This page sets out the terms under which we provide our services to you, so it’s important that you read it in full.
If you have a question or concern about any aspect of our services, please contact us:
- Telephone: 01483 802010
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: www.hardingfinancial.co.uk
- In writing: Gemma Wass, Harding Financial Ltd, The Estate Yard, East Shalford Lane, Guildford, Surrey, GU4 8AE
- Before providing advice, we will assess your needs, consider your financial objectives and assess your attitude to any risks that may be involved. If you do not want to discuss a particular area of financial planning and that area should not form part of the advice given, we can exclude it, if you instruct us to do so. This might of course have a bearing on the advice that might have been given.
- Before making any recommendations, we will carry out a suitability assessment so that we are able to act in your best interests.
- We will confirm any recommendations we make in writing (our strategy report) along with details of any special risks that may be associated with the products or investment strategies we have recommended.
- Where we agree to provide you with a service that includes an ongoing review of the suitability of the investments we have recommended, we will carry out this review at least annually. To do this, we will need to make contact with you to assess whether the information we hold about you remains accurate and up to date. We will issue you with a report setting out the results of our assessment and, if relevant, any updated recommendations.
- Please be aware that investments can fall, as well as rise, and that you may not get back the full amount invested. The price of investments we may recommend may depend on fluctuations in the financial markets or other economic factors, which are outside our control. Past performance is not necessarily a guide to future performance.
- Specific warnings relevant to the investments, investment strategies, or other products we arrange are provided in the relevant product literature provided.
- We may, where appropriate, recommend holding some or all of your investments with a discretionary fund manager (DFM), a professional investment manager appointed to monitor your portfolio and make investment decisions on your behalf. In such cases, we will explain the respective responsibilities of ourselves and the DFM in relation to your investments.
- In some circumstances, we may need to act as your ‘agent’ in relation to the part of your portfolio held with a DFM. This means that you won’t have a direct contractual relationship with the DFM and the DFM will instead treat our firm as its client. Before setting up this type of arrangement, we will explain the implications to you.
- We are obliged to put in place controls to prevent our business from being used for money laundering and other forms of financial crime.
- We will verify your identity before undertaking any business with you. To do this, we may use electronic identity verification systems, and we may conduct these checks from time to time throughout our relationship, not just at the beginning. The check may leave a ‘footprint’ on your credit file, but it will not affect your credit rating.
- Where we send investment applications on your behalf to third parties (e.g., to put an investment in force), we will take all sufficient steps to ensure that we obtain the best possible result for you. This is referred to as ‘best execution’.
- We have a ‘best execution’ policy. If you would like to see a copy of it, please ask us.
Conflicts of Interests
- Although we will always try to act in your best interests, there may be situations where we or one of our other clients have some form of interest in the business being transacted for you. If this happens or we become aware that our interests or those of one of our other clients conflict with your own interests, we will write to you and ask for your consent before we carry out business for you. We will also let you know the steps we will take to make sure you are treated fairly.
- We have a conflicts of interest policy. If you would like to see a copy of it, please ask us.
Communicating with You
- Our normal ways of communicating with you are by telephone, post, email, SMS text message, secure messages through our portal, or in person. Our communications will be in English.
- We may ask you to confirm your instructions to us in writing as this helps to avoid any future misunderstandings.
Recording Telephone and Video Calls
- To ensure we carry out your instructions accurately, to help us to continually improve our service, and in the interests of security, we automatically record and may monitor your telephone conversations with us. We also automatically record your video conference calls with us and will ask your permission to do so.
- Copies of all telephone recordings will be available on request for a period of one month after the recording was made. Certain types of calls (both telephone and video calls), including those confirming instructions to proceed and acceptance of our recommendations, will be retained for up to five years and are also available to you upon request. For certain types of advice (for example Defined benefit Pensions Advice), we are required by our regulator to retain all records indefinitely.
Providing information about your circumstances
- Our advice will be based on the information that you give, so it is important that you provide us with the information we request about your circumstances and objectives. This will allow us to provide you with suitable advice. If the information you provide is inaccurate or if you limit the information provided, this could affect the suitability of the advice we give.
Payment for services
- You will not be charged until we have agreed on the basis of remuneration and our Services & Payment Agreement has been signed. We will inform you if any payments are subject to VAT.
- Our initial charges are payable on completion of our agreed work and must be settled within 14 business days.
- If you are paying our initial charges by installments, over a maximum period of 12 months (this only applies when you have taken out a regular contribution contract), it is important that you make payments as agreed. Where you miss a payment or cancel the contract from where the payments are coming from, we will cancel the installment agreement and issue you an invoice for the remaining amount to be paid in full.
- In some limited circumstances (for protection planning and mortgage business only), we may receive a commission payment from a product provider. Typically, the commission payment will be offset against the charges you owe us for our services. If the commission payment relates to a regular contribution policy and you stop paying premiums on that policy, we may be obliged to refund the commission received back to the policy provider. In such cases, we reserve the right to request the full payment of any outstanding balance of charges for our services.
- Any products we have arranged for you will only be kept under review as part of an ongoing service for which you have agreed to pay. Our ongoing services are optional, but if you agree to purchase an ongoing service, unless otherwise agreed, the ongoing service will be provided as a follow-up to the initial service.
