Frequently Asked Questions

We value absolute clarity with our clients.  If there is anything you want to know that is now covered by our FAQ please just ask.

What is Financial Planning?

We use Financial Planning to help our clients to identify, achieve and maintain their desired future lifestyle without the fear of ever running out of money – no matter what happens.

What is Wealth Management?

Wealth Management is where investment advice combines financial planning, investment portfolio management and other financial services such as tax and lifestyle planning. It is not based around a single area such as investments, and can include themes around Wealth Creation, Wealth Preservation and Wealth Distribution.

Who uses Wealth Managers?

Usually Business Owners, High Net Worth individuals, Charities, Trusts and families call upon our services to coordinate all issues around their wealth. This involves working in tandem with the client’s existing professional adviser(s) such as their accountant or solicitor.

What is the difference between Financial Planning and Independent Financial Advice?

Financial Planning involves identifying what is important to you, and then understanding why it is so. Once your aspirations are clearly identified and understood, your own personal Financial Plan will lay out a Road Map detailing how to achieve them.

Independent Financial Advice is where a particular product or investment from the whole of the market is recommended to help achieve the overall Financial Plan.

Is there a difference between a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and an IFA?

Yes, most certainly. Whilst you don’t have to be a CFP in order to qualify as an IFA, you do need to be an IFA to qualify as a CFP! So, choosing to hire a CFP means you should get the best of both worlds.

Why charge fees? I didn’t used to pay directly in the past…

Actually, if you are used to the commission model, you did pay a fee!

When an IFA recommends a product and you buy it, the product provider will usually pay a commission to the adviser. This commission is an additional charge built into the product. So although you might not feel it to start with (because you didn’t physically write out a cheque), the commission will have a similar effect to adding arrangement fees onto a loan….the charges will mean either a higher premium has to be paid (in the case of insurance products) or the initial investment amount is lower, or the investment growth rate is lower.

In most cases, the fees we charge are lesser than the amount of commission available.

Paying by a fee (as opposed to commission) is direct, so you see what you get for what you pay. A fee agreement will detail your entitlements from the firm and give a time frame by when things should be done.

As we are fee-based, you can be confident that our investment recommendations are completely impartial and are designed to meet your objectives rather than generate unnecessary commissions.

We have found that clients want to understand the various layers product providers have to hide extra fees, and they want to know where their money is going.

As of 1st January 2013 commission will cease to be paid on new investment and pension business

I know what advice I want, why do you insist on having several meetings before I get an answer?

Most “advisors” traditionally conducted 2 meetings, if that. At the 1st meeting they identify your shortfalls so they know what product(s) they can sell you. At the 2nd meeting you are then convinced to sign up for products based on some nice persuasive tactics.

We will show you the value we can bring to you. Be it through financial understanding, having a clear strategy which you can believe in, reduced charges, tax savings…you will understand the value we will bring. If, however, you are not prepared to invest in unpressurised time getting to know how we can help you…and develop a long term relationship based on trust, we might not be right for each other!

Over 14 years of dealing with clients has shown us that people want structure, organisation and certainty. Most like to consider what has been recommended prior to making some of the most important financial decisions of their lives. We are not interested in quick deals. We will take time to get to know you and give you ample time to make up your mind.

What is the client log in for?

This is an area where our clients can enter a secure site and see all their investments and their values. It enables secure communication with the adviser and allows documents to be uploaded and downloaded through an encrypted channel. We prioritise financial organisation so seeing all investments (even expenses) and most of their daily values will give you the confidence of being in control. Clients are able to download their own personal App through the Apple Store or Google Play.

Why use a Certified Financial Planner (CFP)?

A CFP professional is a Financial Planner who has completed a high level qualification so you can be sure that you are receiving advice from someone who has been appropriately tested on their financial knowledge and planning skills. In the UK, CFPs are closely monitored by the Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) which has now merged with the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment (CISI). This professional body knows that it is important to you that your Financial Planner is someone who you can trust, and that is why they make sure that all CFP professionals keep up to date by completing ongoing professional development activities to maintain and develop their knowledge and skills.

  • A Certified Financial Planner is a professional you can trust
  • A CFP professional adheres to strict rules and regulations so you can always be sure you’re receiving the best advice
  • A CFP professional talks with you to work out what you really want from life and how you achieve this with healthy finances
  • There are over 150,000 CFP professionals globally so you know you are getting world class advice
  • The UK has just over 1,000 CFP professionals

What is the difference between a Chartered Financial Planner and a Certified Financial Planner?

This can be explained by 2 factors: Knowledge and Application.

There are around 16 exams one must pass in order to become Chartered. This will enable the adviser to gain extensive knowledge about the many aspects of financial planning. However having the knowledge does not necessarily mean one can apply it! The Certified route tests an adviser’s ability to apply that knowledge, again through rigorous testing for a particular client scenario.

Both camps (Chartered or Certified) will naturally say they are the best . . . which is why we have chosen to have both qualifications. This gives our clients, as well as us, the confidence to show that we really can make a difference to their lives through identifying current and potential problems and then by devising creative solutions which will give them the peace of mind to live the life that they really want.

Is there any advantage of choosing the commission option?

Some clients actively request this option to avoid paying VAT on the fees charged. The rather confusing rules at present go along the lines of saying that VAT could be payable for advice should there not be a product transaction which generates commission.

Business owners on the other hand like to pay fees as they can offset it as a business expense.

What is the purpose of your Initial Meeting?

For anyone wanting to become a client of ours, we must establish what we expect of each other. This is best done by finding out whether our values are in line and whether we can make a real difference to you. We do not charge for this meeting (it is purely at our cost) and it should last no longer than 40 minutes.

You will get the chance to see the firm, how we operate and how we have helped others in the past. Quite simply, this is your chance to see whether we are right for each other.

What examples of fees are payable for advice?

Find out which one of our Strategies or Programmes can help you achieve your financial goals sooner