About Alexander Calder Financial
Who We Are
Based in North Nottinghamshire, ACF has been established since June 2001. Founding Partners, Gregg Bartram and Peter Greaves - later joined by Nigel Ruff, all previously worked together in senior positions in a Canadian life assurance company. Over the years a number of high quality Financial Planners have joined the business providing a broad range of experience and knowledge.
On forming ACF we were able to focus our energy and experience on client relationships and ensure at all times that our clients are at the centre of everything we do.
Over the years the business has developed to encompass additional skills of other experienced advisers but has never lost sight of the need to place our client at the forefront of our business.
Our Commitment To You
Our clients are our priority. We have internal service standards which are not about box-ticking, but are about ensuring that we exceed the expectation of our clients. We are open about everything we do and offer full transparency in terms of how we operate and why we make our recommendations. We will provide a written report to you explaining what we recommend, why we recommend it, and what it ultimately means to you.
But no world is perfect. Our best endeavours can sometimes fall short through our own errors or omissions or through those of the firms we work with. But we will always operate in an honest way ensuring that you are kept aware of everything you need to be that is relevant to you. Where we can sort an issue without disturbing you we will; where we need your assistance to sort things we will request this and expedite it effectively and efficiently.
Your adviser should always be the one to whom you turn for help. Additionally our office is staffed during normal working hours by friendly and experienced people who will always try to assist.
The Journey Begins
Our Place In The Market
Until December 2012 we were placed as Independent Financial Advisers. Following the introduction of additional legislation it has become clear that we are best placed serving our current and future clients by maintaining a whole of market approach. However, we do not feel that we or our core clients have the need to operate in a high risk environment and therefore we have chosen not to operate in certain recognised high risk product areas.
The result of this is that we are deemed to be ‘restricted advisers’, but this restriction is about specific products and in the main we operate a whole of market offering enabling us to recommend providers across the whole financial services field in the product areas we advise upon.
Our advice is unbiased; it is impartial; it is focused on you. Our business is not owned by any provider in part or in full. We have no special arrangements with providers unless they directly benefit our clients. We are not influenced by providers or any third party as to who we recommend. Put simply, our status allows us to put you our client firmly at the front of our business.
Under the regulatory regime in the UK we have chosen to become part of a network of like-minded businesses who wish to operate under an ‘economies of scale’ mentality ensuring that where efficiencies can be obtained they are utilised for the benefit of all. We are an ‘appointed representative’ which offers some centralised support to ourselves and some degree of additional comfort to our clients in that we are nationally recognised. Our client agreement, which is provided at our first meeting, offers greater detail of what this means to you our client.
All our advisers are at or beyond the current higher level of qualification for Financial Advisers. We all hold a recognised ‘Statement of Professional Standing’ ensuring that through current qualifications and ongoing professional development we are suitably qualified to offer a full range of advice to clients.
We are committed to being ahead of any further regulatory qualification requirements and many of our advisers continue to study and take exams that whilst not a necessity, provide a demonstration of our commitment to knowledge and professionalism.
We are able to offer all clients, both new and existing, a range of services that allows them to obtain the support and advice relevant to their needs. Importantly, the service level desired is for you to decide and to agree with us how we can best deliver our part of helping you achieve your goals and meet your financial needs.
We are happy to repeat, and will do often, that our business is run by people who enjoy and are focused on working with clients. Whilst we utilise full technology we firmly believe that nothing can replace face-to-face advice for our private and corporate clients - unless your requirement is entirely product purchase focused.
Our aim is to financially plan working alongside you to review those plans and do our utmost to assist in achieving your goals. Too often a product solution is right at the time of purchase but becomes less than ideal over time. Our service is designed specifically to ensure that reviewing is central to achieving the goal.
How We Are Paid
Of course, you would expect that highly qualified professional services come at a cost. Often we are willing to offer initial guidance at our own cost but always ensuring that an open and fair approach is maintained.
We can complete work on a fixed fee basis; it could be provided for on an hourly rate basis; or it could be based on a percentage of your financial commitment to achieving your goals. Whatever the choice, and it is always your choice, it will be openly discussed and agreed with you before any cost based work is commenced.
Importantly as our aim is to work alongside you for many years and review your plans regularly, we will agree any ongoing costs at the beginning of our relationship - no nasty surprises along the way!
What We Do
At ACF we operate on a principle of ‘Plan~Do~Review’. We start by understanding our clients current situation and discussing with them their concerns, their aspirations, and their goals. From this we will utilise our experience and expertise to build with you a plan for the future which may take months or even years to develop and establish.
During this time we will act entirely on your behalf as our client in sourcing and recommending products or solutions to help us achieve the overall agreed plan. We will review all steps and review all provisions made ensuring that they maintain their suitability and competitiveness in the market place.
Investment And Risk Management
A major part of many of the solutions we advise upon is the actual management of the money you choose to invest. As you would expect, this is a very specialist area of expertise and one that for many years has not attracted as much focus as it should have.
Our belief is that with literally hundreds and into thousands of investment funds available to clients, there are more qualified and experienced people available to select the actual investment funds than us. Our role is to financially plan and work alongside you, and in doing this we cannot be as close to the investment market as those whose only role is to do exactly that.
Over the years we have established a number of strategic partners to whom we turn, to manage your money with a direct link to your tolerance of risk. These partners are under regular review and we do not commit to any contract tying us into any business levels. This ensures that we are free at all times to put your needs first.
A key part therefore of what we discuss and agree with you will be your tolerance of risk and this will include your overall capacity to sustain any losses. As we all accept, the investment market can have good periods and it can have less than good periods and it is during the times of less than good performance that those managing your money focus on your acceptance of loss limitations.
Being so key to the process of achieving your goals, whichever service offering you choose that provides ongoing reviews, your tolerance for risk will be reviewed regularly to ensure that your investment remains in a place that you feel holds acceptable loss expectations alongside the obvious opportunity for growth.