By Kieron McRae, Director: Development and Brand, Carrick Wealth
When selecting a financial advisory firm to manage your wealth and investments – or if you have already engaged the services of an advisory – a critically important test would be to ask yourself: what do they really offer me? How can they truly help me? What are their unique strengths and core business philosophy?
All financial advisory firms are in the “financial services industry”, and most will basically offer you much the same – a range of services, products and expert advice. But is that really enough, or should that be all? Surely you deserve much better? Are they really in the business of being of service to you?
Putting the client at the centre
In today’s fast-paced world financial planning is largely guided by a standardised process but with a lot of latitude about precisely what financial planning recommendations are selected and implemented. The result can be that two different financial planners, both with good intentions, can suggest significantly different solutions for a client depending on their own perspectives and preferences. The test would be to establish if, over and above the professional services and products they offer, they share your overriding beliefs, values and vision, and whether they really understand what you want, now and in the long term. This would entail putting you the client at the centre of all that they offer you.
As leaders in wealth and capital management with offices in several countries, this is our core philosophy at Carrick Wealth. We are always striving to improve the experience of our clients while laying down new benchmarks of service excellence for the financial planning industry. At Carrick we strongly believe in employing a truly client-centred business approach focused on providing the best possible service to each individual client.
Listening, understanding, serving
When we ask ourselves the question of “why are we in business”, Carrick believes the answer is quite simple: we are in the business of helping our clients achieve the best possible investment outcomes and realising their financial life goals. That is the core of what we offer. We achieve this by truly listening to our clients, engaging with them, understanding and prioritising their goals, analysing the client’s situation in full, proposing realistic solutions with which the client is comfortable, and by constantly monitoring the client’s portfolio to ensure proactive steps are taken to adapt to changing circumstances and conditions. At Carrick this is what we call Service.
Within this overall approach of offering a client-centred, personalised approach, the rest slots in: the expert advice of specialists in their field, the technical analysis and investment planning, the knowledge of markets and products, the decisions around diversification and jurisdictions, the choices regarding different asset classes, and global access and networks.
We believe that in a world of much uncertainty – be it political, economic, volatile markets or geographically centred – the decision always confronting the advisory and its clients is, how and where to invest to best achieve the client’s ultimate goals.
Key questions our Carrick adviser would sit down to consider with you, the client, would focus on diversification of your portfolio between both asset classes and different jurisdictions. Together decisions will be made on how much to invest offshore and for what reason or goal, and which geographical jurisdictions would be best suited for your requirements.
A number of questions will have to be answered, such as where you plan to retire; which are the different investment jurisdictions best suited for you; what should be your hard currency exposure; the most tax-efficient structuring of your portfolio; what life events are you planning for, such as for instance your children’s education or your own retirement; and correctly timing the planning and execution of your long-term financial plan.
It is important to also bear in mind that not all financial advisers understand the offshore space (not simply rand hedging) and it is therefore best to seek the services of an advisory such as Carrick with both offshore and local investment expertise.
Helping you navigate confusion
In planning, growing, protecting and preserving your wealth, there could be many elements and factors that create confusion, and ultimately instability. A bit like the balance of protons and neutrons in a nucleus which determines whether the nucleus will be stable or unstable. It is the financial adviser’s task to provide you the client with clarity and greater certainty, to see clearly through all the clutter and confusion, and achieve the greatest degree of stability and growth for you.
However, as with all things in life, there are never hundred-percent guarantees. Financial advisories do not control the markets, or the political and economic fluctuations and volatility in the world. What your financial adviser can and should do for you, is not unlike when we seek assistance from a medical practitioner to secure our long-term health: carefully listening to you, checking and analysing, and planning and implementing the best course of action to achieve your health goals. That will minimise confusion and uncertainty and produce the best possible outcomes for the future.
But it all comes back to the primary element, namely client-centred service. Listening and understanding what you the client want, and then constructing together with you, the best possible plan.
That is what we believe in at Carrick. If you would like to talk to us about how we can best serve you and find the solutions to realise your ultimate goals, contact Carrick today at [email protected].