Your IndustryDec 3 2015

Diary of Adviser: Sheridan Barlow

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We discuss the day ahead and I head to my office; as this is next door to my property I have no commuting stress and I’m at my desk for 8.30am.

My morning starts with reconciling remuneration statements with online banking, preparing the income and expenditure for my admin staff to enter into our database.

By 9.30am I carry out our portfolio review with my staff, making any changes that have been agreed with clients and reviewing portfolio performance.

I then start a report which includes three occupational pension plans plus a group scheme for a client about to retire. This is a detailed report and I have asked for no interruptions from my staff.


My clients are coming to my office for our meeting; this is a regular review and an update of the pension changes. My client being a higher earner and contributing to the maximum allowance, was happy to hear of the input period changes.

The meeting was about two and a half hours in duration and after a very late lunch, I discussed any changes to their portfolio with my staff.

The remainder of the day was preparing for the following days meetings and trying to progress the retirement report.


An early start in the office and off to Aberdeen for a meeting before the staff arrive for work.

The first meeting is at an accountancy firm to discuss my company accounts, the firm also introduces new business to us and they are my clients, therefore there is plenty to discuss.

The second meeting is at one of our universities; I had to skip lunch as this meeting was squeezed in at the last minute. I am a regular visitor to the university as many of the academics refer me to their colleges. Also there is a round of early retirements in light of staff reviews and the changing pension scheme.

I have worked with this University since 2005 just before pension simplification introduced the Lifetime Allowance. Many of the members are affected by the Annual Allowance and Lifetime Allowance changes and they keep me very busy.


After the early morning routine I arrive at work very early to try to catch up on the day out of the office. I return calls and emails; my original intention to continue with the half prepared report is interrupted by email traffic congestion. This is mainly due to clients completing tax returns and requiring information or to look over the submission to check all the relevant parts, such as pension contributions are accurate.

I finish work early as I have a charity dinner to attend in the evening, with an AGM beforehand.


Due to the late night I sleep in until 7 am, cut short the morning ritual and I’m in my office for 8.30am.

I have a morning meeting to discuss income requirements for a proposed retirement in the New Year; this is a follow-up meeting now that state pension and occupational pension scheme details are known.

When evening comes I make tea and enjoy sea bass with stir-fried vegetables and ginger. A nice glass of wine then an early night.

Sheridan Barlow is a chartered financial planner of Aberdeenshire-based First 4 Financial Planning