Your Industry  

Diary of adviser: Greg Heath

Greg Heath


One of our longstanding clients, a retired senior civil servant, is coming down from his home in the Lake District for his annual review. He is always a tough-nut negotiator, and thrives on the detail of performances, charges and changes in legislation. The new pension freedoms death benefits are of interest due to his complex home life.

In the afternoon I have a client investment review as they head into full retirement. With China volatility and now Brexit, along with Project Fear, they need reassurance that they are suitably balanced across the asset classes and defensively positioned.

Article continues after advert


I have two appointments today. I have an existing client review in the morning and a new client in the afternoon. The client review goes well. Performance is doing well, regardless of storm clouds on the horizon. However, I have to tell them again that they need a will and lasting power of attorney. This is the fifth time, so I call local lawyer I know and book an appointment for them. I feel like I am chastising my kids.

The client meeting later is interesting. Two brothers run a business – two Abbey Life plans started 12 days apart in 1990. One has a £10,000 penalty, one does not. This is going to be interesting. Abbey Life tells us that is the terms and conditions (T&Cs) – tough. Time to call a journalist, as he will love this story on excessive exit penalties.


It is an early start for me. Interview on local radio. Do they not know I cannot function until my third cup of coffee? I spend the rest of the day writing reports, writing editorials, calling clients and reading a mentor’s musings online about marketing. Some good ideas in there to take the business forward. I also get a call from the journalist about the Abbey plans. He has made contact with Abbey and has started shaking trees. I can hear the PR department in Abbey wailing loudly, he says. Love it.


I have a professional development meeting in Manchester. It is a good day mixing with all my colleagues and product providers – some really nice people who are a pleasure to deal with at the network. All goes well until the compliance department does their stint. Financial Ombudsman Service judgements are questioned as nonsensical – what is new? Reports are running into 30 pages long. How is that helpful to clients? The Financial Conduct Authority seems to be more in listening mode these days – is it genuine or just lip-service?


I have three client appointments today. The first two, Mr M returns, with his wife. He is more open to discussions and all goes well. We explain our fees structure again, with the initial £500 fee, implementation fees and then annual review fees.