Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a number of frequently asked questions. If there is anything specific you would like information about, that is not answered here, please contact us. A member of our team will respond as soon as possible.
To practice financial advice, a recognised financial adviser Level 4 qualification is required as a minimum. Only qualifications that have been assessed as appropriate by the Financial Conduct Authority are eligible.
Beyond the Level 4 qualification, IFAs may then obtain further qualifications in specialist areas such as investment management, or pension transfers.
IFA firms are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) https://www.fca.org.uk. This is the main body in the UK that regulates the financial services advice industry.
Before an IFA can be established, the FCA must review their business plans, risks, budgets, resources, systems, controls. Additionally, they must review whether key staff have the necessary qualifications, experience and ability to carry out their roles effectively.
Once authorised, the firm can expect regular controls and investigations by the FCA. This ensures that their records are complete and that the advice they give to clients is appropriate.
Beyond the regulation of the FCA, at Henson Crisp all our staff are members of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). The CII is an FCA appointed accredited body which issues Statements of Professional Standing. These confirm that an adviser:
- Has adhered to a code of ethical standards
- Holds the required qualifications for the activities they undertake
- Has completed appropriate CPD and complied with the SMCR (Senior Managers and Certification Regime)
At Henson Crisp we have no ties to any service provider. We cover the whole of the market, using independent research tools to find the best products and value for money for our clients.
Our fee income from pensions and investments comes from our clients, not the product providers. Therefore, we have no incentive to favour one provider over another. Providers of insurance contracts do offer commission to financial advisers, the levels of commission are broadly similar among the providers. Any commission paid to us is disclosed to our clients before the policy commences.
The majority of our income comes from ongoing servicing of our clients’ portfolios, and most of our clients come from referrals. Our business is based on our brand and service to our clients. Experience has shown that giving the right advice, is the only policy that makes sense for our clients and from a business perspective.
At Henson Crisp, with our depth of experience, we continue to review product providers. We review in terms of price, service, product range etc. Should a provider fall short of the standards we require, we are able to change to the benefit of our clients.
Whilst there is no minimum investment amount, we work to the highest standards of compliance and professionalism. Consequently, this requires a certain level of fee income. At Henson Crisp we feel that we can add real value to clients who have in excess of £250,000 of assets excluding their main home, or earn over £75,000 per year.
However, not all our clients fall into this bracket, and so we strongly recommend you get in touch to discuss whatever your needs are. Even if we are not the right fit for you, we can discuss other options available.
Simply contact us. A valued member of our team will get back to you by the end of the next working day.
It is important that you explain the nature of your inquiry, outlining what area of investment you are interested in. We also recommend including approximate investment figures (if known) so we can give you the best guidance from the outset. This helps to ensure that the initial meeting is productive for both client and adviser.
Your initial appointment is at our expense. It is an opportunity for you to find out about how Henson Crisp operates. You can evaluate whether you feel we can add value to your investments. But it’s also a mutual process: we also find out about your situation and assess how we feel we could help you achieve your financial goals.
After the initial consultation we will discuss payment options to cover the costs of our services and will not charge anything until an agreement in writing has been reached.
We charge a fixed fee for our initial financial review and recommendations. This fee is waived if you take up our recommendations. To manage your investments on an ongoing basis, we charge a competitive annual fee, based on the level of service required, as a percentage of the value of the investments under advice. This will be subject to a minimum annual fee.
A one-off job, or where the work is transactional (i.e. we do not provide advice), will be charged at a fixed price agreed in advance.
No investment is 100% secure. However, at Henson Crisp we assess your personal attitude to risk and work accordingly towards the investment goals for you and your family. If you are risk-averse, we will invest in safer assets such as bonds, gilts and cash deposits. If you prefer, and are able to accept risks in the hope of superior growth, we can invest accordingly in assets such as growth shares, Enterprise Investment Schemes or Venture Capital Trusts.
It is important to note that peoples’ ability to accept risk (their capacity for loss) can change over time. At our review meetings, we reappraise your risk profile and if there are any changes, we recommend rebalancing your portfolio.
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protects customers of financial services firms that have failed. If a company you’ve been dealing with has failed and can’t pay claims against it, the FSCS can step in to pay compensation. For more information, visit the FSCS website.
Many people feel confident dealing with relatively straightforward financial decisions, such as taking out a mortgage, savings accounts, cash ISAs etc.
Beyond that, things become a little more complex. Take pensions, for example. You may hold a personal or a workplace pension. But have you checked to see if it is invested in a way that is likely to achieve your retirement goals? Are you aware of all your rights and options since the introduction of Pensions Freedoms in 2015? And will it be enough to supplement the basic state pension? Here, pension advice can help give you clarity in planning for your retirement.
If you require a long-term financial strategy, want to ensure your investments are tax-efficient, have inherited a lump sum or wish to engage in more complex financial products, you will certainly benefit from financial planning. An IFA acts not only as a financial professional with a detailed knowledge of the whole of the market, but also as an objective third party to bounce ideas off.
And while this advice costs money, in the long-term the costs should be outweighed by the savings you make. Plus, there is the potential investment gains.
“If you’re using an adviser, always make sure it’s an independent financial adviser”.
Money Saving Expert web site.