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  • FIRST POST
    • DairyQueen
    • By DairyQueen 13th Jan 19, 5:44 PM
    • 721Posts
    • 1,293Thanks
    DairyQueen
    IFA Are my expectations too high?
    • #1
    • 13th Jan 19, 5:44 PM
    IFA Are my expectations too high? 13th Jan 19 at 5:44 PM
    I approached an IFA with a view to a pension review last year. Shortly after an initial chat, OH and I faced a complicated legal situation and I emailed the IFA advising that I would be back in touch when we were less distracted. On the 19th December (a couple of months later) I emailed advising that we were now in a position to proceed. I accepted his quote subject to answering a couple of queries, and detailed my objectives from the process requesting confirmation that the quote would meet them.

    I also requested a second meeting (paid for) in late December as OH works away during the week and this would be a rare opportunity for him to participate and to meet the IFA.

    I received an OOO reply advising that the IFA was on hols until the new year. Two days later a personal email was sent confirming his holiday plans and that he would be in touch after his return to work. He lives and works in my village.

    That was the last contact from him.

    Our portfolio is valued at 600k+ and we are reasonably savvy DIY investors. Most of his work would involve reviewing OHs legacy DCs and recommending if/where to transfer. Also, advising us on how to manage drawdown to optimise tax in the lead-up to, and in the immediate aftermath, of retirement (OH is due to retire in 3 years).

    Those were the two main objectives of the review. Quote was 4,200.

    Am I unreasonable to expect to have been contacted by now? I actually expected (given that we are new customers with a reasonable-sized portfolio, and given OHs usual lack of availability) that the IFA would have arranged to meet us on one of the dates I suggested in late December. I know that he has not been away as I have seen him around the village.

    I am now pretty miffy and have decided to take our business elsewhere. Before I do, I wanted to check that my expectations were reasonable.

    I would welcome the views of anyone who has solicited IFA advice for a pension review and, especially, from the forums IFA contributors.

    Thanks in advance.
Page 1
    • Fatbritabroad
    • By Fatbritabroad 13th Jan 19, 5:55 PM
    • 525 Posts
    • 323 Thanks
    Fatbritabroad
    • #2
    • 13th Jan 19, 5:55 PM
    • #2
    • 13th Jan 19, 5:55 PM
    I can't speak for ifas but as someone who works in a service industry my answer to that is the customers expectations are what's important and should be met or at least managed as far as I'm concerned

    I was away frlm the 19th December until the 7th Jan. It was a simple enough thing to contact apologise that I was away for an extended period for a well earned rest and to give a time line for when they could expect to hear from me.

    The key as with all things is communication
    • wjr4
    • By wjr4 13th Jan 19, 5:59 PM
    • 466 Posts
    • 336 Thanks
    wjr4
    • #3
    • 13th Jan 19, 5:59 PM
    • #3
    • 13th Jan 19, 5:59 PM
    I personally think its very unprofessional and the fee sounds quite high!
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). Any posts on here are for information and discussion purposes only and should not be seen as financial advice.
    • BucksLady
    • By BucksLady 13th Jan 19, 6:28 PM
    • 530 Posts
    • 1,739 Thanks
    BucksLady
    • #4
    • 13th Jan 19, 6:28 PM
    • #4
    • 13th Jan 19, 6:28 PM
    His lackadaisical approach would really concern me, and I too would walk away.
    • Thrugelmir
    • By Thrugelmir 13th Jan 19, 6:52 PM
    • 62,450 Posts
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    Thrugelmir
    • #5
    • 13th Jan 19, 6:52 PM
    • #5
    • 13th Jan 19, 6:52 PM
    I am now pretty miffy and have decided to take our business elsewhere. Before I do, I wanted to check that my expectations were reasonable.
    Originally posted by DairyQueen
    Peoples views on reasonableness differ. If time is of the essence then find another IFA. Little point trying to second guess what work / meetings the IFA had already planned for his return to work in January.
    "You get recessions, you have stock market declines. If you don't understand that's going to happen, then you're not ready, you won't do well in the markets." - Peter Lynch
    • OldMusicGuy
    • By OldMusicGuy 13th Jan 19, 7:07 PM
    • 832 Posts
    • 1,798 Thanks
    OldMusicGuy
    • #6
    • 13th Jan 19, 7:07 PM
    • #6
    • 13th Jan 19, 7:07 PM
    Our portfolio is valued at 600k+ and we are reasonably savvy DIY investors. Most of his work would involve reviewing OH’s legacy DCs and recommending if/where to transfer. Also, advising us on how to manage drawdown to optimise tax in the lead-up to, and in the immediate aftermath, of retirement (OH is due to retire in 3 years).

