Ever since the Financial Services Act of 1986, the Financial Conduct Authority and its predecessors have introduced policies and rules that encourage and mandate the fair treatment of customers and clients. One element in that quest has been an ongoing crusade on the transparency of advisers’ charges. Here at Fleet Street Wealth, we think that has been a just cause and we welcome the continuing efforts of the FCA on this in 2022.

As recently as 4 May this year, the FCA published ‘Findings from our investment platforms costs and charges review’ and highlighted both good and poor practices they had identified in that market segment. Even in the high-tech environment of the 2020s, the FCA’s underlying message on costs and charges was reassuringly familiar: “Consumers should be able to easily identify and understand their investment charges.”

Clear fees aid comparison

Clarity of costs and charges is fundamental to the comparison of one financial adviser or firm with another. Sometimes more difficult to evaluate than the costs and charges themselves is the level of service that is provided in return. This is where reputation plays a part, because the ideal arbiters of the quality of service delivered are an adviser’s existing clients. Word-of-mouth from trusted friends, relatives or colleagues is one very powerful marketing tool. As an independent Chartered firm and a Bar Council business partner, Fleet Street Wealth is one of the main providers of financial services to barristers and the judiciary. The firm provides advice ranging from wealth management, retirement planning and cash flow forecasting to tax planning, mortgages and protection. The firm operates in majority on a fee basis that is both refreshingly simple to understand and highly competitive.

Are you paying too much?

As the time spent researching, advising on and implementing an investment account, pension, ISA, life policy or other financial product is very rarely dependent on the amount invested or sum assured, we see no reason for our initial fees to vary. We do not charge a percentage of the amount invested or a higher initial fee for a larger investment than a smaller investment. We do not take large commissions when setting up life assurances. As we see it, a fixed initial fee based on each type of investment or protection is the fairest way of charging.

Discount may apply

Naturally, clients sometimes ask us to organise various recommended transactions concurrently. We think our clients deserve to reap the benefits from the economies of scale we ourselves enjoy. Our approach is to discount initial charges accordingly. We cap our ongoing charges. Typically those who have accumulated larger overall funds are older than those with smaller funds. As such, they may be in longer term relationships and perhaps are more likely to have children and associated protection policies. They will typically be using a wider range of tax reliefs and have a wider range of considerations each year. We may advise using more than one investment style or manager. The cost of managing larger portfolios is therefore typically higher than smaller portfolios. However, there is a natural maximum to the amount of time an adviser spends on an account each year and therefore, there should be a cap on ongoing fees such as that which applies at Fleet Street Wealth. This model works out to be particularly attractive to those with larger portfolios. Fees and charges, of course, are not the only factor affecting the financial outcome of making an investment. Sadly, we can offer no promises about future stock market performance. However, the chances of outperforming benchmarks can be increased through thorough and regular research. Equally, risk management and availing oneself of the various tax allowance and reliefs on offer can have dramatic effect.

Unbiased selections

Crucial to our way of working for our clients is our independence, meaning that we are not tied to the products of just one provider. There is no bias in our selections, which are always made with the aim of maximising the potential to meet a client’s financial goals. Before recommending, we review the whole market for the category of product required, be it a life assurance policy, investment, pension plan or mortgage. In addition, because of our size, we have negotiated discounts on some investment firms’ management fees.

If you like the sound of what we do and how we do it, please do get in touch with us. The initial meeting is free and without obligation. Call us on 020 7353 6373 or email financialadvice@fswealth.co.uk
“The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate taxation advice or cashflow modelling.”

The value of investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Fleet Street Wealth is a trading style of Fleet Street Financial Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.