How I approach a suitability report
18 May 2017
Rebecca Tuck at Magenta Financial Planning gives us her tips!
I am lucky because Magenta Financial Planning is new company, set up in 2016, and before we launched I had the opportunity to look at our report templates and review the process from scratch, truly from a blank sheet of paper.
What we did as a team was look at independent sources to see what actually needs to be in the reports, as opposed to what we had always been told should be in reports.
This meant we could look at ways to make the reports more engaging; we have far more charts now, for example, and a lot more colour!
The reports themselves are shorter too but, combined with that better engagement, I feel they say a lot more to the client than a 30-40 page report ever could.
Our reports are less a template and more a framework, with defined titles and an order to the ways things flow, and because of this the content is very much client specific.
When tackling a report, for me the most important starting point is the analysis – especially if it’s a new client. To make sure our views and recommendations are based on all the facts, I want to ensure I have everything I need from the providers.
Where information is coming from more than one source – pensions, investments on and off platform, savings, etc – I’ll collate the ‘need to know’ information on a spreadsheet. That way I have everything I know I have to cover in one place. This will include things like what it’s worth, what it is invested in and the charges that apply.
It’s about filtering things down. I had a document sent to me recently that was 30 pages long but all I needed was half a page from it, so stripping that out and putting it where I could easily see the relevant information was a big help and I didn’t end up with a huge pile of paper on my desk.
This process helps also to highlight any gaps in the information. The last thing you want to do is get 90% of the way through a report and find there is a bit of information missing, particularly if that piece of information could affect the outcome of the advice.
I’ve designed our templates so they flow sensibly from introduction into risk profile, headline recommendations for each key area (this can include ISAs, pensions, income strategy etc.) through to the investment solutions.
I think it’s good both for me and for the clients to have a degree of consistency in the way the report is approached.