    Those were the two main objectives of the review. Quote was 4,200.
    Originally posted by DairyQueen
    I would consider doing this yourself. You seem quite savvy and reviewing DC pensions is pretty easy. I was able to make sense of all the potential issues around a with profits scheme transfer just by doing reading and speaking with the pension provider (and reading stuff on MSE). Transferring is straightforward if you decide to go ahead.

    As for drawdown strategy, it's not that complicated IMO as there aren't that may options to choose from. Take a look at the thread on cash buffers in drawdown if you haven't already, there's lots of interesting stuff in that.

    Tax is the only area where specialist advice may be needed, but IMO unless you have complex tax affairs (like limited companies, trying to avoid IHT etc) it's not that complex.

    I guess maybe the IFA may not be that interested in a one-off job. From your posts on here you seem to be pretty knowledgeable and if I was able to manage all of this myself, I would imagine you could as well.....
    • greatkingrat
    • By greatkingrat 13th Jan 19, 7:22 PM
    • 172 Posts
    • 157 Thanks
    greatkingrat
    • #7
    • 13th Jan 19, 7:22 PM
    • #7
    • 13th Jan 19, 7:22 PM
    Yes, I think it is unreasonable to expect him to cancel his leave to meet with you, particularly over the Christmas/New Year period. Whether he is overseas or just relaxing at home is irrelevant, he is still entitled to a break from work.
    • DairyQueen
    • By DairyQueen 13th Jan 19, 10:27 PM
    • 721 Posts
    • 1,293 Thanks
    DairyQueen
    • #8
    • 13th Jan 19, 10:27 PM
    • #8
    • 13th Jan 19, 10:27 PM
    I would consider doing this yourself. You seem quite savvy and reviewing DC pensions is pretty easy. I was able to make sense of all the potential issues around a with profits scheme transfer just by doing reading and speaking with the pension provider (and reading stuff on MSE). Transferring is straightforward if you decide to go ahead.

    As for drawdown strategy, it's not that complicated IMO as there aren't that may options to choose from. Take a look at the thread on cash buffers in drawdown if you haven't already, there's lots of interesting stuff in that.

    Tax is the only area where specialist advice may be needed, but IMO unless you have complex tax affairs (like limited companies, trying to avoid IHT etc) it's not that complex.

    I guess maybe the IFA may not be that interested in a one-off job. From your posts on here you seem to be pretty knowledgeable and if I was able to manage all of this myself, I would imagine you could as well.....
    Originally posted by OldMusicGuy
    Thanks for all of the replies; it's always helpful to hear the diverse views of this forum's members.

    OMG: Your post prompted both a smile and a pause for thought.

    Coincidently, this p.m. I finished reading your recommendation on drawdown (Living Off Your Money by McClung). I also downloaded the spreadsheet and have just begun trying it out.

    Thanks for the vote of confidence. I think that self-doubt may be the real driver for approaching an IFA. I already had a few ideas about the old DCs, and have researched drawdown strategies, but wanted to compare against the views of an experienced professional.

    The delay in the IFA's follow-up may be a blessing in disguise as I am now enthusiastically investigating McClung's strategy and implementation plan. At first look it seems pretty close to what I have been seeking although it may need some tweaking for a UK investor.

    The tax issues are made more complex courtesy of income/divis from a limited company, plus OH is pushing toward the LTA. Even so, I think with a little more time and research I should be able to work through the various options.

    Have you adopted McClough's strategy? I am considering running a trial over the next couple of years to see how the plan could work for us in practice, and would be very interested in comparing notes with UK practitioners.
    • cfw1994
    • By cfw1994 13th Jan 19, 11:46 PM
    • 243 Posts
    • 163 Thanks
    cfw1994
    • #9
    • 13th Jan 19, 11:46 PM
    • #9
    • 13th Jan 19, 11:46 PM
    Peoples views on reasonableness differ. If time is of the essence then find another IFA. Little point trying to second guess what work / meetings the IFA had already planned for his return to work in January.
    Originally posted by Thrugelmir
    Not clear whether he set any expectations on the date he would respond.
    If he didnt: that is poor for someone in that role.
    If he did, but hasnt responded a week beyond: also poor.
    If neither of the above.....maybe he takes a month off!

    On the topic of cost: you mention 600k, but also mention OH pushing LTA: if the 600k is in addition to the pension pushing the LTO, 4K sounds quite a bargain?

    Ive failed to really drill down into IFAs, despite felling I could do with a validation of how we are going.....maybe this year...or maybe I will keep learning more myself as I tweak things!

