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Editorial - December 2014

Graham ReidGraham Reid
Managing Director at Classic Financial Solutions CVBA

The true worth of an adviser

A few years ago one of our clients suffered a nervous breakdown.  After early retirement he had continued working as a consultant from a small office at home, from where he also managed the family finances, something in which his wife had never previously shown much interest.    His illness only came to light when his wife found that no utility bills or mortgage repayments had been paid for so long that they were in danger of losing their house.

In desperation, she asked us to assist her to take over complete control of the finances which she was able to do and just in time disaster was averted.   Happily their portfolio of investments was still intact and money was available to deal with the emergency.

It just so happened that when the problem was discovered we were also having a routine audit by the then Belgian regulator (FSMA).  Our office was a small one and hearing the various conversations with the client, the auditor expressed surprise that we were taking so much trouble to look after a client, the more so when we told him that it would be free of charge and was just a normal part of our client service.

In some small way I hope it opened his eyes to what a financial adviser really does; that the service and client relationship is long-term and that it continues well after the ink has dried on the application documents.  It is a pity that our regulators and EU decision takers still show so little sign of understanding what it really means to sit in front of a client.  Perhaps this is because few of them have ever done so.

It would be interesting if statistics could be compiled showing how many EU commissioners and regulators have had relevant and adequate field experience in the areas that they now regulate.  Maybe it would be a first step towards creating a regulatory system that puts the client first.

Graham Reid
Experienced international investment planner for individuals
Managing Director at Classic Financial Solutions CVBA

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