If you're seeking independent advice 

ValidPath is what is known as a 'Network'.  We authorise, supervise and monitor the activities of around thirty-seven firms of Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs) across the UK, which in regulatory parlance are known as 'Appointed Representatives'.  All of those firms are united in their firm and unwavering belief in the value of impartial, independent advice - and so are we, at ValidPath.

Most of what we do is dedicated to creating excellence for our Appointed Representatives, but we do have our own clients, whom we advise.

At the foot of this page, you can download a copy of our Initial Disclosure Document (IDD) which tells you a few general things about our service proposition - but in the meantime, you should be aware of the following points:
 

(1) We believe in 'slow advice'

This is partly a function of the pressure of work, but mostly because we take care not to rush our clients into decisions about their finances, certainly without adequate information, discussion and explanation.  We'd rather that you chased us for things, than feel under pressure to make decisions you don't yet feel comfortable about.
 

(2) We follow a process

We take care not to jump into the middle of things, without giving close attention to preliminary matters.  If you're looking for short-cuts, then it's perhaps best to go somewhere else.  Broadly speaking, we tend to adhere to an advisory process which we find is most likely to deliver the best outcomes:

Step What? Description
1 Initial Meeting (no charge) To avoid wasting time later on, and discover if there is something we can actually help you with.  We can provide you with generic (nonspecific) guidance at this stage.
2 Agreement to Proceed After you've read our IDD, and we've discussed terms, if you'd like us to help, then we supply you with a Retail Client Agreement (RCA) to sign.  This is when our proper work begins.
3 Identity Verification ValidPath, like all intermediary firms, are subject to the regulations relating to 'Anti-Money Laundering', which means we have to verify your identity by taking copies of two forms of evidence.
4 FactFind We'll gather together quite a bit of information about your finances so that our advice is informed and accurate.  This may involve obtaining current information about existing policies and plans.  We'll ask you to check this before we proceed.
5 Risk Profile If we are likely to provide you with any kind of investment advice, then we'll use a robust, independent process to determine your attitude towards risk.  We will not provide advice without completing this step.
6 Diagnostics & Research We'll run careful computations on your financial data in order to identify a clear and robust basis for our advice.  And we'll conduct comparative product research from the open market, because that delivers the best outcomes for you.
7 Advice We'll explain our recommendations to you, and we will provide full supportive documentation that you can keep as a permanent record.
8 Implementation It may take the form of another meeting, or we may handle it by post, but we'll assist you with the documentation necessary to implement your agreed plans - assuming you are ready to proceed.
9 Completion If the resulting policies or contract notes come to us first (some go direct to you), we'll check them before forwarding them to you.  We'll agree a date for your next review.

 

(3) We do have certain beliefs

One of those beliefs we have already outlined above: ValidPath are firmly wedded to the principles of independent financial advice, because we believe that this provides the most reliable basis for excellent financial outcomes, and it means that we are not under pressure to compromise in our recommendations, or succumb to conflicts of interest where product-providers have some kind of 'say' in what you receive as an end product.

There are also a cluster of other beliefs underpinning what we do:

  1. We prefer to use simpler products before we will have recourse to those that are more complex
  2. We will tend to use less expensive solutions on the basis that you get to keep more of your own money
  3. We will encourage you to limit your exposure to risk to a level that is required only by your goals
  4. If we cannot reasonably satisfy ourselves that there is a course of action which will improve your financial circumstances, we will recommend that you do nothing


(4) Charging for what we do

The IDD which you can download from the link below tells you, in pretty general terms, about the kinds of charges that we make for our service.  Generally, our approach is to look carefully at what is required in each situation, and then suggest a fee level that is appropriate.  Sometimes that fee may be paid to us by a product-provider, taken out of a product, and sometimes the client pays us direct - either way, we'll discuss it in advance of any work, and we won't proceed unless we have agreed the basis.

Our fees reflect the time and expertise of the Adviser concerned, and include an element which is a contribution towards our regulatory fees.  The costs of regulation under the FCA are now our single largest overhead and, reluctantly, we must reflect these expenses in our own charges.
 

(5)  Working hours & practices

Our working hours are Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm.  We do not work evenings, except only for emergencies.

For client meetings, we would prefer you to come to our offices at: Unit 16, The Globe Centre, Wellfield Road, Cardiff CF24 3PE unless physical disability prevents access to our first floor office (there are no lifts).  This is in order to save time-costs associated with traveling.
 

(6) Download...

 









 

Kevin Moss, 22/02/2016