Is Independent Advice all it is cracked up to be?
You hear a lot in the media when they discuss personal finance issues, about the importance of getting independent financial advice. Is it so important that the advice you get is independent? We believe it is…
To give you a sense of why it is so important, it’s probably useful to briefly cover what we mean by independent advice. This is advice that is given to a client on the basis that any product recommendations that may emerge, will deliver the very best product available in the market for the client. Independent advice is delivered by professionals, with access to products right across the market. These are usually financial advisers such as ourselves!
Non-independent advice is typically delivered by banks and direct sales forces from life assurance companies who only sell the products of a single company, irrespective of whether that is the best product in the market or not.
So why is your relationship with your independent financial adviser so important?
We’re here for the long haul
This is what we do; we provide independent financial advice. Our expertise is helping you manage your finances, grow your wealth, plan for your retirement and provide financial security for your family. We want to build up a professional, trusted relationship with you now and for many years to come, helping you achieve your financial goals. If we can help you do that, we’ll be successful too!
We don’t lend money, we don’t give out credit cards and we don’t hold your money on deposit. Banks are (supposed to be) good at that, as that is their role in your financial affairs. However are you going to build up the same trusted relationship with them as the provider of financial advice to you, where the person you deal with potentially changes from one meeting to the next?
Our advice is based on you
The critical requirement of financial advice is that it is based on your specific needs. Your current financial situation, your financial objectives, your attitude to risk. We spend a lot of time at the outset building up our understanding of you, as the time invested here reaps rewards as we progress. You see understanding your needs is the cornerstone of any recommendations we might make. Once we clarify these needs, then we can go out to the market to find the very best product for your specific circumstances, giving you the best chance of achieving your financial objectives.
The product provider is secondary
Of course the provider of your financial product is important, maybe that is a life assurance policy, a pension plan or an investment fund. But where you are getting independent advice, the provider is secondary. Because we ultimately have access to products across the market, we don’t have to start with a particular product and try to “force fit” your circumstances to make them suitable for the product. We’re not biased towards one provider, instead our product choice process starts with you. We identify your particular need and identify the right product in the market for you.
Of course underpinning this is the due diligence that we carry out on the products in the market, ensuring that they are all that they are supposed to be. As a result we recommend products based on a wide range of factors including;
- Provider security
- Price and charges
- Product features
- Investment range and methodology
- Investment performance
- Claims payment record
- Customer service levels
And similar to everything else in the world, this landscape constantly changes. So we are constantly updating our knowledge of providers and their products and refining our recommendations as a result.
We do the legwork
Managing your financial affairs properly is a complex business. Gathering all your personal information and keeping this up to date, making sense of your assets & liabilities and your income & expenditure, getting all the information in relation to any existing financial products and turning all of this into a financial plan takes time. And then you need to stay on top of this, and keep it updated every year to ensure that your plan stays on track and that your financial objectives remain within reach.
You can try to do this yourself, however in our humble opinion we are probably more skilled and quicker at doing this for you, as this is what we do, day in and day out. We are qualified professionals who have trained for many years to provide this advice to our clients. All carried out with the aim of finding the right solutions for you.
We are your trusted adviser
At the end of the day, you want to ensure that you have an adviser with your best interests at heart, free from any bias. When you’re sick, you go to the doctor, if you need legal advice, you go to a solicitor. When you need financial advice, you should visit an expert financial professional. That person is your independent financial adviser.