There is often a perception that a financial adviser will accept anyone who gets in touch with them as a client. At Pyrford Financial Planning, we are in the fortunate position of having no financial pressures or sales targets, so we can ensure that we only take on clients:
Who are a good fit for our service
Where we can add significant value to their situation for the fees we would charge.
Below, we identify ten situations where we might not be the best financial adviser for you and what you are looking for help with.
1. You aren't approaching, at, or in retirement
Our approach and processes are built to cater for clients at this key stage of life. We are probably not going to be the best financial adviser for those at a different point in life. For example, a couple having just married and in the process of purchasing their first home together.
2. We cannot add sufficient value for the fees we would need to charge
Financial planning done properly takes significant time, and this comes at a cost*. We may feel that this cost will likely outweigh the value we could add to your situation. If this were the case, we would tell you and do our best to help you find someone who is a better fit.
*You may come across someone offering free advice or financial planning. Avoid. They are most likely trying to use this as a hook to sell you investment products.
3. You'd prefer to skip straight to the portfolio
We believe that it's not possible to discuss possible portfolios without first discussing what are you looking to achieve (Person) and building a financial plan.
You may not see the value in the first two parts of the process and prefer to jump straight to the portfolio and discuss investments. There are many financial advisers that focus on just investments and building portfolios (saving themselves around 90% of the work of a full retirement process), and this may be a better fit for your requirements.
4. You'd prefer not to delegate
We do our best work with those who are happy to delegate and trust us to work in their best interests on an ongoing basis. For this reason, we don't offer one-off financial planning and advice.
5. You don't fully engage with our retirement planning service
We are passionate about retirement planning. We want you to be, too, as we believe engaged clients are more likely to achieve superior outcomes. If we feel that a client hasn't fully bought into our retirement planning process, we will suggest that we are probably not the right adviser for them.
6. You want to implement retirement planning at the lowest possible cost
We believe our fees are extraordinarily competitive for the value we offer. Our typical client with £1m will pay total costs of around 1% per annum, far lower than a typical financial adviser offering. It's certainly possible to reduce these costs if you undertake your own retirement planning, and if cost is your overriding priority, perhaps an advised relationship is not for you.
7. You are a performance chaser
Potential clients sometimes ask how our portfolios have performed in recent years. For example:
"What has your medium-risk portfolio returned over the last three years?"
We explain how we invest and the range of potential outcomes that might be expected over longer time frames. We also emphasise that we do not have the ability to outsmart the market, and realistically, nor does any other adviser or investment manager they will have access to. There are far smarter people in the marketplace with far more resources than those in retail investment management. It would be easy for us to sell a client a great investment story*, but the reality is that investment management is commoditised (and therefore of little value), and a good financial planner should be offering significant value in non investment-related areas.
We don't get involved in "beauty parades" with other financial advisers, feeling the "winner" is often the adviser who is prepared to show more favourable returns. A recent FT article suggested that 94% of wealth managers would be able to show outperformance by being selective with time periods etc.
*We suggest you give those trying to sell you market-beating performance a wide berth!
8. You want someone to tell you what you want to hear
Our clients pay us to help them achieve their goals and objectives. Sometimes, this will involve us having to have difficult conversations, which may include telling our clients what they need to hear (e.g. you are not saving enough for your desired retirement lifestyle) rather than taking the easy option and telling them what they want to hear (or saying nothing at all).
9. You aren't open to conducting financial planning meetings online
At the start of the COVID lockdown, I wrote an article suggesting that virtual financial planning might soon become the norm. As we were forced to operate remotely with our clients during this period, we continued to refine and optimise our virtual service. We found that this approach suited our immersive, iterative retirement planning process, which was best undertaken in stages, giving both the client and adviser time to think between meetings as we continued building the retirement plan. These planning meetings can be as short or as long as required, with neither client nor adviser feeling they must prolong the meeting to make it worthwhile having travelled to the office/home.
We offer a range of meeting times, including evening slots, which works well with our clients.
We are also very happy to meet clients for lunch, but this tends to be very much a social occasion - we consider our clients to be our friends.
10. You want an adviser with a smart city centre office who writes to you on high-quality headed paper.
We like to use the car dealership analogy. We feel that Pyrford Financial Planning is like a specialist car dealer, deeply knowledgeable and passionate about our offering (retirement planning), and charging less than the main dealer offering for what we believe is a far superior service.
Of course, some may prefer the main dealer experience, visiting a prestigious physical showroom/office, being sent reports on lovely headed paper and being willing to pay significant sums (in some cases, five figures a year) for the lovely biscuits and coffee. If this sounds like what you are looking for, we probably aren't the right choice for you (but there are more cost-effective methods of obtaining quality coffee and biscuits!).
While we wish we could help everybody who gets in touch with us, the reality is that James and I only have limited hours in the day, and we want to use this time most efficiently to help clients best suited to the service we offer. We may or may not be what you are seeking. However, we will always do our best to help you find the best solution, even if it means not working with us.
If you want to evaluate whether we are the best retirement planning specialist to help you achieve your objectives, please get in touch.
The team at Pyrford Financial Planning are highly qualified Independent Financial Advisers based in Weybridge, Surrey. We specialise in retirement planning and provide pension advice, investment advice and inheritance tax advice.
Our office telephone number is 01932 645150.
Our address is No 5 The Heights Weybridge KT13 0NY.
Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.
Although best efforts are made to ensure all information is accurate, you should not rely on this blog for your personal situation or planning.
The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.