It is rare that the investment of an award of damages is the sole solution to our clients' lifetime needs.
It is far more likely that the solution involves complex interactions between:
- The invested award of damages;
- Ongoing benefits and statutory funding;
- Family care and support; and
- Changing priorities and compromises.
But the importance of investing an award of damages with a suitable degree of investment risk, in a manner that meets expectations, should not be underplayed; it takes many skills, understanding, experience and a tested methodology.
We need to understand your needs:
- We undertake a thorough fact-find of your circumstances and needs, which forms the basis for our recommendations and advice.
We need to make sure that you understand our approach:
- Our approach is founded on patient, long-term investing. It has to be, because this area of financial planning often has uniquely long time horizons. Having said that, there is no investment style that produces the expected results 100% of the time. Indeed, investment fundamentals (and markets) can move in unexpected ways for disappointingly long periods, with the upshot that the best opportunities tend to come just at the times when throwing in the towel and trying something else is very tempting.
- Therefore, we seek to select and blend fund managers, whose people and processes give us sufficient conviction that they are appropriate to look after your money for long periods of time.
- That said, change is sometimes appropriate, and we are not afraid to take tough decisions when necessary.
We need to construct a suitable portfolio for you:
- The starting point is risk: the extent it is necessary to take risk, and the degree to which you will accept it.
- Having agreed risk with you, we then seek to diversify investments across a broad range of assets with a wide geographical spread.
- To achieve this, we narrow down the choices from a vast universe of possible solutions, in order to seek the most cost-effective and transparent means to achieve an actively managed and well-diversified portfolio of investments.
- Our investment process draws upon the whole of the relevant market, and filters choices by specific ‘hard’ criteria (such as fund size, volatility, track record and sector), and ‘soft’ criteria (such as the people and processes employed by a particular fund management firm).
- The result is a short-list from which recommendations can be made, and funds can be blended to suit individual needs.
- We consider that active fund management, which allows the continuous assessment of the state of a particular market, and deliberate choices about how to take advantage of opportunities and mitigate risk, is preferable for the majority of your capital.
- However, for the very long term, and a small proportion of your capital, we may be prepared to recommend tracker funds, which offer a cost-effective solution to long-run asset returns.
- Where appropriate, we seek to minimise the impact of tax on your portfolio, for example by use of ISAs (this will not generally apply where an award is held in trust) and annual tax allowances and exemptions.
We need to review your portfolio:
- Financial markets are in a constant state of flux.
- The economic cycle is at different stages in different regions of the world.
- Tax rates and rules change.
- Unexpected events occur.
- Life happens.
- Therefore an ongoing annual review is as important as the initial construction of your portfolio, to ensure it remains suitable for your needs and, if not, changes are made.
Will you invest my award immediately?
Probably not. Most often we will advise you to do it gradually, to avoid the risk of a sudden fall in the markets.
Will my money be protected?
Cash deposits will be fully protected, either under the deposit guarantee scheme or by HM Treasury in National Savings & Investments. We are directly regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, and the financial products we recommend are covered under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. However, this does not cover the normal ups and downs in the value of long-term investments. We also hold professional indemnity insurance in respect of our advice.
Do you hold my money?
No. We choose not to hold client money, and are not authorised to do so. All deposits and investments are held directly with the institutions we recommend.
Will I have to pay tax?
There is no special tax status for personal injury awards except periodical payments, which are tax-free income. Depending on your circumstances, you are likely to have personal allowances that allow you to have set amounts of tax-free income and capital gains each year. You may also be eligible to shelter some of your investments from tax by using your ISA allowance each year.
How often should I be checking the value of my investments?
Their value is likely to go up and down over short periods of time and once a year is probably enough. There is evidence that the more often you look, the less willing you will be to take on risk, not least because you will see more of the ‘downs’, which may harm your wealth in the long run.
What if the value of my investments goes down?
Obviously, that is not the aim, but it happens as part of the normal functioning of markets. A fall in value is not the same as a loss, just as a change in the value of your house is neither a loss nor a profit until you actually sell it. Everyone feels the pain of losses more than the pleasure of gains, and part of our role is to help guide you through the tough times as well as the good ones.
How will I know how much advice is costing me?
We will be completely open with you about our fees, which will be discussed and agreed with you before carrying out any work, together with the costs of managing and administering your investments.
Finding the right person to make your investment decisions, was important for my peace of mind. For me, it was more than the performance of the funds, but trusting the person that was pulling the strings. At PFP I felt that I had a team, all working together in order to meet my expectations. From the first phone call I made, to my last meeting. I had complete confidence in their ability to advise me, on how best to manage my portfolio.
Following an accident in November 2007 I was introduced to Ian Rowe from PFP approximately 6 months later. Since then PFP have been able to offer first-class advice on how to set up a personal injury trust, and then manage it over the coming years.
The advice has always been easy to understand, logical and entirely appropriate to levels of risk etc. Investments have been presented in a clear and concise manner, review documentation easy to understand and digest, and any changes necessary provided in a timely fashion.
I would have no hesitation in recommending the services of PFP to anyone if they are faced with a situation similar to mine.
Ian Gunn and his team at PFP have been looking after our daughter's investments since 2006. In that time, the services provided to us have been excellent. We have received a comprehensive, professional and honest service with a helpful, personal, friendly touch.
There would be no hesitation, from us, in recommending PFP to anyone who is looking for expert advice and guidance, who are in the same situation as us.
When our son age 9 was involved in an RTA in August 2001, he was awarded compensation for injuries sustained. We knew this money was required long term and had to work for him. We were introduced to PFP and Richard Cropper by our Solicitor and what a great recommendation it was. Richard has worked tirelessly for our son and his fund has grown, which has enabled him to be independent.
