Martin Wilcocks

FAQ

YOU ASK, WE ANSWER...

WHERE IS MY MONEY INVESTED?

We use Vanguard to access entire global stock markets and Dimensional to access small-cap and value cap markets. As at December 2020 Dimensional had £527 Billion under management https://eu.dimensional.com/en and Vanguard £4.7 Trillion – https://about.vanguard.com/ who-we-are/fast-facts/

IS THE ADVICE I GET FROM YOU PROTECTED OR INSURED?

You have the highest levels of consumer protection, working with our family firm, through our Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) licenses and accreditations. Our advice is also backed and underpinned through Professional Indemnity Insurance (PI) cover underwritten through Lloyds of London. All of this detail can be viewed in our Heads of Terms document available to download in the legal and regulatory tab at the bottom of this website.

CAN YOU EXPLAIN HOW THE £85000 PROTECTION CAP WORKS?

Cash is subject to a maximum amount of £85000 per claim. Investments held in a General Investment Account (GIA), Stocks & Shares ISA and Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) are subject to a maximum amount of £85000 per claim should a fund manager fail to meet its obligations. The value of investments and / or cash comprising a policy held in a Personal Pension, Executive Pension, Section 32 Buy Out Bond, Onshore Investment Bond and Regular Savings Life Assurance plan is subject to a maximum amount of 100% per claim with no upper limit if the provider of the policy cannot meet its obligations. The value of investments and / or cash held in an Offshore Bond situated in the Isle of Man are subject to a maximum amount of 90% per claim with no upper limit if the provider of the policy cannot meet its obligations.

WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF YOUR BUSINESS FAILS?

If we were no longer practising, for whatever reason, you could appoint another adviser to manage the investments that we implemented. You could transfer the funds out to another platform and adviser, or simply sell the funds down and take the capital back.

DO YOU MANAGE MY TAX POSITION?

We do not report your business to HMRC, rather we provide annual tax statements directly from our preferred investment platform which can be passed to your Accountant. A combination of ISA and CGT allowances, utilised annually, will provide for a tax-efficient financial and investment plan and we manage this as part of our ongoing service. As we progress we are generally asked to look at the wider estate planning picture as a joint estate valued in excess of 650K, or sole estate at 325K, could ultimately see Inheritance Tax (IHT) levied at 40%. A residence nil rate band can uplift the joint IHT estate allowance from 650K to 1M subject to status and dependent on the overall value of your estate. We do not, and have never, promoted, advised on, or recommended any tax avoidance strategies even ones that are accredited with His Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) Declaration of tax avoidance schemes (DOTAS) status.

WHAT EVIDENCE ARE YOU USING TO SUPPORT YOUR INVESTMENT MODEL?

We use evidence from University of London Business School, along with research from Vanguard & Dimensional Fund Advisors. The annual Investment Association (IA) report is also referred to for information on total funds managed in the UK and the split of what is managed on an active and passive basis. 

WHAT DOES THE EVIDENCE SHOW OR PROVE?

The data typically show that between 80% and 90% of actively managed investment funds fail to keep up with the benchmark index they track, over any period of time. Passive investment strategies generally provide lower cost access to equity markets that deliver superior results over time. The data also show small-cap and value-cap companies outperform large-cap growth stocks. All research from Dimensional Funds Advisors is built on the work of Nobel Prize winning academic Eugene Fama, Robert Merton, Kenneth French and their wider investment sector colleagues.

CAN I HAVE ACCESS TO MY MONEY IF I INVEST WITH YOU?

There are no lock in periods, penalties or fees for accessing your money in any of the investments we offer. There are no draconian ‘old-style financial services’ penalties. If you encash funds, outside of an ISA wrapper, and those funds have gained in value, then capital gains tax (CGT) could be charged on gains above the annual allowance, per year, per person. Money can also be withdrawn from an investment bond at any time and a tax efficient / tax deferred 5% per annum can be taken.

CAN AN INVESTMENT BOND GIVE ME 5% TAX-FREE WITHDRAWALS?

