Terms of Business & Client Agreement
This agreement sets out the basis on which we will conduct business with you and on your behalf. It is our standard Investment and Protection client agreement and we intend to rely on it, in conjunction with our Fee Engagement and Scope of Works document. It is an important document and, for your own benefit and protection, we would ask you to read it carefully before proceeding with our service. If there is anything you do not understand please ask us to explain it.
This Terms of Business & Client Agreement comes into force immediately you engage us to conduct business and services for you, and remains in force until further notice.
Should you have a question or concern about any aspect of this document please contact us at:
By phone 01752 347070
By email email@example.com
In writing TFA Trusted Financial Advice, Prudence House, Langage Business Park, Plymouth Devon PL7 5JX
Who authorises us to advise you?
TFA Trusted Financial Advice is a trading style of Tom French & Associate’s Ltd and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates the financial services industry in the UK and their address is 12 Endeavour Square, London E20 1JN. You can check this on the Financial Services Register by visiting the FCA’s website http://www.fca.org.uk/firms/systems-reporting/register or by contacting the FCA on 0800 111 6768.. Our FCA Register Number is 185513.
Our permitted business is advising on and arranging pensions, savings and investment products, non-investment insurance contracts and mortgages for both corporate and individual clients.
Our Scope of Service
As you will read in this document we offer independent investment advice from the whole of market and from a range of insurers for non-investment insurance that can be tailored to suit your requirements. These include both an initial advice service as well as an ongoing level of service. Details of charges are included in this document outlining indicative costs for our services and payment options.
We’ll only start work once we have agreed our services and charges with you. We’ll give you a copy of our fee engagement & scope of works which will set out the services we have agreed to provide and confirm how much this will cost.
At our first meeting we’ll gather information about you to help define your needs and priorities.
Our services include:
- Financial/Investment planning: It’s important to identify what you might want to achieve and how you can do this. We can help you to identify your goals and create a plan for your finances to help you achieve them.
- Retirement planning: It’s important to know whether the money you are saving towards retirement will provide you with sufficient funds to meet your retirement objectives. We can work with you to proactively plan for your retirement and help you decide on the options available once at retirement.
- Protection planning: Most of us want to protect the things that are important to us, our family, business and quality of life. Protection planning can help to provide peace of mind in the event of your income changing due to unexpected events. We can help you plan for the best way to protect you, your family or your business
Each client with whom the firm does business is categorised to identify the level of regulatory protection. Unless we tell you otherwise we will treat you as a retail client for investment business. This means that you are given the highest level of protection available under the UK’s regulatory system.
We offer independent investment and protection planning advice. Where we provide protection planning services we are an independent insurance intermediary and will provide advice which is based on a fair and personal analysis of the whole market. This means that we consider a wide range of financial strategies and products. We are constantly reviewing the market to ensure that the services and products we offer are appropriate for our clients.
Where we recommend particular investment strategies and products to you, these will be selected based on your personal circumstances, financial goals and objectives. We’ll consider a number of factors, including the services you need, the cost of investing, how much risk you are prepared to accept in an investment product and how much of a drop in its value you could withstand.
The areas we can advise on include, but not restricted to:
- Open ended investment companies
- Enterprise investment scheme
- Phased retirement & income drawdown
- Unit trusts
- Structured products, incl. structured deposits
- Term assurance
- Venture capital trusts
- Critical illness cover
- Income protection
- Investment trusts
- Long term care
- Investment bonds
What we don’t provide advice on
- DB Pensions – TFA do not advice on Defined Benefit pension schemes.
- Legal and accountancy advice – We are not qualified to provide legal or accountancy advice or to prepare any legal or accountancy documents. This means that the onus remains on you to refer to a solicitor or an accountant any point of law or accountancy that may arise during the course of discussions with us, if you require an authoritative view upon which you intend to rely.
- We don’t provide advice in relation to individual share holdings. We also don’t provide advice on options, futures and other derivative contracts as we believe that these are unlikely to be suitable for our clients.
Our Advice Process
Identify your needs and objectives
The first step is to hold an introductory meeting to fully explain how our services work, identify your primary financial needs and objectives, answer any questions you may have and agree the work to be completed, our charges and our payment terms. This initial meeting is at our cost and can be held in person at your home or our office or remotely via a video meeting.
Once we have agreed to work together, we will start our fact-finding process to gather the financial information we need to provide a comprehensive and detailed picture of your circumstances and confirm your financial objectives. You will be invited to register for our secure client portal PFP where you can communicate securely with your adviser, share documents, update information and view your investments. This fact-finding process is very detailed and seeks to identify your lifestyle and financial objectives. You may be invited to complete part of this via an online link. Your adviser will also focus on identifying your attitude to financial risk and capacity for loss, and your understanding of financial matters.