We are always kept up to date on the progress and changes if required and an annual review where Richard comes to us. All the staff at PFP are very knowledgeable and sensitive in all areas and we would have no reservation in recommending Richard and the rest of the company. They feel like an extension of our family.
Since my daughter was awarded a Personal Injury Payment over ten years ago, Richard Cropper and his team at PFP have helped and guided us to ensure her assets are wisely invested to ensure the money she will need to pay for the care she will require for the rest of her life is safeguarded. In spite of the vicissitudes and uncertainties of the times we live in - and a hitherto unknown instability of the financial sector, Richard has done a magnificent job.
I feel, after over a decade of sure advice, that our choice of adviser could not have been better and hope our working relationship continues for many years to come. I would not hesitate to recommend Richard (and his team) to anyone who is searching for a financial adviser with an extensive knowledge of personal injury, the future needs of that individual and whose integrity and honesty is without question. He is also - (and this is terribly important to anyone who is struggling with the complexities of the financial markets and the driving need to care for their loved one) - very approachable and friendly. He makes my life better and eases my worries with kindness and compassion - without making me feel I am asking daft questions (and I ask quite a lot ...).
For the last fifteen years PFP have been advising us as trustees about our son's medical negligence award. Not only this, but they have also assisted us greatly on any benefits and allowances that our son can claim. Without exception we have always been treated with the best possible care.
I specialise in Court of Protection and Personal Injury Trust matters. I act as a Financial Deputy and Trustee in numerous matters. Most of them involve very substantial investments. I have dealt with PFP on various cases over the years, and continue to do so. My main contacts are Ian Gunn and Richard Cropper (as well as Joanne Moores for Welfare Benefits Advice).
I have always been very pleased with the services provided by PFP. Based upon my experience of dealing with them, I have always found PFP to be very professional and helpful in their approach and service
Many of our clients with significant compensation awards have used Personal Financial Planning to advise about and manage their investments. We have found Richard Cropper and his staff to be totally professional and extremely knowledgeable. Richard always deals with clients and their families in a kind, supportive and accessible way. Richard is our “go to” financial adviser for clients with large awards.
Ian Rowe and PFP are our go to trusted experts for financial advice for our clients. The client care is excellent, Ian and Richard make the complicated seem simple.
I have instructed Richard Cropper and PFP for many years on behalf of my Court of Protection clients. I have to say the service provided is second to none. Their dedication and expertise in investment of personal injury awards sets them apart from other IFAs they truly are unique.
The investment process is explained in detail to each and every client/parent in a simple and understandable way which is personal to them. The benefits advice service is outstanding. I would have no hesitation in recommending PFP.
Whilst acting as professional deputy and trustee to many brain injured clients, I having dealings with PFP on an almost daily basis. I cannot praise Richard Cropper and James Rooney highly enough for the advice they provide in their detailed yet easy to understand reports. The manner in which they interact with my clients is second to none, always speaking in plain English and putting the clients at ease in sometimes difficult circumstances. The support staff I deal with are very efficient and always happy to help.
Over many years, Ian Rowe has provided prompt and timely advice to many of my Clients, often in cases where it has been appropriate to set up a Personal Injury Trust. He has frequently taken the time to visit my Clients at their homes, at whatever time has been convenient to the Client, with a view to providing detailed but clear independent advice to enable the Clients to make a decision as to how best to proceed.
In the past, some of my Clients have commented upon Ian’s pleasant and pragmatic manner and others have commented upon his willingness to go the extra mile, as and when any issues have arisen that required his early intervention.
For many of our catastrophically injured Clients, Richard Cropper of PFP provides us with extremely comprehensive Viability Reports, which are of enormous assistance when Clients are seeking advice in relation to the most appropriate form of award e.g. whether a lump sum basis and/or periodical payments. His professional input is often invaluable, particularly in the run up to Joint Settlement Meetings or Trials.
I have worked with Joanne Moores of PFP for several years now. Joanne’s advice in welfare benefits matters has been invaluable to me in my capacity as Deputy appointed by the Court of Protection to manage the financial affairs of various clients who are deemed not to have capacity.
Joanne’s knowledge on all matters related to benefits and the Department of Works and Pensions is very comprehensive and wide ranging. I have found her to be extremely approachable, very thorough in the advice that she gives and she always offers sensible and practical advice. Her depth of knowledge in her field is invaluable for those who are advising clients on all matters relating to personal injury trusts and deputyships. I will have no hesitation now or in the future in recommending Joanne to my colleagues for professional advice and assistance.
Richard is ace!
I have been with PFP for 10 years and their advice and knowledge has been invaluable.
They regularly provide updates and have always been available to answer any queries or to explain options within my portfolio. As I find it difficult to travel Mr Cropper comes to visit me at home on a yearly basis. I would recommend PFP to anyone in need of help with their financial planning.
We have known Ian Rowe for nine years, he has always dealt with us with care and attention. Ian is always very professional. He is always one step ahead regarding our investments and his forecast is spot on. Ian is very good at listening to our needs for this year and for the long term. He makes great decisions regarding our investments.
Personal Financial Planning has provided financial support and understanding over the past few years for my husband’s injury trust. They have at all times provided a comprehensive and holistic approach to his needs, been mindful of his limitations, and worked within his capabilities of understanding. The whole team at PFP are always friendly, helpful and knowledgeable, and provide a service that is accessible and supportive. Ian in particular has always taken time and shown patience in making sure we both fully understand exactly the financial aspects and implications of any advice being given, whilst making sure any recommendation is relevant, clear and concise. I would highly recommend the financial service they provide.