They do not have a set term but are often considered for 20 years with the returns rolling up allowing you to take 5% each year of the original amount invested with any tax deferred for the entire 20 year period. Essentially you would be taking 100% of your own capital back over the term which is why it’s not technically classed as a ‘return on investment’ and liable to income tax. This effective 5% net return can be extremely helpful if you are a higher rate taxpayer. Any regular withdrawals made after 20 years would be liable to income tax at your marginal rate assuming the full cumulative 5% allowance had been used up. You can also withdraw one-off amounts or terminate the investment bond at any time. Income tax may be payable depending on the growth achieved in the bond and any regular withdrawals made.

CAN I INVEST IF I AM CURRENTLY RESIDENT ELSEWHERE AND A NON-UK TAXPAYER?

For UK Domiciled clients living abroad we may be able to support investment needs in advance of a repatriation back to the UK. This can be explored and agreed on a short 20 minute non cost video conference call. An Offshore Investment Bond could be used and the returns would roll up grossly. If accessing the Bond whilst still a non-UK resident you could be taxed in your local jurisdiction. If that is a tax-free environment you may not be liable to any tax.

Depending on where you are resident, we may be able to manage your position in a simple General Investment Account (GIA). If you are planning to repatriate back to the UK at some stage in the future the ISA would come into play and essentially all of the money would be in your GIA and where possible each year we would shift the annual allowance which is currently £20,000 from the GIA to the ISA. It is the same investment, the ISA is simply an invisible shield we wrap around the money.

WILL MY INVESTMENTS BE TAXED?

Internally, all dividends and interest payments are automatically reinvested into the funds. Funds then grow until such time they are accessed and any gains may be liable to Capital Gains Tax (CGT) if held in a General Investment Account (GIA). Although reinvested, the dividends are subject to income tax to the extent that they exceed your £2,000 annual tax-free dividend allowance while any interest in excess of your annual Personal Savings Allowance (£1,000 for basic rate, £500 for higher rate but £0 for additional rate taxpayers) will also be subject to tax. Funds are not taxed if held inside an Individual Savings Account (ISA) – a £20,000 annual tax allowance available each tax year per person. An annual CGT allowance of £12,300 per person can be used each year. Our ongoing management going forward would include us planning out and utilising this allowance for you – in practice, we sell and then buy the funds again to rebalance and utilise the CGT allowance to keep your funds efficient.

WHAT ARE THE ONGOING MANAGEMENT COSTS FOR MANAGING MONEY?

Our fees are 1% per annum paid monthly. There are no exit fees, no lock-in periods, no penalties. Plus a blended rate of around 0.30% for our portfolio of funds and then between 0.17% to 0.27% on the total invested on the Transact platform a demo for which is here… https://demo.transact-online.co.uk/

YOU OFFER A RANGE OF WEALTH PLANNING SERVICES BUT WHAT IS YOUR CORE OFFER?

Our core service EVEST™ is where new client work typically starts. It is an evidence based investment management service that sees us provide our flagship EVEST X-RAY Analysis™ which reviews your current ISAs, pensions and investments, the findings from which are set out in a detailed report and provided at our expense.

WHAT HAPPENS AT THE REVIEW STAGE?

We discuss the initial onboarding experience and cross check you are happy with the relationship we have started to form that should be set to continue throughout your lifetime. We explore if any wider needs exist within your life and financial plan, if all tax allowances been used and if we need to look at making sure your family or business are protected such that your loved ones or business partners do not suffer financially if you were to pass away prematurely or suffer a serious illness. Ultimately, everything comes back to us protecting what exists in your world today, putting plans in place to provide for tomorrow and finally in ensuring your family pot ends up with your children or other beneficiaries safely and tax efficiently.

IS THERE A STANDARD PROCESS FOR HOW I BECOME A CLIENT?

Not always, but typically, you will come onboard via an introduction from an existing client with around 70% of new business coming from referrals. If you find us any other way it would normally work like this:

Stage 1: Is the nurture process where you may have seen our social media channels, profile brochure and videos. You may have seen existing client testimonials, seen Martin featured in the press or read his Amazon best-selling book Bulletproof Retirement.

Stage 2: Engagement and onboarding conversations via phone or video call always follow to help you get to know Martin directly and the team. He handles all new onboarding meetings himself and is renowned for not outsourcing what he sees to be the most critical part of the relationship building service.

Stage 3: Investment implementation follows with an EVEST™ Analysis diving deep under the surface of your current investment holdings to provide you with a strengths and weaknesses report from which you would normally be able to make a call as to whether you would like to fully engage and have us take over managing your capital.

