Diary of an adviser  

Diary of an Adviser: Ivor Harper

Diary of an Adviser: Ivor Harper

Meetings and spreadsheets are balanced by some well-earned socialising by this week's adviser.


I have a mid-morning meeting with a new prospective client. This is my favourite part of the job, so it is great to start the week off with a high. 

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Even better, the client is an absolute delight to deal with. She is on the final approach towards retirement and just needs a little help getting her various pensions ready for ‘R-Day’.

Then it is back to the office in the afternoon to lay the groundwork and begin the (less appealing) chore of liaising with her various pension providers.


It is Gabriel return day. Thus, I find myself at 7am ensconced in my office, suitably fortified with a supply of coffee and custard creams (sorry waistline), ploughing through the documents.

As is so often the case, the task, once actually started, proves to be far less onerous than anticipated.

Pleasingly, it is completed within a relatively short time and I reward myself with a long lunch with friends – featuring a lively debate about “where next for the equity release market?” (the afternoon conspicuously not productive).


A longstanding client had asked me to calculate whether he should stay in his defined benefit scheme this year or take the alternative cash supplement and opt out for the coming year.

This is a decision he now has an opportunity to make annually and the advice hinges on a multitude of factors, including his last three years’ pensionable salaries, rate of salary increase, his tapered allowance, projection of his likely lifetime allowance breach, pension reduction rate for scheme pays; on and on and on it goes.

Few love a spreadsheet more than I (sad I know), but this one is an absolute monster and growls menacingly at me from the screen.

Once it’s all done (and triple checked) though, it is a thing of beauty. 

I discuss the outcomes with the client and we conclude that he should remain in the scheme for 2019/20 but possibly, subject to future pay rises, consider taking a year out of it in 2020/21.


I am approached by a client for a remortgage. It is a straightforward enough case and the research goes like a dream. 

The rather large fly that touches down in this ointment is (of course) the lender.

It is one we have not used for a while so it has taken the arbitrary decision to de-register us from its introducer panel.

I hate it when lenders do this. It is totally unnecessary and just makes more work for everyone – a point which I reiterate (energetically) during the conversation with our business development manager.

She is sympathetic of course, but insists: “head office policy, you know”. 

At least the re-registration process does not take long for this particular lender and that afternoon we are back on course.