I went to Dubai last year at the invitation of one of my longstanding clients, a world renowned gynaecologist. The weather was great as you would expect and the hotel was exceptional with a rooftop pool, private bar and restaurant on the top floor where I could entertain potential clients. My client was talking at a conference and I sat in on some of the lectures – very enlightening!
Due to regulatory restrictions, I was unable to help any of my client’s colleagues to whom he introduced me but I developed a valuable contact out there who may prove useful to any of our members with friends or family who need offshore investment or insurance services for family based overseas.
The problem with most ‘advisers’ abroad is that they are not regulated and therefore tend to be much more sales-orientated. With so many of our members having overseas connections, this may be of interest.
Not quite as warm but no less enchanting, I also stayed with clients in their idyllic home in Cornwall overlooking the sea. With a modest mortgage and a thriving practice, all was well for my client whom I had known since we were both in our twenties. Sadly, a sudden stroke in his early fifties led to an enforced change in circumstances. Fortunately, the sickness insurance that we set up all those years ago proved invaluable as did the critical illness cover arranged more recently, especially as the practice sale took considerably longer than anticipated due to the insistence of the purchasers’ accountants on maintaining their status as a limited company.
A year on, the sale was finally completed. Even if you have a saleable asset, it is not always that easy to sell it! Insurance can provide vital financial support and independence when fate conspires against you.
Over the past year we have successfully assisted some clients that have returned to the fold after a few years away. A husband and wife team who needed finance to relocate their long-established practice were directed to Barclays by another adviser. Unfortunately, Barclays haven’t been in our sector for many years and I explained this before helping with a presentation to a couple of specialist banking connections, both of whom were keen to assist. We opted for the lender who demonstrated more haste as the vendor’s agents were exerting undue pressure to exchange – no real surprise there! My clients were very pleased with the funding and the terms offered and are even more pleased with the new practice. Their testimonial can be found on our website. Moral; Speak to a dental specialist IFA and preferably one with significant experience and good connections!
Life and Critical Illness Insurance
Sometime last year a dentist couple initially enquired about implementing a workplace pension scheme for their staff but a general review revealed that they were not happy with the amount of money they were paying for their life and critical illness insurances. Not only were they effectively over-insured, having significant assets to fall back on in the worst case scenario, but their policies were the worst combination of both life and critical illness within the one plan as well as being with a company that didn’t include the invaluable ‘own occupation’ definition of disability for surgeons!
With such plans, if you make a claim for a critical illness, the policy pays out and the cover ends – including the life insurance which surely would be even more valuable in such circumstances. By restructuring their insurance requirements, not only was I able to provide them with a more realsitic level of cover but at a saving of literally hundreds of pounds per month and, significantly, on a guaranteed premium basis. Moral: Don’t arrange your life and critical illness cover together in one policy and if you are concerned about costs, ask us to review them! Also, make sure the definition of disability is appropriate for your profession.
Another dentist who I re-engaged with, primarily to review her pension, informed me that the Wesleyan rep had advised her to cancel an existing income protection policy with Phoenix (formerly Royal & Sun Alliance) and replace it with a Wesleyan plan – again, possibly not surprising!
When I explained that the Phoenix policy had guaranteed premiums as well as index linking at 5%pa whilst the Wesleyan plan was on a reviewable premium basis she was, understandably, pretty miffed. Moreover, the allowable benefit to income percentage was more generous with Phoenix. My client immediately contacted Wesleyan to complain and, thankfully, succeeded in re-instating her Phoenix contract without being disadvantaged. Moral; don’t use insurance company reps for financial advice, use a specialist IFA.
Yet another very longstanding client contacted me earlier this year for assistance in refinancing his business as the bank were withdrawing his funding next year. He has a thriving practice and significant assets but overspent on the original refurbishment of the practice a few years ago and has been pretty much stitched up like a kipper by his bank. I shan’t divulge which one but we all own it!
Anyway, I reassured him that there should be no problem in restructuring his loans on a more long term, tax efficient footing whilst at the same time kicking his existing jailors, I mean bankers, into touch. I have spoken to two of my valued banking connections and, having seen his accounts, both are prepared to provide the not insignificant funding needed.
Part 2 of my Summer newsletter coming August 2016!