1st January 2013 saw the introduction of one of the most significant changes to regulation in the financial services industry seen in recent decades. The Retail Distribution Review (RDR), conducted and implemented by the Financial Services Authority meant that financial advisory firms had to provide far greater transparency in respect of their charges and the services they provided, as well as meeting higher professional qualification standards. The principals at Portfolio Financial Consultancy Ltd, Christian Roche and Paul Pelopida, had the vision several years previously to put in place the necessary systems and processes to meet these new requirements. Roche says, “The writing was on the wall that advisory firms needed to be far more professional in their dealings with clients, if their advice was to be regarded alongside that of other professional advisers such as solicitors and accountants. We simply implemented the necessary changes in our business model years ahead of being told we had to.”
This foresight has led to growth in company turnover and profitability, and the need to expand the board of directors with the appointment of Gareth Jones, Operations Director. Jones says, “I am delighted to be working alongside Paul and Christian. You cannot fail to be impressed with what they have achieved in shaping the company to date, and I am excited to be part of the future strategic management of Portfolio Financial Consultancy Ltd.”
Also joining Portfolio Financial Consultancy Ltd in advisory roles are Trudie Nichols and Aine Llewellyn. They bring with them many years of financial services experience gained through roles at Santander in the Neath Port Talbot and Swansea areas. Jones says, “RDR has led some providers, including some High Street banks, to decide that offering advice is no longer viable and withdrawing face-to-face advice. This subsequently, meant that many branch based advisers were made redundant. As we needed to increase our adviser numbers to meet demand, this was an obvious pool from which to recruit, and we are delighted to have Trudie and Aine on board.”
Interest rates offered by banks, building societies and other deposit takers is an area of concern for many of Portfolio’s existing and potential new clients. Roche says, “The current rate of inflation in the UK is around 2.7%. The majority of interest rates available in the UK are below this figure, so the majority of savers in the UK with savings held on deposit are `losing` money in real terms. This is known as Inflationary Risk.”
When referring to risk, Jones added, “Risk is unavoidable, but can be managed. Cash and property have always been thought of as ‘safe’, but holding cash balances leads to inflationary risk, and investment in property leads to liquidity and market risks. These are often outside the control of individual investors. Stock market risks can however be managed with the support of qualified and experienced advisers. We have the technology and practical experience to analyse specific funds, stocks and shares portfolios, or any available investment product, from which actual risk can be identified, along with measuring their performance and charges. We can analyse any such portfolio or investment and demonstrate where the risk lies, which we feel is the foundation of any investment strategy.”
In respect of qualifications, Christian Roche, Director, was one of the first IFAs in the country to pass the Chartered Insurance Institute Discretionary Investment Management examination. All advisers are Diploma qualified and the company’s internal Analyst is awaiting results of the final exam towards Chartered status. The company has also invested in the education and development of all support staff with several currently pursuing financial services qualifications funded by the company.
Portfolio Financial Consultancy Ltd offer a professional independent advisory service delivered by qualified and experienced staff. Their independent status means that they act with their clients’ interest to the fore, and will research the whole of the market to provide advice and services bespoke to their needs, with the aim of maximising potential returns while minimising risk to capital.
“We want our clients to be able to sleep at night, so that we can do the same” said Roche. “We have a long-standing, loyal client base that we want to look after, and believe that the investment model and infrastructure we have in place will ensure we can do that. We also have the efficiencies to enable many more clients to benefit from our service, and would be happy to meet potential clients for an initial exploratory meeting at our expense.”