Our Principal Adviser, Michael Garvey, had an interview published in the Glasgow Herald last month. Discussing Glasgow Wealth, the services we offer, current challenges and opportunities ahead…
Could you tell us about Glasgow Wealth?
We are a full-service, independent financial planning firm based in George Square committed to building long-term, trust-based relationships with our clients nationwide. Retirement planning and tax-efficient investment are our areas of expertise.
Who typically engages your services?
Our clients are families, trusts, owner-managed businesses, professionals, executives and athletes. Prospective clients will usually come to us with a specific issue they want to address. For example, recently we have had a surge of enquiries around defined benefit (final salary) pension transfers. With bond yields at historic lows at the moment, transfer values have soared, in some cases to life-changing amounts.
Coupled with the pension freedoms introduced in April 2015, a lot of our recent activity has been guiding clients through the labyrinth of pension rules to create a financial planning strategy that is appropriate for their family’s long-term financial needs. In many cases, the right advice is to remain within the security of the scheme. However, there have been the recent high-profile pension controversies at BHS and Tata Steel; and some local firms are failing to cope with solvency issues in respect of their pension liabilities. It’s not surprising that many would rather have control over their own retirement income personally.
For others, there are concerns around the inflexibility of income earlier in retirement, at a time when there is usually higher discretionary expenditure and or potentially poorer death benefits; falling back to a 50% spouse’s pension can be a significant drop. The transition from an occupational pension to a personal arrangement in many cases becomes the client’s largest financial asset and so requires careful, professional management.
What areas of advice are you focussed on?
We believe that to maintain independence, we should be fully conversant on all aspects of financial planning, investment management and tax advice. However, due to client demand the majority of our recent work-flow has been focussed on pension advice and retirement planning, for two reasons.
Firstly, there is a demographic ‘wall’ of people at or approaching retirement seeking independent, reliable advice around their finances. Secondly, successive Chancellors have augmented pension legislation time and again, usually rolling out the various changes as a ‘pension simplification’ when the reality is anything but. The big retirement decisions can therefore be daunting.
What have been the main challenges the firm has faced recently?
Recruitment has been difficult. Advisers in the central belt of Scotland tend to come through the banking model and so we mainly see applicants who have primarily been moulded into salespeople by their employers. That is not a good fit for us. The commercial successes we have had are contingent upon the consistent delivery of the best outcomes for our clients and a sales environment is simply not conducive to that.
Where do you see the opportunities for your firm in 2017 and beyond?
Changes to the pension lifetime and annual allowances have driven many people who would not previously have sought advice into the market; even simply for consultancy services in order to ascertain what their tax liability could be and what can be done about it. For some, this is the year that these issues will bite for the first time; we therefore expect to see a continuation of the recent strong engagement from new clients with this in mind.
Recent market spikes around the recent EU referendum and the US election have generated increasing appetite from investors for lower portfolio volatility, especially from those approaching retirement. As the current market cycle matures, I would expect to see that continue too.
For more information contact Michael Garvey, Chartered Financial Planner, Managing Director at Glasgow Wealth on 01413283916
For more information on the services that we offer, see: Advice & Services >