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Diary of an adviser: Dominic Browning

In the afternoon I see a long-term older client and we carry out a review of her investment portfolio (which has done very nicely) as well as consider various later-life issues such as wills, lasting power of attorney and trusts.

I am increasingly doing more and more work in this area. I have been a member of the Society of Will Writers since 2003. I use their WillPack will-drafting service and their SWW Trust Corporation for all my trust work. I can highly recommend them.

I keep Monday and Tuesday evenings free for any unavoidable evening appointment. I do not have one tonight, so I catch up on client phone calls and some more admin. I do a fair bit of existing client business over the phone, internet and by post these days.

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Tuesday: In the morning I see a potential new client who is interested in planning for later-life issues. We have a good meeting and she instructs me to work for her. When all is done and dusted in a few weeks, she wants me to take over her investment portfolio, too.

In the afternoon I attend a seminar run by Solicitors for the Elderly, which is all about asset protection and long-term care planning. It was very good indeed, with a detailed hand out and it will go towards my CPD hours.

I have a lot of older clients who are very interested in this area. Most are initially worried about inheritance tax but soon realise it is long-term care fees that are the biggest threat to their inheritable estate.

In the evening I have an appointment in Cornwall with long-standing clients. After a nice meal we carry out our financial review that results in happy clients and two new Isas. I moved my business several years ago to ongoing review fees and trail commission, so the new RDR rules did not mean any drastic changes for me. While new business is obviously welcomed, there is never any pressure for it as I am getting paid for service and not sales.

Wednesday: I have several clients who have maturing structured deposits. I have found them a good follow-on product, so following a phone-based update, I email them the forms to complete.

In January I ‘restricted’ my firm to ‘whole-of-market restricted adviser’. Basically, I do not consider higher-risk, esoteric products for my clients. When I initially tell them I cannot call myself ‘independent’, they look disappointed. However when I explain my ‘restriction’, their relief is clear to see.

As a result, I can spend more CPD time on things that will benefit my clients and my practice, rather than spending time on VCTS, Ucits, EISs and the like. Having left a support network last year, I use the fees saved to go on CPD courses that actually benefit me. Though I have to pay for these, at least they are relevant to my practice.

In the afternoon I did a decreasing term assurance application over the phone with a client who has just bought a flat.