Frequently Asked Questions 

How do you differ from traditional financial advisers?  

 
TRADITIONAL FACE TO FACE FINANCIAL ADVISERS’ FEES ARE TYPICALLY HIGHER 
 
Traditionally financial advisers meet with their prospect clients face-to-face in order to capture important information about your current circumstances, your financial history, and your aspirations, priorities and objectives in terms of your financial future. They will also discuss your attitude towards “investment risk”, and your understanding of how such risk may affect you. This will take approximately 2 hours. 
 
Whereas we optimise every step of the advisory process to bring you a good quality service at a fraction of the cost of your local financial adviser. We run our meeting online, we do not have huge overheads. However, there are instances where physical signatures are still required but we try to keep this to a minimum and this is usually only when we are setting up any recommendation and dealing with third party providers. 
 
 
VALUING A CLIENT 
 
We do not have a minimum value for you to book a Free Financial Health Check whereas other traditional face to face adviser often target clients with at least £200,000 of investable assets. That is the point at which you become a “valuable client”. 
 
We strongly believe that good quality financial advice should be available to everyone, irrespective of the size of your savings and investments. Not unsurprisingly, for people with less income, it may be more sensible to have a good financial plan than for their wealthier counterparts. 
 
 
 
WHY TAKE CHARTERED FINANCIAL ADVICE? 
 
Our clients benefit from a more structured approach to investment or retirement planning. We strive to ensure that our clients are invested into the right assets, at the right time, using the correct funds, which are always in line with their attitude to risk and objectives. To help facilitate and demonstrate this, we often create different planning scenarios via our cashflow modelling software. These scenarios help us to keep your financial objectives on track. 
 
 
UNDERSTANDING THE DIFFERENT ADVISER QUALIFICATION LEVELS UNDER THE CHARTERED INSURANCE INSTITUTE (CII) 
 
People save for years for their future thinking its secure by meeting a financial adviser, only to find a lot of them lost their money and the pension lifestyle they had planned for so long. 
 
That is the danger that customers are exposed to if they do not check and research the financial adviser and the company they are dealing with, because their losses could be significant. 
 
Recommendations are obviously the best place to start when looking for a financial adviser, we all recognise that, and we obtain 90% of our business via word of mouth marketing. However there have been so many changes in the financial regulatory landscape that the difference between one adviser and another can be vast. 
 
The personal finance sector must meet the requirements of increased Financial Conduct Authority regulation, new distribution channels, intense competition and heightened media scrutiny. And today's consumers are more demanding than ever. They want advisers to demonstrate their professional capabilities. They expect to deal with individuals and firms who can provide first-class service, advice and support. But did you know that one of the areas you can benchmark your adviser is around his or her qualifications. 
 
The Personal Finance Society (PFS) is the professional body for the financial planning profession in the UK. Chartered Status is the profession's gold standard for financial planners. It is not easily achieved, and it takes continuous investment in customer service and commitment to professionalism to maintain. Over 5,000* advisers, have achieved Chartered Financial Planner status. However, this represents only 20% of UK Financial Advisers**. 
 
If Chartered status is considered gold then to be a Fellow of PFS is the diamond, with only 2%* of Financial advisers in the UK who have achieved this level. 
 
Fellowship of the CII is universally regarded as the premier qualification. Achieving Fellowship of the CII gives financial services practitioners genuine differentiation. The CII is one of the main awarding bodies in the financial services industry, and is well known around the world, for the quality and breadth of its exams and qualifications. 
 
Fellowship of the CII confirms commitment to further self-improvement and is available only to those who demonstrate their ability. It is a major achievement in the financial industry and demonstrates the acquisition of skills and knowledge at the highest of levels. 
 
I am one of the few regulated advisers holding both Chartered Financial Planner status and being a Fellow of the Personal Financial Society (FPFS). The latter being the very highest designation awarded by the Personal Financial Society (PFS). 
 
Since becoming a Fellow and a Chartered Financial Planner, I have successfully completed a Masters Degree in Financial Planning and Business Management. There are very few Financial Advisers in the United Kingdom with this Level 7 qualification. 
 
The area of financial advice is huge with many specialist areas, so it pays to find out that the adviser you are talking to knows their stuff. My one piece of advice to anyone is to thoroughly research your financial adviser, as a wise man once said, “seek advice but use your common sense”. After all, you would not allow your local GP to perform brain surgery, would you?! 
 