    Not heard of McThingy....
    • Marcon
    • By Marcon 14th Jan 19, 12:42 AM
    • 821 Posts
    • 630 Thanks
    Marcon

    I received an OOO reply advising that the IFA was on hols until the new year. Two days later a personal email was sent confirming his holiday plans and that he would be in touch after his return to work. He lives and works in my village.

    That was the last contact from him.

    Am I unreasonable to expect to have been contacted by now? I actually expected (given that we are new customers with a reasonable-sized portfolio, and given OHs usual lack of availability) that the IFA would have arranged to meet us on one of the dates I suggested in late December. I know that he has not been away as I have seen him around the village.
    Originally posted by DairyQueen
    Pretty unreasonable, yes. He may well only be returning to the office this coming week, so perhaps find out the state of play rather than throwing a tantrum because he couldn't read your mind and know that you expected him to break his holiday because your OH wasn't very available.

    Sounds as if the IFA has had a lucky escape from an over-demanding client!
    • Dox
    • By Dox 14th Jan 19, 8:41 AM
    • 1,255 Posts
    • 943 Thanks
    Dox
    Sounds as if you've already made your decision, so the views of strangers won't change how you feel. Looked at objectively, you do seem to be expecting the IFA to jump to it the moment you are ready to go. Expecting him to change his holiday plans just because your husband happens to be around at a particular time seems pretty unreasonable. The fact he 'wasn't away' doesn't mean he was at work.

    Quote of 4,200 is for two people, so 2,100 each looks entirely reasonable.
    • Bimbly
    • By Bimbly 14th Jan 19, 8:47 AM
    • 177 Posts
    • 166 Thanks
    Bimbly
    It's impossible to know what is going on in his world. I think it would be reasonable to drop him an email saying you had hoped to hear from him by now and see what the response is. That gives him a chance.

    Having been self employed I know the annoyance of trying to book time off work where my idea of a holiday is pottering around the house and doing some gardening. There's always that temptation to take work offerd in that period. So good for him for actually taking time off, but he should have got back to you by now.

    You can say that you are having second thoughts about paying for advice in case you decide not to go ahead.

    I can understand why you would want to run though it all with someone, as a lot of money is involved. Even though, as has been said, you always come across as very knowledgeable on this board.

    Ignore the people who were rude to you up thread when you asked a reasonable question.

    The UK-based Monevator chap reviewed the McClung book with coments from the people who hang out there, should you want to go down that rabbit hole:

    https://monevator.com/review-living-off-your-money-by-michael-mcclung/
    • OldMusicGuy
    • By OldMusicGuy 14th Jan 19, 9:34 AM
    • 832 Posts
    • 1,798 Thanks
    OldMusicGuy
    Have you adopted McClung's strategy? I am considering running a trial over the next couple of years to see how the plan could work for us in practice, and would be very interested in comparing notes with UK practitioners.
    Originally posted by DairyQueen
    It's early days yet. I used his guidelines to set up my portfolio for longer term investment, but no more than that. It's enabled me to be comfortable with the way that is set up at present. However, I still need to mull over and think about the longer term ramifications and how I would use his principles.

    The UK-based Monevator chap reviewed the McClung book with coments from the people who hang out there, should you want to go down that rabbit hole:

    https://monevator.com/review-living-off-your-money-by-michael-mcclung/
    Originally posted by Bimbly
    Good review which pretty much mirrors my own feelings. This is the only data-based study I have seen that has some degree of applicability to the UK, rather than just being purely US-based.
    • green_man
    • By green_man 14th Jan 19, 9:42 AM
    • 240 Posts
    • 111 Thanks
    green_man
    Yes, I think it is unreasonable to expect him to cancel his leave to meet with you, particularly over the Christmas/New Year period. Whether he is overseas or just relaxing at home is irrelevant, he is still entitled to a break from work.
    Originally posted by greatkingrat
    Of course you dont know his situation, maybe he has had foreign relatives staying over the period and had promised his OH that work wouldnt interfere. Maybe hes a workaholic and an extended Xmas break is all he has.

    If he did start back last week he likely had a lot of catching up to do. It doesnt sound like he gave a specific date so may have still been off last week. If you still want to go ahead I would contact him this week and see how responsive he is.
    • Malthusian
    • By Malthusian 14th Jan 19, 12:25 PM
    • 5,402 Posts
    • 8,941 Thanks
    Malthusian
    I actually expected (given that we are new customers with a reasonable-sized portfolio, and given OHs usual lack of availability) that the IFA would have arranged to meet us on one of the dates I suggested in late December. I know that he has not been away as I have seen him around the village.
    Originally posted by DairyQueen
    That part is unreasonable. Where he spends his holiday time is not your business.

