Ensuring our long-term financial plan is appropriate for our circumstances requires a lot of forethought and consideration. The right advice at the right time goes a long way to helping us meet our goals in life. Financial adviser Tom Kimche explains how on a typical day he works with clients to help them stay on track.
Setting the scene
No two days start alike. Each day can have diverse economic, market or political forces driving the news. Likewise, each client is different and every person’s financial goals and circumstances are unique. What we do best is to help create a plan and strategy which is tailored to their individual goals – while being responsive to external factors.
So I start before I have reached the office by reading the FT and other relevant financial news sources for updates on industry developments which may affect clients or impact our decisions. I also check on market indices to see how portfolios have performed overnight. While we don’t try to time the market, it is important that I know how client portfolios are performing.
Clients trust us to come up with the answers. When a situation occurs such as a recent case where a famous fund manager’s fund was suspended from trading, I need to anticipate the questions clients might have. Fortunately, the funds in which we invest and their underlying holdings are extremely liquid, therefore our clients can typically withdraw their portfolios at will – so in this case, questions were easy to answer!
Meeting potential clients
On most days, I will also meet with prospective Netwealth clients. Before I do, I look at their current asset allocation and the fees they are currently paying to see how these compare to our portfolios. I also prepare a demonstration of our online service to take them through.
People come to us to feel reassured and to find meaningful solutions to their financial challenges. This includes saving effectively for retirement and to find the most efficient ways of drawing from their portfolios in retirement. Fees play a big part in any planning strategy and it is an area which greatly concerns clients. They want to be clear about the fees they are paying and to pay a fair amount – two qualities which set us apart as a wealth manager.
Practical ways we help clients, and add value
Clients like the ease of having all their assets looked after under one roof and they value the ways we can save them time and alleviate the stress of looking after their money. Each day I will typically provide guidance or specific advice to clients on complicated financial planning areas such as the lifetime allowance.
We help to alleviate the stress of day-to-day money management
We make life simpler for clients by taking care of the sometimes boring but important things such as subscribing to their ISA each year, thus making their portfolios more tax efficient over time. This is all, of course, combined with the work the investment team do to mitigate risks within portfolios and rebalancing them when appropriate.
Helping clients to visualise their financial future is invaluable to them and rewarding for me. Our online planning tools give people an idea of how their finances may progress depending on their specific goals and objectives.
Managing clients’ expectations
Providing assurance is key to what we do so I also spend a part of each day communicating to clients how their portfolios have performed and may behave in the future. This could be through the regular monthly updates we send to clients, but sometimes also by telephone or face-to-face conversations.
I’ll also highlight Netwealth attributes such as our complete transparency on holdings and avoiding investing in illiquid or unquoted companies as ways that further reinforce our stability.
A role reinforced through key internal relationships, and technology
Two key relationships are pivotal to how effectively we can serve clients. Our developers implement our ideas on how to present data to clients in more interesting and useful ways. They also help us to deploy pioneering features like those that encourage clients to use their tax allowances quickly and efficiently, and a new tool which will give clients even more control over their retirement plans.
Working closely with the client services team is also crucial. They implement the instructions of the client and make sure transfers to and from other providers go smoothly. Every week we have a transfers meeting to check the progress of transfers from other providers. It helps that we’re all on the same page – we all want to ensure that each client’s journey is as effortless as possible.
Things that make life more interesting
Helping clients to achieve their objectives is fulfilling, yet I also like to push my own limits to keep things interesting. I work a little bit on the tech side of things to help design and improve how our Customer Relationship Management software functions.
I host webinars, too, to explain various financial planning concepts and investment ideas to clients. It’s unusual to be presenting to a live audience! But I also recognise the value of doing things which are initially slightly outside your comfort zone.
Because I help people to plan ahead effectively, it wouldn’t be encouraging if I didn’t practice what I preach! So I like to make sure all the boxes for each day are ticked off – and key tasks for the following day are lined up.
Although I value my time off, I never really switch off completely. When checking emails from clients, I may forward them to a colleague but sometimes a personal response is warranted. And I’m always catching up on financial and industry news, but that doesn’t feel like work as I enjoy it!
I’m fairly active, too, so after work I will often go for a game of squash with the team here – with product owner Dave, Simon from the investment team or Joey from the dev team.
One of my favourite books is ‘Thinking, fast and slow’ by Daniel Kahneman. It is not directly related to investing but because it analyses how we act and make choices, its lessons apply when we help clients with our insights, but also in guiding and empowering them to challenge their own assumptions and decisions.
Please remember that when investing your capital is at risk.