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Monday morning and I drop into the office. I really like to get out and meet clients, rather than be tied to my desk. I spend around three days a week out of the office and the remainder at my desk, dealing with emails, managing paperwork and the like.
My adviser support, Neil, is a godsend in terms of organising paperwork and taking care of the necessary evils that come with being an IFA. We catch up, talk through priorities for the week, and then I run out to my first appointment of the day.
It is the kind of meeting that makes you happy to be an IFA. The clients are a husband and wife who were full-time carers for his elderly mother, despite being retired and in poor health themselves.
After his mother passed away they were looking to take a fresh look at their finances. We talked through some different ways they could boost their income and decided that he should buy a lump-sum from the Sipp he had built up over some years as a company director. The remainder would be used to purchase an annuity.
The couple were relieved to have some money to spare for the first time in years and, as I left, they told me they would put a small amount towards their first holiday together for more than a decade.
Our investment committee House View is circulated this morning. Each quarter a panel of our advisers and directors meet to assess the opportunities and threats in the market and take a view on the key issues affecting our clients’ investments.
This is a rare approach for a relatively small IFA to take – Taylor Patterson has 50 members of staff working across pensions, mortgages, commercial property and investments.
We are very much about personalised advice, but our House View means we can be sure that the advice we give our clients is consistent, has been properly forecasted and is based on well-founded insight.
I read the House View before heading off to an afternoon meeting. The memo comes in useful immediately as my client asks me about the impact of the euro crisis on her investments.
The investment committee has just raised investments in European equities from green to amber alert – meaning that it is something we are advised to give careful consideration to during portfolio review.
I advise the client that there is no need to panic, but that a close and cautious eye is the best approach. We review her portfolio to ensure the spread of risk matches her needs and agree to meet again in a few months to review the situation as it develops.
I meet one of my largest clients and top of our agenda is our company’s new charging structure.
We took on a number of the changes required by the retail distribution review a full year ahead of the FSA’s January 2013 deadline. One of the key changes has been that we have amended how we charge clients in light of the requirement to separate commission from advice.