Stage 4: Reviews follow and depending on your level of engagement will be either quarterly conducted face to face, or twice per year one being face to face and one via video conference call or on our remote online service once per year via video conference call.

DO I HAVE TO START WITH THE INVESTING SERVICE OR CAN I GET HELP WITH OTHER FINANCIAL MATTERS?

Our ‘core service’ is the EVEST™ investment solution with around 90% of new clients engaging and coming on board at the later stages of planning for retirement, or when transitioning into retirement and its typically to help them make sense of what they have and help them make key decisions at this crucial junction. Not always, but typically, the clients we work with had lost track of their existing pensions, investments and ISAs; where they invested, what fees were being charged, and what was due to be paid out in the future. Many have no robust estate and succession plan and quite often the ones that do, turn out to be about as much use as a handbrake on a canoe with 100% spouse to spouse wills that can cause chaos inside a family. It doesn’t really matter what we start with as everyone has different needs that ‘trigger’ them coming on board, but most of the time it is an investment led enquiry. Please refer to the heads of terms and brochure for a full list of other transactional services.

WHAT ARE YOUR FEES FOR PREPARING WILLS AND ESTATE PLANS?

Fees for estate planning services range from a few hundred pounds for wills, to a few thousand pounds if more detailed trust planning is included and in more complex cases, involving multiple family members, within a significant estate our fees can reach £30000 which is currently capped. Please note our services include our advice, counsel, document drafting and importantly the management of the structures alongside a bespoke financial plan within our ongoing service. If you are thinking of having a Solicitor handle your estate plan, you will typically pay for the advice, plus the documents and then you may have to keep paying by the hour when you need advice around them as time ticks by. Lawyer’s can also be very vertical in their approach to estate planning and in our experience often miss bigger picture financial planning needs. 

WHEN DO THE LAWS OF INTESTACY APPLY TO MY ESTATE AND WHAT DO THEY MEAN?

With no will, the law of intestacy will see the government control the distribution of your estate assets. If you are married or in a civil partnership and have no children, all of your estate will go to your spouse or civil partner. If you have children, the first £270,000 of your estate will go to your spouse or civil partner, along with any personal possessions. Anything over £270,000 will then be divided, with your spouse or civil partner receiving 50% and the children entitled to divide the other 50% between them. Robust Wills always need to be effected to ensure your estate passes quickly and without fuss.

OUR CHILDREN ARE YOUNG MINORS. WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO ABOUT APPOINTING GUARDIANS TO LOOK AFTER THEM IN A DIRE STRAITS SCENARIO?

If no guardians have been appointed Social Services would be involved one way or another adding further distress at a critical time in the children’s lives. This needs documenting properly. Suggestion is to sit down with close family or friends and agree to look after each others if the worst was to happen. You might have your own ideas and good show if thats the case. 

OUR WILLS PASS EVERYTHING SPOUSE TO SPOUSE, IS THIS OK OR IF NOT, WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN ON THE FIRST SPOUSE PASSING?

Many problems can develop if an estate is simply passed between spouses. Tax implications can arise at best and at worst a family’s entire estate can ultimately pass to a different bloodline. Sideways disinheritances are very common nowadays due to many factors including future second marriages and many other situations.

WHAT CAN GO WRONG IF OUR ESTATE IS INHERITED DIRECTLY BY OUR CHILDREN, OR OTHER BENEFICIARIES, ON THE SECOND SPOUSE PASSING?

This could be considered very dangerous with any amount of net value inside the estate, and more so as estates grow larger over time. Significant personal problems can follow if children or other beneficiaries inherit even a modest estate after you have passed and it is more sensible to provide your estate to your heirs in a controlled way.

HOW CAN WE WORK OUT IF WE HAVE AN INHERITANCE TAX PROBLEM?

If your estate is above the Inheritance Tax Nil Rate Band, that is currently £325,000 for a single person and £650,000 for a married couple (an additional Residential Nil Rate Band now exists for a main residential property that can see the bands rise to £500,000 for a single person and £1,000,000 for a married couple, subject to qualification), the estate value above those bands will see a 40% tax charge levied against the estate resulting in capital that could have been enjoyed, or used, to maybe educate your children, or grandchildren, or such like passing to HMRC. Since the year 2000 a huge sum, that has floated between circa £2 Billion and £6 Billion, has landed with HMRC every year. Business and Agricultural assets normally pass IHT free however it is always sensible to plan properly and take advice. Many agricultural estates are caught out; with examples being non practicing farms, or estates where the actual residential property carries much of the overall estate value, but is a very small part of the land and estate. It is unlikely that a plan to pass, for example a £3 Million pound farm house family home to your children minus IHT just because it sits on non practising farmland and an estate that in total might be worth £4 Million.

