It has always been crucial to us that we are free to impartially choose the funds and products into which we invest. For that reason, we do all our own in-house research and compile our own panels, so we can be confident that the funds we’re recommending have been selected for the right reasons, not because somebody somewhere is getting some form of inducement.
In the early 1990s I worked for an adviser firm that pretended to be independent but which funnelled all its clients into its own in-house funds-of-funds just as some major national firms do today. Later I worked in the largest UK network firm, DBS. When I started at DBS it genuinely promoted independent advice. By the time I left though it had been taken over and was anything but impartial.
But what does all of this mean in practice? You might reasonably ask “How is West Riding independent?” Here’s how:
- We are not a part of any adviser network. Networks can dictate provider, fund, and product choices.
- We are not a franchise. Franchises like network members are limited as to the providers, funds, and products they can choose.
- Nobody apart from our family has shares in West Riding.
- We use an external third-party compliance service for the benefit of our clients, but it has no influence on our fund or product selections.
- Whatever funds or products we recommend to our clients, our fees are the same.
- Commission plays no part in the remuneration of our staff.