Discovery and Planning

Pre-appointment letter at least one week before the meeting

Our letter sets out:

  • Time and place
  • What to bring along e.g. statements, valuations, possibly a completed factfind
  • Some consideration of what they are trying to achieve and get from the meeting using some “touchy/feely questions.”

‘Discovery’ Meeting

We have one Discovery meeting (see diagram for broad split of time.) This meeting is all about the client and we would normally limit it to a maximum of 1.5 hours. It is important to deal with soft facts first to determine what is important to the client. The hard facts questioning (if not done beforehand) usually provides further soft facts and a greater understanding of the client’s needs. On completing the soft and hard facts, we summarise what we’ve heard and check understanding, revisiting and questioning further to clarify if required. When we have agreed what the client needs, we explain the service we can provide and how it can help that specific client achieve their goals.

The fee structure will then be agreed in the context of the benefits and value we can provide and we will then agree the next steps.

Further documentation is provided as “homework” for clients to complete after the meeting. This will include, a risk questionnaire, an expenditure questionnaire and various letters of authority to providers (all supplied electronically if requested.)

The Client Agreement will be provided following the meeting and we will not start work until this and the “homework” has been returned. Once we have all the information, we will then start our analysis and the compilation of the client’s Lifetime Cash Flow Forecast.

Planning Meeting

The next meeting is the planning meeting at which we show the client their Lifetime Cash Flow Forecast and various “what-if” scenarios, so they have a clearer idea of what their future will look like. During this meeting, we will discuss their life plans, their risk profile, their protection needs, the investment returns required and anything else that crops up.

Before the client leaves this meeting, we will have discussed and agreed the way forward so that our recommendation report/letter is just a confirmation of our discussions, with some justification for our advice. This is sent to the client with any supporting documentation, pre-populated application forms, an Authority to Proceed and return envelopes.

Future Planning Meetings

Future planning meetings are then entered into the calendar in line with the service level agreed, usually in 12 months’ time. Our experience is that clients are much more interested in their Lifetime Cash Flow Forecast graphs and how they are progressing towards their life goals, than they are about their investment performance.