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Nick Bamford: Taking pleasure in stepping back from advice

A colleague and I had just finished presenting the outcome of a financial planning exercise to a lovely couple spending a good deal of time and money exploring the world post-redundancy/retirement.

We had spent the best part of an hour looking at their net worth position, their income and expenditure, and how the relationship between those items might pan out in the future through multiple cashflow forecasts.

We had explained and debated the various assumptions that had been used, and considered what might happen if those assumptions were different in practice in the future. We discussed their life goals and what they wanted.

The most interesting part of the meeting was the consideration of a number of “what if?” scenarios.

What if they actually spent more on holidays and world travel? What if they were to downsize their home in the future and release some of the equity? We considered the batting order in terms of taking future income: where it should come from, what the income tax position was, and what the ultimate inheritance tax position might be on the second of them to die. Might they be able to afford to help their children, and one day their granddaughter, on to the property ladder?

I say “a colleague and I” but really I mean said colleague Andy Bodman, as it was him doing all the work.

I may have been the lead financial planner for these clients for the past couple of years, but not today. I sat at their kitchen table, cup of tea in hand, observing the interaction between them and Andy.

One of the great delights in managing a team of people is helping them with their development.

Andy has gone through the process of completing his diploma-level qualification and moving on towards chartered status. He has also been signed off as a competent adviser. Most importantly, he has been imbued with the culture of the firm.

He knows the only things that matter as far as the business is concerned are suitability of the advice we are delivering, and transparency as far as cost and risk are concerned. He has no personal business target. He does not need to have one since we have a collective financial target as a firm, which we are all jointly responsible for.

The meeting came to a conclusion with the clients delighted. They were reassured about their finances and had received answers to their questions in an understandable manner. And then I heard something that some years ago might have upset me greatly but now has the opposite effect. The client leaned towards me and said: “It seems we don’t need you anymore, Nick. We have Andy instead.”

I couldn’t help but smile. Developing a young person into a highly competent adviser who clients can trust is something of a triumph. There are two more like him back at the office and we are starting the journey now for the fourth.

I delight in the fact that I am not needed anymore.

Nick Bamford is executive director at Informed Choice

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  1. Rowan Paterson 26th June 2019 at 3:26 pm

    Spot on Nick!

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