In the first part of a series on advisers who specialise in different professions, Joanna Faith talks to Keith Taylor about advising doctors and dentists.
Keith Taylor is always on the look out for a doctor or dentist. Not to mend a broken bone or fix a rotten tooth but because these are his target clients. His business, DoctorsInvestDirect, provides financial advice almost exclusively to people in the medical and dental profession.
Taylor has spent 33 years advising doctors and dentists. He worked for 29 years at the Medical Insurance Agency, where he started as an adviser and ended up at director level.
Taylor says he “accidentally” fell into advising this demographic, but says it has proved to be a good area to be in. The firm has advised 40,000 doctors and dentists in the UK, mainly in England.
What is the advantage of advising a single profession?
Keith Taylor: It enables advisers to add value to a relationship and make the business more efficient. Rather than trying to advise 500 different people who will inevitably all have different lives, it is more efficient to advise 500 doctors and dentists who have things in common, for example, being in similar final salary pension schemes.
Are there any disadvantages to advising one profession only?
KT: Yes, it is dangerous to advise a group if you have limited knowledge of the area. I have a huge depth of knowledge of the medical and dental professions thanks to my 33 years in the industry. Advisers also need to be careful which business areas they choose to specialise in. In a recession, a bad choice could cause big problems.
What are the advantages of advising doctors and dentists?
KT: You are automatically in an area where the majority of people are high net wealth individuals, by most peoples’ standards. Their affairs are complex and they need independent financial advice.
They are an attractive group to deal with. They are typically time poor so rely on people giving them good advice. They may rely on their adviser more than people in other professions.
They also tend to be protected from global recessions. If you have toothache you will go to see your dentist, whether there’s an economic downturn or not.
How do you market your firm to clients?
KT: We have a good website, first of all. We also publish a 40 page magazine twice a year which is distributed to 40,000 people. We have done this since 2001. The magazine covers a range of topical stories. The current issue, which was published last month, included an article on guidance to the NHS pension scheme. Other issues we have covered include tax planning for an associate dentist. We write it ourselves and it is distributed free of charge. We have also published a retirement guide and a tax shelter guide in view of the tax increases we are facing.
People also hear about us through word of mouth. We do a lot of seminars around the UK.
Do you have any links to any associations?
KT: We have very informal links to the BMA (British Medical Association) and BDA (British Dental Association) as well as local dental and medical committees. We avoid formal links. We do not want to be tied to one organisation.
What specific advice do doctors and dentists require?
KT: One area is guidance on the NHS pension scheme. I have firsthand knowledge not all IFAs would have. For example I know that doctors and dentists are being invited to join a new scheme.
I understand their career structure. I could tell you from knowing the age of a doctor and whether they worked as a GP or in a hospital, what their income is likely to be, what spouse benefits they are entitled to, what child benefits they would have in case of death, their pension structure – and all without meeting them.
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From 1 March