General

How, and how much, do you charge clients?
When considering whether or not to take financial advice, it is likely that one of the first questions to pop into your head will in relation to fees. We will disclose transparently how we charge, how we are regulated and lots of other key information you will find useful and will want to know.

Do you have experience of a situation similar to my own?
We work with a broad range of people (and businesses) with different circumstances and at different life stages. Feel free to ask to see a case study or to speak to an existing client if you would like to.

What services do you provide?
We are a one-stop-shop for financial advice and we have close relationships with local accountants and solicitors.

Will I work solely with you, or with a team?
When you engage with us, you will work with Alex and his team of four people.

How often, and via what medium, will you communicate?
Because of the holistic nature of financial advice, we are in regular contact with our clients. At minimum we undertake an annual review with you but typically we communicate with our clients every few months, either via email, telephone or face-to-face.

Whose responsibility is it to ensure regular contact is made?
Both! If we have to repeatedly chase clients we know the relationship is not working. It is important that as a client you are responsive, this enables us to do a great job for you and that timely recommendations are not missed. If you find it hard to respond reasonably quickly, then using a financial adviser is probably not for you. We encourage our clients to pick up the phone and talk to us about changes to their financial circumstances and goals. This way we will be able to provide you with high quality, excellent value financial advice.

How do you deal with someone who has more than one financial objective?
We listen to our clients and help them to assess and define their key financial goals. We are then able to provide a tailored multi-product strategy which addresses different planning objectives, risk and growth, income and / or accumulation.

What is your approach to investment?
We provide tailored recommendations based on your circumstances, goals, attitude to risk, capacity for loss and tolerance for volatility plus other softer variables. We are not fund managers or traders, we are financial advisers and financial planners, although we have a strong knowledge of financial markets we do not have a crystal ball and cannot predict the future. Our remit is to get you from A to B in an efficient way over your life journey, which requires a robust planning approach and a sound financial strategy.

How regularly will you assess my financial situation and provide a progress summary?
We keep up-to-date with current and political affairs, regulatory changes, legislative changes, the financial markets and the domestic and global economic and market backdrop. If there is something that we feel is material to your financial situation we will be in touch to discuss. We review client portfolios and check key client suitability variables regularly to check for anomalies and to gauge that our recommendations are indeed still suitable.

Do you have any clients that would be willing to speak about their experiences?
Yes, and we also have numerous independent reviews online which you can view. We have also put together case studies for prospective clients to look at. You can of course ask to speak with an existing client who is of a similar demographic if you want to.

Why do you think you will be a good adviser for me?
This is a personal decision and the first meeting, which is paid for by us, is a good time to gauge whether you feel comfortable working with us and vice versa.

What should I expect from our first meeting, and is there anything I should bring with me?
The first meeting is paid for by us. During this initial meeting, we will go through background about the company, our people and the services costs . We will normally then do a fact find to form a picture of your financial circumstances, goals, attitude to risk and capacity for loss and volatility tolerance. We ask prospective clients to bring a form of photo id with them to a first meeting and any policy documentation that might be relevant.

How can I keep track of my money?
Typically you will be able to see your investments on a digital platform but we also send out regular performance updates, as required. You will also have at a minimum an annual review and typically more regular contact than this.

What type of clients do you work with?

We enjoy working with our clients knowing that they appreciate the hard work that we do and the skills we have developed over our careers to provide best advice and good value. Those clients who are responsive, who engage with us regularly tend and who value and listen to our professional advice tend to get the most out of the professional relationship. If you are considering coming on board as a client, it is important to understand that we are a business and thus we charge for the services we provide. We service and provide advice acout our clients’ key financial assets: If you do not think that this is worth paying for, again you probably should not be considering using a financial adviser. The analogy we use is that if you have a medical issue you go to see a doctor, you don’t try to fix it yourself! The same goes for quality financial advice.

What can a personal adviser help me with?

A financial adviser will help you to reach your short, medium and long term financial and life goals. We provide advice on all areas of your finances, including pensions, mortgages, savings & investments, as well as many other things.

Pensions

What will you do with my pension?

The first step is to have a fact find meeting, which we provide at our own cost – this provides us with the information we require to be able to make an accurate assessment of your financial circumstances, goals, attitude to risk, capacity for loss, tolerance for volatility and other key variables. At the end of this meeting we will provide you with a top-level overview of any areas in your financial plan that need attention. As a pre-requisite to being able to cost up work we typically send Letters of Information to your existing pension providers and once we have enough information we can price up any proposed work. Everyone’s circumstances are unique and what we recommend will be different for each client.

