Bath was my destination this week. There must be something in the water as both Beckford James and Epoch Wealth Management sprung forth in 2010 with a desire to replace old methods with a fresh approach.
Epoch partner Barry Newbury says: ‘In our opinion, the model for financial services in the UK is broken. We wanted to move away from limited, off-the-shelf products towards tailor-made, strategic solutions based around a client.’
The main tool Epoch employs is its bespoke cashflow program, which it started building from scratch six years ago.
‘We have one strategic planner devoted to building each client’s personal cashflow model. It’s a powerful mixture of maths, statistics and financial planning. It allows us to get the client to view their finances and future expenditure in forensic detail, providing an understanding of what they need to achieve their goals,’ Newbury says.
Strategic cashflow modelling
Epoch does a lot of work with business owners who are thinking about their exit strategies.
Markas Gilmartin, another of Epoch’s partners, says: ‘We help business owners understand, given a range of different possibilities, how much they actually need to sell their business for.’
Using a central cashflow program, Epoch advisers can adjust endless variables, including a calculation on an individual’s personal inflation to help clients better understand the risks they are taking and what needs to be achieved for them to realise their goals.
‘People bring their own fears to the table, be it that income tax or inflation will rise, or the stock market will crash. They also bring their goals and desires, such as to buy a new boat every five years, or leave a large gift to their children,’ says Gilmartin.
'Our model can allow them to observe the repercussions of these and numerous other scenarios, providing for an extremely powerful discussion.'
Ongoing pension management
Across town,Beckford James is carving out a niche for itself by specialising in pension-based work and providing an ongoing management service.
The firm’s director Joe Maguire says: ‘Our overall service manages the pension as part of the ongoing wider portfolio review rather than a more static situation where the pension or the pension transfer is a cut-off point.
'Our overall process is designed [so] that the portfolios include an ongoing review of what a client has done with their pension in the past. This then links into their model portfolios and the ongoing advice rather than the pension being just a one-stop shop’.