Frequently Asked Questions at Initial Meetings with Financial Advisers

Financial Adviser MeetingAs Chartered Financial Planners there are a number of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) which clients regularly ask us early on in our business relationship. Many of them are very specific to a customer’s unique circumstances, but there are some we can provide more general guidance on. I have set out a few of these below:

Q – When will I be able to retire? With the associated question; How much will I need to retire?

A – The answers to both of these questions are of course subjective. However, using our experience and knowledge we are able to give clients sensible guidance on what levels of capital and income they may expect in the future. We will look at a client’s existing portfolio and assets including pension plans, property and investments, together with their current levels of savings and project forward to give sound estimates of our client’s financial prospects.

We also ask our clients to do some homework, requesting that they look at their expenditure to ascertain what income they feel they will require in retirement.  Armed with this information it is relatively simple to put together a strategy which will allow them to meet their goals.

Q – What can I do to improve the interest I am getting on my savings?

A – With historically low interest rates for a number of years now this is probably becoming our most-asked question. Many clients have seen the interest they earn on their savings fall significantly in recent years, leading them to look for alternatives.

We have access to a wide range of bank and building society accounts to ensure clients obtain the best rates around. We also ensure that clients’ savings are diversified across providers to ensure they do not exceed the £85,000 limit for deposits in the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, thereby gaining maximum security for their savings.

For those clients prepared and able to accept some risk we are able to recommend a range of investment products which offer the prospect of improved capital growth and/or increased income.  It must be remembered that returns from investments are not guaranteed and the value of your capital can fall as well as rise.

Because of the inherent risks involved with investments it is vital that clients seek expert advice before moving money from the safe but unexciting world of banks and building societies into the far more complicated investment environment.  We are ideally placed to provide this advice.

Q – What should I do with my old pension plans?

A – The likelihood of someone working for one employer throughout their entire career is becoming rare. It is therefore very likely that during a working lifetime clients will contribute to a number of different pension plans.  While this can provide some useful diversification it can also become an administrative burden.

Many clients therefore ask us whether it is sensible to consolidate these plans into one.  What appears a simple question can be very complex.  It is therefore vital that clients seek advice from a qualified financial adviser before undertaking a consolidation exercise.

While it may well be advantageous for many, it can also be very costly for others, particularly if their existing plans contain special features such as guaranteed annuity or growth rates.

Q – How much will financial advice cost?

A – It is understandable that clients need to know what it will cost to gain financial advice. The costs can vary widely between adviser firms.

Gibbs Denley offer all clients a free initial consultation to discuss an outline of their financial circumstances and financial planning requirements. This allows us to assess your needs and advise you of how we can help. At this meeting, or shortly after, we will agree a level of fee for the work to be undertaken.

Typical costs are:

Financing Planning Report £500 – £1,000
Implementation of Investment Advice 0 to 1% of amount invested
Providing on-going financial/investment advice 0.5% to 1% of ongoing investment value

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any further questions.

David Ellis, Directorby David Ellis DipPFS
Gibbs Denley
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