I have multiple pensions but I don’t know what to do with them, can you help?

As most people have several different jobs in their lifetime most people have several legacy ex-occupational pensions. We can review your existing pension arrangements to establish whether they are suitably invested and what they will provide you with when you retire. Sometimes, it may be appropriate to consolidate your pensions with one company as this is easier to keep track of and control.

I am retiring now but I don’t understand the paperwork my pension company has sent me, can I get a better deal elsewhere?

It is becoming more common for providers to ‘low ball’ clients in regards to the annual lifetime income that is offered. This is because providers must factor in revised longevity statistics (people are living longer) as well as recent very low interest rates and lower financial market returns.  We also understand that pension companies can provide you with a lot of paperwork about the pension they are offering you, which might be difficult to understand. You do not have to take your pension from the company you have saved with, and may be that you are able to get a better income with a different company.

Will you be able to get me a better deal?

Normally, yes. After our initial meeting we will look at your savings and investments and decide if they are in the correct place depending on your personal attitude to risk, capacity for loss and tolerance to volatility and investment horizon.

What will you do with my savings and investments?

After the fact find meeting where we discuss what you want to do with your savings/investments, and what your goals are, etc. We will then help you step by step to achieve these – they could be anything, from just increasing your investments’ performance, to saving for a deposit on a new home.

What is an annuity?

An annuity is a type of insurance policy that provides a regular income in exchange for a lump sum.

What is the tax free cash? How much can I get?

When taking out an annuity you are usually allowed to take part of your pension pot as tax free cash. You can take up to 25% of your pension but the rest must typically be converted into an annuity. However, the government has changed the rules and pensioners can now take as much of as little from their pension as they wish to (flexi access drawdown) although that depends on the pension wrapper that you are in.

Savings and Investments

What will you do with my savings and investments?

After the fact find meeting where we discuss what you want to do with your savings/investments, and what your goals are, etc. We will then help you step by step to achieve these – they could be anything, from just increasing your investments’ performance, to saving for a deposit on a new home.

Will you be able to get me a better deal?

Normally, yes. After our initial meeting we will look at your savings and investments and decide if they are in the correct place depending on your personal attitude to risk, capacity for loss and tolerance to volatility and investment horizon.

Mortgages

What can you do for me?

We can help you to find the right mortgage for you. We are an independent mortgage brokerage as well as being financial advisers. This means that we will consider all of your circumstances, not just those relating solely to your mortgage. This is important as a mortgage is not just a financial product, it is a key part of your financial plan. If you get it right you can benefit, if you get it wrong, in a worst-case scenario, you could lose your home. Ascertaining exactly how much you can afford to borrow and keeping monthly repayments at an affordable level is key. We will help you to find the best deal on the market, and find a solution that is fully tailored to you personally. We specialise in brokering mortgage for Limited Company Directors, Large loans over £1m and Let-to-buy or equity release where you would release equity from one home to fund the purchase of another house. We charge a brokerage fee of £699 per mortgage.

How can you help me when I remortgage my property?

We will look at all of your details and do all the “shopping around” for you, all the affordability calculations and then make a suitable recommendation – consulting all the different providers, finding out where you can get the best deal.

I’m looking to purchase a property in order to rent it out, how should I proceed?

If you have already decided on the property you would like to purchase, we can help you find the best deal on both a buy-to-let and residential mortgage. The calculations can be complex when releasing equity from one home to fund the purchase of another house.  This involves leveraging which means taking financial risk, so it is a good idea to use a chartered financial adviser / independent mortgage broker to help ensure your loans are structured correctly in line with your financial circumstances. We will help you through he processes and answer any concerns that you may have – guiding you through every step of the process.

Insurance

How can you help me when I come to looking for life insurance?

We can advise you and structure correctly what kind of personal and / or business insurance you will need. Part of this means looking at whether policies should be set-up in trust, tax efficiency, looking at IHT liabilities, etc. Insurance is probably the most important financial product you will take out so making sure you get it right should be important to you, your family and your business. If you get it wrong, because for example, you have attempted to do it yourself on an aggregator site, you could be effectively be throwing money away.

What type of insurance do I need?

That depends on your financial circumstances and goals, affordability, work contract, etc. We will assess these and provide suitable recommendations.

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