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How we work with IFAs

When it comes to managing money, good relationships are vital. Here, two of our investment managers explain the importance of their dealings with independent financial advisers.

| 6 min read

Rebecca Stein, Investment Manager, Oxford

At Charles Stanley, we don't use relationship managers. We think it's important that the person responsible for your clients' investments is accountable to you. Your investment manager will discuss ongoing investment strategies with you and your clients directly. As they will also be the person responsible for making those decisions, this is best set up to ensure that the IFA and their client get the accurate information they want quickly.

To ensure that IFAs always have their clients' investment details on hand, we send rationale letters for each trade, something that not all DFMs do as standard practice. Your investment manager will contact you after each and every investment decision is made, ensuring that you have all the information needed to keep your clients up to date with any changes to the portfolio - including clear reasoning behind the decision at that particular time, and why this is suitable for the client. Increasingly, we are finding that outsourcing this aspect to an investment manager makes sense.

We also regularly complete a full review of the portfolio, which is always bespoke to your clients' requirements. We look at the asset allocation, the performance of the underlying investments, and also provide a market update with our thoughts on the portfolio strategy going forward.

The regularity of communication is entirely down to you and your client - we can be in touch as little or as often as you like. Some advisers prefer that we communicate solely with them, and others prefer that we have direct contact with the underlying client. Whatever the preference, the reporting is tailored to you and your client. It's your choice. We can produce investment performance and commentary information prior to your meeting with your client, or we are more than happy to be involved and come along to the meeting.

By creating a portfolio of direct equity investments, alongside a selection of collective funds to help increase diversification and reduce risk in certain areas, we can help keep overall portfolio costs down.

Costs are important to IFAs, investment managers, and your clients. By creating a portfolio of direct equity investments, alongside a selection of collective funds to help increase diversification and reduce risk in certain areas, we can help keep overall portfolio costs down. When collective funds are used, we try to negotiate the lowest OCF cost possible with the fund houses. High-fund costs have the potential to drag on the performance of the investments, and it is something that we keep under constant review.

We also provide support and advice when markets are volatile. We aim to build a long-lasting, trusting relationship with you and your clients. Market volatility can be very unsettling and scare stories in the media can cause clients a great deal of anxiety. In these scenarios, it can be very valuable to have the option to pick up the phone to your investment manager and get the insight of someone monitoring the markets 24/7.

Paul Cann, Director of Private Clients, Exeter

Regular communication is a vital part of an effective partnership between an IFA and the Investment Manager they trust to manage their clients' investments. IFAs will be fully briefed so they have an informed view of the Investment Manager's strategy, which helps the IFA to ensure that investments are being managed in accordance with the mandate they have agreed with their client. It is also our duty to ensure the IFAs client understands how their portfolio is adapted to ever-changing market conditions.

IFAs can draw on the investment manager's wealth of information and experience. We provide a quarterly investment report which includes a commentary on recent market conditions. Where IFAs hold review meetings with their clients in person (or these days by video call), investment managers can join these meetings to give personal insight into market views and the client's specific portfolio.

Regular communication is a vital part of providing an effective partnership between an IFA and the investment manager.

The combination of the Covid-19 pandemic, the conflict in Ukraine, and more recently the high inflation environment, has seen heightened volatility in investment markets. The financial advisers we work with have understandably been looking to Charles Stanley's Investment Managers to keep them informed of our assessment of market conditions, our strategies, and how we navigate them with respect to client portfolios, so that they can support their clients in these challenging times.


Alongside our regular quarterly investment and market reports, we can also provide ad hoc updates to financial advisers about key issues which have a bearing on markets as well as detailed commentaries on portfolios to help advisers answer all the potential questions a client may have. Additionally, we send our weekly email newsletter 'Sunday Brunch' which includes highlights of our research output each week as well as other articles of interest to the IFA community.


Meet the team

Charles Stanley has recently bolstered its Intermediary Sales Team (IST), to ensure we are well prepared to deal with the rapidly changing marketplace and continue to provide the level of service IFAs and their clients demand and deserve. Adam Benzimra has joined as National Sales, along with Richard Kelly as Head of Strategic Partnerships, and Laura Mathieson as our Telephone Business Development Manager. All join us from Brooks Macdonald.

As we continue to build out our proposition to advisers in the digital/hybrid age, we have identified key areas that we are looking to support- supporting new firms, as well as national and network advisory firms.

We've recently bolstered our Intermediary Team, to ensure we provide the level of service IFAs and their clients demand and deserve.

Adam will be working closely with a small number of Charles Stanley's key accounts alongside managing our face-to-face team of intermediary sales managers. Laura will be focused on identifying prospect adviser firms we believe could benefit from our comprehensive range of services including our bespoke discretionary service, platform-based models portfolios and specialist products like AIM IHT.

Richard will work to enhance existing and build new strategic relationships across the market to ensure IFAs are able to access Charles Stanley's proposition on their preferred panels and platforms alongside aligning to their preferred risk rating systems providing seamless access for advisers and their clients

Nothing on this website should be construed as personal advice based on your circumstances. No news or research item is a personal recommendation to deal.

How we work with IFAs

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