Simple Solutions Financial Questions

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Your Questions

Q. What is a Platform?

A. A wealth management platform allows you to hold all of your assets (if you want to) securely in one place. The Platform we currently use is run by the same company that we use for our back office system, True Potential. They are based in Newcastle on Tyne, and they set out originally, providing back office services for financial adviser firms in 2007. In 2011 they decided to launch their own Platform. This is now our platform of choice for our clients. Although we can use other platforms if we want to or if a client requires us to do.

What is a platform

We use the True Potential Wealth Platform as our preferred choice for many reasons, such as efficiency, ease of use for clients, good additional features, for example Impulse Save, to name but a few. True Potential is one of the fastest growing companies in the UK, and they continue to attract a large share of the market.

Once a decision has been made to place business onto a Platform there are no complications with the different tax regimes. Therefore, investments such as pensions, NISA’s, Collectives (also known as OEIC’s and Unit Trusts) or Investment Bonds can all be held on the platform despite the different tax treatments that apply to these products.

From an adviser perspective the main reason we make use of a platform rather than going direct to a life office or investment house is costs and speed of switching when it is time to re-balance. If a client has investments for example with 4 different investment houses, and the funds need to be switched, this could be quite a costly exercise to complete a routine transaction. Also if a client wants to switch away from one investment house to a completely new one, then there could be new initial charges to pay all over again. By using a Platform you do not have this kind of charging structure, a client’s assets can be switched quickly and with minimal costs incurred.

The platform has a clear and explicit charging structure that is easy to understand and is very competitive compared with the traditional pension and investment providers. It enables us to focus on planning and looking after your financial needs. It will show you the complete picture of all your investments, everything – helping you focus on the most important thing – getting your future right.

Q. Do I need a financial adviser?

A. A very interesting question, and in this day and age most people want a good deal on anything they purchase. And getting financial advice is no different. There is absolutely no reason why you cannot take the DIY route when it comes to financial advice. After all there are countless websites, books, magazines and articles packed with information, ideas and tips to help you on your journey. However, I would say not to ask the question ‘do I need a financial adviser’ but rather do I want to do all this research myself.

Do I need a financial adviser

For example we subscribe to a couple of firms for our research, and the costs to us is around £5000pa for access to their information. And please remember this is a commercial cost to an intermediary, this could, and probably would be more expensive to the public. This fund and factual information is essential if you are going to make strategic decisions on your portfolio. Would you be prepared to pay that? Then there is the time. Do you want to spend your weekends (if you are employed) or your days if you are retired, researching funds? If you do, fine.

But if you would prefer to get out on your bike, go for a game of golf, or merely play with the Grandchildren, then leave it up to the professionals. We will do the research for you on a regular basis, and report back the results accordingly.

Q. How much is Financial Advice likely to Cost?

Financial advisers can no longer earn commission from investment products. Everything now has to be fee based, and agreed with the client first.

The one question the public always want to ask when we speak to somebody for the first time is what are your fees? As you can probably appreciate it is virtually impossible when having an initial conversation with a prospective client over the telephone, to say what your fees are going to be. This is because at that point it is unlikely that we know what it is that you want us to do. If you have an existing investment or pension, or both and you want us to look at it and make a recommendation this will have to involve us getting certain information from the providers first.

How much does financial advise cost?

So until we have had an initial meeting with a client it can be difficult to say, and as you will probably appreciate we do not want to publish a list of fees on a website, which could be more or less than those eventually charged. This would lead to misleading information, and we certainly do not wish to do that. What we will say however, is that fees shall be discussed at the initial meeting, we shall cover the client agreement and service value proposition, and how we will charge for our services. And by doing this we shall be as fair, and as open and honest with you as you would expect to be treated.

Q. Why can I no longer go to my bank for financial advice?

A. On 31st December 2012 something called the Retail Distribution Review or RDR as we know it came into place for financial institutions. This new directive forbids financial advisers from earning commission from investment products. And shortly before the 2012 deadline many of the UK’s high street banks put in place, measures to stop their staff from giving financial advice. However if you have an investment to make of quarter of a million pounds for example, some banks have what they call a wealth management department, but in most cases, clients who have less than this amount to invest, are left with no access to financial advice from their banks.

Q. Are your advisers qualified?

A. Both Don and his Paraplanner Sharon are fully qualified to the level 4 Diploma. Declan is currently also working towards this qualification.

Simple Solutions is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority and the firm can be checked out on the FCA register www.fca.org.uk when searching for our registration our FCA number is 511977.

Q. What type of clients do you deal with?

A. A simple answer to this question is anybody in need of financial advice. In the past many people used their banks for this type of advice, however, the majority of banks no longer provide this valuable service, leaving clients in a vulnerable position. We have no strict criteria for a new client, we appreciate that everybody has to start off somewhere. With exciting new products available like the “Impulse Save” feature, regular saving has never been easier.

Q. What are your hours of Work?

A. The office is open from around 8.30 Monday to Friday and closes around 5.30. Alternatively Don is happy to visit you at your home or work address if you require. If you prefer to visit our office outside of normal business hours, this can be arranged with prior notice.

Q. Why should I go to an IFA?

A. We have covered the differences between Restricted and Independent advisers on the website. If you feel that you need a full financial review to encompass all of your financial needs, then please contact Simple Solutions who are an IFA practice based in Warrington. However, we do not offer products such as deposit accounts as we believe clients are more than capable of researching these with the high street lenders themselves.

Q. Do you just cover the Warrington area?

A. We have a wide range of clients all over the North West, and from time to time our clients may move away from the area. In this day and age this does not cause a problem as we also use technology such as Skype effectively to communicate with clients who are located far from our office.

Do we cover just the Warrington area?

Q. Do you have any testimonials?

Don’t just take our word for it here is what some of our clients have to say about Simple Solutions…..

Simple but sound advice makes dealing with Simple Solutions easy, Don and his colleagues are always available to patiently explain your options and help you reach the right choice for you."

JG – Warrington
Managing Director

Over the last couple of years in particular I have been really impressed with what Don has done for me. Not only does he look after my investments, but he has helped in other areas of finance also, such as taxation, and the NHS GP’s Superannuation Scheme, which has enabled me to benefit from good tax advice. And I would have no hesitation in referring him to any of my colleagues or friends"

Dr JE Horrocks
Manchester

I’m delighted with the service that I have received from Don And Simple Solutions. The smart technology that they use to enhance their service proposition means that I can still be kept right up to date with my portfolio but yet it doesn’t interfere with my own busy lifestyle"

John Downes
Chief Executive, Langtree Group

We have been dealing with Simple Solutions now since Don set it up, and before that he was our adviser at a previous firm. We have complete confidence that our portfolios are in good hands. "

Ken & Gaynor Edwards
Wrexham

 

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THE TRUE POTENTIAL WEALTH PLATFORM

In this video, True Potential explain all about their Wealth Management Platform. Learn more about this platform and what it means for you as a client of Simple Solutions. Watch