We have just passed the Autumn Equinox and the days are now shorter than the nights.
The year has been interesting, and sometimes hectic, though immensely satisfying nevertheless. For me being an adviser has never been about the money, it has always been the helping of people that has driven my passion, and my intention has been to make a difference in their lives. I have just heard that one of my dear clients is in a hospice and I reflect back on the joy of his company. While I am sad I feel professional pride that no one could have helped him and his late wife any better, indeed his assets were of a size that he would have been unlikely to get many who would have taken him as a client. Many of us are in the Autumn of our years and those of you that are not will be there in no time at all so it is important for us all to reflect on the good that we do and our potential legacy of what we leave behind.
The regulatory changes during 2018 have been demanding for everyone and I am pleased to report that Interface has taken the challenge with its usual enthusiasm. One of those changes was the General Data Protection Regulations that came in on 25th of May. We have always regarded the protection of our clients’ data with the utmost importance and I was delighted to be chosen as a model example of GDPR compliance, please click the link and take a look.
I have been certified to the International Standard of Financial Planning ISO 22222 since 2009 and the company has been certified to BS 8577 since 2012. Our annual assessments were conducted on the 6th and 7th of September and I again received confirmation of our full compliance. The annual certificates will be on the website within the next few days. The certification is provided by Standards International – click the link and you find us listed. I have agreed to be part of a case study for them which demonstrates good practice and more of that will come in a later blog. The ISO Certification is held by less than 100 advisers in the UK and the certification is one of the few recommendations by Which?
The biggest challenge for all of us over the next six months is the dreaded Brexit.
I started by saying that it has never been about the money, but the money is important because it allows us to enjoy the lifestyle that we want and determines the good that we can do with it. As a result of the wrong decision taken on the 23rd June 2016 everyone of us is already £900 a year worse off and for me personally it is two or three times that amount. Protection of clients’ investment portfolios (and my own!) is of paramount importance. I believe that the global diversification of our portfolios gives us a lot of protection and it is our job to continually monitor and reassess. Now is not the time to be in cash or to be retreating into cash, or as I heard one stupid investor (he is not a client) say ‘I’ve gone into gold’! Over the years I have attracted clients with similar values and I have yet to find a client who voted leave. I have considered asking a question so that I could provide leavers with a portfolio of investments where they are guaranteed to lose money because they don’t seem to care about their financial futures. However, the question is probably unnecessary because my clients are unlikely to have been so stupid. There are a few individuals who will gain but they are the significantly wealthy who speculate and hold money offshore. My clients are ordinary individuals with income and investments which support them.
I studied politics at university between 1973 and 1982. I am proud to say that one of my lecturers was the wonderful Anthony King from Essex University who used to be on TV during election night. I focused on political philosophy and political sociology and I am one of a small number who have read and studied Mein Kampf and Das Capital. I am so concerned by the current political climate in the UK that I have spent a lot of time revisiting that work. I am currently rereading Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism a hefty tome which is not for the faint-hearted, — the parallels between the 1930s and today are too similar to be ignored. If you would like an easier read try The Horrible History of The Daily Mail. I was at a meeting with Lord Adonis recently and it was such a relief to hear someone talking sensibly and rationally. I recommend reading his book “Saving Britain” – his signed copy is in pride of place at my side.
Politics is a subject that used to be pushed to one side in business, but the polarisation caused by the referendum has forced us all to take sides because it is just too important to ignore.
As a business and as a family we have taken action so that we no longer drink in Wetherspoons, we have thrown away our Dysons, we contribute to crowdfunding Stop the Hate and many other issues, and we consider politics before we take any action. If any of you are upset by the views expressed in this open and honest article, then you are probably not the right client for Interface and for any potential new clients it is better that you know our views from the outset.
In June 2016 my Twitter strapline changed to “Independent Financial Advice for the 48%”. From recent polls that now means that at least 60% of the UK voting public are welcome here.