Through the course of our work, Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs) are put in a position of privilege. People tell IFAs things they wouldn’t tell their families or closest friends. Financial advisers, more often than not, act as counsellors and confidantes, providing reassurance and advice that enables our clients to live their best lives. For that reason, choosing which independent financial adviser is right for you is crucial.
More than just financial advice
Acumen prides itself on building lasting, long-term relationships with our clients. From the top down, we believe that trust is an essential ingredient to great financial planning. “We’re not in it for the short-term with clients,” says Jon Landy, Director at Acumen. “Clients go through a journey with us. I’ve got clients that I’ve looked after since I first came into the industry.
“You almost become friends because you are their trusted adviser. Sometimes it seeps outside of finances because you’re the sort of person that they’ll tell things that they wouldn’t tell their own families. It’s a very privileged position to be in and we do understand that and build our values around that.”
Client focussed financial advice
With this privilege comes great responsibility and, often, it’s a case of interpreting someone’s worries as much as tailoring bespoke advice. “They’re talking about their money but actually, when you sit down and talk to them, it’s not the money that they’re worried about,” says Angela Maher, Managing Director at Acumen. “It’s something else entirely. Sometimes the skill in the job is just getting that trust where they open up and talk to you. We focus our attention on each individual client. It’s about really looking at their personal and financial situation and homing in on what makes their life better.
“For some people it’s been about such matters as how they can break the news to their family about the fact that their marriage has broken down and we can make sure they get the best advice about how to handle all the various aspects of that, often not just the financial side of things. Life’s not simple, so we shouldn’t be looking for simple solutions. We actually have to broaden it out and look at what other support and insight people need,” adds Angela.
Enabling clients to take control of their assets
A large part of Acumen’s individualised approach is offering the reassurance that clients need to hear before they spend their hard-earned wealth. Angela continues: “They’ll ring up and say, ‘I’d like to do my kitchen, have I got enough money?’ We’ll say, ‘of course you can, we explain how we will raise the money and what it will mean in terms of their income, capital and of course what the tax implications are. It’s all about reassurance and hand-holding.
“Some people have said things like ‘But you’re a financial adviser, you shouldn’t be telling me to spend my money!’ I don’t know how many times I’ve been told that. Actually, in some ways, seeing somebody just accruing more and more money and doing nothing with it is a very sterile sort of situation. We would like to see our clients enjoy the wealth they have built up and use it to enhance their lives .”
Of course, far from encouraging spendthrift habits, Acumen enables clients to take greater control of their assets. “I’ve got so many clients who accumulate a huge amount of money and they just won’t spend it because they are afraid that they will outlive their money,” Jon picks up. “It’s our job to reassure them that they can enjoy life and we can show them that they can afford to live a little.”
The benefits of cash flow modelling
One tool at our disposal to provide guidance to our clients is our cash flow modelling software. “One thing that’s becoming more and more popular with clients now is cash flow modelling,” says Jon. “The client’s got all these assets – a couple of pensions here, some investments there – but what does that mean? How much money can they spend each month?
“We’ve got software where we can input all the different assets and ask ‘what are your goals’. Someone might say ‘I’m 60 now and I want to draw down £40,000 a year. In five years’ time, I might want to take all the family on this fantastic holiday, which might cost £20,000.’ So we can model all this and show them that if they do that they’re not going to run out of money. Or it might say that if they do take out £40,000 a year then they’re going to run out of money by the time they reach 76.
“Our cash flow modelling brings it to life because you can see the whole picture. Then you can review it year on year. Certainly in our company, and as an industry, we’re focussing more on that. It’s about looking at the whole picture.”
Which independent financial adviser is right for you?
Why not speak to one of our IFAs today to see how Acumen could help you and your finances? If you’d like to find out more about the benefits of cash flow modelling, or any of our other services and products, then call 0151 520 4353, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.acumenfinancial.co.uk.