IFA Direct Home: Can you tell us a bit about your background?
Tony Adams: After working for the inland revenue ( as it was then) and H.M. Customs and Excise for 14 years I became gamekeeper turned poacher, and joined the Financial Services Industry, with Barclays, before going on to work for Lighthouse and the Legal Brokerage. I set up Touchstone in 2012.
IFA Direct Home: Who should be seeking advice?
Tony Adams: Anyone who wants to ensure that their current arrangements are performing as they should or who wants to make sure they are providing adequately for their future, be it retirement or for other goals in life.
IFA Direct Home: Why should they seek advice over making a decision themselves?
Tony Adams: That depends on how much of an interest they are taking already. Some people come to us because they want to know more about what they have, others already have a good knowledge of what they have but want to know that someone is focussed on reviewing it regularly and ensuring it is on track. The analogy I would use is that of a gardener. I know how to tend my garden, but for every hour I spend in my garden, I know I could be doing something I really want to do, rather than have to do, so I pay a gardener so I can spend more time doing what I want to do.
IFA Direct Home: What financial pitfalls might people come across?
Tony Adams: Many and varied, but typically not being in funds that match their attitude to risk, missing out on tax breaks they are entitled to, being in poor performing funds, or contracts that are more expensive than they need to be.
IFA Direct Home: Can you explain the process of receiving financial advice?
Tony Adams: Basically its about discussing your current circumstances, objectives and aspirations with an adviser, reviewing your options with him or her and then making the necessary decisions. After that, the most important bit, is to regularly review progress with the adviser to ensure you are on track.
IFA Direct Home: Do you find that a client’s initial objective changes following their first meeting with you?
Tony Adams: Sometimes, but generally our role is to help clients achieve their objectives.
IFA Direct Home: How much does advice cost?
Tony Adams: There are numerous different ways of paying for your advice, but our first meeting is always free. Thereafter we give a clear indication of any fees that might be due before proceeding.
IFA Direct Home: Isn’t it a catch-22 situation to be spending money to find out how to save money?
Tony Adams: We normally find we can quickly get clients into a position where they have saved more than they have spent on fees – by way of savings on policy charges or improved returns, or both.
IFA Direct Home: How often do you review the financial situation with your clients?
Tony Adams: It depends on the clients wishes, but generally at least annually.