Answered by Lee Goggin
It’s great that you are thinking along these lines. Your financial situation and needs are evolving all the time so it’s good practice to review your affairs in the round regularly – and think about whether your wealth manager is really meeting your needs.
Wealth management is really wide-ranging and can cover a huge array of services. Therefore, I’d first advise you think about what we call the three pillars of managing wealth: protection, growth and tax mitigation. Namely, is your wealth sufficiently protected from investment and other risks; is it growing at the best rate your risk-profile allows for; and is your adviser taking all steps to keep your tax bill down?
Next, consider how your situation has changed, or is set to. While wealth managers are obligated to take account of changes in your circumstances, there may be nuances they have missed. The birth of children, divorce, moving house, inheritance, career changes and retirement are just a few of the life changes you need to have acknowledge in your financial plan.
On a related point, consider how well your family financial plans are aligned. You and a partner may have separate ISAs that are really considered collective wealth and should be managed as such, for instance. Elsewhere, you might be facing a hefty Inheritance Tax bill without evasive action or there could be proactive moves to be taken as regards private school fees.
You might be surprised as to just how much a wealth manager can provide. You may not know that private bank mortgages can be very attractive, or that Lombard loans can be taken out against your investment portfolio, for example.
For all these reasons it pays to carry out a thoroughgoing assessment of your finances at least once a year and to prepare a list of questions to take to your annual review meeting with your wealth manager. Certainly, it might be good to simply say “What else could you be doing for me?”
Wealth management advisers should be proactively seeking solutions for you, and if you get a sense they are not then it might be time to seek one that does. Our Guide to knowing when it’s time for a change will help you ask yourself the right questions.
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