3. Research & Analysis
Once satisfied that we have gathered all the information we need, your adviser will progress to the research and analysis stage. Here they will develop your bespoke financial plan. This plan will be specific to your needs and objectives and in-line with your attitude to risk. This Financial Plan will be our written recommendation to you.
4. Plan Presentation
Your financial plan
Your adviser will share your Financial Plan with you and will arrange to meet either in person, over the phone or via a video link to discuss your plan in detail. This plan will set out specific and realistic recommendations that are designed to achieve your objectives over an agreed time period.
Putting your plan in place
Once you have agreed your financial plan, your adviser will commence work on implementing our recommendations to you. At this point you can relax in the knowledge that we will be taking care of all the necessary final steps to turn your financial plan into a reality.
6. Ongoing Service & Relationship
Monitoring & progress
Where an on-going service is agreed, your adviser will help you review and amend your financial plan to make sure it remains on track to achieve your objectives. Reviews will take account of any changes in your personal circumstances, financial market conditions and relevant legislation.
Our Service & Fees
The way we are paid for our services may depend on the type of advice given. Typically this will be:
- Investment business: fees agreed and paid by you
- Insurance business: fees agreed and paid by you or commission payable by the insurance provider, which is a percentage of the total annual premium
More details on these options and how they are paid is found in the following sections on initial and ongoing charges.
Our fee-based charging structure encompasses two elements.
a) An initial financial planning advice and implementation fee: these are the upfront costs of our services. We offer several types of initial service depending on your needs.
b) An on-going servicing fee: once your financial plan is in place it is important to keep it under review so it can be adapted, where necessary, as your circumstances change. Our Wealth Management and Financial Planning services are designed to do this.
Our actual charges and fees (in pounds and pence) will be agreed with you before we do any work and we’ll explain your payment options too. We’ll also let you know where any fees are subject to VAT.
An initial meeting to find out more about you.
Research, Analysis & Recommendation
The following are typical services involved in the Research, Analysis & Recommendation stage. This will vary dependent on your needs.
- The completion of a full fact-find, looking at your current situation as well as any known changes in the future.
- Discussing and identifying your aims, plans, and future aspirations for you and your family.
- Helping you identify and understand your attitude towards investment risk, as well as your capacity to withstand any losses.
- Conducting a detailed analysis of your existing policies.
- Where agreed creating a cashflow plan detailing your current situation, which will help you understand whether you are on track to achieve your objectives both now and in the future.
- The production of a suitability report detailing our recommendations.
Implementing the Advice
Should you ask us to implement our advice, we will typically charge an implementation fee based on the amount of money being invested.
Please note that should you decide not to proceed with our recommendations i.e. you do not instruct us to implement the advice, the fee for the research, analysis and recommendation will be subject to VAT
The following are typical charges and methods of payment available to you:
Chartered Financial Planner: £200 per hour
Independent Financial Adviser: £175 per hour
% of Funds Invested
For initial advice and implementation
£0 - £250,000 – up to 3%
£250,001 - £500,000 - up to 2%
£500,001 - £1 million – up to 1.5%
Over £1million up to 1%
In complex situations charges may, and are likely to be higher.
You may agree a fixed fee with us based on the estimated time required to complete our recommendation. This will be variable depending on the complexity and extent of the work required.
Example – Retirement planning Advice including the analysis of up to two existing plans - £1500 (+VAT where applicable)
Protection Planning Charges
Providers of protection products can pay us through commissions, where this is the case we will make you aware of the amount and what it is for, it may be possible to use this to offset your fees for other work.
Alternatively, you can pay for your protection advice by way of a fixed fee in this case your premiums will be reduced for the life of the policy.
Initial charges can be paid in a number of ways:
- Cheque or electronic transfer (unfortunately, we cannot accept payments by cash).
- Payment via deductions from the financial product(s) you invest in or (if relevant) deductions from the amount invested with a discretionary fund manager (DFM). Most product providers / DFMs offer this facility but using it will reduce the amount you have left to invest and may, depending on your circumstances, have other consequences (we’ll discuss this with you beforehand).
- For investments held on a platform (an online investment administration service) you may choose to pay our charges out of the funds held in the platform cash account, although it’s important to maintain sufficient funds in the account to cover our charges as they become payable.
- For protection planning only we will receive commission from a product provider in relation to an insurance product we have arranged for you. The amount of commission is a percentage of the total annual premium and we’ll tell you the amount before we carry out business for you.
