We welcome all questions from our clients and potential clients – that’s what we’re here for!
Here you’ll find the answers to the most commonly-asked questions around our initial meetings, services and fees. If there’s anything we haven’t covered here, please do get in touch.
Where are meetings held?
These are generally held at our offices in Fareham, where we have parking right outside the door and great coffee!
How long should I allow for an initial meeting?
We suggest that two hours is usually sufficient for our first meeting.
Who needs to come along to our meetings?
If you have a partner, then both of you should come along to our meetings.
Do you have parking?
There will be an allocated parking space right outside our door just for you.
Do I have to pay for an initial meeting?
No, these meetings are a great way for you to meet us and for us to get a better understanding of what you are really trying to achieve. Therefore, these meetings are held at our expense, and if you don’t want to take things further you can walk away without any obligation or cost.
What do I need to bring to an initial meeting?
We find that the first meeting is our chance to have a great conversation with you and start the process of discovering what you want to achieve. Therefore, we just need you and your partner (where applicable) and a rough idea of your assets and liabilities and income and expenditure.
Do I have to sign up to your services at an initial meeting?
Absolutely not. In fact, even if you are keen to get started, we won’t let you! We want you to have time to consider if we are the right lifestyle financial planner for you, and you the right client for us.
What do you get after our meeting?
If we all think that we might like to work together, we’ll give you enough relevant information to take away to help you decide. This will include the details of our fees.
Are you independent?
Yes, which means that we can advise you on products and services from the whole of the market and are not tied to any one provider.
Are you regulated?
Yes, by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). You can check our entry on the FCA Register here
What if things go wrong?
Our regulated financial planning activities are covered by both the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
We hope that you’ll never have cause for complaint, but if you are dissatisfied with our service, we’d ask you to let us know in the first instance and allow us the opportunity to put things right.
If you are unhappy with our response, the Financial Ombudsman Service is available to sort out individual complaints that cannot be resolved between us. To contact the Financial Ombudsman Service, please visit: www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk
What if my financial planner is away?
We are not a one-man band, which means you’ll never be left in the lurch, because your planner is away on holiday or unavailable.
Can you advise on Final Salary/Defined Benefit transfers?
We are qualified to do so but choose not to. We are happy to direct you to a more suitable adviser if you require this service.
Which providers do you work with?
We work with many providers across the UK; because we’re an Independent firm, we’re not restricted to any single provider or panel of providers. If appropriate for your circumstances, we’ll advise you to consolidate your finances across one, easy-to-use platform. We never accept inducements from product providers.
Who delivers the financial planning services?
It’s very much a team effort, and you could be in touch with at least three people:
- Financial Planning Administrator: Your day-to-day point of contact
- Paraplanner: Provides research and analysis
- Financial Planner: Provides regulated advice
Who do you work best with?
We form the best long-term relationships with people who:
- Are nice to work with
- Are happy to work with experts
- Want to make the right choices with their money
- Appreciate that life’s not a rehearsal
- Understand that we can’t control or guarantee returns
Who don’t you work best with?
We don’t work well with people who expect us to wear suits. Or people who want us to act on a transactional basis, as we provide comprehensive financial planning, not product sales.
How much will your advice cost?
The initial meeting is at our cost; you won’t get a surprise bill! If we think we might like to work together, our advice fees are based on how simple or complex your financial situation is. For example, a client who has one pension is more likely to pay less than someone who has five.
We’re transparent with our fees and have a duty to put your best interests first. For more information, visit our ‘Fee philosophy’ page
Can you explain your fee guarantee?
We are so confident that we can add value to every single one of our clients that following the presentation of your first financial plan, if you don’t feel you’ve received the benefit or value you wanted and you don’t feel you’ve got complete clarity and peace of mind about your financial situation, then you don’t have to pay. Not a thing. We’ll simply refund your fees, delete your plan (so, it’s not implemented!) and we’ll part as friends.
Do you take a percentage or are your fees fixed?
Our initial fee for the financial plan is an agreed fixed fee. Any additional implementation or project work may be agreed as either a percentage or a fixed fee. The ongoing service varies according to your circumstances.
Do you get commission?
When they recommend a protection product (Life Cover, Critical Illness Cover etc) some financial advisers receive commission which is roughly equal to the first four years of premiums, sometimes more. Where possible, our ‘core service’ financial planning clients may have all commission rebated to their plans. This gives them lower premiums for the entire term of the policy.
Do you charge VAT?
If from the outset of our relationship, it appears that we will not be recommending a financial product, then there may be VAT on our fees. We’ll let you know first though.