Lifestyle Wealth Management

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In this video Simon Brown, Partner and Chartered Financial Planner at BpH Wealth, talks about our approach to financial advice, lifestyle wealth management. Simon also discusses how our beliefs are shared by other members of the Global Association of Independent Advisors.


I’m Simon Brown, I’m a partner here at BpH Wealth Management. I originally trained as a pension specialist with an insurance company and joined BpH some 30 years ago now. I have witnessed the transition of BpH from being a generalist firm trying to help all people to a specialist firm specialising in Lifestyle Wealth Management.


Lifestyle Wealth Management is about helping people create a balance between life, money and society. In practical terms what we often see is that people focus too much on of those aspects to the detriment of other aspects and so our approach is to make them confident about the money so they can get on and devote more time to the people that are most important to them and things that they most enjoy doing. Sometimes that also goes on to how they can help society.


Our aim is to help clients feel confident about their financial position so they can make important decisions going forward. Helping people understand that they can perhaps not work so hard and find a balance between working and doing the things they love. Helping them support the issues in society that they are most passionate about. Encouraging them to find innovative ways to educate their children, and train them in good financial discipline. Motivate savings in the younger generation to start putting money aside for a house.


Most wealth creation is created by good financial discipline. Most of our clients have come by their money because they have a very simple principle; that I must put money aside for a rainy day, and they have done that all their life and they have marshalled their resources well and they end up in their retirement in a very good position. So instilling that in the younger generation is very important.


I think the most enjoyable aspect of our work is when we first meet clients; they are a little bit nervous, a little bit sceptical, they are not very sure of what the future looks like or how they can make sensible decisions. They are sometimes very focussed on the investments and returns and the money. After two or three years most of our conversations are about their life not their money because they are confident that we are looking after the money well and the investments will do what they are supposed to do over time.


First of all we go through an education process so that they understand the investment process and what they can control and what they can’t. We get them to focus on what they can control which are very simple things like costs, discipline, taxes and not focus on things they can’t control like finding the best investment manager. So our role is more focussed on trying to make them better investors rather than finding them the best investments.


One of the common themes we find is that people come to us and want us to focus on the money and manage the money, but without finding out what the money is for it is very difficult to advise them how to invest their money.


Since we have decided to focus on a few clients rather than the many, we have deliberately tried to learn from best practice around the world. That involves meeting with eight of our peers in this country every quarter and trying to develop our businesses together to the benefit of our clients. That has now extended to a global association of advisors which I helped found. We now meet at least annually with advisors from Australia, New Zealand, Chile, The USA, Switzerland and so on. We have a global group that brings together the best ideas and the best speakers resources with one aim; getting better at what we do and serving our clients better.


When we were founding GAIA, although we all thought we were very nice people and had very good businesses, it was decided we ought to have an external body come in and audit and check everybody’s processes to check they were up to world standards. We undertook the process of CEFEX certification, which is a global accreditation for fiduciary excellence. Fiduciary, in our words, means that we treat clients as family. So mother, father, sister, brother and when we are dealing with clients we like to think of them in those terms and give them the same advice as we would our own family. As a consequence of going through that process BpH became the first CEFEX certified planning firm in the UK and now three or four other firms have followed our lead.


Since we decided to focus on lifestyle for a limited number of clients we find that they don’t leave, and we look after them as well as their family members through the generations. The other consequence of that is we also have a team that don’t tend to leave either. Many of our team have been with us 25 or more years and that gives our clients a great sense of security and piece of mind.