Our team of professionals regularly attend conferences and seminars to keep up to date. Last week two of our Financial Planners, Jordan and Lisa, both attended the quarterly Personal Finance Society (PFS) Seminar and enjoyed listening to various speakers from the financial services arena host a number of presentations. We asked Jordan to tell us what they got up to...
The Personal Finance Society is one of the main educational bodies serving financial advisers and planners, and the main aim of their quarterly seminars is to provide Financial Planners with up to date information about new legislation, technical developments and news that may affect their profession. It's all part of undertaking CPD (Continuing Professional Development - hopefully this is the last acronym you will have to learn today), with a requirement for a minimum amount of study and training each year to maintain authorisation to act as an adviser.
Whilst achieving the required CPD hours is compulsory, it also makes great sense. We work in an ever-changing environment and it is essential that our planners' knowledge and skills are up to date if they are to give the most accurate and sound financial advice to our clients. Seminars such as this give us this opportunity.
So, onto PFS's agenda for the day.
There was a wide range of subjects covered during the Conference. Main topics of discussion included a review and outlook of today’s investment markets, and an in-depth look at how investment volatility could be managed, especially in the fixed interest markets. The presenter explained that gilts, bonds and fixed interest securities are traditionally viewed as low-risk assets, but this wasn't always the case and that steps needed to be taken to ensure that nasty surprises weren't in store when putting together a portfolio of these investments.
The presentation on the importance of utilising different tax allowances and tax-efficient vehicles to meet clients' income requirements confirmed the advice that we give to our clients remains up to date with current legislation. The whole area of drawdown from pensions, the tax implications and the way in which clients' affairs can be managed to minimise tax and ensure that long term retirement objectives are met is one that forms part of our everyday work for our clients and it was reassuring to confirm that we are currently following best practice in this field.
Other key topics included a presentation on the new Data Protection Regulations, which came into effect on 25th May 2018. This presentation focused on the ongoing implications of these regulations for advisory firms, but also ways to ensure that client data is protected in the best way possible. Clearly many firms are still getting to grips with these new regulations and trying to understand what is permitted and what isn't under the new regulations, so this overview was helpful.
"We want to make sure we give the most accurate and sound financial advice to our clients."
Social Impact Investing is an area that is attracting more and more attention over recent years. People are keen to know that the investments that they make are not only financially rewarding, but are also capable of providing a measurable and positive contribution to society, and this interesting presentation, given by a representative from Schroders, outlined the challenges that investment providers face when screening companies for sustainability and socially responsible investing. This can be a difficult area, not least because opinions differ on the definition of 'social impact', but also in the way that this is quantified and tracked. We came away with further insights that will be helpful in discussions with our clients.
The day provided Lisa and me with plenty of fascinating learning points, which we in turn then fed back to the team at Chesterton House through our regular planner meetings. Continuing to learn and develop in our roles as Financial Planners is vitally important to ensure that we can provide our clients with the best advice suited to their needs and requirements. On a day such as this one it's also good fun!
So, to conclude:
PFS = Personal Finance Society
CPD = Continuing Professional Development
TFR = Thanks For Reading
Written by Jordan Wong, Dip PFS, BSc Hons, DIS
Financial Planner, CHFP Ltd