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The key stages of wealth management

Wealth management is a relatively new profession, so it’s not surprising that most people are vague about what wealth managers actually do.

Wealth management addresses a wide range of issues. We can help you with such issues as:

  • investing a lump sum,
  • deciding how much you need to save in order to retire comfortably,
  • estate planning and inheritance tax planning,
  • dividing up pension entitlements on a divorce or separation,
  • getting the right types and amounts of life and health insurance,
  • planning to pay school or university fees,
  • providing a general financial health check.

These are crucial issues for most people and their families, and it’s very important for a wealth manager, or adviser, to have a thorough understanding of clients’ aims and challenges.

It’s generally best to look at the whole of an individual’s financial affairs across the board, not just the issue that is of most immediate concern. It can sometimes be hard to deal with one particular issue in isolation because most areas of financial planning are interconnected.

Initially, we get to know each other well enough to decide whether to continue the relationship and the best way for it to work. Our job is to find out what the client wants to achieve with their money, both now and in the future. That means gaining a thorough understanding of their views about such issues as borrowing, investing, spending now and in the future, retirement and estate planning. 

In investment terms, there will be specific questions about the level of risk the client is prepared and able to take on. This will lead to discussion about how various asset classes have behaved in the past and what they might do in the future. The aim is to build a portfolio of investments with an aim to providing the returns the investor wants and needs and with which they are comfortable. This can sometimes take a considerable amount of time.              

The next step in the planning process is to make sense of all this information and come up with a range of preliminary conclusions and initial ideas for ways forward. 

An important aim of the analysis stage is to identify financial gaps or shortfalls, they could be between income and expenditure now or in the future, pension or protection provision and several others where some action is needed to bridge the gap between aspiration and reality. 

You might need to change your goals and aspirations and you may also need to adjust some of your current patterns of behaviour such as spending and saving. A very important issue is clarity about priorities – what might have seemed to be a high priority at the start of the process might have to be replaced by another need. 

Once these needs and wants have been identified, it is time to do some specific product research into funds, tax wrappers – like ISAs, and protection products. 

There’s the planning part of the process, where the end result is a plan of action; and then there’s the implementation, where the outcome is a set of actions that carry out the plan.

Wealth managers are generally able to undertake both functions – for example, first recommending a suitable portfolio of investments and then putting the plans in place. Sometimes we will work with other professionals like solicitors and accountants who can provide specialist legal and tax advice and help with the implementation of aspects of the plan.

Most clients want us to keep an eye on their investments and other financial arrangements; you could, for example, receive periodic valuations, attend meetings or have phone calls on a regular basis, or as and when needed. The review process is intended to act as a catch up with what has changed – either in your own circumstances or in the financial world generally. 

Much of the groundwork has already been done earlier, and so the review is likely to be shorter and easier to carry out than the initial meeting and report. But this might not turn out to be the case where there have been some very substantial changes in circumstances like a marriage, divorce or a substantial inheritance. 

The value of an investment with St. James's Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds selected and may fall as well as rise.  You may get back less than the amount invested.

The levels and bases of taxation and reliefs from taxation can change at any time and are generally dependent on individual circumstances.

You should remember that past performance refers to the past and is not a reliable indicator of future results. The value of an investment and the income from it can fall as well as rise. You may get back less than you expected. 

To receive a complimentary guide covering Wealth Management, Retirement Planning or Inheritance Tax Planning, please contact produced by Andrew Whiting of Andrew Whiting Wealth Management LLP email

Andrew Whiting Wealth Management LLP represents only St. James's Place Wealth Management plc (which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority) for the purpose of advising solely on the Group's wealth management products and services, more details of which are set out on the Group's website

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