We ask advisers for their tips on managing clients when they go on holiday...
Jason Butler, investment manager and branch principal, Bloomsbury Financial Planning:
"At Bloomsbury we are quite unusual in that we look after all clients as a team and not as individuals.
What this means in practice is that each client is assigned a dedicated financial planner who takes responsibility for co-ordinating their financial affairs (a maximum of 50 clients). The partners of the firm are drafted in to work on various aspects of the client's affairs as required such as trust, estate, taxation, advanced pensions, advanced investment etc.
Every meeting that the planner has with the client is attended by a senior member of the advice team, to ensure that the client doesn't become too reliant on one person in the firm and to provide continuity in the event of staff change, illness or death!
When the co-ordinating planner goes on leave their emails and phone calls are handled by the practice manager who decides whether a holding response is OK or whether another member of the team needs to provide input.
We always avoid all client facing planners going on holiday at the same time, for this very reason, but there is always a senior member of the advice team 'on duty' every day of the working week.
Nothing slips through the gaps this way, the client knows they have people to talk to all the time and we, the advice team, can all have plenty of time off without feeling guilty.
My view is that solo practitioners are in a difficult place in terms of freedom of choice over lifestyle and time off, large firms are impersonal and clients get 'lost'. Medium sized boutiques with between 10-25 staff (like us), supported by a large financial company (like we are by Raymond James) offers everyone the best solution all round."
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