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Managing Partner, Moira O’Shaughnessy reflects…

After a wet and gloomy January, and indeed a very challenging few years on multiple fronts, it takes an optimistic soul to look forward to hopefully brighter times ahead. In attempting to do so I have reflected on what value we might have added over the last three years against the backdrop of lacklustre investment returns.

My answer is resilience – borne from the fact that plans had been laid and foundations built so that our clients (and FPC) have been able to weather the storms.

At its core, that’s what financial planning is all about. Building resilience starts with setting goals, managing risks and following some fundamental principles such as separating savings from investment, or as my wise Uncle Peter would say … “setting something aside for a rainy day”

This Christmas I was presented with a painting which is a depiction of a photograph my eldest daughter took looking into the kitchen of my Uncle Peter and Auntie Nancy’s house up in the Yorkshire Dales. I spent many happy summers there in my youth, and I can’t ever see daffodils without thinking of their beautiful village and the many wise conversations I had with my Uncle at that kitchen table throughout my adulthood, as he stepped into the shoes of the father I sadly lost when I was 20.

A successful hotelier and businessman, from an early age he taught my daughters a thing or two about financial planning, as on each birthday he sent them two cheques: one for a small amount they were allowed to spend; and a larger cheque they were encouraged to save for the longer term. They stuck to that plan diligently and those early Uncle Peter gifts are still intact to this day, thanks to good old index linked savings certificates!

Now in later life, Peter is happily settled in a beautiful care home in Barnard Castle and whilst his memory is fading a little, he still had his planning head on when he asked me recently if I was sure (as his attorney) that we could afford his ‘palatial surroundings’.  I reminded him that he had always set aside funds for a rainy day and should not be worried – to which he chuckled as he said… “I didn’t know it was going to pour down though!”

We never know when it’s going to pour down but by having a plan, and more importantly by having the discipline to stick to it, we become financially resilient and able to not only support ourselves but to be there for those who might need to rely on us.

As financial planners, our mission is to help our clients achieve and maintain financial independence, protect those who rely on them and live life well. As we look ahead to 2023, we reaffirm that commitment.

Later this year, new legislation called ‘The Consumer Duty’ is coming into force and as well as acting to deliver good customer outcomes, firms will need to be able to evidence whether those outcomes are being met. We will need to consult with you directly on that, and with your input I hope that we can improve our service and the support we offer so that you in turn can continue to plan for success and invest with confidence.

Here’s to a brighter 2023! Enjoy the daffodils when they come.