The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from H F B Financial Planning is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.
H F B Financial Planning
Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
2| HFB FINANCIAL PLANNING LTD
Founders Neil Swainson and
As directors of HFB Financial Planning Ltd, both Michael
Speakman and Neil Swainson boast a wealth of experience
within the financial and banking sector. Their strength lies
principally with their highly experienced and committed team of 13
advisers throughout the UK – the majority of whom have been with
HFB since its inception. Their shared values and clear vision are simple:
put clients’ interests at the heart of everything you do. HFB provides
holistic, family and business financial planning, offering tailored
financial advice for clients’ specific needs. Neil tells
what is required of him and the business in today’s world.
Where things began
HFB formed in 2013 as a direct result of changes within the financial services and
banking industry. In 2016, HFB acquired Rutland Financial Services, which helped us
to grow our existing client base while expanding our geographical footprint.
Five years on and the industry undoubtedly still faces new challenges to come, with
shifts in regulation, new technologies, social change and political uncertainty. We
must embrace these changes in the future and turn them into opportunities for our
business and the clients we serve.
Shifts in regulation
The demand for financial advice is ever increasing, but there is a serious shortage in
the number of qualified advisers in the UK. On top of this, a lack of newly qualified
advisers is an ongoing challenge in our industry.
The introduction of the Retail Distribution Review at the end of 2012 provided a set
of rules aimed at introducing more transparency, fairness and professionalism in the
investment industry. The most significant of these changes was a new minimum level
of qualification required by financial advisers and to ensure advisers made decisions
based on clients’ interests, rather than product commission. These changes have
indisputably been positive and were long overdue, but it has meant a significant
decline in qualified financial advisers.
In 2018, we saw the introduction of increased privacy laws through GDPR and the Markets
in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II), which provided a new legislative framework to
strengthen investor protection and improve the functioning of financial markets, making
them more efficient, resilient and transparent. This legislation aims to improve client
protection, which it has, but it has also brought about additional administrative cost to
firms, as does the increased cost of professional indemnity insurance. These ever-changing
regulation changes have increased the overall cost of providing advice to clients.
These increased costs along with the demand for qualified financial advisers has
ultimately driven up the cost of financial advice across the industry. Sadly, this has
meant that, for some clients who require financial advice, it is simply unaffordable
or they are unwilling to pay for it. This is a major challenge that our industry needs
AT A GLANCE
HFB FINANCIAL PLANNING LTD
»Founded by Neil Swainson and
»Established in 2013
»Headquartered in Derby
»Services: Financial advisers
(holistic, family and business
»No. of advisers: 13
»Managing in excess of £150
million of clients’ assets
3HFB FINANCIAL PLANNING LTD |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE
Working together to
find tailored solutions
to address to ensure that everyone,
young and old, can access professional
financial advice when required.
To help navigate the changing regulation
and financial services landscape, HFB,
along with many smaller adviser firms,
operates under a network. Our network,
Intrinsic Financial Planning, provides us
with vital back office and compliance
support allowing us to provide the right
financial outcomes for our clients.
Everyone is increasingly dependent on
technology – we cannot escape it. At
HFB, we have always tried to integrate
technology into the way that we work
with our clients. Nothing will replace the
personal relationship between an adviser
and their client, but the better advisers
will fully embrace this new technology to
further enhance the relationship. We are
increasingly using video conferencing as
a way of maintaining regular and cost-
effective face-to-face client contact.
We have increased the use of platform
accounts for clients’ investments and
pensions. This helps us to consolidate
existing arrangements into one place,
allowing both the client and the adviser
greater transparency and ease of access.
Clients who have less complex
financial planning needs may require
a more cost-effective advice solution,
commonly known as “robo-advice”.
By partnering with Old Mutual Wealth,
HFB is able to provide a simplified online
advice process that helps clients invest
into single solutions such as anISA.
Online automated advice technology is
unlikely, on its own, to replace financial
advisers – there will always be a need
for clients to meet face to face with
advisers, especially when undertaking
complex financial planningissues.
The increasing average age of the UK
population presents a challenge to our
clients and the country as a whole.
Pension freedoms legislation, introduced
in 2015, allows clients to access their
pension plans in a more flexible way. It
has meant that the need for ongoing
financial advice into retirement is now
more important than ever. Gone are
the days when most clients reached
retirement, purchased an annuity and
passed on the responsibility of their
ongoing pension income to an insurance
company. Clients are now more likely
to want to manage their own income
requirements and pass whatever is left
from their pension to their dependents
when they die. Bearing in mind the
ongoing increase in life expectancy, most
clients will need advice to ensure that
this ongoing income can besustained.
The baby boom generation are now the
wealthiest people in society, with home
ownership and pension and investment
portfolios commonplace. Ensuring that
their assets are passed on to their children
and dependents is high on their financial
planning agenda. The most tax-efficient
way clients are likely to achieve this is
through the services of a financial adviser.
An increase in life expectancy has also
increased the need for effective long-
term care planning. This is an area of
advice that needs to be dealt with in a
considerate and sensitive manner, and
one which requires specialist face-to-
face financial advice. We understand
and appreciate the emotional stress
surrounding the care of a loved one, as
well as the financial worry of funding the
cost of long-term care (that can deplete
assets and reduce any inheritance).
At HFB, we ensure our clients are
put at the heart of everything we do.
Our business will continue to grow,
overcoming the challenges posed by the
rapidly changing environment within
which we operate. We will continue
to embrace technology and use it to
enhance our clients’ advice journey,
while also providing the face-to-face
relationship our clients enjoy. We look
forward to the future, embracing it with
a sense of positivity and optimism.
At HFB, we
into the way
that we work
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review
This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.
In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.
We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.
With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.
And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.
As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.