Occasionally we work for clients on either a project or transactional basis. This is usually where there is a very specific need for advice or where a client requires us to arrange a deal for them in a particular area. If we are working on this basis, it will be made clear that we will assist with these one-off transactions and will only continue to advise on these or other issues as agreed between the parties.
Generally for both our corporate and private clients, our advice is much broader and holistic. For owner managed businesses, the shareholding, integral wealth and success of the trading company cannot be divorced from an individual's private assets.
Individuals who have created their wealth through whatever means need to have their affairs in the best shape to provide for their short, medium and longer term needs, whilst minimising taxation and assessing wealth succession. Also understanding the family and family dynamics is extremely important in the work that we do.
Our aim is to not just understand a client's assets but, as importantly to genuinely understand our clients' real desires and needs.
Relationships are built on trust and as much as we need to gain and hold our clients' trust, it is also important that we trust our clients to be open and honest in all our dealings.
The majority of our clients stay with us long term and it is not unusual for us to look after several generations of the same family. We are used to, and would always recommend, that we work hand-in-hand with clients' other professional advisers (accountants, lawyers etc) so that advice from one party does not crossover or contradict an initiative being created by someone else.
We do of course offer corporate benefit and corporate pension services. We have designed, installed and run many Group Pensions and other employee benefit arrangements. However, Director pension provision tends to fall more towards self investment and strategy planning where the pension provides a tax shelter for investments.
A high proportion of what we do therefore comes back to our Investment Proposition. Correctly assessing an individual's attitude to investment risk or perhaps more concisely - tolerance to loss is vital.
We then apply a robust investment process placing clients' assets in correct proportions in a four stage process. This encompasses cash; investments with some degree of underpinning of capital or income guarantee; Governed Investment Portfolios using a Multi Asset, Multi Manager, multi strategy basis and finally, for those clients who want certain specific investments, assistance in Bespoke investment areas.
The quality of the advice and personnel at Heritage is best confirmed by the Industry Financial Awards of Group Pension Adviser of the Year and Overall Individual Independent Financial Adviser of the Year being presented to John Shackleton in the year of establishing Heritage - two awards rarely seen to be given to a niche IFA business such as Heritage.
Unregulated Collective Investment Schemes
Following the ban on payment of commission to introducers for new investments after 1 January 2013, we have noticed a growing number of new Unregulated Collective Investment Schemes (“UCIS”) on the market. Within a UCIS, as the name suggests, your money is pooled with that of other investors before being invested in one or more assets.
Typical characteristics of such schemes are as follows:
- By definition UCIS are not regulated by an authorised regulatory body and not protected by any compensation scheme. Therefore, investors have little or no redress should things go wrong.
- Very often the underlying investments are exotic or esoteric and often based abroad removing them from the tighter controls of any UK jurisdiction. Often the marketing literature is misleading and makes them appear to be based in the UK.
- Such schemes can appear attractive as their quoted investment returns are frequently significantly above those of more traditional investments and they may be described as’ low risk’ or even ‘guaranteed’.
- UCIS may be used as a means of avoiding the commission ban.
Not all UCIS are inappropriate and as independent financial advisers, we are obliged to include UCIS in the range of investments in which we deal. However, our view is that any unregulated investment, no matter how it is labelled, is necessarily high risk; not least due to the investors lack of recourse through the usual channels. Therefore we do treat UCIS with extreme caution and whilst we may exceptionally bring what we consider to be a suitable UCIS to your attention, we would not arrange an investment in such a product until we have had a thorough discussion with you to ensure that you fully understand the risks.
Clients should also be aware that these schemes are often marketed direct to the public so we advise extreme caution before proceeding with any directly marketed investment. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it most probably is!