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This article was originally published on Juno Wealth’s website. Juno Wealth was acquired by Progeny in February 2019.

People in business meeting comparing notes

What do you really need from your financial planner?

Here at Juno Wealth we do fundamentally believe that the nature of your relationship with your financial planner and adviser should be meaningful and that your financial planner should be offering a great deal more than just product advice. We also outline what your expectations of us should be and how we approach you and your assets to provide you with that extra layer of value.

In the beginning it was all about the product

Much has changed in the financial planning industry over the years and I believe in most instances the quality of financial advice has improved. When I first became an adviser back in the early 1990s it seemed at that time that it was all about the product, at least that’s what the training I was given seemed to convey.  I did once attend what I thought at the time to be an excellent sales course, but that was still all about closing the product sale and had little or nothing to do with actual financial planning.

High quality financial advice should be a given

When you engage a financial planner and adviser, particularly with accredited and chartered status like us, you should rightly expect us to know ‘our stuff’ and come up with ‘suitable advice’. This is and should be a given in the planner / adviser /client relationship.

You should expect me to know about complex new product innovation and any risks they may carry.  A good number of years ago for example, I was approached by a third party extolling the virtues of a life settlement product saying that they were suitable for SIPP portfolios. I listened to the sales pitch and then asked the killer question, “What happens if one of my clients die whilst invested?”. It turns out that no adviser had ever asked that question and the reality was in that instance that the investment was illiquid.  As a chartered financial planner it’s my job to know this stuff with the keen eye of an expert so that you don’t have to worry.

What makes us different?

My take on new products is very simple. The product test is twofold for me; ‘do I understand it?’ If I don’t then this sounds warning alarm bells.  The second test is, ‘would I invest my parent’s money in it?’ If the answer is no to either of the above, then avoid at all costs.  This advice has been my mantra for many years now. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Get that product stuff out of the way and then the real value comes from the client’s financial plan.

What matters to you?

I have to admit though that it took a few years after I started out before I realised that whilst products were a key component in the client journey, the product is only one piece of the jigsaw puzzle and indeed there are many facets to what you as a client want and need.

I’ve also learnt over time that more often than not, you’re not that interested in ‘products’. What matters to you is your personal financial plan and rightly so. That’s why we now focus more time and effort on helping you to identify and achieve your financial goals in the most prudent and tax efficient manner, all underpinned with a sensible and an easy to understand financial plan. And it’s this level of detail and support that delivers to you the real value.

In the “old days” my conversations with clients would all be about the product and the performance of the funds. Today it’s all about your life and what you are trying to achieve, as well as the timescales you’re operating within and helping to support you in the decisions that you want to make.

Knowing the detail  

My last review meeting for example, had me discussing whether or not the client could continue to afford their current lifestyle and also build an expensive extension. They wanted an extra room to enjoy their garden to its best, as gardening was a passion for them. The conversation had nothing to do with products, but was all about the planning and forecasting, cash flow modelling and how the decisions made now will impact their long term financial situation. And that represents a massive part of the real value of what we offer. If you know what your finances look like and are going to look like in the future you can make those decisions, from spending a little more to buying a yacht, on an informed basis and with absolute confidence. And believe me, if you can’t afford to do it, we’ll tell you that too.

This article is distributed for educational purposes and should not be considered investment advice or an offer of any security for sale. This article contains the opinions of the author but not necessarily the Firm and does not represent a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. Information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable but is not guaranteed.

Past performance is not indicative of future results and the value of investments can fall as well as rise. No representation is made that the stated results will be replicated.

Author Tracey Evans

Associate Director, Wealth

Tracey is passionate about helping clients to see their ‘big picture’ and has been doing so for nearly 30 years.

Learn more about Tracey Evans