion. Products are tools to achieve a goal or bigger game. The game is for clients to achieve their ‘enough money’ figure and the goals are small steps needed to reach bigger game.
  4. Identify the right problem; there should be no products in any problem. For example, a client wanting to take tax-free cash from their pension to fund a new motor home is not a problem, it’s a solution to the fact they can’t afford to buy a motor home. The advice would be on the best way to raise funds to maintain their lifestyle.
  5. Pension freedoms do not mean you are there to facilitate the client’s instructions. Just because a client has read they can take their full fund as cash doesn’t mean they should. You are there to provide advice.
  6. There is no such thing as a top-up. This type of discussion is a transactional product discussion which, as stated, is to be avoided. The problem is that the client wishes to invest for some reason. Identify the reason and advise; treat all top-ups as new money.
  7. There is no such thing as an ‘insistent client’. Clients who insist are not clients, they should either accept the process of advice or not engage. An adviser guiding a client by way of pointing them in the right direction is deemed to have given advice. This is not financial planning.
  8. If you advise on an investment vehicle, you also advise on the investment within. Advice on an investment vehicle, such as SIPP, is also advice on the investment held. Investments must match their risk.
  9. There is no such thing as limited advice. All advice should be about achieving or maintaining a client’s lifestyle, which means finding the amount of money they need in their whole estate to have the retirement lifestyle they expect.
  10. Initial advice and ongoing support must be mutually exclusive. One can exist without the other and future ongoing support fees should not be considered as advice fees. Equally, initial advice fees must not influence the ongoing support fees.
  11. All fees must be charged as per your Client Advice Agreement. A firm must decide on their client charging structure at the outset. It can be fixed, hourly or a percentage.
  12. Regular contributions should first be converted. It is easier to interpret regular premium contributions as a single lump sum and over how many years. Convert to a single lump sum and then apply
  13. Ongoing support – trail commission has gone for investment and pensions. You now have to demonstrate what the client is paying for and also recording that you are providing that service.
  14. Auto enrolment should only be charged for initial advice. Ensure there are no ongoing charges to firm or individuals for ongoing support; this is controlled by the AE firms and their accounting software. Advise only on the scheme research for best fit AE solution for firms and leave them to get on with it.
  15. Treating clients fairly is paramount. It is not possible to change charging for one client over another simply because you have deemed them to be ‘better clients’.
  16. Demonstrate your independence. Don’t restrict yourself by using the same provider/funds for every client. Choose the most appropriate products for your specific client problem, whether that is driven by cost, choice, technology, service or features.
  17. Stop trying to find any easy route. Charge the correct amount to ensure you can spend the time required to give the best advice. Explain your worth and charge for it; clients will pay for a professional process and quality advice.
  18. Risk is the key. A client can’t complain about a product/fund performance, but can complain about being subjected to the wrong level of risk. Make sure the product/fund matches the client’s attitude to risk and demonstrate how.
  19. Use all your best skills, and learn from every client meeting. Invest time in your own self-development. Improve your knowledge by reading more, learning more and bridge your own skills gap through active course attendance on top of regular CPD.
  20. Market yourself through profile development. Ask your clients to recommend you on their social media platforms, write a blog, attend a local event, and seek strong introducers to generate business.