WHY DO WE NEED EXECUTORS AND TRUSTEES TO ADMINISTER THE ESTATE ON DEATH?

A close member of your family, or circle of friends, generally alongside an external professional,  would ordinarily be appointed to handle your estate administration. The Trustees job is to carry out the estate instructions and to ensure any trusts do their job as intended and protect the family unit. They would act on a ‘letter of wishes’ (LOW). It is not uncommon for two highly trusted family members, or friends, to be appointed with the help of an external professional Trustee to act as an additional sounding board.

SHOULD WE LEAVE SPECIFIC GIFTS OR LEGACIES TO NIECES, NEPHEWS, OTHER FAMILY, FRIENDS?

Think about all personal items, what should go where, and to whom and at what point in time. Create a list that can evolve as the years unfold and store this list of wishes with your will and trust documents. 

I HAVE BEEN MARRIED BEFORE, IS IT IMPORTANT TO SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDE PAST PARTNERS OR PEOPLE WHO I DO NOT WISH TO BENEFIT FROM MY LEGACY?

It is sensible to consider all matters including previous relationships and make reference to these directly in your will and your letters of wishes such that a contentious probate is avoided. The family courts now see growing numbers of contested probate cases and to ensure your estate ends up with the right people at the right time we would absolutely encourage you to state the full names of people to be excluded. If you haven’t done this, your ex partners and perhaps other parties may seek to attack your estate after you have passed, often deploying the services of a local friendly solicitor who smells blood and a big fee. It is sad to say, but it is a fact of life and the family courts deal with this problem on a very regular basis. 

WHAT SHOULD I CONSIDER FOR MY FUNERAL?

Would you prefer to be buried or cremated? And are there any specific instructions; particular speakers, talks or music. You may wish for a particular religious led event, or otherwise, to be laid to rest in a particular place or with someone who you were close to. Again state this in your will and also your wishes. I would also state why, and if you want people to know, ask the family to state so during your funeral service.

ESTATE PLANNING SEEMS COMPLICATED. IS THERE A QUICK WAY I CAN PLAN WHAT HAPPENS WITH MY ESTATE?

Think of your time on this planet coming to an end in a theatrical FILMSET farewell.

F is for funeral; is it a burial, or cremation, and what should they sing?

I is for intestacy; did you make a will, or did the government call the shots?

L is for legacies; who got what, when, and in what proportions?

M is for minors; did you appoint guardians, or leave it up to social services?

S is for spouse; did everything simply pass, or did you protect the bloodline?

E is for excluded; who could contest your will, why would they, and how?

T is for tax; how much will the chancellor and his civil servants get to spend ?

WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHEN YOU ASK WHATS YOUR NUMBER?

Your number is the amount of money that will be necessary for you to live throughout your retirement years, and never run out, factoring in inflation. You must also take into account, the cost of living will likely treble over a three decades retirement, some good examples of which looking back, are the cost of a first class stamp, a pint of beer or a packet of butter. Look at how they have shifted up in price over the last 30 years and you will see the inflation dynamic as clear as day. And the key question you should be asking yourself is; have you got a strategy for trebling your income throughout retirement.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FINANCIAL ADVICE AND FINANCIAL PLANNING?

Over the years, financial advisors were typically more focused on both providing and proactively selling, financial and investment products, whereas financial planning, which has become more prominent over recent years, focuses more on what you are trying to achieve with your life and then in creating a financial plan to help you achieve your goal. 

I'VE HEARD A LOT OF STUFF ABOUT VALUE INVESTING WHAT IS IT?

