Ramsy Dhillon: I am a graduate with a BSc Honours degree in Mathematics. I am now a Company Director at Intelligent Financial Advisory and a Chartered Independent Financial Planner and Pensions Specialist with over 10 years experience working in various high street banks such as Alliance & Leicester, Halifax, Santander as well as several years experience in the independent financial services market.
IFA Direct Home: Who should be seeking advice?
Ramsy Dhillon: Everyone from the age of 18 to 100 could benefit from a financial review whether it be to review any existing plans or set up new plans such as savings, insurances, mortgages, investments or pensions. Anyone with an existing pension should be having a regular review to ensure that the plan is still in line with their objectives and set up in line with the recent changes to pension laws and freedoms. Final Salary or Defined Benefit schemes were always seen as the Rolls Royce of pensions but this may not be the case and these should also be reviewed as once you have made your decision you may not be able to go back.
IFA Direct Home: Why should they seek advice over making a decision themselves?
Ramsy Dhillon: Would you go to the doctor if you felt unwell? Would you go to a solicitor if you wanted legal advice? Would you go to an accountant to help you with your tax and accounts? In the same way a Financial Adviser is qualified to give you advice with regards to your finances. Also by receiving advice you have additional protection from the Financial Ombudsman and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme that you are unlikely to have if you were to do the same investment without advice. I have numerous years experience in the Financial Services industries and have additional enhanced qualifications to be classified as a Chartered Financial Planner.
IFA Direct Home: What financial pitfalls might people come across?
Ramsy Dhillon: People may have inadequate savings/investment/pension provisions for their objectives and may not realise until it is too late. They may be missing out on tax benefits and reliefs available from the tax man/HMRS and the government. They may have the wrong plan/product or may be paying excess fees, all which would affect the suitability and/or outcome of their plan. Finally they may not seek advice and go ahead with something that a friend has done or recommended and realise too late by which time they may be unable to reverse or undo their decision.
IFA Direct Home: Can you explain the process of receiving financial advice?
Ramsy Dhillon: There is no set process as such and every adviser will have their own style and process. However, all advisers should start by introducing themselves and how they work, to include costs and charges and their specific procedures. They should complete a detailed fact find and find out what the specific needs and objectives are of the individual. They should then carry out sufficient research to find a suitable solution before presenting back to the prospective client. The benefit of seeking advice from a truly independent adviser is that there is no bias or conflict of interest and I am working for you and your interests rather than a third party or product provider.
IFA Direct Home: Do you find that a client’s initial objective changes following their first meeting with you?
Ramsy Dhillon: Generally a client’s objectives do not change in the short term, though they may change or evolve over the longer term. However a client may have preconceptions about what the solution may be which may not always be the best outcome or solution to meet their needs and objectives. It is the adviser’s responsibility to uncover the true needs and objectives and then ensure that the correct solution is provided.
IFA Direct Home: How much does advice cost?
Ramsy Dhillon: Again, different advisers and companies have different charges and charging structures. However the adviser should clearly explain the charging structure and charges before providing any advice and before the client has committed to anything.
IFA Direct Home: Isn’t it a catch-22 situation to be spending money to find out how to save money?
Ramsy Dhillon: There may not necessarily be any cost for an initial meeting or discussion to determine whether an adviser can provide a client with a saving or greater return on their investments. And an adviser would not be allowed to make a recommendation if it is not in the best interest of the client.
IFA Direct Home: How often do you review the financial situation with your clients?
Ramsy Dhillon: Again this is dependent on the individual and their situation. It would depend on what was recommended and what level of service the client wanted going forward. I would recommend a review in person face to face once a year as an absolute minimum.