Working with clients and their professional advisers can be great; the opportunity to share ideas leads to better outcomes for the client. With client consent, the client can be bypassed for some conversations, which can avoid them becoming bogged down in unnecessary detail.
However, there is a flipside and I have been frustrated recently where a client is following their accountant’s non-advice, even though it is not, in my opinion, in their best interest.
To be clear, the individual that has caused me consternation is only a prospect, who has been introduced by a long-standing client. My existing client is school friends with the prospect and the accountant and there is also a fourth friend who is a director of a firm which produces a variety of Ucis and tax structures, in particular enterprise investment schemes.
It would appear, over a boozy lunch, the director of the fund management house highlighted the various benefits of their fund, which has subsequently received the blessing, principally for tax reasons, of the accountant.
My client has accepted that they are inappropriate, but the prospect, who runs a chain of jewellery wholesalers seems doggedly attracted to the tax breaks. One of the issues for them is the nature of their business means they can have hundreds of thousands of pounds tied up in highly illiquid assets.
I am now at the stage of disengaging. I will continue to embrace work with other professionals, but I know when to stop.
Alistair Cunningham is financial planning director at Wingate Financial Planning