You may be baffled, bamboozled and completely confused trying to invest in value companies and I completely understand because I’ve heard all the noise. All evidence points to investing in value companies as an overall asset class (as opposed to working yourself into a laver and staying up all night trying to guess which ones look good, or are going to work, and which ones aren’t), works better in over 90% of cases, when compared to an active strategy that would see you make attempts to get your head around which value companies to invest in, which ones to avoid, and which to trade in. It is a difficult game to play and one that all the evidence suggests falls over at some point. The alternative is to just invest in all of the value companies with clever portfolio design, clever diversification and clever management of costs. There are currently just under 1000 value caps globally throughout the developed and emerging world. Over half are in the US, and most are in the financial, health care or industrial sectors. But how do you access them and choose which ones to back are the key drivers. Investing into companies that are classed as value cap when looking in our Dimensional data book between 1970, and 2021 delivered 12.9% as an annualised compounded return, and looking back over any of the last eight decades, the same kind of dynamics play out. Small cap companies by comparison delivered a similar number 14.7% over the same period, and the global equity market as a whole did 11.2%.

CAN YOU SHOW ME HOW YOUR INVESTMENT SOLUTION WOULD HAVE COMPARED ALONGSIDE WHAT I HAVE NOW?

I provide a detailed analysis on existing investments, but what I don’t provide are graphs, charts and scattergrams extrapolating how we may have performed against other funds at any point – and I certainly would never do so over short windows of time. It would be a toss of a coin as to who would be ”ahead” in a race over just a few weeks for example. If I was interested in following, tracking and charting performance, and I’m not, this is where these questions and requests always lead, and I don’t get wrapped up in it all. Once you start, you can stop, and I’d be providing performance charts ongoing. It’s not what I do. Instead, I’m interested solely in asset allocation, how portfolios are structured and costs. They are the 3 fundamental elements that are important and make all of the difference.

SHOULDN'T I HAVE A HIGHER LEVEL OF FIXED INCOME INVESTMENTS IN MY PORTFOLIO AT RETIREMENT?

We must all hang onto the hope that we could last to three figures. Nowadays, hitting our mid-90s is no longer unusual, and the reality is if our capital isn’t exposed to equity assets, it is difficult to see how it will outmanoeuvre, let alone keep pace with inflation. The day to day gyration of equity portfolio prices, as I always bang on about, is not risk. Portfolio’s dropping or rising back, day to day or week to week, has no bearing on your capital being at risk. In my opinion investing heavily into fixed income through a potential three decade retirement will likely result in your capital depreciating in real value and could see you run out of money.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR INVESTMENT STRATEGY?

The equity element of our portfolio consists of circa 15000 stocks at any one time – throughout both the developed world and the emerging world. It’s worth noting that we’ve always been overweight in emerging markets and on ‘smaller’ companies (small-caps) and on what the academics would class as a ‘value’ company (value-caps). And to put some numbers on that – at any one time, we will typically see around 5000 of the 15000 classed as ‘small’ or ‘value’. If we look at what happened in the UK between 1956 and 2021, we can see the astonishing growth of the pound in the FTSE and then in just the small and value markets. Over this post-war era the UK passed through significant economic, industrial and technological advances and my contention has always been that the developed world will continue on its permanent whilst shaky advance, notwithstanding the chaos, political unrest, wars, every apocalypse du jour and armageddon scenario yet to arrive. I also believe emerging markets will follow similarly to what the UK did as they continue to grow alongside the modern developed world, and all of the evidence points towards them being set up to do so. We must look at our portfolios and imagine what might be in a few years from now. And given some of our funds may still be there to make an impact intergenerationally, who knows what they might accrue to. Please send a message through the contact page to request a copy of the Matrix Book which shows the astonishing growth of £1 over the period shared above in the FTSE and the Value Cap and Small Cap markets. We show this alongside what a single £1 grew to with inflation (in other words what inflation did to the pound over that period), and also alongside fixed-income as an asset class. The visual will blow you away and likely change the way you view investing, for the rest of your life.

COULD YOU GIVE ME AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT AN ESTATE PLAN MIGHT LOOK LIKE FOR AN ENTREPRENEUR LIKE ME WITH MULTIPLE BUSINESSES DELIVERING INCREASING WEALTH?

As a guide, non standard Wills incorporating combined nil rate and residential nil rate bands to distribute the estate safely to children, with a series of trusts alongside. Business Asset Trust Settlements would capture business assets on death. We would also have a Protective Gifting Trust for children and other beneficiaries, with a Beneficiary Protection Plan acting as a Master Family Trust Settlement. The advice behind this would be included within our retained service, which is now either £12,000 or £18,000 per year as shown in our heads of terms. The cost of the document pack, in this instance, would be £8,240, and can be paid via direct debit over 12 months which is typically how long it takes to advise on, prepare documents and complete this advanced planning. I would deliver drafts at the 6 month point, which would be considered and perhaps adjusted, and we would ultimately arrive at the hardcopy document stage towards the 12 month period, and proceed to execute all bound and sealed documents with witnesses. 