- You can also pay for your protection advice by way of a fixed fee in this case your premiums will be reduced for the life of the policy.
Our ongoing services are optional. If you agree to an ongoing service, unless otherwise agreed, the service will be provided as a follow up to the initial service.
For clients who require focussed advice or products to deal with a particular issue of need in isolation and who do not need ongoing advice. There is no ongoing review for suitability and this service will include:
- Online portal access including up to date portfolio valuations (where available); secure communication, document sharing, and insights.
- Access to your financial adviser and administration team throughout the year via telephone, online portal & email.
- Annual portfolio report via your online portal (detailing performance of financial holdings).
- Regular newsletter communications & updates from TFA.
- Additional work will be charged as per our applicable research & analysis fees at that time.
This will be an agreed amount of your investment, usually based as a percentage of the funds.
Our typical annual ongoing charge for this service is up to XX% of the total market value of the investments funds
For the majority of our clients who would like regular advice and planning support to achieve their aims.
This includes everything in Specific Advice plus
- Annual reviews (either on a face to face or remote basis), helping you to ensure you remain on track to meet your objectives. This includes, a review of your Attitude to Investment Risk and Capacity for Loss, reviewing the performance of your existing investment holdings, and updating your Cashflow plan (where applicable).
- Working with other professionals on your behalf (Accountant, Solicitor).
- Offer of initial consultation with other members of your family or beneficiaries.
- Additional work will be charged as per our applicable research & analysis fees at that time
- All servicing requests processed at no extra cost such as withdrawals and changes to your investment funds.
Plus some or all of the following:
Bi-annual portfolio report via your online portal (detailing performance of financial holdings).
All correspondence and emails replied to or, when more involved, acknowledged within 48 hours.
Our typical annual ongoing charge for this service is up to xxx% of the total market value of the investments funds that we manage on your behalf subject to a minimum fee of £XXX per annum.
Please note that our charges will increase as the value of your investment funds increases.
For clients with a more complex financial situation, requiring a closer working relationship to achieve their aims and objectives.
Everything in the Financial Planning Service, plus some or all of the following:
- Additional review meetings.
- Pension Tax Planning (e.g. Carry Forward, Use of Annual Allowances)
- Annual Inheritance Tax Report, detailing your current situation.
- Ongoing Estate Planning support.
- Complex Tax Planning assistance (Venture Capital Trusts, Enterprise Investment Schemes, Transitional Protection).
- Trust Planning / Advice.
Your adviser will identify & discuss your needs with you, and agree a bespoke ongoing fee based on your requirements.
Where charged as a % of Funds Invested our typical annual ongoing charge for this service is up to xx% of the total market value of the investments funds that we manage on your behalf subject to a minimum fee of £750 per annum.
Ongoing charges can be paid in a number of ways:
- By deduction from your investment(s) on a monthly, quarterly, six-monthly or annual basis, where the product / platform provider or DFM is able to offer this facility
- For investments held on a platform (an online investment administration service) you may choose to pay our charges out of the funds held in the platform cash account, although it’s important to maintain sufficient funds in the account to cover our charges as they become payable.
- A regular fee, paid by standing order.
Please note you have the option to cease the selected option at any time, at which point your financial planning service with TFA Trusted Financial Advice will end. Please see our cancellation & Amendment section. This can be restarted by additional negotiation.
Depending on the services we provide, there may be costs and charges (including taxes), not charged by us, but related to the financial products we arrange for you. These charges may be one-off charges (payable up front) or charges payable on an ongoing basis. For example:
- Service costs: If your investments are held on a platform (an online investment administration service) or held with a DFM, the platform provider / DFM will make a charge for administering / managing your investments.
- Investment costs: These are the costs relating to the manufacturing and managing of your investments – for example, fees charged by the investment fund manager, costs relating to investment transactions.
- We’ll always disclose any third party costs as part of making our recommendations.
Aggregated costs and chargesBefore we provide you with our advice we will add together all the costs and charges payable so that you are able to understand the overall costs of our services and recommendations. This is referred to as aggregated costs and charges information.
How we will communicate with you
- Our normal ways of communicating with you are by secure client portal (PFP), email, telephone, post, or in person.
- Our communications will be in English.
- In most cases, communications that you receive from us will either be presented in or confirmed in writing. We may also meet with you face to face or communicate with you by telephone or video.
- We request that clients give us instructions in writing to avoid misunderstandings. Therefore any verbal instruction you make should subsequently be confirmed in writing.
