Now, I imagine that you may be wondering whether it’s necessary to have soul when you’re dealing with something that many people consider to be entirely without heart – money.
But actually, we’ve never been about money, wealth or investing – we’ve always been about people. We care deeply about our clients and about our colleagues on the team, but we hadn’t really articulated that before the rebrand; the process teased out what we’re really all about.
Part of the outcome was the identification of four brand values, key things which define us and the way we do things.
And so, I thought I would look at each one in turn over four articles, starting with the first: Simplicity.
Money doesn’t need to be complex
We still don’t consistently teach our children how to handle money at school. The student loan system is designed to confuse – I mean, it isn’t like any other loan you’ll ever get.
And don’t get me started on tax, overdrafts, credit cards, ISAs, pensions, investments, risk, asset allocation and all the other stuff that comes with managing money.
We’re not born knowing how to do this any more than we’re born knowing how to drive a car. So, we either have to learn, or get someone to drive us, that is, delegate to a professional adviser to do the financial stuff for us.
At Jacksons we believe very strongly that anyone can understand everything they need to know and everything they need to do when it comes to building a solid financial plan. This is true because most of us don’t need complex financial arrangements. Indeed, we just need to do three things consistently:
- Spend less than we earn and avoid bad debt
- Insure ourselves against disaster
- Invest wisely using pensions and ISAs
That’s basically it for 95% of the population. Simple, really.
Yes, there is some detail behind those three points, but there is more information freely available now than at any point in history, for those that want to learn. My own podcast and YouTube channel are dedicated to putting this information out as widely as possible, and there are many others besides.
Why simple is better
If we deem something to be too complex to understand, we’re less likely to engage with it at all. It’s too easy to put things off when we feel like there’s a mountain to climb before we even start to achieve clarity.
Whereas if we have a good grasp of the basics, we can get stuck in and really understand what it all means for us in practice.
We love to do that here at Jacksons. We love to simplify our clients’ affairs so that they can engage with them better.
After all, money is not an abstract subject – it’s the stuff we use every day to survive – so we really should be engaged with it and take it seriously.
By making it simple we are serving our clients better, in our view.
Complexity breeds mistrust
As a profession, the financial services industry hasn’t exactly covered itself in glory over the decades. There have been too many mis-selling scandals - it’s no wonder prospective clients pause before picking up the phone or pressing our doorbell.
Worse even than the blatant misdeeds is the professional arrogance that I see too often displayed by the industry.
Advisers will say words to the effect of “don’t you worry about things, just leave it up to me – trust me. You probably wouldn’t understand it anyway. I’m a professional and I have exams, you know – I know what I am doing!”
The inference that clients can’t or won’t understand the details of their finances is just plain wrong. Why would I not assume that that the client in front of me has the intelligence to grasp everything they need to know? Why would I not help them to understand?
In so doing I develop trust in a positive way, rather than just telling the client they should trust me!
Simplicity in all things
We like to bring this core value of simplicity to all our dealings with our clients. Whether that’s in the way we speak, the words we write or the solutions we propose.
Simplicity lends itself to transparency, something which is all-too-often lacking in financial services. We’re clear about charges, and what we will (and won’t) do for you if you become a client.
Opacity or ambiguity are barriers to a good working relationship, and we’re committed to banishing them from every part of our offering.
We can certainly do more, and that’s the fun part. We’re continually looking to rationalise and refine what we do to pursue simplicity.
Because that’s best for you and for us – a win-win!