Diary of an adviser  

Diary of an Adviser: Explore WM's Stephen Sumner

Diary of an Adviser: Explore WM's Stephen Sumner

Monday

Most mornings, my family leave the house before me. This gives me the opportunity to check the news, hoping to hear something positive about my beloved football team, Newcastle United. 

Following a short commute to work, my first task of the day is to complete my monthly expenses. I spent a lot on entertaining clients the previous month, so it takes me a while to get this finalised.

I had planned to ease myself into the week gently. However, one of my clients has requested an urgent meeting. 

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He arrives, explaining that he is concerned about his monthly expenditure and asks me to devise a plan to help him cut down his spending, save more and start planning ahead for retirement. I ask him to complete and return an expenditure questionnaire so we can take this further.

My next task is to take a fresh look at my company's service offering and make strategic changes where necessary. This is something I started a few weeks ago and am keen to finalise.

Of our 340 active clients, I note that 49 entail external meetings. I hold a meeting with my colleagues to discuss how we can gently persuade these clients to come into the office instead for ongoing review meetings.

Tuesday

Arriving at the office at 9am, I prepare for a 10am annual review meeting with a client. During the meeting, the client explains he wishes to withdraw £25,000 to put towards purchasing a caravan and cover this year’s holiday expenses.

I also use the meeting as a tester regarding the new Mifid II disclosure rules and present our new documents disclosing the various fees chargeable to him.

The client leaves the meeting really happy as I manage to save him £2,000 a year in income tax. All in a day’s work.

Wednesday

This morning we are holding a team meeting to discuss the client feedback we have received about our new disclosure of costs documents and the post meeting reports we provide to all clients. 

As part of an adviser's terms and conditions plan, I sit in on a client meeting to observe one of my fellow advisers. Like many advisers, I am a great believer in lifetime cash flow planning and it is great to see the client’s delight as my colleague demonstrates he can comfortably afford to retire and even spend £5,000 a year more than he thought he could.

In the afternoon, I meet with a client at a car dealership where he is taking ownership of a new Porsche. Getting back to the office after 5pm, I spend more than an hour catching up on emails before deciding to call it a day.

Thursday

Today, I am meeting a retired client who is taking an income via a flexi-access drawdown. I explain that I am concerned about the longevity of his funds if he continues to draw the same level of income. Raising this issue leads to a conversation about equity release, which my client is interested in exploring further.