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Diary of an advisor: Ashley France

Ashley France


Later in the afternoon I have a review meeting with a long-standing client to discuss his current pension position and attitude to risk, while also outlining the recent pension reforms, and how this could potentially affect him leading into retirement. The conversation eventually steers into the realm of football, and his beloved Manchester City FC.


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Each morning’s first task is always to check the previous evening’s emails. How I can get so many during the night is beyond me. The next thing in my calendar is checking on a provider’s extranet that funds we had previously requested to be withdrawn had cleared and were available to be paid to the client’s bank account. Thankfully they have cleared, so I instruct them to be paid, and ring the clients to let them know.

By lunchtime I and my colleague Phil Stevenson are on our way to the Lowry Hotel in Manchester for the Invesco Perpetual Investor Intelligence seminar. The seminar indicates the economic outlook for not only the UK but also the global economy. Some may not find this quite so thrilling, but given my degree in economics I find it interesting and enjoyable, and it can inform my future conversations with clients.

From the seminar it is back to the office to continue research and report writing.


I start my day with a meeting with a local solicitor whom I have got to know well over the years, to discuss a potential new client. Unfortunately, on this occasion there is nothing we can help with, other than to act as a sounding board for him.

I then prepare for a meeting with an elderly client whose investments we arrange. This particular individual has an aversion to risk, so most of her portfolio is held within fixed-rate bonds.

In the evening I have my son’s first parents’ evening at school. I feel more nervous standing outside his classroom waiting than I ever have waiting for CII exam results.


In the morning I go straight to the Marriott Hotel at Hale Barns for a pensions reform masterclass hosted by LV=. The seminar is helpful in clarifying certain issues, and also identifying other more recent developments, both legislative and provider-based. Although lunch is being provided I restrain myself and head straight back to the office as soon as the seminar finishes.

In the afternoon I get a phone call from a prospective new client who has got my details from an existing client, which is always the nicest form of referral. As the client is starting her new job on Monday I agree to see the couple on Friday afternoon.

Friday: My morning consists mainly of confirming outstanding case progress with the providers and my colleagues so that I am up to date with any outstanding cases. As Fridays are generally quieter days, that is when I usually complete my research and suitability reports for clients.