*members of the PFS (Personal Finance Society), over 5,000 advisers with Chartered Status & 500 advisors with Fellowship 
**APFA (Association Professional Financial Advisers) 24,761 advisors in the UK in December 2016 
 
 
QUALIFICATION LEVEL 
DESIGNATORY LETTERS 
CHARTERED INSURANCE INSTITUTE (CII) DESCRIPTION 
EDUCATIONAL EQUIVALENT 
Fellowship* 
FCII / FPFS 
Fellowship of the CII is universally regarded as the premier qualification for those working in the insurance industry. 
Degrees and Higher National Diplomas 
Advanced Diploma 
ACII / APFS 
Associate members are those who have gone on to secure more advanced qualifications by completing the Advanced Diploma in Insurance or Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning or its predecessor the Associateship 
Degrees and Higher National Diplomas 
Diploma 
DipCII / DipPFS 
Qualified members who have completed a Diploma level qualification. 
Certificates of higher education - HNC 
Certificate 
Cert CII / CertPFS 
Qualified members who have completed a Certificate level qualification. 
A-levels 
Award 
CII (Award) 
Qualified members who have completed the Award in General Insurance or the Award in Financial Planning. 
A-levels 
CII Ordinary / PFS Student 
None 
CII Ordinary or PFS Student membership is for those new people entering the general insurance or financial services sector, embarking on their first qualification or who simply wish to be able to enjoy the CII range of membership benefits 
None 

What do you mean by ‘your capital is at risk’?  

By making an investment, your capital is at risk. Capital is the money that you invest. The value of your investment depends on market fluctuations outside of our control and you may get back less than you invest. Past performance is no indicator of future performance. Due to market fluctuations, investment always presents the risk of partial or total loss of funds invested. Our objective is to give you the soundest advice and in doing so, minimising those risks. However, it is important that all clients understand that their capital will always be ‘at risk’ and that this applies to anyone making an investment. 
 
 
 

Can I change my mind after going ahead with a recommended planning solution?  

WHERE A FINANCIAL PRODUCT HAS BEEN RECOMMENDED 
 
Making investment and financial decisions can be complex. Therefore, if you do decide to buy or invest in a financial product that we have recommended, but subsequently change your mind, there are applicable cooling-off periods. This timeframe applies to most financial products, but there are some exceptions. 
 
Please contact our support team immediately if you want to cancel any of the financial products recommended by us, but we strongly recommend discussing the decision with your advisor before cancelling your contract with the product provider. 
 
WHERE A SERVICE HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY US 
 
Following the first online meeting, the financial adviser will prepare a suitability report with financial recommendations and an action plan which will be explained to you during the second online meeting. If after receiving the suitability report, you decide not to go ahead with any of the solutions – you will only be charged for the preparation of the report. We charge a fixed fee based on the complexity of the areas being reviewed. For example: 
 
• Our minimum charge for a non-complex report is £500 + VAT 
• Our minimum charge for a complex report is £1,500 + VAT 
 
The charge for a report is offset against any implementation fees. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
What type of advice we provide? 
 
We provide comprehensive advice on regulated Investment including Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs), new Pensions, Pension consolidation and drawing funds from a Pension. We can discuss Life, Critical Illness and Income Protection insurance requirements as well as Inheritance Tax Planning and Long Term Care needs. Depending on your needs, we can either concentrate on specific areas as to retirement planning or new ISA investment advice or provide a full financial review and create a bespoke financial plan for you and your family. 
 
If you require a specific service which we cannot provide at the moment, we will refer you to one of our partners. 
 

How do our charges compare? 

 
We run a hybrid advisory model combining the experience of a Chartered Financial Adviser with the efficiency of modern technology. Our goal is to optimise each step of the advisory process with the view to have significantly lower operational costs than those of a traditional financial advisor. 
 
Traditionally, charges for advice and investment management applying to client portfolios have ranged from 1% to up to 5% for initial fees, with some firms also charging exit fees starting at 6%. Research from Which? in August 2019 showed average quotes for initial advice ranging between £1,060 and £2,540 for typical advice scenarios. 
 
FINANCIAL ADVISER FEES VS COMMISSION 
 
Since 2013 advisers cannot be paid a commission if they give you advice about: 
 
Pensions, 
Investments, or 
Retirement income products such as annuities. 
 
Instead they must charge you a fee for the advice. 
 
However, if you’re getting advice on: mortgages, equity release, general insurance (like travel or home insurance) or protection insurance, such as term life insurance, advisers can still be paid commission. 
 
At the end of the day, in both cases you are effectively paying for advice. 
Either by paying a fee, or by purchasing a costlier product that gives the financial adviser commission. 
 
HOW DO WE DIFFER FROM ROBO-ADVISER? 
 
We are completely different. Robo-advisers such as Nutmeg, Wealthify or Moneyfarm do not actually provide financial advice to the extent that most people understand it. They do provide discretionary management service available via an online website where people can invest in one of their model portfolios. Such services may be helpful for people who have relatively simple needs and know exactly what to do with their money. It will never be able to help you with more complex services such as retirement planning, pension reviews or full financial review. 
 
We provide a full scope of financial advisory services and can help with many financial aspects. We can plan your retirement, advise on life and health protection and create a comprehensive financial plan for your family. 
 