WHAT TECHNOLOGY OR INVESTMENT PLATFORM DO YOU USE?

I use the transact platform. You can log in as a demo client here; https://demo.transact-online.co.uk/. It’s simply the ‘tech’ ‘tool’ I use to hold our investment fundS together and is one of several platforms used by independent investment private office professionals. I could use any platform out there, but I choose to use Transact as I know it and like it, and so do my clients. It’s good value for money and is the best and easiest to navigate in my opinion.

WHY DO I NEED TO DO AN INVESTMENT RISK TEST?

A digital test will be emailed to you, with the questions answered online, your score will drop straight into your file. It’s a guide into how you see stocks, bonds and markets instead of me putting you in 30% fixed income and 70% equity just because you score a 7 out of 10. The lower the score, the more cautious one is, and this is important because it tells me who I need to speak to when the markets drop, which they do from time to time. We will continue to discuss risk, or rather price gyration, and whilst we use the online test, our matrix data book, alongside my drawings and videos, collectively gives people a far better grasp of what is essential to know and grasp. The digital risk test can be like sticking pins in people to see how much pain they can take. A proper discussion around equity markets, the historic falls (that have always been temporary), against the historic rise (which has been permanent), and price gyration is a better angle to approach it all. Risk, as I say in my book, is more aligned with picking individual company stocks or bonds or working with an adviser who actively manages the money (over 25000 papers have shown this to fail in at least 80% of cases) or picking funds using guesswork, top 20 lists, or the typical financial network example, choosing a batch of funds from an available in-house stable, as opposed to what we do.

WHY SHOULD I PICK YOU OVER ANOTHER ADVISER?

I have a proven track record of helping clients and families who have grown to know, like and trust me over the years, and you can see them in my brochure, listen to their stories on video and read about how I have helped them HERE; https://martinwilcocks.co.uk/testimonials/. I’m head of my private office and family firm, an award-winning top 1% wealth adviser, as featured in The Times, The Telegraph and The Mail on Sunday, and following its publication in June 2022, I am the Amazon #1 Best Selling Author of Bulletproof Retirement, a book that achieved best-seller status in three categories; Personal Financial Planning, Financial Risk Management and Financial Retirement Planning. My team and I work for our clients – thats you – not an insurance company, not a financial adviser network, investment bank, or fund manager, all of which means you and your family take absolute priority.

WHAT DOES YOUR SERVICE LOOK LIKE?

Much can be done during the first year of working with me depending on your needs, and we may be in direct contact regularly. Mary, my Executive Assistant, will also support you. Some of the day-to-day and weekly communication between us will be phone-based or virtual using Google, Zoom or Microsoft Teams, whichever suits your technology setup, and for retained full-service clients, we see one another twice per year in person, not always, but typically over lunch or dinner. Engagement papers are handled via DocuSign, and following an onboarding meeting, a review meeting is positioned to cement the relationship between us and the planning, and that typically happens after the initial administrative processes as we start to make progress, with funds transferred onto Transact and invested into our model portfolio. At the 12-month point, we should conduct our first review and debrief. Then it’s a case of managing the investment plan and updating the estate letters of wishes each year, considering the children, what’s going on with the family and the children’s lives if we move on, and also provide an estate and succession plan for you. An estate plan should be alive and not just a bunch of documents that get stored away, gathering dust. What we do with the estate plan over time counts and serves to protect your bloodline.

HOW DO I BECOME A CLIENT?

In times past, ordinarily we would have always met face to face to allow me to present my proposition directly in person. Since the Covid pandemic I have also been sharing this on my video channel. If meeting face to face you would have always asked questions and the natural order of business would, in essence, have taken care of itself and one way or another you would have been one step closer to onboarding as a client, or not as the case may be – if for example we were not right for one another – for whatever reason. I have been around long enough to know that not everyone who meets me will like me, and thats fine. I am not for everyone. 

