When Ian and I decided to launch Candid Financial Advice our overriding aim was to offer great quality independent and impartial financial advice at an ultra-competitive and fair price. Several years in I think we’re succeeding, albeit it’s hard work!
I get the feeling most financial advisers simply charge the industry ‘norm’ (if they think they can away with it), which has increasingly become a 3% initial and 1% annual charge. The notion of low cost financial advice is, I suspect, lost on many of them.
In fact, when we extol the virtues of low cost financial advice (and that most advisers charge too much) in industry trade press we receive a hostile reaction from other advisers – here’s a good example. Fortunately, we’re thick skinned and like to think that those who aren’t financial advisers take a more pragmatic view, such as this response from a well-regarded journalist.
Our approach has been to set a price that we feel is very fair for clients, then work out how to build a profitable business around that. Starting from scratch undoubtedly made this harder, but carried the great advantage of allowing us to build our proposition exactly as intended.
Keeping costs low for clients obviously entails keeping our own costs low too. That means unglamorous office space, no fancy salaries, building IT systems in-house and working hard and efficiently (no long lunches or corporate hospitality at Candid). Where we don’t compromise is spending money on things that matter to our clients, namely service and the quality of our advice.
We’ve heard some financial advisers label us as ‘telephone’ advisers, inferring that we run a pile them high sell them cheap call centre. The reality is quite different.
We are always happy to meet face to face at our offices in Bath and Oxfordshire, although most of our clients prefer to deal with us via phone and email, both to save a journey and because it better fits with their lives. It works well and given we usually spend quite a few hours getting to know potential clients before providing advice - there is plenty of personal interaction along the way and thereafter.
We also spend many hours constructing and documenting our advice via comprehensive, bespoke written reports. We’re very proud of our reports, which get great feedback from clients and, in our humble opinion, are industry leading. They are easy to read, comprehensive and (vitally) clearly spell out all the costs you’ll incur from following our advice.
The same attention and service goes for ongoing advice. We pro-actively monitor investments, provide regular reviews and are always on hand to answer questions and provide ad-hoc advice, with all our advice clearly explained in writing.
Deciding to launch a low cost financial adviser was never a get rich quick option for Ian and me – we’re in this for the long haul. And we’ve probably chosen a much harder route than simply jumping on the bandwagon and launching a conventional IFA business that charges the same high fees as everyone else.
But we couldn’t be happier. There’s clearly a strong demand for what we offer, our clients are happy and we love what we do. And all of us at Candid have a growing pride in collectively building a successful financial advice business that bucks the trend on just about every level (for the better).
Yes, we proudly wear the low cost financial adviser badge. But the only low cost aspect of our service is what you pay. We believe we’ll surpass your expectations across everything that we do.
If you like what you read, just give us a call or email to find out more. We’d be delighted to hear from you.