    It is however reasonable to expect him to contact you at some point in the two weeks that have passed since he indicated he would be back at work.

    You have the hump with him and he doesn't seem to be in particular need of the business (not uncommon with any half-decent and established IFA), so I can't see much reason to contact him again.

    The quote for the initial advice is extremely reasonable, especially as there is a high chance this would not be a long-term ongoing relationship. (I.e. you would sort out the DC plans and pick his brains on the tax problem, and then go back to DIY.)
    • Brynsam
    • By Brynsam 14th Jan 19, 12:46 PM
    • 1,897 Posts
    • 1,383 Thanks
    Brynsam
    I also requested a second meeting (paid for) in late December as OH works away during the week and this would be a rare opportunity for him to participate and to meet the IFA.

    I received an OOO reply advising that the IFA was on hols until the new year. Two days later a personal email was sent confirming his holiday plans and that he would be in touch after his return to work. He lives and works in my village.

    I actually expected (given that we are new customers with a reasonable-sized portfolio, and given OHs usual lack of availability) that the IFA would have arranged to meet us on one of the dates I suggested in late December. I know that he has not been away as I have seen him around the village.
    Originally posted by DairyQueen
    The poor man was on annual leave - expecting him to break off his Christmas holidays just to see you is totally unreasonable. Where he lives and what he does during his leave is nothing to do with anything.

    He took the trouble to send you a personal e-mail and said he'd be in touch after his return to work. There is nothing to suggest this is an urgent meeting and if he's snowed under (most good IFAs are), that may not be 'immediately' on his return.

    But the fact you're posting here gives you your answer: you've lost confidence before even seeing him, so go elsewhere. Trying to retrieve the situation is likely to be a lost cause - but do be a little more considerate of other people's holiday plans, even IFAs!
    • mgdavid
    • By mgdavid 14th Jan 19, 6:00 PM
    • 6,096 Posts
    • 5,500 Thanks
    mgdavid
    ...but it's now 2 weeks after the New Year and he's not bothered to make any sort of contact, even to advise how busy he is!
    Promise broken in my book - I'd be looking elsewhere.
    The questions that get the best answers are the questions that give most detail....
    • Albermarle
    • By Albermarle 14th Jan 19, 6:27 PM
    • 489 Posts
    • 265 Thanks
    Albermarle
    The point is that the OP is the customer and if the IFA can not be bothered to get back to them, then that for me that would be an immediate decision maker - go somewhere else.
    • Brynsam
    • By Brynsam 14th Jan 19, 6:46 PM
    • 1,897 Posts
    • 1,383 Thanks
    Brynsam
    ...but it's now 2 weeks after the New Year and he's not bothered to make any sort of contact, even to advise how busy he is!
    Promise broken in my book - I'd be looking elsewhere.
    Originally posted by mgdavid
    Probably so would I - but not without first finding out if a message had gone astray or something untoward had happened. I'd have picked up a phone and called him a week ago, not nursed a grievance about it and posted here for 'opinions'.
    • DairyQueen
    • By DairyQueen 14th Jan 19, 7:51 PM
    • 721 Posts
    • 1,293 Thanks
    DairyQueen
    No grievance held and nothing untoward has happened to him. He has an office in our village High St and I have seen him back at work since the 2nd.

    Call me unreasonable but it's now almost two weeks into his post-holiday period, and almost a month since his last contact. As was mentioned above, I have lost confidence. If this is how he behaves before he has the business, Lord alone knows how he would respond once the business was guaranteed.

    I have had reason to engage an IFA in the past and, on that occasion, the IFA was extremely efficient. Communication second to none and he went the extra mile to work around OH's availability. Unfortunately he operates in a different area from the one in which we now live.

    If this IFA had contacted me soon after his return to work almost two weeks ago then I would have felt very differently. As things stand, he has signalled loud-and-clear that he isn't interested in our business. I don't believe the onus is on me to chase a service provider. The onus should be on him to maintain client contact. He has no idea what business could have come his way in the event of a good first experience. OH and I are not averse to paying for good service. This isn't a good service.

    However, every cloud has a silver lining as I am now feeling more comfortable about doing these tasks myself. If I feel the need for a professional's involvement I will approach another IFA.

    Thanks for the replies. Interesting to read so many different expectations. I am one of those people who worked on Boxing Day, and on New Year's Eve, when it was necessary (and I wasn't self-employed at the time). And, no, that wasn't part of the usual working pattern for someone in my former profession.
    Last edited by DairyQueen; 14-01-2019 at 8:06 PM. Reason: typo
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