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July 18, 2022

Seeing financial advice in 3D

At the current time, political turmoil and recession fears continue to take their toll on financial markets. The question many are asking is “Will this ever end, and what shall we do in the meantime?”

All investors are feeling the effects of this uncertainty on their portfolios at the moment – even us! Unfortunately, there’s no ONE strategy or particular set of funds that will make you completely immune to changing market environments.

But there is plenty that we as your advisers are doing and have already done to help protect your portfolio from long-term negative impact. In fact, many of these things are so subtle that they’re almost imperceptible – and so we’re taking a 3-dimensional view of advice today to show in a little more detail what we do behind the scenes to protect you and your investments from harm.

It may not be until you read about them below that you recognise them!

We help you make the right decisions

By looking at both the bigger picture AND the minutiae, we can really get into the nitty-gritty of the investment decisions. Saying “everything is going to be okay” might sound easy, but it takes a lot of hard work behind the scenes.

When we reassure you that your longer-term financial plans aren’t in jeopardy, no matter what you’ve experienced over the past six months, it’s not just empty words.

We back up our reassurances by stress testing your financial plans using cash flow modelling, running through a range of different market scenarios. These models often assume far more challenging market conditions than we are currently experiencing, too, so there’s plenty of wiggle room for your money.

Changes to your objectives and circumstances are inevitable. That’s why we update the financial models with new data, using reasoned and appropriate assumptions. We then tweak the look and feel of your model based on your own changing goals and situations to give a more accurate view of where you are on your journey – as well as offering genuine peace of mind, based on facts and figures.

By taking into account your personal situation, investment conditions, plan values, tax-efficiency, and timescales, we’re in a position to offer level-headed advice.

If you need to access money – for example, to buy a new car – we can identify the most efficient place from which to withdraw. This changes as the market fluctuate, so the place we recommended last year may not be right this year. That’s why it’s always important to check in when you need to withdraw.

Sometimes it’s better to take money from cash, which is why we recommend clients have a cash reserve as part of their portfolio. This can be replenished later when markets stabilise, however, taking from investments at the wrong time could destabilise your entire financial plan.

We explain what is going on

Nobody likes being left in the dark. That’s why we explain what’s happening, and why.

Of course, these discussions are based on global events and how they impact upon the funds that you hold. We want to give you a deeper understanding of the funds and how they are being managed and run.

During our meetings, we support what we’re telling you with visual aids and figures including graphs. This helps to explain the behaviour of your investment and pensions, making it easier to understand.

This knowledge doesn’t come easily. It takes time, consultation and regular research.

We provide accountability

As your advisers, we are accountable to you – our client – for the performance of your assets and the delivery of your overall Financial Plan.

We take this role seriously. That’s why we also hold the underlying investment providers to account. We regularly review and measure them against sector averages, as well as the performance of their peer group, to ensure you’re getting the expected returns.

The recommendation of “no change” doesn’t mean “no work” has been done to arrive at that conclusion. Quite the contrary!

Part of being accountable is ensuring your money continues to be in the right place – even if this means going against expectations. A lot of people will understandably panic at the moment, and when panic sets in, it’s natural to want to act. However, when it comes to investing, the opposite is in fact much more effective – doing nothing, leaving the money invested, and sitting it out.

It’s always worth remembering that, even if you see your investment drop 10% – that’s 10% from its peak, not your initial investment. Previous experience tells us that better times should lay ahead, and you’ll still end up better off over the long term.

We help you to understand the gobbledygook

We do all this while interpreting the inevitable gobbledygook for you. After all, our industry loves jargon and acronyms. SIPPs, GDP, drawdown, annuity, recession, inflation, crystallisation, bear and bull markets, the list goes on.

We not only decode that language for you, but help to provide the wider picture around it, the context, so you can understand what it means for you and your situation personally. We want you to feel empowered and in control of your money and where it’s taking you.

Using our technical knowledge and experience, our team also seek to present things in a clear and comprehensive written format that is easy to understand and refer back to.

We’ll provide you with a support network

When you work with us you get access to our network of professionals – people we’ve worked with before and would be happy to recommend, for example, solicitors, accountants and bookkeepers. These people are often required when starting a new business or selling one for example.

We’re also here for you at emotionally stressful times. If you find yourself in vulnerable circumstances we can provide counsel. For example, using our industry knowledge, we can recommend help and support for those who find themselves trying to navigate the care system for support for loved ones.

If you’re currently in this position, an excellent source of help can be found through My Care Consultant. Affiliated with SOLLA, they offer services to help guide individuals through the care system. Covering all regions in the UK, their services could help you and your loved one’s source suitable care, and work out what they are entitled to. By signposting them to relevant professional services, they don’t have to navigate blindly through the complexity of rules, regulations and providers of different services.

This is just one example of how we can help put you in touch with other professionals.

Conclusion

This 3D perspective might be different to what you expect when you first come to see an adviser. Many people think they’ll get their pensions and investments sorted out and of course – that’s one major feature of what we do – but due to our increasingly complex lives and circumstances, there’s a lot more to managing money than setting up a portfolio.

Like an iceberg, advisers work in ways that are often not documented but go very deep. As a client you may not notice it’s been happening, things we do habitually, that are often subtle.

We’d love to get your feedback on what you value the most!

July 18, 2022