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Our advisers are well positioned to give investment advice based on what is best for you the client.
By having a sound overall financial strategy you are able to recognise that your finances are in a constant state of change. Understand where you are and where you ultimately want to be. Not only do financial markets fluctuate, but your financial needs also change over time. However it is far easier to predict the changes in your financial life stages than it is to predict the direction of the financial markets.
There are two different considerations when discussing risk. One is your overall attitude to risk for your estate and then the specific risk that you are prepared to take with the investments you are intending or being recommended. The two are not necessarily the same.
If I asked you if you were prepared to invest your home to produce a 20% growth, but the downside is you could lose your home, you are unlikely to be prepared to take the consequence of loss whatever the possible return. This is because it would have such a large impact on you if it were to fail. If, however, I asked if you were prepared to invest 2% of your investment in assets which could produce 20% growth, with the same scenario of possibly losing all of the investment, you MAY be prepared to take the consequence of loss as it may have very little, if any, impact on you.
There is one further important note to add here. By spreading and diversifying investments you are reducing the risk of an investment. Whilst it is true to say, any equity holding you hold shows you are prepared to see fluctuations in the value of those investments, that is an over simplification. Classifying equity holdings as high risk once again ignores that holding shares in one company is far riskier than holding shares in 100 different companies.
Finally the length one holds an investment plays an important part in assessing risk.
The advice process normally requires an initial fact-finding meeting, which we are happy to conduct without charge or obligation. This would generally last for one hour or more, depending on the complexity of your financial situation. By appointment, it can be held at our offices but most Clients prefer either a home or workplace visit. Home visits are fairly normal, and we find that some documents and information that will be required can be found more easily here. Daytime or early evening visits can be arranged to suit.
Our adviser will present you with a business card and explain the services that we offer and how we charge for those services. You will be presented with specific disclosure documents to confirm this information.
We are required to formally identify you by seeing either your (original) passport or photo card driving licence. In addition, we are required to prove your address by viewing a recent utility bill (within the last 3 months), mortgage or bank statement, motor or insurance certificate, etc. It is now a requirement that we hold a photocopy of these documents on file, therefore it would help if you could get a copy prepared in advance as we prefer not to take your originals.
We will listen to your requirements, your views and concerns on related matters and take notes. Before giving advice, we are required to gather some information about you and possibly your partner, including occupation, income, outgoings, assets, liabilities and existing arrangements and policies. (If relevant). You do not have to give us this information, of course, but our advice can only be based upon the level of information given.
By the end of this initial meeting, we would normally have agreed the best way forward with you. Remember that this is a ‘getting to know you’ time, after which you (or we!) may decide either that no further contact is required, or that we may proceed to the next stage.
We will need your written authority in order to gain any necessary up-to-date and technical information from the Providers of any of your existing arrangements, mortgages or policies. We carry a simple form for this purpose, which normally also appoints us as the servicing agent for the policy until further notice, so that any future queries or alterations can be dealt with efficiently.