6th December, 2017

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Truth fears no questions: A perspective from one of our clients…

“Honesty is such a lonely word,
Everyone is so untrue,
Honesty is hardly ever heard,
But mostly what I need from you”

… sang one of the greatest singer/songwriters of the last 50 years, Billy Joel, expressing a sentiment about a dying species in this day and age. Never has an age seen more dishonesty, fraud, scams and general bare-faced lying in the pursuit of financial gain or maintaining an impossible point of view.

Politicians, the media and newspapers have all intuitively learned the art of avoiding/manipulating the truth if it compromises their particular position and we have all had experiences with customer service departments in banks, high street stores and media companies where the skill is to build such a complex set of Terms & Conditions that the customer has no chance of retaining any value. Honesty here means being on the side of both the customer and your business. Partnerships are the only realistic route to a sustainable relationship.

“The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” Groucho Marx famously said and we’ve all had experiences we regret when we trust pro-actively rather than waiting for validation through direct experience.

And… like it is for everything, when you look for a Financial Adviser you want a range of dynamics……capability, experience, commitment, strategy, process, and an honest direct approach.

When we returned to the UK in 2011, it allowed us to sit down and take stock of our portfolio which had built up over the last 40+ years. We had no real idea about what we were paying in fees and commission, no tracking of original investment to current value, and a whole lot of complexity in terms of tax implications. The strategy was to optimise investments and minimise tax, therefore we began the search for one Financial Adviser and one tax accountant.

Our experience in business quickly allowed us to sort the wheat from the chaff and unfortunately… was mostly chaff! The service provided was either significantly skewed to the fee earning opportunity of the provider, was a bank which was far too big to care, or it focused only on one element of the financial jigsaw. We also sometimes didn’t appreciate the selling stance which was not designed to earn our trust.

 A general comment in the local from a trusted friend though, put us in touch with DB Wood. Their ability to take your finances/wealth as a whole and arrange it so it not only makes sense but offers you a range of options to minimise tax and maximise investment, depending on your appetite for risk. 

When you invest, you invest in a company and individuals, but more than anything you invest your trust in them to deliver your needs and always be honourable and honest whatever the circumstances.

Given the oncoming headwinds of Brexit, low productivity and inflation, it’ll be a tough algorithm to manage and still keep delivering results sustainably but the continuing honest management of investor expectations will be the critical element.