We deliver the Suitable Life Planning Process via our 3 separate business – Suitable FinLife – Suitable Wealth – Suitable Legacy
Therefore, you will engage with each business separately and be charged by that business accordingly under their own Terms of Business.
My view is that the biggest initial and ongoing value to our clients is the delivery of a comprehensive financial life planning service, focused on helping you understand and plan for your future financial life. This does NOT involve the management of money or advising on regulated financial products, as we do not focus on these like a traditional financial advisory service would.
I therefore felt it was more beneficial to have deep & valuable conversations with clients, without regulation getting in the way. I also found that the great majority of my clients had more property than they did regulated investments therefore, again, to have sensible conversations about these assets did not warrant the involvement of regulation.
However, most clients have some regulated financial products – such as pensions, ISAs, general investments, life insurance, etc. This is also where they are potentially paying high fees in a rather opaque and disengenuous way, and therefore often do not have full clarity of what they are paying for the service they receive.
It was therefore important to me to deliver an unbiased, non-conflicted service of financial life planning, but still being able to advise on a client’s regulated investments.
Therefore, Suitable FinLife Planning is a separate financial life planning business, and we also have Suitable Wealth as a regulated fully Independent Financial Advice (IFA) firm.
I also found that most IFAs understanding of estate planning was cursory at best, and so a separate estate & legacy planning business was setup – Suitable Legacy Planning.
At all stages of our process, regardless what business you are dealing with, we will give you full clarity of our fees which will be fixed. We don’t work with & quote small & minute %’s that disguise often large explicit numbers.
Most IFAs charge a percentage of your money to provide you with initial and ongoing advice – they call this charging for Assets Under Management (AUM). This is typically 1-3% as an upfront initial fee and an ongoing fee of anywhere between 0.5 to 1.5% per year of the total assets they are managing. There are then further potential tax wrapper & platform charges, together with fund management fees that are often rather opaque and can often be other hidden costs and unexpected charges.
Our view is that this AUM charging structure can create a potential conflict of interest as the adviser is paid more, the more of your money he manages. We find that this can cloud advice on investment decisions – in general an adviser would make nothing out of you investing £100,000 into a Buy to Let property for example, but he would make an initial £1-3,000 on you placing that same £100,000 into some form of funds investment / pension / ISA followed by an additional £500-1,500 per year for managing those funds.
This charging structure also disincentivises the adviser from helping you spend your money, something we are great advocates of in the right circumstances!
Our view is that the best way to guarantee truly independent advice is to operate on a fixed, flat fee basis.
Our initial Site Survey meeting is at our cost, where we will get to know you & introduce you to our Financial Life Planning service. In that meeting, we will have an initial discussion about your personal, family & financial situation. During the meeting, we will discuss next steps & agree whether we want to work together – it is a decision as much for us as it is you.
After the meeting, if we both feel that we want to work together, Suitable FinLife will send you an agreement for a fixed cost for providing our financial life planning process up to the Working Plan stage. No chargeable work will be carried out without your agreement.
Once the initial financial life planning process is complete, once we have a true grasp of your complete financial life picture, it will have often highlighted some weaknesses or improvements that can be made regards regulated investments or financial products. If this is the case, Suitable Wealth will meet with you & outline this in a quote to be able to move forward and give full recommendations and advice on these areas. We will also outline the costs to build / implement these recommendations. Again, these fees will be fixed and explicit.
The final part of the initial process is around your ‘loss of capacity planning’ and/or your ‘death planning’. This is where we need to protect what you have worked so hard to accumulate with suitable estate & legacy planning. Again, meetings will be held, any work will be quoted at a fixed cost and no work carried out without your prior approval.
As a lot of the work we carry out varies, your specific set of circumstances vary in complexity to others, we quote everyone individually and a quote will always be provided before any chargeable work is carried out. We believe in explicit & transparent fees.
If at any stage you wish to stop and not progress to the next stage, that is completely fine. Assuming you have already given the go-ahead on work, that work will be completed and the fee will be due or will have been paid.
We will not be paid a commission for a new investment or pension plan we arrange. The only products we will receive commission from is for arranging protection / insurance or mortgage products and this is paid by the product provider.
Following a thorough evaluation of our work, we will look to provide our ongoing update & improve service for financial life planning via Suitable FinLife, and an investment management service via Suitable Wealth to continually advice on your regulated investments and ensure ongoing suitability.
In both cases, there is a menu to choose from that once again are simple, flat annual retainers which is designed to meet your requirements and again is based on the complexity of your financial situation, the amount of work involved and the level of ongoing contact you require.
We will discuss your requirement and agree the annual ongoing fee. Your fee will then be charged either annually in advance or monthly in arrears. You may have the option to pay some of your fee directly via business invoice, via personal invoice or through your investments. We can discuss this.
We review our overall charging structure annually (with generally an RPI increase) and will also review the complexity based plan charge that you are on to see if anything has changed within your circumstances and agree the fee for the following year. We promise to not change fees within the year.
If we agree to work together to create a Working Plan through our financial life planning process, it is up to us to demonstrate true value and real benefit to you of our service. I am 100% confident that you will receive total clarity on your financial life and we can add value to each & every client.
If you feel that you have not received the value you wanted or don’t feel you’ve got the clarity about your financial life that you were expecting, then you don’t have to pay anything & we will cease the process, refund any monies paid for the financial plan & delete all information held, with no hard feelings.