I will always still say to you and everyone else who explores working with me; please come and see me at my private office on Water Street in Liverpool, or at our satellite office in London, or at your office or home. What option from those three works best for you?

That’s how I had always onboarded new clients until Covid arrived in 2020, and I still do it that way. But that said, it’s now whatever works for the individual. Frankly, what became apparent during the Covid window is that a lot of people were happy to engage via zoom, Microsoft teams or google meet and in one case a new potential on boarder David actually left me a voicemail that said verbatim; ‘’Martin I work in Zurich and its difficult for me to get in on weekdays, I live on the Wirral and am looked after by an adviser in Wigan who I’m not very happy with and have been losing confidence in for a while now.  I want to move my pension and I’ve seen enough of you online and by watching your videos to say in the here and now that I am happy to send it to you to manage, so what do I have to do next, to have you take over?’’.

This by the way was 18 years after leaving Barclays and setting up on my own and it is a moment that will sit with me for the rest of my life as being pivotal.

There was a lesson in all of that from how the story came about, to how I look after people, and in how I could grow far faster over the next 18 years and beyond.

So my answer now is to ask three long tail questions;

How much do you know about me, my core investing service, and how I operate?

What else do you need to know, and what else can I give you to demonstrate I’m a good adviser to work with?

And how do you feel at this stage, and when would you like to speak directly with me?

It’s pretty straight forward engaging nowadays, has been made even easier with the advances in technology (like digitally signing investment agreements, heads of terms and other papers) and around half of my new business now comes in remotely.

IN YOUR WEBINAR YOU MENTION THERE IS A FREE GIFT FOR PROSPECTS  - WHAT IS IT EXACTLY?

I provide a free EVEST X-RAY Analysis™ that dives deep under the surface of what current ISAs, investments, and pensions you have in place now. My team will carry out the background research and perform this at our own expense, and it’s also with no obligation for you to proceed or engage us. I will report back with a helicopter view of the situation, including a synopsis of your assets, equity/fixed income exposure, and costs. It all comes together in a spider’s web visual that shows strengths and weaknesses alongside to what I might do to take it to the next level (assuming I can).

YOU MAKE REFERENCE TO THE GROWTH OF £1 IN STOCK MARKETS CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE EXAMPLES YOU SHARE IN YOUR BROCHURE AND VIDEOS?

I typically share the growth of £1 from 1956 – 2015 (in the UK). Regarding this example, let me start by stating that we hold a globally diversified equity fund, underpinned by over eight decades of Nobel prize-winning academic data and evidence, and one that deploys something like 15000 separate stocks; Large-cap, growth-cap, small-cap and value-cap at any one time. We do this throughout the developed world and repeat it throughout the emerging world while keeping costs low. The image I use from our Dimensional DFA 2015 Matrix Book shares the growth of £1 from 1956 to Dec 2014 in the UK in inflationary cash terms, alongside bond and equity markets. It’s one of my favourite images from my Dimensional Matrix Book collection because it showcases what happened in the UK over that period in exquisite style. £1 moved to £23 based on retail prices index inflation (RPI), in other words what you could buy with £1 in 1956 resulted in you needing £23 to buy similar goods in 2015. Leaving money at the bank or building society over that period saw it grow at a very similar pace to the inflationary uplift thus it will have matched more or less the same rate of inflation which was circa 5% in percentage terms. The same £1 grew to £54 if it had been invested in fixed income (that’s corporate bonds and government gilts – loans to companies and governments), and then we saw a massive surge to £716 if it had been invested in the FTSE (or rather the entire UK equity market before it was named so). But this is where it gets interesting. It shot up to £4219 if you’d just invested it into the UK’s value cap companies on their own, and the value of that single £1 grew to a £5837 if placed into the small-cap company index, again isolated and backed in its entirety. What you see along the way with the ups and downs is just price gyration. It isn’t risk. The press exaggerates these drops and creates hysteria for their gain.

