How is Financial situation is assessed?

Posted by admin On December 26th 2020

Employment status (employed, self-employed, unemployed or retired). It may be necessary to delve deeper and establish basic information about business arrangements if the client is a director or a partner. It also helps to know whether their status is part-time/full-time, temporary/permanent, as well as obtaining details of the client’s profession or trade.
Income and benefits – it is frequently useful to establish an exact breakdown of income by its component parts (for example basic, commission, bonus, etc.), as well as the average level of overall earnings (or net profits in the case of self-employed clients). An adviser must also establish the exact nature of benefits provided, e.g. private medical insurance, company cars, pension and/or death-in-service details (where applicable), subsidized loans, etc.
Previous and/or additional employment – details of previous employment (especially if the client has a preserved pension entitlement), profit-related pay schemes, share-option schemes, details of any further employment. It can be useful to obtain pay slips, P60s, tax returns and notices of tax coding as well.
Income and expenditure –looking at a client’s income and expenditure makes it possible to identify more easily the implications of premature death on the family income and spending. It may also be possible to ascertain any surplus income that could be used to fund the purchase of any recommended additional products.
Calculating a household’s income is usually straightforward, but a reliable breakdown of clients’ expenditure can be more tricky. Certain items are easily determined: for example, those paid by standing order, such as rent and household bills. It is usually more difficult to identify or ascertain how much is spent on food and drink, holidays or cars.

The adviser should acquire details of all a client’s assets, from their home (if they own it) to all bank and savings accounts. Depending on the type of asset, the following details are required:

  • Ownership (whether it is a single ownership or jointly owned)
  • Purpose of the investment/Type of investment, e.g. property, deposit in a bank account, pension policy or fund/size of original investment and date
  • Current value and/or projected future value/rate of return (if applicable)
  • Type of return, typically capital growth or income, and whether that return is fixed, guaranteed or variable
  • Tax status of the investment or other asset
  • Options available and/or penalties
  • Sum assured and/or lives assured and maturity dates
  • Name of the organization providing the asset.

The following information should be obtained in relation to a client’s borrowing:

  • The lender
  • Amount of loan
  • Balance outstanding/Original term and term remaining
  • Type of loan, whether it is secured or unsecured (and, if secured, on what asset)
  • Amount of monthly or other periodic payment
  • Rate of interest
  • Repayment method
  • Protection of capital or payments.

Clients are frequently not aware of the details of the arrangements into which they have entered. It is an adviser’s obligation to obtain this information, and clients should be asked to bring all the details and documentation they have when attending the meeting.