- To assist us in providing you with a comprehensive service and to keep our records up to date as possible, please notify us of any changes to your personal circumstances, e.g. name change, change of address etc as soon as possible. This can be easily done by updating your profile in your secure clients portal PFP.
- Recording telephone calls – To ensure we carry out your instructions accurately, to help us to continually improve our service and in the interests of security, we may record and monitor your telephone communications or conversations with us. Where recorded copies of our telephone recordings will be available on request, for a period of 6 months after the recording was made.
- Recording video meetings To ensure we carry out your instructions accurately, to help us to continually improve our service and in the interests of security, we may record and monitor your video communications or conversations with us via Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Your consent will be requested prior to any such recordings. Where recorded copies of our video meetings will be stored on your client file and will be available on request.
Where we send investment applications on your behalf to third parties (e.g. to put an investment into force), we’ll take all reasonable steps to ensure that we obtain the best possible result for you. This is referred to as ‘best execution’.
- Before providing advice we will assess your needs, consider your financial objectives and assess your attitude to any risk that may be involved. If you don’t want to discuss a particular area of financial planning and that area should not form part of the advice given, we can exclude it, if you instruct us to do so. This might of course have a bearing on the advice that we might give.
- Before making any recommendations, we’ll carry out a suitability assessment so that we are able to act in your best interests.
- We will confirm any recommendations we make in writing (our suitability report) along with details of any special risks that may be associated with the products or investment strategies we’ve recommended.
- Where we agree to provide you with a service that includes an ongoing review of the suitability of our recommendations, we’ll carry out this review at least annually. To do this we will need to make contact with you to assess whether the information we hold about you remains accurate and up to date. We’ll issue you with a report and or letter setting out the results of our assessment and, if relevant, any updated recommendations.
- Please be aware that investment values can fall as well as rise, and that you may not get back the full amount invested. The price of investments recommended may depend on fluctuations in the financial markets, or other economic factors, which are outside our control. Past performance is not necessarily a guide to future performance.
- Specific warnings relevant to the investments, investment strategies or other products we arrange are provided in the relevant product literature provided.
- We may, where appropriate, recommend holding some, or all, of your investments with a discretionary fund manager (DFM). This is a professional investment manager appointed to monitor your portfolio and make investment decisions on your behalf. In such cases we will explain the respective responsibilities of ourselves and the DFM in relation to your investments, and any additional fees that is may entail.
- In some circumstances we may need to act as your ‘agent’ in relation to the part of your portfolio held with a DFM. This means that you will not have a direct contractual relationship with the DFM and the DFM will instead treat our firm as its client. Before setting up this type of arrangement we will explain the implications to you.
- We are obliged to put in place controls to prevent our business from being used for money laundering and other forms of financial crime.
- We’ll verify your identity before undertaking any business with you. To do this we may use electronic identity verification systems and we may conduct these checks from time to time throughout our relationship, not just at the beginning. The check may leave a soft ‘footprint’ on your credit file but it will not affect your credit rating.
Conflicts of interest
- Although we’ll always try to act in your best interests there may be situations where we or one of our other clients has some form of interest in the business being transacted for you. If this happens or we become aware that our interests or those of one of our other clients conflict with your own interests, we’ll write to you and ask for your consent to proceed before we carry out any business for you. We’ll also let you know the steps we’ll take to make sure you are treated fairly.
- We have a conflicts of interest policy. If you want to see a copy of it please ask us.
Protection of Personal Information
This section sets out your obligations in agreeing to use our services.
Providing information about your circumstances
- Our advice will be based on the information that you give so it is important that you provide us with accurate and up to date information when we request details about your circumstances and objectives. This will allow us to provide you with suitable advice. If the information you provide is inaccurate or if you limit the information provided this could affect the suitability of the advice we give.
- Your insurance / protection cover is based upon the information you provide to the insurance company. Where you are buying insurance as a consumer, this means that you must take ‘reasonable care’ to answer all questions asked by the insurer fully and accurately and not make any misrepresentations during pre-contractual negotiations including completing any proposal forms and questionnaires. This obligation also applies in relation to any renewals. Failure to provide accurate and up-to-date information may invalidate your insurance cover and mean that a claim may not be paid. All other clients (e.g. commercial clients) must still disclose all ‘material facts’ (any information that may influence the insurer’s decision over cover or terms) prior to inception and throughout the period of the policy. Again, failure to disclose material information may invalidate your insurance cover and could mean that a claim may not be paid.
Payment for services
- By signing this agreement you are agreeing to pay the charges for our services as set out in section 5 (Services agreed). Your selected payment method is also confirmed in section 5. We’ll tell you if any payments are subject to VAT.