Lets look at a more recent period for further perspective. The growth of £1 from 1992 – 2021 (Globally). It is relevant to state at this point that minus an enlightened investment adviser, many people tend to cause irreparable self-harm by tossing their investments overboard when the inevitable drops in stock markets arrive. Many won’t have had the right investment set up to start with, of course. When we look back at the astonishing growth of £1 in the UK over 1956-2015 I think it will be interesting to see if similar trends play out in the emerging world over the next few decades, just as the UK did. In my mind, Asia and Latin America will repeat the UK trend. We must imagine what the 5000 or so small cap and value cap companies inside our portfolio might do. Some will fall away, but the ones that work may work very well. A more recent example from our 2022 Matrix Book shares the recent dynamics in both the developed and emerging worlds. Again, it shares the growth of £1 from 1992 to December 2021 in fixed income bond and equity markets globally. The single £1 grew to £2.67 if it had been invested into fixed income and then a surge to £12 if invested in the emerging world equity stock index. Investing into the overall global equity market comprising the emerging worlds and developed world markets took it up to £16, then between £20 and £28 if exposed to smaller and value companies, again globally. And once again, over this more recent period, what we see in between is simply price gyration. It isn’t risk. In my opinion, risk would be leaving it in cash or fixed income and seeing the actual value of capital eroded by inflation. And the £1 could well be exposed to further risk if handled by an active investment manager or adviser working with low levels of overall diversification picking limited numbers of stocks, sectors or geographic locations to invest into.  Remember, the falls have always been temporary and the advance permanent.

You can watch me explain this detail on a series of videos that last about 4-5 minutes sharing how we operate; where we invest, why and importantly why we don’t do it any other way. Hear about it on my video channel here: https://wilcocksandwilcocks.co.uk/videos/

ISNT A PRIVATE OFFICE NORMALLY JUST FOR THE SUPER RICH?

Yes! Private office services are typically reserved for high net worth clients with minimum estate values in the £Millions and some offices have a minimum entry levels at £5 Million or £10 Million, for example. Our full CLEARER™ framework and working model is a holistic private office service for retirees with minimum investment capital, in many cases, just sitting stagnant in pensions, ISAs or general investment accounts, at just £500,000. We choose to deliver a private office style service for those with lower levels of wealth, however to access our full service we would ordinarily expect to see the minimum overall estate value worth in the region of £2 Million, made up of cash or investment funds at £500,000 and the £1.5 Million in other assets such as property. We can then deliver value that wouldn’t typically be felt if an estate was worth, for example just £500,000.

 

WHY ARE YOUR WEBINAR PRESENTATIONS FREE TO WATCH?

I believe a number of people who watch my presentation will engage for private one-to-one support. Another group will want the detailed information which comes from purchasing my online course, which builds on the webinar content and in itself is delivered at a far lower cost than if done on a one-to-one engagement basis where we do it all for you. Another group of people will take the basic information and take steps to implement it and in many cases will do far better for themselves than the group of people who continue to go it alone or trust their futures to financial advisers who are not set up to deliver a complete private office service.

WHAT IF I JUST WANT YOUR INFORMATION TO GO IT ALONE?

An online course follows my webinar presentation that offers the same services one to many for just 5% of the total annual fee clients pay for 121 private office engagement and is a perfect solution supporting lower capital balances. If you have above £250,000 you have the choice to run with a 121 relationship or invest in the digital online course and advice service. There is no right or wrong answer and we think it comes down to how confident you are in implementing the advice we share. Busy executives,  entrepreneurs and family leaders are often too busy and just want it all done for them and whilst that’s our core offering that we have delivered to hundreds of families over the years, we know that in some cases, people just want the detail and a plug in so they can go off and act as their own adviser.

WHAT IF I CHOOSE THE COURSE, LATER CHANGE MY MIND AND WANT THE FULL SERVICE?

Simple. I will discount the cost of the course and give you its full value back, no questions asked if you upgrade.

WHAT ARE THE ONLY TWO POSSIBLE OUTCOMES YOU TALK OF DURING RETIREMENT

There are only two possible outcomes for you and your retirement – one is good and the other is bad. Either you plan properly and the money outlives you; delivering a sound retirement and creating a financial legacy that passes what you don’t spend on to your heirs or other beneficiaries such as charities, or you fail to plan, trust your retirement to an expensive financial adviser or network, or invest too heavily in fixed income, and outlive the money; resulting in an unhappy retirement and no legacy for heirs. There is no middle ground it’ll be one or the other. 

WHAT IS YOUR KEY AND MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGE?

If you are at the later stages of planning your retirement or if you are transitioning into retirement you will likely make one, two or possibly all three of the biggest money mistakes of your life causing you to run out of money during retirement. The tragedy of these three big mistakes are too terrible to contemplate.