This has been our motto from day one. We figured that enough people would want to get their advice the way we like to give it. We tell clients what they need to hear, even if it’s not necessarily what they want to hear. Our business is advising, not selling. We believe that to serve clients’ best interests, it is essential to tell it like it is. A classic example of this is a couple, the husband 57, his wife 55, who came to us in 2013 wanting to retire there and then. We told them they couldn’t afford to and explained why. After five years of working together though, them and us together, we got them into a position where they could retire well before their state pension age and enjoy the quality of retirement in financial terms that they were looking for.
As part of our ‘Honest Advice in Plain English’crusade we’ve produced client guides such as our Risk Realities and Rental Realities pamphlets. Download copies here: RISK REALITIES and RENTAL REALITIES. We have never spent a minute persuading any client to invest money but from time to time we’ve spent hours persuading some not to invest because, after a thorough fact-find and an attitude to risk assessment, we’ve judged that investment was not right for them.
A classic example of our ‘Honest Advice in Plain English’was the advice we gave a client asking our opinion of LCF’s minibonds. She emailed late one night saying LCF was offering 8.5%pa with complete capital security. She wanted to invest £60,000. We replied early the next morning, telling her –
You’re getting 8% according to their website, not 8.5%. LCF lends the money out at 15%. What do you know about the business they’re lending to? What do you know about the ‘assets’ it’s supposedly secured on? If a business has to pay 15% – so much over the odds for capital, there’s a reason why. Why won’t their bank accept their assets as collateral when you’re being asked to? This looks like some dodgy foreign property development outfit. No wonder banks won’t lend on it. Currently I’m helping out a Judge who was burned by a foreign property investment for a small fortune. All the references to the Bank of England are window dressing and there are misspellings on the website. All this about lending to small businesses is so much guff. The owners don’t have much at risk per the accounts and Michael Andrew Thomson has been a director of LCF and IRG plc. Conflict of interest? It’s not an investment we’d recommend to clients. Not in a million years.
That advice we gave saved her £60,000 when LCF collapsed. That is the value of ‘Honest Advice in Plain English.’
Excellence in Advice
For any adviser firm to give excellent advice requires a combination of personal qualities, technical skills, and an ongoing investment of time and money in research. Technical competence is achieved through training, qualifications, experience, continuing professional development, and research. As well as undergoing formal exam-based learning for qualifications via the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), our newer advisers train alongside more experienced colleagues, which is why you’ll usually find that two of us are in the meeting with you. Where personal qualities are concerned, from the most recently-joined junior, we only hire colleagues who have a genuine desire to always put the client first. For that reason, we do not use the ‘traditional’ model whereby advisers earn commission based on how much business they generate. We only employ salaried advisers and we have a bonus scheme which remunerates everyone fairly for getting it right for clients. If anyone gets anything wrong the cost is borne by every employee, and by West Riding’s owners most of all. Read more here. We only give advice we believe in.