The 10 point Progress Review with Riverfall

Managing Director & Financial Planner
Jessica McGowan CFP™ Chartered FCSI
Jessica began her career in Financial Services in 2001 and has gained a wide range of experience working with clients from all walks of life, guiding them through the many complex aspects of financial planning to ensure that they fully understand their objectives, options and desired outcomes. Jessica prides herself on delivering an excellent service for her clients ensuring that they are well looked after through every stage of the financial planning process, firmly believing in the empathetic and emotional side of the process as much as the facts and financials.

Maintaining a working relationship with Riverfall is an important part of your continued financial planning success. The old adage is true; “you don’t know what you don’t know” and there is plenty of evidence that people who regularly review their investments and pensions with a financial planner receive better long term returns than people who don’t.

But what does the Riverfall progress review involve?

There’s no such thing as a ‘typical progress review’ with a client, because every person is different therefore every meeting is different.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) expect each firm to act in the clients best interest, they expect Riverfall to re-asses your investment objectives, including risk tolerance. Discuss with you your financial situation, now and in the future, including the ability to bear losses short and long term.

In our opinion this is the absolute bare minimum of what any good financial planner should be offering.

Riverfall’s objective is to tailor your strategy and expectations in line with your investments. Providing peace of mind that you have done everything possible to keep your financial affairs up to date and in order alongside your financial forecasting.

Whilst not an exhaustive list, we believe that the main areas we add value are:

1.      Being available year round.  You have access to us whenever you need it.  If something really significant has happened to you we will bring your next review meeting forward if necessary.  Or maybe you’ve just heard something in the press that you want to discuss to give you some peace of mind.

2.      Short & long term investment performance and a review of the continuing suitability of any fund(s) recommended.  These funds are for life after all.  We have teams in place that continually monitor the on-going suitability of any funds we’ve recommended to you so that, if something unexpected happens, we can react straight away – and not simply wait for the next scheduled review.

Review of the long term overall financial plan and sustainability of meeting identified requirements during your lifetime.  It’s more important to make sure that your long term goals are on track. When volatility is high and returns erratic, it is important to be able to take a step back and review the plan, we use extremely sophisticated modelling to give clarity about your financial future and advise you on any tweaking or adjustments that need to be made to stay on plan.

3.      Tax. Have you considered and utilised all allowances available to you?  Examples include personal allowance, pension contributions, ISA top ups, capital gains tax allowances, venture capital trusts, enterprise investment schemes, bond withdrawal planning.

4.      Budget /Legislation changes and how to react to them. What’s changed since we last met that was outside of your (and our) control?

5.      Life events.  What’s happened that we’ve all planned for, and most importantly, what’s happened that we didn’t?

6.      Is your paperwork all up to date?  Are you Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney written and do they still reflect your wishes.  Do your loved ones know where your important paperwork is, can they access it?  Are you pension death nominations all up to date?

7.      Is it time to introduce us to other family members so we can be even more effective in helping you plan across generations. Be this parents to help them with their estate planning and making sure they don’t cause you unintended consequences, or be this your children needing those first seeds of financial education to form good habits for life.

8.      What have we discussed since we last met for your formal review?  We are available year round as a sounding board when you’ve started planning; as a steady voice of reason when the latest scare-mongering has reached you from your preferred news channels; when the bloke down the pub has bent your ear about the next “guaranteed” thing.

9.      The most unquantifiable of all.  Sometimes we’re there for company.  Sometimes you just want to know that we’ve got things in hand for you because you don’t want to have to think about it.  Sometimes you just want someone to have an hour with and voice your thoughts and concerns, maybe vocalise that long-held dream.  

Think about it; when else in a busy year when life just keeps coming at you do you get the time to stop the clocks and really plan?   That house move, that impending inheritance and all the heartache you’ve suffered running up to it, could you sell your business, whether you should set up a lifetime ISA for your kids, the latest budget, your Mum’s downsize, your worries about your Dad’s cognitive functioning, what your plan would look like if you got divorced, how you’d cope with significant illness.

We take pride in being a trusted ear, sounding board and a safe pair of hands. We’re often one of the first to hear about these grains of ideas and concerns and we don’t take that responsibility lightly.

10.  Then there’s the bits you don’t see.  Like any business we have overheads and all of our fees need to factor this in to allow us to remain profitable and to be here in years to come to continue to work with you.  This includes the obvious things like staff costs, rent, gas, electricity, IT, phone lines, the list goes on.  What’s not always so obvious is the basic cost of being a financial planner; continuing professional development, exams, fees and indemnity insurances that we need to have in place to simply keep the doors open and be allowed to trade.  

Whilst the FCA have begun their review of on-going advice we have, for many years now, understood what is required to deliver a good service and the requirement to check and indeed evidence ongoing suitability.

Where we’ve perhaps done ourselves a dis-service is in not shouting about this enough.  

Most advice and investment fees include the provision of annual reviews with clients but the FCA has concerns that many of these reviews are not done either on time or at all.  This is not, we are pleased to say, a position we find ourselves in.

Financial Services remains (rightly so) one of the most heavily regulated professions in the UK and for those of us who follow the guidance and give best advice as well as everything else we’ve listed above, it’s no bad thing.

We wanted to take this opportunity to highlight some of the benefits you automatically receive when you work with us here at Riverfall.

·        Existing Client Loyalty Scheme. Our research has shown that the time it takes to work with a new client is longer than an existing client, mainly related to getting to know them to advise them comprehensively.  To reflect that and to reward the loyalty of our existing clients we factor in the value of funds which we already manage for you when calculating initial fees for new business.

·        No extra fees for servicing workload. Servicing may include recommending changes to existing investments to help meet your goals at an acceptable level of investment risk and we don’t charge anything extra for this.  Ethically we feel this is the right thing to do as otherwise we could be seen as being motivated to keep moving your funds about to charge fees.

·        Re-testing of our on-going fee once a year at review point as standard. If you’re adding funds and making good investment returns then the percentage fee you pay to us each year will come down over time.  Conversely, if you’re starting to draw significant amounts out and/or the markets are struggling our fees may need to be increased. We call this our decency charging.

·        Family Unit Loyalty Scheme. Retaining your wealth and ensuring it is passed on as ethically as possible to the right people at the right time is key for all our clients. This often results in us also advising your family members. A family member includes a person's parents, spouse, children, grandparents and grandchildren, whether connected by birth, adoption, guardianship, marriage, civil partnership or cohabitation. To reflect the benefits that this brings to all family members and to reward the loyalty of our existing clients we charge our on-going fees on the basis of you being one ‘family unit’.

We take pride in our job being about people, not just numbers.  As our website says “it’s about your life,not just your money”.  We want to continue to be known as a credible, reliable, trustworthy planning firm who offers peace of mind, clarity and certainty.

And long may it continue.

The value of pensions and investments and the income they produce can fall as well as rise. You may get back less than you invested.

The financial future you want starts right here

Book your free initial consultation with our expert financial advisers in Nottingham, to see if our service is right for you.

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