Questions we are often asked by new clients


Q. How long have you been in business?

The business was established by Adrian in Solihull in 1999.


Q. How much do you charge?

We charge an Ongoing Review service fee of a maximum of 1.0% p.a. of the investments and pensions that you ask us to advise upon (reducing after £1 million), depending upon which ASPL Service you require. There may also be a Strategy fee, depending upon what you want us to do for you.


Q. How do I know I can trust you?

Our reputation – please refer to our “Testimonials” for the views of our Clients.

Please also visit www.vouchedfor.co.uk, and enter our postcode "CV5 9RG", select "IFA", and then  "Read reviews", to see other Testimonials.


Q. How do I know that you won’t run off with my money?

Your investment or pension cheque(s) is never made out to us, but is made payable to the investment manager(s)/Wrap Account(s) that we place your investment(s) with.Therefore, we never have access to your money.


Q.What relevant qualifications do your Advisers have?

Adrian Smith & Ivan Hutchings both hold the internationally recognised “CFP” qualification, as Certified Financial Planners.Very few Advisers are both "Chartered" AND "Certified", but Adrian achieved this in 2013. In addition, they each hold the FPC and the AFPC qualifications. Ivan also holds a specific Pensions qualification and Adrian a Securities Institute qualification.Both Adrian and Ivan regularly exceed their Continuous Professional Development requirements.


Q. Who can I speak to if my Adviser is out of the office?

You can ask to speak to another Director, or speak with any of our Support Staff, who man the office from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m., Monday to Friday.


Q. Can I see my investments and pensions online? Can I get valuations?

Yes (unless you choose our ASPL Direct Client Service).

Valuations are available online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Q. Can I park at your office?

Yes – it is easy to park right by our office, there are usually at least two free ASPL spaces.


Q. How do I know that you are not “too small” a firm for me?

This will probably depend upon the value of your investments/pension funds. We work most efficiently with Clients with portfolios between £250,000 - £5 million, as we are able to provide a bespoke "value for money" service at these levels. We currently look after over £100 million of Client portfolios. We will happily refer you to other professionals as required.


Q. How do I know that you won’t ignore me after I’ve paid your fee?

We insist on Regular Review and Planning Meetings for all our Clients (with the exception of ASPL Direct Clients). This typically means half-yearly or annually. You are also free to contact us at any time between Reviews.


Q. How do I know that you are not a large, faceless, impersonal organisation?

Contact us or visit us! We are a two-Adviser firm with a team of four Support Staff, and outsourced Accountancy and IT. Our staff know our Clients (as they typically see them regularly at ASPL House).

“Its not just Business, it’s Personal”


Q. How do I know that you are “Independent”?

We are a privately-owned business, owned by the two Directors, Adrian and Ivan, and Adrian's wife, Carolyn.


Q. How do I know that you are impartial?

Our impartiality is one factor that brings our Clients back to us, time and time again. We are incentivised to produce the best returns for you, in relation to your risk tolerance, and so why wouldn’t we choose the best solutions from the marketplace? This impartiality is at the centre of all that we do for our Clients, otherwise you may as well go to your Bank for advice!


Q. Do you embrace, or reject, Technology in your business?

Embrace – we went “paperless” in 2005, and introduced "Wrap" technology into our business in 2006.In 2012, we  invested further in our tech-spend, by adding a City-based external independent investment research resource to enhance our overall Research robustness.


Q. Do I have to meet with you at your office?

No, but most Clients now seem to prefer to come to us, as it is easy to visit and park next to the building. You will get a better “overview” of our people and services by visiting us, than any other way of assessing whether we are appropriate for you.


Q. I have lots of plans, policies and/or accounts with various financial institutions – how can you help me?

With your consent, we would issue Letters of Authority to each institution, together with our detailed questionnaire, in order to obtain sufficient information to enable us to advise you specifically upon each plan/policy etc., and get up to date valuations.


Q. We do not have an Accountant or a Lawyer – is this a problem?

No, but should we feel that you need one/both, we will refer you to one of our trusted tax/legal professionals, and/or invite them to a future meeting(s).


Q. How do I know that you do not have a history of providing poor advice/service?

One obvious measure of this would be the amount of complaints our Advisers/Directors received.

Neither of our Advisers/Directors at ASPL has ever had a complaint upheld.


Q. Can I pay you a Fee?



Q. Can I pay you via a commission(s)?

Generally,no. Commission  ceased to be an option on new investments from 1st January 2013, as part of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) "Retail Distribution Review" (RDR).However, there  are certain types of new business where commission continues to be paid (e.g. new Protection business, such as life cover).

We explained about RDR in detail at the time, in our article "RDR explained - and why we are ahead of the game at ASPL"


Q. Is your firm and your Adviser “regulated”?

Yes, by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). You can look both the Company and our Advisers up on their official website www.fca.gov.uk.  The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) took over from the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in 2013.  


Q. Choosing a Financial Adviser – have you any tips?

If you selected at least one of the “Personas” from our home page or "How we can help you" section, then we are confident that you would benefit from working with us.


Q. What if I just want some advice on a particular investment/pension etc., but may not in future?

Then our ASPL Direct service may be suitable for you – we are much less "hands on" and we charge less, but the emphasis is upon you to contact us, should you seek advice again in future.


Q. If I just want an overview/review of all my assets/investments/pensions etc., can you do this?

Yes – if it’s just a one-off /once only project, then we will probably suggest a one-off fee for our time and advice.


Q. I have accumulated a number of pensions over the years via different employers / self-employments, but I don’t know if they are doing well for me – can you help?

Yes – we would write to each pension company, with your consent, and request at least sufficient information to be able to advise you specifically.


Q. I have a number of Cash ISAs that are earning very little – can you help?

You may want to improve upon the current low interest rates being “earned”, and if you are prepared to accept more risk, then you could consider transferring your Cash ISAs, to earn potentially greater returns, (whilst still retaining the valuable tax-free ISA status).

Clear advice explaining jargon, repeating if required, and accurate. Mr C - Solihull

FCA Statement


Adrian Smith

Chartered Financial Planner
Chartered Wealth Manager

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