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The Importance of an Integrated Approach to Financial Planning

Tim Searle

Tim Searle

Tim Searle is Chairman of Globaleye, which he established in 1999. Partnering with a member of the Dubai Ruling Family, the company has created a network of award-winning operations from Switzerland to Asia.

Traditional financial planning is prone to technical disruption, frequent compliance revisions, new legislation, and solution innovation to the extent that many traditional advisors struggle to keep apace. More worryingly, some clients assume they are in safe hands since they have used the same advisory for generations. Conversely, they may be at risk if they have not revised their strategies and have failed to keep abreast of the factors mentioned above and are therefore not aware of the real impact of global political events, which are expediting changes. Traditional advisory is often so siloed that when these crucial matters and dynamics are raised, the response is invariably one of avoidance, and the conversation comes to an abrupt halt. For the sake of the client, and to raise the bar of advisory, this needs to change.

High-net-worth investors use a combination of private bankers, lawyers, trustees/fiduciary, accountants, and so on, either directly or through their multi-family offices. It is understood that each party has an offering, objective priority, or core proposition to satisfy the client relationship that will translate into fees. However, these essential advisors rarely collaborate, compare notes if you will, to ensure that their contribution complements the client’s overall strategy not only today but for future generations. Clients are therefore in danger of being siloed and unfortunately, many are not aware of this. Of even greater concern is that when advisory is challenged on either plugging any gaps or blending the conversation between all parties so that the client is given the best advice and options at all times, there is invariably a corporate disclaimer which, as you guessed it, is one of avoiding discussing complex or controversial subjects.

GCR - Searle

What clients implemented years ago may well no longer be relevant today. Constant engagement between clients and their advisors, and frequent reviews, are essential, with the aim of clients being offering comprehensive, top-class advisory, rather than only what the advisory firm has on offer. If advisors do not know or are not able to offer a solution, to help the client they should direct them to someone who does, as opposed to leaving the matter to fall through the gaps, thereby absolving their firm of any responsibility. Clients should also take some responsibility and challenge their advisory and substantiate with other parties that all parameters are being covered. Just as you should never accept one doctor’s opinion regarding your health, the same applies to your wealth.

The omission of advice is tantamount to bad advice, and advisors should avoid withholding information from clients if their firm does not offer a particular service at all costs, since the impact today and for generations to come could have been prevented. Clients want the news that affects them, good or bad, so that their strategies can be amended accordingly. We commend working with professional third parties who are specialists in their fields so that holistic, relevant, proactive, and enduring solutions are delivered today.

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