In our latest Adviser Spotlight series, we chat with Jessica McGowan, Chartered Fellow and Managing Director of Riverfall Financial, about the fast-changing financial market, educating clients, and the role Flagstone’s platform plays in boosting people’s cash deposits.
“Now more than ever, planning means putting your life at the heart of your financial journey rather than just your money.”
Hi Jessica. Tell us more about Riverfall Financial and your work.
Based in Ruddington, near Nottingham, Riverfall Financial launched nearly 10 years ago as a new-generation financial planning firm. Now more than ever, this means putting your life at the heart of your financial journey rather than just your money.
We use our financial planning expertise to help our clients make the most of their money, and give them clarity and certainty about their financial future. It’s essential we’re accessible to our clients, and we enjoy a good mix of face-to-face and virtual meetings.
In a rapidly changing financial landscape, how do you stay on top of market volatility and updated regulations to make sure you give your clients the best investment advice?
We’re fortunate to have a vast network of support behind us, as well as a hugely experienced team, which means we’re able to stay informed about opportunities for our clients. The rising interest rates and renewed interest in cash investments in recent years have also coincided with new Consumer Duty obligations. So, it’s important to ensure our clients have the right money in the right place for every stage of their lives.
Cash has always formed a part of our overall investment strategy, and the solutions out there now make this easier for all involved.
What types of clients do you mainly work with, and what are the biggest challenges they’re currently facing?
Given that a lot of our work comes from referrals, we work with all sorts of clients. But predominantly, they tend to be business owners, divorcees, and individuals nearing or in retirement.
One of the biggest challenges we’ve found is clients trusting their plan. We work with them to ensure they have a financial plan designed to keep them on track, not just for today but for the future. Things change, of course. But external changes, from legislation or budgets, for example, can really knock some people. As their trusted adviser, it’s our role to help them stay the course and avoid knee-jerk, panic reactions.
How has Flagstone's platform improved the cash management process for your clients, and how do you see technology’s role in the future of financial advice?
Many of our clients are finding the convenience of Flagstone’s platform to be significant. Having sight of everything in the one place is extremely powerful. Often, people will deposit funds in anticipation of a large purchase or maybe just while they decide what they want to do next, for example, with an inheritance or unexpected windfall.
We’re also finding that business owners are placing cash deposits with Flagstone for their set-aside corporation tax. Suddenly, they can make money on it again. and that’s a very attractive proposition.
Technology has been around in financial planning for a long time and will continue to form a pivotal part. Where tech like Flagstone really comes into its own is when it’s used alongside an experienced, effective adviser, who adds value to the overall plan and challenges clients rather than just reacting.
With that in mind, how do you define your role in advising clients on their investments, and how do you include cash in these conversations?
Financial planners don’t just give advice on money nowadays. It’s much more than that. That said, managing cash savings should be treated the same way as managing investments. As an example, you should have short-term, medium-term and long-term pots.
The common mistake we see when clients first come to us is they’re not taking full advantage of ISAs or spreading their assets correctly between spouses or partners. Cash remains an almost tangible, safe place for a lot of people, and with Flagstone’s offering as part of our offering, we feel we have a great solution that perfectly complements our overall service.
Join our network of leading referrers today, and help your clients protect and nurture their cash.