IFA Direct Home: Can you tell us a bit about your background?
Flying Colours: The team at Flying Colours is a mix of experienced independent financial advisers and investment experts. What we all have in common is our belief that advice and investing should be affordable to all and not erode the very value you’re trying to create or protect. We’ve designed our entire business with that approach in mind and our clients seem to like what we’re doing!
IFA Direct Home: Who should be seeking advice?
Flying Colours: Financial advice can be valuable for anyone who is unsure of how to manage their money or is looking to make more of it than they’d get saving into a cash account and having the value eroded by inflation. Our clients include those looking to access their pension in the most suitable way; people looking to transfer out of a pension scheme or consolidate different pension pots; all the way down to millennials looking to develop a financial plan to support them and their family over the coming decades.
IFA Direct Home: Why should they seek advice over making a decision themselves?
Flying Colours: Your money gives you the opportunity to choose how you live. Investments can be complex and the tax rules in the UK are far from simple. In some situations, for example, when you come to access your pension, you might only have one chance to make decision about what happens to the money you’ve invested for many years. The implications of even innocuously making the wrong decision about how to access your pension could cost you many thousands of pounds. There are plenty of horror stories about this in the press and we don’t want anyone to have to suffer these.
IFA Direct Home: What financial pitfalls might people come across?
Flying Colours: With regard to investment decisions there are many and varied pitfalls. We’ve even producedsome research on it showing the losses that ‘DIY’ investors are subject to. But the more commonplace pitfalls are failing to have any kind of financial plan to support your retirement or missing out on tax reliefs that we are eligible to receive and that could save us money each year.
IFA Direct Home: Can you explain the process of receiving financial advice?
Flying Colours: We offer a free initial consultation to all prospective clients. This is where we find out what you’re looking to do and explain how we might be able to help and what the likely cost is going to be. If we don’t think we can help you, we’ll let you know. But, assuming we think we can help, we’ll book in a longer meeting to gather details about your existing investments, savings, goals so that we have everything we need to recommend a course of action that gives you the best chance of success.
IFA Direct Home: Do you find that a client’s initial objective changes following their first meeting with you?
Flying Colours: The first conversation or meeting we have with a client is a great opportunity to understand what clients think they need and also to uncover some objectives they perhaps haven’t thought about but which are equally – and sometimes even more – important.
IFA Direct Home: How much does advice cost?
Flying Colours: We charge 2% initial and then ongoing advice costs between 0.5-1.05% for everything that includes advice, investments and the platform the investments sit on. The UK average 3% initial and 2.15% so we are much better value for money than many. While cost is not the only reason to choose a financial adviser – it makes a huge difference to the return you’re going to get (and specifically the ongoing ones as they hamper your investment growth). We’ve tried to keep ours as low as possible. We do this through efficiency and not through compromise.
IFA Direct Home: Isn’t it a catch-22 situation to be spending money to find out how to save money?
Flying Colours: If a financial adviser doesn’t deliver more value than they cost then there’s a big problem. Now we think that most of them do. But the more expensive they are, the less value they’re likely to be delivering to you. We think that the industry can be expensive and as a result have tried to reduce internal costs and create efficiencies which allow us to pass these savings on to our clients.
IFA Direct Home: How often do you review the financial situation with your clients?
Flying Colours: Typically we will undertake a full review of a client’s circumstances each year. That doesn’t mean that’s the only time we speak to them though! We’re always available for a chat and we also provide access to an online portal so that people can keep track of their investments.