Anatomy of an event
Source: Wikimedia Commons
We have just held one of our workshops, exploring the topic of what we term 'complex investments' (EIS, SEIS, BPR etc) at Time Investments' office in London. It's the kind of event we enjoy the most - less than twenty people in a room, all of whom are interested in the subject-matter, who feel they have a considerable vested interest in getting their advisory model right.
As a Network, committed to the fundamental principles of independent financial advice, ValidPath see this area (complex investments) as one where we need to facilitate advisory models, but also directly influence the disciplines underpinning those models. There is much to gain (improved PII terms, and delivering excellent outcomes for clients) as well as much to lose through adopting an unnuanced approach to (say) due diligence.
Critical to such objectives are the events themselves. The value is not simply in having a reputable product-provider giving some technical input (although Stephen, Dave and Anna from Time were all excellent), but in the nature of the questions and discussion that then flow naturally out of our sessions. This allows us, at ValidPath, to obtain a reasonably clear view of what matters to our Members, and then think carefully about how we can help. And, of course, having our own resident expert (Chris Pearce at ValidPathDD) helps enormously - his forensic analysis of many EIS and BPR schemes has helped ValidPath Advisers to develop a much more realistic perspective on the risks associated with these products. Indeed, it has been encouraging to receive feedback from product-providers indicating that we are already able to supply due-diligence at a quantum level above and beyond what you might have encountered from the usual suspects.
The venue and product-provider input were important components: not all providers are prepared to be as open and accountable with the intermediaries who recommend their products as Time are. In a field where sometimes the underlying construction of the investment vehicles feels intentionally obscure, this is a refreshing characteristic - and increasingly a feature which IFAs should value, given the latency of hidden risks and costs. One example of this company's commitment to its advisers is to be found in the excellent 'An Adviser's Guide to Business Relief' which you can request from this page. One of our Members said that this was, quite simply, the best resource of its kind that he had ever encountered.
We shall be writing to everyone who showed an interest in, or attended this event - in order to follow up our own infrastructure improvements. In the meantime, here's a copy of our leaflet to accompany it.