On one side of the value-for-money equation are the fees the business charges. On the other side is what it provides in return.
We make absolutely no bones about the fact we are in business to make a profit. At the same time though, we are hyper-competitive and we’ve really pushed the boat out when it comes to giving value-for-money. Sure, there may be firms who appear to charge lower fees than West Riding, but we’ve never found any who do that on a pure like-for-like basis. Some look cheaper at first sight but charge extra for services that we provide all-inclusive, such as face-to-face reviews, ‘Bed and ISA’ arrangements and fund switching, so they end up charging a lot more in total. Whenever we’ve seen a competitor pontificating in the media about the superiority of their fee model, we’ve mystery-shopped them. In every case, we’ve come best out of the comparison.
Unlike most firms, our fees today are a lot lower than they were in 2004 when we founded West Riding, and they are a lot lower still than any firm I ever worked for previously. We’ve achieved that by blending an investment in technology and people with rigorous controls on overheads and a strict no-frills no-waste policy. It’s a simple philosophy and it didn’t take a genius to come up with it. We don’t have city-centre offices with sky-high rents and business rates, fancy furnishings and pointless fripperies like faux-leather document wallets, and we don’t overpay ourselves. Similarly, we don’t waste time and money on entertaining or being entertained. We do spend money where it matters though, on the kind of technology that enables us to minimise staff numbers whilst providing an extremely competitive salary and benefits package for the people we do want to hire and keep.