We have clients from all walks of life and pride ourselves in not making any assumptions about people and viewing each client as an individual.
Here are four client stories that may resonate with you…
Are you a successful business owner thinking about selling your business or have sold and wanting to plan the next chapter of your life?
Through hard work, taking risks and sheer determination, this client had built a very successful and valuable business by the time he was approaching 60 years of age.
Although he had built his business based upon a plan that was regularly reviewed, he had not applied the same approach to his personal financial affairs. Despite that, he had managed to build a valuable portfolio of personal assets, including various pensions, ISAs and investments.
As he approached the point where he was hoping to sell his business, he realised that, whilst the sale of the business would provide a wonderful opportunity to secure his future and that of his family, he had created complexity in his life and was seeking a more structured and meaningful approach to some key decisions that had to be made. Also, although he was very used to dealing with professional advisers throughout his business career, because he had an accountant and a solicitor, he recognised that there was a missing ingredient, which was personal financial planning; and there was also a need for a collaborative approach to help him deal with the scale and complexity that existed in his life.
By encouraging him to think about the five big questions, we were able to start the process of personal financial planning, which enabled him to create a solid platform from which he could consider all aspects of his life in the round; and to go on to make some important decisions and implement his personal financial plan.
Taking a holistic approach to his financial planning, and by collaborating with his tax adviser and lawyer, we were able to provide him with significant value through professional financial planning and establishing a long term service relationship to ensure his plan is regularly reviewed and adapted to meet the changing needs of his family.
Are you a busy professional, seeking help in planning your own affairs to support key decisions?
This client had enjoyed a marvellous career and had reached the pinnacle of his chosen profession. Although he moved a number of times during his long and distinguished career, he had remained with his last employer for many years and was now focussed on planning the next phase of his life – retirement.
He was, and remains, extremely well organised and had always planned his personal and professional life meticulously. He had very sensibly joined his employer’s final salary pension scheme from outset and had always saved surplus income.
He approached us for help because he realised that he didn’t know what he didn’t know and to use his words, “you wouldn’t engage a brain surgeon to repair an engine on a ship; and you wouldn’t engage an engineer to do the job of a financial planner!”
Although we were able to identify and implement a number of minor changes fairly quickly that gave him some ‘quick wins,’ the real value that we were able to contribute was to create a well thought out and robust personal financial plan that was focussed on what was becoming important to him for the next phase of his life in retirement. He also recognised the value of working with a chartered financial planner, who would regular review his overall plan and to advise on any future adjustments to his investments that were now providing for his retirement and later life needs.
Are you, or is someone close to you, in vulnerable circumstances and needing professional advice and support?
Vulnerability can apply to anyone because it is related to circumstances, which can change.
There are many examples of vulnerability (which should be viewed as a spectrum) that we could use as a way of demonstrating the value of professional financial planning. This could range from someone who is temporarily feeling vulnerable because of an acrimonious divorce, for example, or at the other end of the spectrum, it could be where someone has suffered catastrophic and permanent brain injury as a result of medical negligence.
However, this story is about a client who is in his mid-80s. He is divorced and has lost mental capacity. He lives permanently in a nursing home and is totally reliant upon his two children to manage his property and financial affairs, who have been appointed as attorneys under an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) which he set up many years ago and has since been registered with the Office of Public Guardian (OPG).
The attorneys needed our help in guiding them through the complexities associated with their father’s circumstances and to establish a properly thought out plan that would enable them to meet their obligations under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) and to ensure their father’s needs were fully met for the rest of his life.
Their prime concern was to ensure there would be sufficient resource available to cover their father’s care fees, which were £1,450 per week and increasing each year, for the remainder of his life.
If possible, they also wanted to mitigate the significant inheritance tax (IHT) liability associated with their father’s estate. This is often a difficult circle to square and requires specialist knowledge to achieve, particularly given that the attorneys are required under the MCA to act in their father’s ‘best interest.’ However, with careful planning, we were able to implement a solution that met all of their objectives.
Have you suddenly received a large amount of money, perhaps through a lottery or jackpot prize or an inheritance seeking confidential support and advice?
Our exclusive appointment by NS&I to provide a professional financial planning and advice service to the Premium Bonds £1m Jackpot winners has given us a unique insight into the way in which professional financial planning can be so valuable for people who experience ‘sudden wealth.’
One winner, a lady who had won a £1m Jackpot prize on her Premium Bonds, was retired with her husband and life was already good. They had recently moved into a new home, which they had funded with an equity release mortgage, were in good health and had a comfortable lifestyle funded by a number of annuities and pensions, underpinned with modest cash savings.
Receiving £1m, tax free, out of the blue created mixed emotions, including joy but also a feeling of overwhelm.
Our initial approach was to provide a safe pair of hands for them that included three recommendations:
- Place the £1m in the NS&I Direct Saver Account to ensure it is safe and helps to ensure their anonymity is protected. It also meant that they did not have to worry about the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) compensation limit; it was fully guaranteed by the Government.
- Don’t share the news of their good fortune, at least until they have allowed themselves time for the strong emotional response to lessen, if at all.
- Take professional advice to ensure they understand all of the options available to them and to place themselves in a much better position to make meaningful decisions about what they do next.
By posing the five big questions, it helped them to start to think about opportunities that they had previously dismissed from their minds and to once again consider how they could use their good fortune to improve their own lives and that of their family in a meaningful manner.
Over the years, they had taken advice from time to time from a financial adviser and a will writer, but had no understanding of what financial planning was and how it differed from financial advice.
The end result was a well-thought out financial plan, which has led on to provide financial advice and implement a number of investments; and to work collaboratively with a suitably qualified lawyer to ensure their wills and lasting powers of attorney are properly established.
They are now in a very strong financial position, they have been able to make some gifts to family members (which has given them enormous pleasure) confident in the knowledge that they are not jeopardising their own long-term financial position. Their financial affairs are planned and well-organised so they are able to really enjoy their good fortune.
By way of a footnote, it is hugely gratifying from a professional perspective to be able to provide a safe pair of hands for people who find themselves in circumstances such as these; to be able to apply our technical knowledge and to draw upon our experience and to use our skills to achieve great outcomes for clients that would otherwise been missed.