When it comes to choosing a financial planner there are plenty of factors and criteria you should consider. These could include:
- Qualifications and experience
- Recommendations from friends and business colleagues
- Costs, or more importantly the way they charge
- Having a niche or area of specialism
- Personal interaction and likeability.
However, one that’s often overlooked is continuity.
According to a report published in FinancialAdviser a few years ago, the average UK adviser is in his or her mid-50s. The same report suggested that 1 in 5 advisers were planning to leave the industry in the following five years.
On top of that, a subsequent report in Citywire suggested that 60% of advisers would be retiring in the next 10 years!
As a financial planner I’m conscious that, being in my early 40s, I’m relatively young in comparison with many of my peers. While I’m hardly a spring chicken, I have 20 years’ experience in the industry and I’m planning to provide continuity for my clients by being around for at least that length of time going forward. Furthermore, the average age across our team is 35!
So, read on for five important reasons why continuity is important.
1. Help you at a crucial time
If you’re 50 now, you’ve probably done quite a bit of the hard work when it comes to building your wealth and setting aside the financial means to secure your future up to, and into, retirement.
When it comes to planning that future, the next 15 years will be crucial. These are clearly generalised timescales, but:
- In 5 years, you may well want to start planning a withdrawal strategy
- In 10 years, you might want start drawing income from your fund
- In 15 years, you’re likely to be fully retired and want a detailed income strategy.
On top of that you may be considering a possible move back home, such as from Hong Kong to the UK, or making plans to start splitting your time in different countries. Further down the line, intergenerational planning may start to become more of a priority. So, you can see why continuity, and having the same adviser throughout, can be important.
Once you’ve built up a relationship of trust and mutual understanding with someone, it’s frustrating to have to build a new one. This is naturally more likely to happen the older your adviser is.
2. Create a stronger working relationship
Over an extended period, it’s inevitable that the client/planner relationship will strengthen. You’ll find out a lot about your planner, and they will learn a lot about you.
They’ll find out what makes you tick, your priorities, your likes and dislikes, and your principles. All of those are key ingredients in your financial plan, and the secret of successful financial planning is being able to translate all your ambitions and goals into a financial strategy.
So, continuity means that all that knowledge and personal interaction isn’t wasted – and your financial position is stronger as a result.
3. Help to build long-standing relationships
I referred to intergenerational financial planning earlier in this article.
Through continuity and a long-standing relationship with your planner, you can ensure that future generations of your family can receive advice and guidance from the same firm rather than each generation having to start from scratch.
Continuity means your family will get to know a planner that they can trust. That will apply to your spouse or partner and future generations of children and even grandchildren.
Involving them means they’ll also have a trusted planner to support them should the worst happen and you’re no longer around to provide for your loved ones.
4. Investing is for the long term
One of the keys to a successful retirement is your investment strategy.
Investing should be seen as a long-term process, so an investment strategy should be something that’s developed and refined over an extended period – often 15 to 20 years or longer.
It will involve a regular review process – including cashflow forecasting – and an assessment of your aims and aspirations. It will also consider your attitude to investment risk and capacity for financial loss.
All these factors can change. When you work with the same planner, your investment process will be a seamless progression from year to year, rather than a series of different plans with different advisers.
A long-term relationship also helps us to build an in-depth understanding of your investment preferences. This means we’ll be able to ask the important questions and confront the key decisions rather than having to look more broadly at the overall picture.
5. Support your move from Hong Kong to the UK, and beyond
Cross-border financial planning is an increasingly key issue.
Geopolitical reality probably means that you are either back in the UK already, having spent time in Hong Kong, or may well be planning to return to the UK at some stage in the near future.
Having one planner to manage your financial planning before your move, during it, and after you move to the UK is invaluable. Pre UK residency tax planning is just one aspect of the wider strategy, the plan also needs to consider the available opportunities once your UK resident and so in my opinion it is crucial to work with a firm that has expertise in and can cater for both.
The alternative is to have one planner in Hong Kong and another in the UK, with all the potential issues that working with two different planners can throw up.
We’re dual-authorised and regulated in both financial jurisdictions. This means that we can provide seamless advice whether you’re in the UK or in Hong Kong. It also means we understand the regulatory environment, and the most effective and tax-efficient ways to transfer your wealth from one jurisdiction to the other.
Get in touch
If you’d like to discuss your financial planning requirements please contact us by email or, if you prefer to speak to us, you can reach us in the UK on +44 (0) 208 0044900 or in Hong Kong on +852 39039004.