Working in the financial services, I tend to keep an eye on how other financial professionals advertise their services.
What often strikes me is the way they will heavily promote what they’ll do for you, the client. Investment managers will tell you how they will help you grow the value of your investments, while banks will look after your money and offer no end of financial products to meet your needs.
You will rarely see anyone telling you what they won’t do.
So, I’m going to turn this on its head and tell you about four things I will never do as a financial adviser.
1. I won’t use jargon or try to impress you with complex ideas
Even as an experienced financial adviser, I never go overboard with intensive technical analysis of products and services.
Of course, I’ll make sure you understand how I will utilise them to best help you and to ensure I’m giving you the most appropriate advice for your circumstances.
But I certainly won’t try to confuse you with technical jargon or attempt to “blind you with science” when it comes to explaining how they work and how you could benefit from incorporating them into your financial plan.
Financial products are a means to an end, rather than an end in themselves. So, I’ll explain them in simple terms from the point of view of how they are relevant to you.
The same goes with changes to financial legislation and taxation issues that could affect you. My job is to analyse them and work out whether your plans are still fit for purpose in the light of them.
Of course, if you want to know the technical details, I’ll happily try and explain. But ultimately, I really want to keep things as simple as possible for you.
2. I won’t pretend to have any special investment insight
Your investments are the engine that powers your financial plan.
Your future wealth, and your ability to do the things you want to do and live comfortably when you retire, depend to a great extent on your investment strategy.
Even so, I don’t think that’s an excuse for me to get overly intricate in terms of how I recommend you should put together your portfolio. Nor will I try to over-manage it by constantly reviewing your holdings and suggesting frequent adjustments.
In fact, quite often the best bit of investment advice I’ll give you can be boiled down to just two words – “stay invested”. If history teaches us anything it’s that the longer you can keep your money invested, the better chance you’ll have of growing your wealth and being able to achieve your future aspirations.
I won’t be constantly badgering you with investment advice, or suggesting different ways you can beat the market.
Like all the best engines, your investments will perform best without constant tampering. They just need an occasional review – like an MOT – to check you’re still on track.
3. I won’t try to convince you to put your money into the “next big thing”
I have no idea what the next big investment idea is, or what the best performing individual funds or market sectors will be this year. And frankly, I don’t really care. It’s not important and my client’s financial futures do not depend on it.
Despite claims to the contrary, and endless articles in the financial media telling you where to invest your money, no one knows.
Furthermore, believing that they do could result in you losing a lot of your money.
For example, after the financial crash in 2008, many investment analysts touted guaranteed absolute return funds (GARs) as the next big investment opportunity.
At the end of 2022, however, the Times were reporting that one particular GARs fund was losing an average of £11 million each day, while FTAdviser confirmed that the same fund had reduced in size by 85% in just three years due to a fall in investment value and fund outflows.
Likewise, when his Invesco Perpetual income fund was showing consistent annual growth, fund manager Neil Woodford was lauded as though he’d discovered the secret of alchemy. But by the end of 2022, Money Marketing was highlighting the fact that thousands of investors in his failed Woodford Equity Income Fund were still struggling to get their money out.
I won’t try and sell you the latest big thing. Instead, I’ll recommend an investment strategy designed to give you the best chance of meeting your future financial needs.
4. I won’t mislead you or over-promise
It’s important that my client relationships are based on openness and honesty.
During our initial meetings – and subsequent annual planning meetings – I’ll ask you to be as upfront as possible about your financial position, your spending habits, and your future plans.
In return, I’ll always been honest with you. I won’t try to mislead you or make wild claims that are designed to give you a false sense of security.
If I think you need to change your financial habits to improve your chances of meeting your goals, I’ll tell you. Likewise, if I think your goals aren’t realistic, I’ll say so and we can discuss finding achievable ones and then put plans in place to help you meet them.
Sometimes that may involve having to tell you the unvarnished truth about your finances that you may find hard to accept, but I won’t just walk away after sharing my thoughts.
Get in touch
If you’d like to talk through your financial planning arrangements, then please get in touch.
You can call me on 07769 156 250.
The value of your investments (and any income from them) can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested.
Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Investments should be considered over the longer term and should fit in with your overall attitude to risk and financial circumstances.
Foster Denovo Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.