WHAT WILL HAPPEN DURING MY FIRST ONLINE MEETING? 
 
Firstly, we will set up a video or telephone call with you. During the call, there will be an introductory fact-find to identify your needs and requirements. If you prefer, this fact find can be sent to you digitally before the meeting to save time as it allows the meeting to be more productive. Having gotten familiar with your circumstances, we will direct you through potential solutions and recommend a level of service suited to your needs. If you decided to proceed, we will analyse and appraise the data collected and prepare a personal recommendation which will be presented to you in the second online meeting. 
 
HOW MUCH DO YOU CHARGE? 
 
Our fees are transparent, and you pay for what you get. We charge between 1% and 1.5% from your investable assets for the Investment and Pension Advice services. We do not charge any exit fee. 
 
We do not charge any fees for our Protection services as we receive commissions from product providers directly. This does not mean your interests will be compromised over our agreements with providers. We work with numerous product providers to choose from, so our advisors will present you with several detailed action plans that would work for you and then it is up to you to decide which road to take! We will, of course, always disclose our commission as part of our recommendation report. 
 
WEALTH PLATFORM CLIENT PORTAL 
 
We appreciate many clients want to view their financial affairs online, and this can help optimise the time we spend together. The cost of this secure client portal is included in any ongoing Monitoring and Reviewing fees. All our clients have access to their financial information online, 24/7. The Wealth Platform Client Portal allows you to: 
 
View a summary of your wealth and other financial products 
Analyse individual assets and their performance over time 
Review and update your attitude to risk and loss 
See all your protection cover in one place 
Review key documents your adviser has shared with you 
Upload documents you wish to keep safe 
Update personal information 
Prepare for important review meetings with your Adviser 
Use our secure messaging service 
 
 
 
 
MONITORING AND REVIEWING 
 
Sometimes you will want to hire a financial adviser on an ongoing basis, perhaps to manage your portfolio of investments. When you do this, you will agree an ongoing fee in advance, which may be a percentage of the assets under management. A typical independent financial advisor fee might be between 0.25 per cent and 1 per cent, though some advisers may charge a different percentage depending on circumstances. Be sure to find out exactly what service you are receiving for this ongoing charge and find out whether it is dependent on a certain level of gain, for example. 
 
HOW FINANCIAL ADVICE CAN SAVE YOU MONEY 
 
First of all, a financial adviser can help you save money in many different ways. For instance, they can recommend pension schemes, investments and protection products with lower administrative fees, saving you significant costs over the long term. They can also help you save more effectively, so that your money is not eroded so much by tax and inflation. 
 
Most importantly, they can help you avoid costly mistakes, such as buying an inappropriate financial product, losing money through an error of judgement, or falling victim to fraud. 
 
We offer a number of service propositions which govern the type of service and the regularity of contact and reviews you will experience. The ongoing servicing of your plans is recommended but not compulsory and if taken up can be cancelled at any time. The associated costs of our propositions and when they commence are set out in our disclosure documentation provided via Suitability Report and these costs may go up or down in line with the fluctuating value of the underlying assets. As an example, our Core Review Service is suitable for clients that wish for a ‘lighter touch’ input to their financial portfolio. The core service is reactive with the emphasis on you contacting us when you wish to have a formal review. 
 
The details of the services provided are: 
 
An annual consultation instigated by yourself that will re-establish your goals and objectives; if our findings dictate, we will produce a financial plan giving you an analysis of your current and projected situation 
Access to your own online Wealth Platform Client Portal 
Regular news bulletins updating you on financial issues 
Access to our client advisory team throughout the year, if any aspect of your queries become chargeable, any charge will be agreed before commencement of work 
Maintenance of your records and information 
 
CORE REVIEW SERVICE FEE 
 
The Core Review Service Fee will typically be paid from the funds under our management rather than having to issue you with regular invoices. The cost for this service is usually 0.5% +VAT of the Oculus monitored assets payable on a monthly basis. The Core Review Service Fee is subject to a minimum of £600 per annum or £50 per month. VAT may also be applicable. 
 
HOW DO I PAY FOR THE SERVICE? 
 
Since we do not charge you any fees for Protection services directly, it will be your insurance product provider who will pay us commissions. We will always disclose our commissions as part of our recommendation. 
 
For all other services, such as Investment and Pension Advice, the product provider will usually facilitate payments on your behalf, the money will be taken from your account with the product provider and sent directly to us. You can also pay fees via a secure online payment, a bank transfer or even set up a direct debit if there is an ongoing fee. 
 
 

Get in Touch for your Free Financial Health Check  

Claims referring to fees are based on the difference in chargeable time typically required for face to face advice compared with remotely-delivered advice. 
 
The value of an investment can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you put in. 
 
To the extent permitted by law, Oculus Wealth accepts no duty of care or liability for loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of any material contained within this article. 
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