Spring is almost here, and as I type, I can hear the birds in the garden making their nests ready for the warmer weather and egg-laying. Our resident turtle (she came with the house) has woken up from her hibernation and has now begun to enjoy sunbathing on the rocks.
The start of spring coincides with tax year-end, and we have already been busy with clients finalising pension contributions ahead of the 6 April deadline. Our online application process allows us to create ISAs and pensions within hours, ready to accept contributions. It is pretty staggering how much financial services have moved on from the paper-based application process I began completing on behalf of clients in March 2000 (my first tax year as a professional).
Not feeling under pressure of needing an extra 10 working days to get an application form out and back from a client certainly makes for a more relaxed client experience. The ageing process of emailing attachments to be printed, signed, and scanned back is largely obsolete. Many providers now opt to accept DocuSign or other variants via encrypted IP signatures.
Having that additional time allows our clients to feel less pressured to act and creates more time for us as their advisor and investment manager.
We have also decided to form longer and deeper client relationships. We keep client numbers low per adviser to retain all of the golden nuggets of information needed to fully advise a client across all of their affairs. For example, remembering when your eldest is off to university or getting married is critical for the financial planning process. These points can be forgotten in the dash to capture ISA or pension contributions allowances. Having the time to stop and think is essential.
We choose to be the lead adviser for a client rather than act on one puzzle piece. It is more engaging for us, and we believe a better service for the client where their financial advisers sit in the same room as their accountant and solicitor.
So when it comes to running to a tight deadline on client planning, we like to feel we are adept at manoeuvring quickly when we need to.
Tax year-end planning, by its very nature, can be short notice, especially when companies are looking to make use of their deductible business allowances ahead of 31 March year-ends and partnerships (or LLPs) making pre-tax year-end pension contributions, bonuses or dividends. This year sees National Insurance increase, and we have certainly seen more clients push on with planning now rather than waiting for higher rates next year.
Encouraging our clients to share more with us enables deeper financial planning across their assets.
When we pair this with our real-time valuation service and online account opening, we feel we have taken financial advice and wealth management a long way in a short space of time.
Thanks for reading and…