07:20 Early start today, although with a 10-week-old puppy (Digby) every day seems an early start! Despite this, I do seem to have better concentration in the morning and tend to complete more technical work then, so I reserve the afternoons for more admin-based work.
I find that planning the week is useful, so I usually spend an hour or so checking my diary and seeing what's required for the coming week. This week I have two client review meetings, one in the office and another via ‘Teams’, along with a discussion with a longstanding client about the ongoing suitability of an inherited investment bond. There is also a meeting with a new client to discuss a Defined Benefit Triage letter I recently sent.
The start of the month is also used to prepare my valuation/reviews for the month. July is a relatively busy month, with six annual reviews and four half-yearly contact reviews. Each review can take up to half a day to put together, analysing not only the last twelve months' performance but also a six-month performance (if available) plus an inception performance. Additionally, I look at the level of income withdrawals (if any) compared with the current values to confirm potential sustainability based on the current risk/investment strategy.
During the pandemic, the reviews have taken on more importance in helping to guide clients through an extremely difficult investment period.
All this information is then covered off with either an email or letter with the necessary attachments/enclosures. With reviews sent by email, I also note available dates for meetings to discuss the review further and consider any change in objectives, circumstances, etc. The reviews are offered online, by phone, or now face-to-face meetings. Several of my clients prefer the face-to-face approach and are beginning to appreciate this returning, but the use of technology has certainly been extremely beneficial and will continue to play an increasing part in our roles.
In addition to reviews, I have recently picked up several inquiries from existing clients, referrals from professional introducers, staff referrals, and website inquiries. Following an initial meeting I've sent out engagement letters, and today I will be following these up with emails to arrange more detailed discussions. These meetings are important to be able to answer any initial questions before agreeing on the way forward.
Most of the early part of the morning was spent catching up on emails, sending emails with meeting dates to new prospects, and preparing for an 11 o’clock discussion with a longstanding client.
11:00 Client call to discuss the ongoing suitability of an investment bond inherited from his late father. We agreed to carry out a review and provide recommendations regarding the bond and if it remains suitable based on his current circumstances.
11:30 A team meeting to discuss different aspects of working practices when the lockdown restrictions ease further.
12:30 Further meeting with colleagues to discuss how our intelliflo office system can provide valuable data, and how we access it.
Most of the afternoon was then spent checking and amending a new trust report to be issued to the Trustees. This was completed and passed back for final compliance checking before the final documentation is produced.
Once the day was finished, I managed to get to the gym with my eldest son and then took our older two dogs (Digby has another 3-4 weeks before he can join us) out for a walk with my wife when I got home.
It was a later start this morning as I am in the office for the day. I usually bike into the office along Marriott's Way, but the weather seems to be against me at the moment - so maybe next week.
I have my first client meeting back in the office today since February 2020. A lateral flow test has been completed to confirm a negative result and mask at the ready.
Most of the morning involves meeting prep, obtaining up-to-date valuations, checking recent performance and past fact find details, confirming what information needs updating, and assess any compliance requirements.
It was good to welcome back the clients to the office and they were pleased we can offer, safe, face-to-face meetings again. It's always nice to catch up with longstanding clients and find out what they have been up to in the last year or so. We discussed several items and I come away with some more work to complete on their behalf, mainly around investing for grandchildren, which is becoming a more popular subject in recent times.
Following the meeting, I start considering the work required and how the potential investments can be facilitated. This involves looking at the best structure from a tax perspective, client requirements for accessibility, investment strategy and access required to the investments in the future.
It was a productive day in the office and good to see some different faces.
The evening was taken up with a dog walk and watching Italy vs Spain Euro 2021 match.
Holiday today, but still had an early alarm call from Digby... although he seems to be settling when going to bed in the evening.
I've taken the day off as two of our sons are in the forces; one is already posted overseas for three years, the other is flying out on Thursday morning for a three-year posting too. It’s good to see they are taking advantage of the opportunities available to them.
Not having to take him until later in the day so making the most of the free time by taking the dogs out and going to the gym.
I still keep an eye on my emails and made a couple of Team calls to my Client Services Support, Ash Hobbs, to discuss some new cases we're in the process of completing.
With England qualifying for the Euro semi-finals and having to drop our son off, we knew the first half would have to be listened to on the radio - but managed to get back for the second half and was pleased to see our progress to the final.
Another early start allowed me to fully catch up on yesterday's emails.
I have a client meeting on Teams mid-morning and need to carry out a large amount of preparation. They are always good meetings and I always ensure I have as much information to hand as possible, to answer any questions they may have. I'm reviewing the last meeting notes from January this year and several points need addressing
We managed to have a very productive meeting, discussing various items at length. It's always interesting when clients have various requirements, and plans are constantly being reviewed, changed, and adapted. They do have one consistent objective and they are pleased to see we were getting back on track after last year's investment downturn at the start of the pandemic.
Following the meeting, I spent some time putting together some action points to deal with and sent a brief email to the clients with some further information on our discussion. There’s some work to complete initially and then some additional work that may follow once they’ve had time to read through the documentation sent.
There wasn’t much left of the afternoon after that so just went through some emails before finishing for the day, going to the gym, and walking the dogs.
I always try and keep Fridays clear of client meetings for catching up on outstanding admin and updating client notes. However, I do have a client meeting this morning to discuss a letter I recently sent concerning pension advice.
Before the 10 am meeting, I catch up on emails and put together a post-meeting note for a client, along with doing a chargeable gain calculation on an investment bond.
I was able to answer my client’s questions during the meeting and they are now returning the enclosed forms so we can proceed with the next stage of advice.
Following this, I completed another couple of meeting notes along with a report request from the meeting earlier in the week, sent out emails to potential new clients and followed up on recent proposal letters offering to arrange further meetings to answer any questions.
Now waiting for the rain to stop before taking the dogs out for a walk - should have taken them out at lunchtime when the sun was shining which makes a change!
Now looking forward to the weekend, plenty of dog walks, going to the gym or getting out on the bike Sunday morning. Hoping England can achieve a win on Sunday evening and I am sure there will be plenty of sore heads on Monday regardless of the result.