IFA Direct Home: Can you tell us a bit about your background?
Tim Sands: I have over 20 years experience in the financial services industry which included a senior management position for a successful fund and investment management company, which designed new products for institutional investors globally, including five funds being listed on the London Stock Exchange. I am therefore somewhat unique in the industry due to having both financial advisory and investment management experience. I am a member of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) which is the largest and most widely respected professional body for the securities and investment industry in the UK, and in a growing number of financial centres globally. I am currently studying towards being a Chartered Wealth Manager, which is a Masters equivalent financial advisory qualification.
IFA Direct Home: Who should be seeking advice?
Tim Sands: Every adult in the UK should be seeking financial advice and should have a financial review annually to ensure their assets are protected; that they can support their family and lifestyle in the face of a disruptive life; and that they are on-track for a comfortable retirement. With regards retirement, it is very unfortunate that many members of the public face living ‘on the bread line’ in their later years due to a lack of financial planning, particularly now with fewer people becoming home-owners and not having this asset to fall back-on.
IFA Direct Home: Why should they seek advice over making a decision themselves?
Tim Sands: Even basic products such as life insurance require financial advice e.g. if life insurance isn’t written into trust it will pay-out into the person’s estate, getting caught up in months and years of probate, and potentially also facing inheritance tax. This can easily be avoided by a financial adviser writing the policy into trust with any payment being paid from the insurance policy directly to beneficiaries. More detailed financial planning such as pensions, investments and estate planning can become very complex especially when taking into account the potential tax implications. Similar to solicitors and accountants, financial advisers are trained professionals in their field.
IFA Direct Home: What financial pitfalls might people come across?
Tim Sands: Some common pitfalls include the aforementioned lack of trust planning i.e. paying too much tax; being invested in high risk funds or investments through their pension when the client is actually risk adverse; and not having their mortgage on a discounted rate and therefore over-paying each month which can add-up to very substantial sums overtime. However, another key pitfall is that clients are being subject to scammers and not checking that they are dealing with a regulated financial adviser; clients should always check an adviser’s credentials on the FCA register (my number is TPS01034). Using a regulated adviser provides clients with significant protection including access to the financial services compensation scheme (FSCS).
IFA Direct Home: Can you explain the process of receiving financial advice?
Tim Sands: When you meet or speak with an adviser such as myself for the first time this is to complete a fact-find i.e. for the adviser to understand the client’s individual circumstances, their concerns, their goals and ambitions, etc enabling the adviser to prepare a suitable recommendation. The first meeting is also an opportunity for the client to understand the services being offered, any fees and commissions and also to get to know their adviser who may work with them and their family for decades to come. From here the client can then decide if / how they wish to proceed.
IFA Direct Home: Do you find that a client’s initial objective changes following their first meeting with you?
Tim Sands: A client’s objectives often don’t change dramatically at the first meeting, but there is often a significant realisation by the client during the meeting e.g. the improvements that can be made to their monthly outgoings or how with careful planning they can actually have a very comfortable retirement. Clients realise that financial planning can actually dramatically change their lives and that of their family, the key is to take the first step and have a no obligation review.
IFA Direct Home: How much does advice cost?
Tim Sands: For insurance products such as life insurance, critical illness, etc the insurance company pays a commission, whilst for investments and pensions this would be a charge payable from the client’s investment for example. The level of such charges depends upon the complexity and time involved in the financial planning process, however important to note is that the fee is ALWAYS agreed in advance with the client, there are no nasty surprises!
IFA Direct Home: Isn’t it a catch-22 situation to be spending money to find out how to save money?
Tim Sands: I do not charge for a client to meet and understand the financial planning process and how their assets can be protected and or grown to meet their goals and objectives. The cost of any plan agreed with the client will also be far outweighed by the benefits, and with investments and pensions my fees are directly linked to the success of their portfolio – my interests are aligned with those of the client.
IFA Direct Home: How often do you review the financial situation with your clients?
Tim Sands: Every six months with a full review annually, however I can be contacted 7 days a week by phone or email.