- Our charges for ongoing services will start alongside the initial charge. Where the ongoing charge is not being taken from the product, the amount is payable within 14 business days of the end of the relevant period.
- Ongoing services can be canceled at any time by informing us in writing (see cancellation and amendments section below), but please note that we do reserve the right to charge you for services we have provided before cancellation.
- Where our charges are based on a percentage of your investments, the amount of our ongoing charges may increase as the size of your fund grows.
- In some circumstances, we may receive ongoing payments (commission) from product providers relating to existing investments you hold. Such payments may be taken into account when determining the charges for ongoing services. We will discuss and agree this with you where relevant.
Legal and accounting advice
- We are not qualified to provide legal or accounting advice or to prepare any legal or accounting documents. This means that the onus is on you to refer any point of law or accountancy that may arise during the course of discussions with us to a solicitor or accountant.
Cancellation and Amendments
Ending this agreement
- You or we may terminate this agreement at any time without penalty.
- Notice of termination must be given in writing and will take effect from the date of receipt.
- Any transactions already initiated will be completed according to this agreement unless otherwise agreed in writing.
- You will be liable to pay for any services we provide before cancellation and any outstanding fees, if applicable.
- From time to time, it may be necessary to amend the terms set out in this agreement, and as a result, you may be required to sign a new agreement.
Product cancellation rights
- Full details of any financial products we recommend to you will be provided in the relevant product information you will receive. This will include information about any product cancellation rights along with any other early termination rights and penalties.
Useful Information about Our Services
Who authorises us to advise you?
- We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), 12 Endeavour Square, Stratford, London, E20 1JN – www.fca.org.uk. Our firm’s reference number is 555911.
- Our permitted business is advising on and arranging the following: pensions, savings and investment products, non-investment insurance contracts, regulated mortgages, and pension transfer and pension opt-outs.
- You can check our details on the Financial Services Register by visiting the FCA’s website www.fca.org.uk/firms/systems-reporting/register or by contacting the FCA on 0800 111 6768.
- Unless we tell you otherwise, we will treat you as a retail client for investment business. This means that you are given the highest level of protection available under the UK’s regulatory system.
What if things go wrong?
- If you are unhappy with our advice or any aspect of our services, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible. We will do our best to resolve your concerns.
- Telephone: 01483 802010
- Email: [email protected]
- In writing to: Julia Davies-Cousins, Harding Financial Ltd, The Estate Yard, East Shalford Land, Guildford, Surrey, GU4 8AE
- We have a complaints procedure, and we can provide further details on request. If you do have a complaint, and you are not happy with our response, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) may be able to help. The FOS settles disputes between financial services businesses and their clients. Full details are available at www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk.
- If your complaint relates to products or services you have purchased from us online, you may refer your complaint to the online dispute resolution (ODR) platform at http://ec.europa.eu/odr.
Additional peace of mind
- The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is the UK’s statutory compensation fund for customers of authorised financial services firms who are unable to pay claims against them, usually because they have gone out of business.
- You may be able to claim compensation from the FSCS if we cannot meet our obligations. The amount of compensation available will depend on the type of business and the circumstances of the claim. We can provide more specific information on request, but as a guide:
- Long-term insurance (i.e., personal pensions, annuities, and investment bonds) – 100% of the claim with an upper limit of £85,000 per individual per firm, against firms declared in default on or after 3 July 2015.
- Investments – eligible claims for most types of investment business are covered for up to a maximum of £85,000 against firms declared in default on or after 1 January 2010.
- Further information is available from the FSCS at www.fscs.org.uk.
Benefits we may receive
- Under the rules of our regulator, the FCA, as a firm providing independent advice, we are unable to accept or retain payments or benefits from other firms (e.g., product providers) as this would conflict with our independent status.
- From time to time, we may attend training events funded and/or delivered by product providers, fund managers, and investment platforms. These events are designed to enhance our knowledge and ultimately, therefore, enhance the quality of the service we provide to our clients. As such, this doesn't affect our obligation to act in your best interests. Please ask us if you would like further details.
It may not be obvious to your Financial Planner that you may be affected by a vulnerability. It is important that you let us know about any potential vulnerability so that we can adapt the delivery of our services to suit your needs.
What is vulnerability?
It is likely that everyone could be considered as vulnerable at some point during their lives. Vulnerability could arise for a range of different reasons, such as illness, the effect of medication, or from life events such as the stress and trauma caused by bereavement or the unexpected loss of employment. We may consider you as a vulnerable client if you are a first-time investor, if English is not your first language, or if you are unable to easily interpret our reports due to poor eyesight or conditions such as dyslexia. The possible reasons or causes of vulnerability are as varied and diverse as our clients. We would typically consider you a vulnerable client if you are less able than others to:
- Realistically and objectively identify and prioritize your needs.
- Fully understand the risk, cost, or implications of any advice provided.
- Assess information in the usual format, for example, orally during meetings rather than in writing.
- Understand the longer-term implications of choices made now.
- Make informed decisions about the management of your money.
By letting us know if you believe that you or someone you are helping is in a vulnerable position, we can discuss how to best assist you in these circumstances.