Assessing returns – what financial advice can do for you

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23 January 2017

Joe Roxborough

Joe Roxborough, Saunderson House

By Joe Roxborough, Chartered Financial Planner, Saunderson House

I recently started using the services of a personal trainer, and have become interested in his business model.  My trainer’s role is to make me a lean, mean, running machine.  He gives me the techniques and the motivation, and, if I do as he says, I will meet my objectives.  That’s in theory. In reality, I frequently find myself failing at basic geometry and cutting a piece of a cake into an obtuse rather an acute angle, therefore he can hardly be blamed if I am not the next Usain Bolt. 

It occurred to me that my trainer’s job is the inverse of mine in many ways. He helps clients lose pounds, whereas an adviser’s job is to generate them. More importantly, unlike a personal training client, the client of a financial adviser doesn’t share responsibility for outcomes for the advice we recommend and implement. There is no grey area.

Advisers need to provide reassurance, excellent service and a holistic approach to our advice, but ultimately, our success in managing wealth is easily quantified in pounds and pence, giving a clear indicator of our performance. Therefore, the only important job for the client is in choosing the right adviser at the outset.

What criteria should you have in mind when comparing advisers? At Saunderson House we use several benchmarks to measure each client’s individual portfolio returns. This means clients can clearly see how their money would have performed elsewhere, ensuring maximum transparency. Indices include: 

  • Inflation to benchmark the purchasing power of their money
  • Bank of England base rates to show what cash has returned
  • The FTSE All-Share index (and other global indices) to show the returns gained for equity investments
  • And most importantly of all – we compare ourselves to an index group of our peers, which shows the returns given after all costs and fees, and how we stack up compared to them.

If your current wealth manager can’t offer a similar package of comparators, then it might be worth considering what they hope you aren’t noticing.

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