Hold the Vision, Trust the Process
Since we opened our doors we have helped clients build strategies that align with their risk profile, timescale, hopes and values
Engaging with clients requires experience, knowledge, discipline and empathy
First things first, we need to be able to tune into your view of your world, because without that, any advice we give or ideas we put forward, just won’t feel right
Financial planning is a cycle
We believe in the process and structure of financial planning and by starting here, we defined our vision for Aspen and the integrity of the staff within
In simple terms;
Clarify where we stand now
Determine where we would like to get to
Create and workalong a roadmap
Review and repeat at regular intervals
It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, it’s what we do consistently
Experience and Knowledge
All staff members are enrolled in a Financial Services academy, which helps them develop and improve their skill sets, whether that is to improve their job skills or move to a different role
Experience within the industry is a key attribute for our advisers, so that they have a strong working understanding of historic policies, products and practices.
Knowledge of the ever-changing economic, political and legislative backdrop is maintained within in-house and company funded tests, seminars and workshops
A vital part of financial planning requires advisers to discuss any existing or historic products and policies you might hold.
Our Independent regulatory status provides us with the ability to work with your current providers, advise on changes to your old and pre-existing products, without requiring you change provider unless absolutely necessary to your needs
Aspen is not bound by a third party interest to onle recommend in-house products or ‘white-labelled’products from a reduced basket of goods
Our First Meeting
Initially, we need to discuss your objectives, together with your current financial position
Our initial meeting is a good point to introduce ourscope of service, find some commonn ground and make sure we can work forward
We will discuss your risk profile, experience with your own financial planning, objectives and how we can create a plan that meets with your outlook, moral views and budget.
Remember, this is the starting point and we are in no rush to sign you up to anything. We move forward at your pace and build a strategy at a timescale to suit you
Tools at hand
We employ an array of strategic analytical tools to determine financial plans;
Investment risk / costs / consistency of all investment options
Product cost comparisons
Cashflow planning for retirees
Scenario’s for the “how much should I invest?” conundrums
Investment Risk Profile
We employ systems that ‘risk-profile’ investment portfolios. Taking into account the asset allocation (cash, equities, commercial property etc), together with financial strength, historic consistency of perfromance and so on, to create a ‘risk score’providing a reference point to make a decision
But, first, we help you determine what investment risk you are comfortable with, plus, what investment risk you can afford to take, utilising structured questuionnaires and discussions so that you can sleep at night
In line with our fair and simple philosophy, we have designed our charging structure to make doing business with us straightforward. Like any business we need to charge for our services in a manner that you understand and feel comfortable with.
The future strength of our business lies in the trust and integrity that we establish with our clients. All the work we undertake will be discussed in advance and the way in which we will make a charge will form part of that discussion.
Our aim is to add value by negotiating a fair cost structure across your existing policies, together with any changes we effect.
The scope of our business is wide ranging and encompasses an array of areas, such as pensions, investments, mortgages and so on. Each area requires differing levels of work, skill and expertise. To make our practices fair, we make bespoke charges based on the type of work we are conducting and the potential long-term involvement, which promotes a fairer system for our clients.
Our Customer Agreement and Key Facts about our Services provide formalised statements of the way in which we conduct business and how we make charges. These are available on request
Building Investment Portfolios
There are a number of systems and controls we employ when building portfolios and implementing the advice. We have designed our advice structures to help our clients protect and build their assets and make the most of their investments to secure their own long-term objectives.
The complexity inherent in financial planning has become so bewildering that many people simply do not know where to turn. The following appendices outlines some of the expertise and skills we employ to deliver our service.
Defining Your Investment Risk Profile
We help clients to understand the risk associated with any investment they may consider. To make sure we create an environment of understanding and two-way dialogue, we have created a detailed Attitude to Risk questionnaire, which consists of 10 questions, each of which help us build a sensible profile. This can form part of our annual reviews to take into account any changes to our clients personal or moral investment objectives.
From the start of our professional relationship, clients can be confident that our investment recommendations are based on a bespoke agreed level of expectations both now and for the future
Managing your expectations is only possible with an open and frank dialogue. We maintain a very robust review system, which is designed to remove hope and fear to replace them with knowing.
We utilise a number of systems to monitor our recommended investment strategies on a consistent basis. Every client can be sure that once in our system, their investments will have the backing of the following systems
Investment Fund Analysis
We have invested in leading software tools to provide guidance and structure to your investments. These tools create a robust and structured approach that is reviewable and consistent across all of your financial goals in terms of;
Investment risk and portfolio risk
Understanding your actual and percieved capacity for loss
Determine the best points in time to conduct reviews with you in terms of taxation, life changes and personal financial goals
Choosing the Right Product and Policies
Your Current Policies
There are a number of reasons to interrogate your existing policies of all types, the main points belowgive us the ability to provide you with a fair comparison of what you have now and where the current market place is;
There can be a number of costs and charges associated with investment products and insurance policies.
We invest in robust and independent research tools to collect data from the various market places and guide us in the policy choices we make. Each research tool takes account of costs, charges, access to investment opportunities and ease of end user access
When advising on the more complex Pension Market Place, we have to determine not only costs, charges and investment fund access, we also need to consider how you wish to build your pension and what functionality you may require in the building years and also the income years.
At retirement policies can be very different to the ones you utilised to build your pension fund
How you wish to take your retirement income and how to correlate your tax position is a key part of retirement planning and if your policies do not function correctly, nor will your retirement
Our pension research system provides an innovative and comprehensive comparison of the pension policies within the market and at the same time compares any old or paid-up policies you might have, taking into account pre and post retirement functionality
We retain a very detailed report, which outlines in graph form just where your existing planning sits and if relevant, where changes need to be considered.
Life Assurance and Critical Illness
This type of product is initially driven by your available budget, as most policies trade on cost comparison.
However, we have found that as the market place has become more complex, your needs and advances in medical science, are not met by cheaper or older policies
There are many companies providing much wider and varied types of cover, often insuring against conditions not previously survivable.
Wellness and maintaining your fitness and actually helping you keep fit and healthy now feature in many policies, with discounted gym memberships, discounts on healthy living (bikes, fitbits), together with lifestyle discounts at spa’s and travel
Keeping your old policies up to date with your needs is vital and whether we are starting from scratch or reviewing existing cover, our systems will create the most cost effective cover within the right policies
Committed to treating our customers fairly’
At Aspen Financial Services Limited, we are committed to offering our customers the highest possible standards of service. In so doing we are pleased to support the Financial Services Authority initiative ‘Treating Customers Fairly’.
We recognise that both we and our customers have everything to gain if we look after your best interests and treat you fairly in all aspects of our dealings with you.
Our commitment to you
provide you with clear information about the products and service we offer, including fees and charges
ascertain your individual needs, preferences and circumstances before recommending a mortgage
only recommend a mortgage that we consider suitable for you and that you can afford – and always the most suitable from the available options
not recommend a mortgage if we can’t find one we consider suitable
encourage you to ask if there’s something you don’t understand
give you access to a formal complaints procedure should you become unhappy with our service
How you can help us
To help us give you the most appropriate advice, we will ask you to:
tell us as much as possible about your income and outgoings, to enable us to properly assess how much you can afford
let us know about changes that might affect your ability to repay a mortgage
let us know if there is any aspect of our service, or of a product we have discussed or recommended that you don’t understand
tell us if you think there are ways we can improve our service