- Our initial charges are payable once we’ve completed our agreed work and must be settled within 28 days.
- In most circumstances (for protection planning business only) we receive a commission payment from a product provider. If the commission payment relates to a regular contribution policy and you stop paying premiums on that policy we are obliged to refund the commission received back to the policy provider. In such cases, we reserve the right to request the full payment of any outstanding balance of charges for our services.
- Any products we have arranged for you will only be kept under review as part of an ongoing service for which you have agreed to pay.
- Our charges for ongoing services will start alongside the initial charge but on a monthly basis. Our charges are payable within 28 days of the end of the relevant period.
- Ongoing services can be cancelled at any time by informing us in writing (see cancellation and amendments below) but please note that we do reserve the right to charge you for services we have provided before cancellation.
- Where our charges are based on a percentage of your investments, the amount of our ongoing charges will increase as the size of your fund grows. Conversely, in times when the fund value may fall, the charges too will fall, in proportion.
- In some circumstances we may receive ongoing payments (commission) from product providers relating to existing investments you hold. Such payments may be taken into account when determining the charges for ongoing services. We’ll discuss and agree this with you where relevant.
Your rights to cancel and make amendments
- You or we may terminate the Investment & Protection Fee Agreement at any time, without penalty.
- Notice of termination must be given in writing and will take effect from the date of receipt.
- Any transactions already initiated will be completed according to these Terms and Conditions unless otherwise agreed in writing.
- You will be liable to pay for any services we have provided before cancellation and any outstanding fees, if applicable.
From time to time it may be necessary to amend the terms and conditions set out in this agreement. If this is the case we will write to you with details of the changes at least 28 business days before they are due to take effect. In most cases any changes will be clarified in a new agreement.
Product cancellation rights
Full details of any financial products we recommend to you will be provided in the relevant product information you will receive. This will include information about any product cancellation rights along with any other early termination rights and penalties.
It is always our intention to provide the highest quality level of advice and service. If however you are unhappy with our advice or any aspect of our services, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible. We’ll do our best to resolve your concerns.
Telephone: 01752 347070
In writing: Compliance Officer, TFA, Prudence House, Langage Business Park, Plympton, Devon, PL7 5JX.
- We have a complaints procedure and we can provide further details on request. If you do have a complaint, and you are not happy with our response, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) may be able to help. The FOS settles disputes between financial services business and their clients. Full details are available at www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk.
- If your complaint relates to products or services you have bought from us online, or by other electronic means such as by email, you may refer your complaint to the online dispute resolution (ODR) platform at http://ec.europa.eu/odr.
Additional peace of mind
- The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is the UK’s statutory compensation fund for customers of authorised financial services firms who are unable to pay claims against them, usually because they have gone out of business.
- You may be able to claim compensation from the FSCS if we can’t meet our obligations. The amount of compensation available will depend on the type of business and the circumstances of the claim. We can provide more specific information on request, but as a guide:
- Investments – eligible claims for most types of investment business are covered for up to a maximum of £85,000.
- Insurance – in the majority of cases, eligible claims about the advising and arranging of protection products are covered for 90% of the claim, without any upper limit.
Further information is available from the FSCS at www.fscs.org.uk.
This agreement and the Fee agreement and scope of works form are governed by and shall be interpreted in accordance with English lay and you agree to submit to the
TFA Trusted Financial Advice shall not be in breach of this Agreement and shall not incur any liability to you if there is any failure to perform its duties due to circumstances reasonably beyond its control.
We are not permitted to handle client money and we cannot accept a cheque made out to us (unless it is in respect of a service for which we have sent you an invoice) or handle cash.
Other benefits we may receive
Under the rules of our regulator, the FCA, as a firm providing independent advice we are unable to accept or retain payments or benefits from other firms (e.g. product providers) as this would conflict with our independent status.
Investment Performance & Risks
Please be aware that the value of investments can fall as well as rise, and that you may not get back the full amount invested. The price of investments we recommend may depend on fluctuations in the financial markets, or other economic factors, which are outside our control. Past performance is not necessarily a guide to future performance.
Specific warnings relevant to the investments, investment strategies or other products we recommend will be confirmed to you in your suitability report. Under the terms of this agreement, we may, if appropriate, advise you on investments which are not readily realisable. We would draw your attention to the risks associated with these investments as there is a restricted market for them. In some circumstances it may therefore not be possible to deal in the investment or obtain reliable information about its value.
This is our standard client agreement upon which we intend to rely. For your own benefit and protection you should read these terms carefully before proceeding with our service. If you do not understand any point please ask us for further information.