Terms of Business

Client classification

Unless we notify you in writing to the contrary, we will be treating you as a “retail client”. This means that you are afforded the highest level of protection under the regulatory system and should have the right to take any complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.   Details of our complaints procedure are available on request.

Our relationship

Any advice or recommendation that we offer to you, will be based on your stated objectives, circumstances and take into account any restrictions that you wish to place on the type of products you would be willing to consider.

With very few exceptions, we will confirm to you in writing the basis of our reason for recommending the products arranged on your behalf.

Your stated objectives will be reiterated in the Suitability Report, which we will issue to you following our recommendation, along with details of any special risks associated with the product recommended.

We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority to conduct Corporate Finance Investment Business activities, Corporate Pensions and Corporate Protection requirements as well as individual investment, pension and protection business.  We offer products from the whole of the market. In the case of mortgages, this means that we source the recommended mortgage from the range of mortgages available to “Intermediary” Firms.   Certain lenders may offer products directly to the public, rather than via an Intermediary Firm, with more favourable terms. Accordingly our recommendation to you will be based on the most suitable mortgage product incorporated within the range available to Intermediary Firms.

If there is a particular financial solution that you are aware of which is available directly from a provider that you wish for us to review and comment upon, we are happy to do so but we may charge you a fee for providing advice in relation to this but would agree this with you at the time.

Full details of the products we may recommend to you including, for example, the minimum duration of the product, information on the right to cancel or whether no right to cancel arises, and any other early termination rights and penalties, will be covered in the relevant product disclosure information you will receive before conclusion of any contract.

Any products we have arranged for you will not necessarily be kept under review. Depending on the complexity of your financial affairs, if we intend to do so this will be agreed with you in writing. However, we may contact you in the future by means of an unsolicited promotion (by telephone or post) should we wish to discuss the relative merits of a particular product or service which we feel may be of interest to you.

Clear Solutions (Wealth & Tax Management) Ltd IS NOT permitted to handle client money AND we cannot accept a cheque made out to us (unless it is in respect of an item for which we have sent you an invoice) or handle cash. 

Disclosure of charges/fees

For investment and/or pension advice you may only pay for our advice via a fee.  For all other areas of advice you may pay for our services on the basis of fee, commission and/or a combination of fee and commission.  Whether you buy a product or not, you will pay us a fee for our advice and services, which will become payable on issue of our written recommendations.  We will discuss your payment options with you and answer any questions you have.  We will not charge you until we have agreed with you how we are to be paid.

Paying by commission

If we also receive commission from the product provider when you buy a product, we will pass on the full value of that commission to you in one or more ways.  For example, we could reduce our fee; or reduce your product charges; or increase your investment amount; or refund the commission to you.

Paying by fee

a) Hourly Rate

We will confirm the rate we charge in writing before beginning work.  We will tell you if you have to pay VAT.

Our typical charges are:

Chartered Director £195 Per hour
Chartered Paraplanner £145 Per hour
Paraplanner £115 Per hour
Administrator £55 Per hour
   

You may ask us for an estimate of how much in total we might charge. You may also ask us not to exceed a given amount without checking with you first.

b) Lump sum

We will confirm what we will charge you in writing before beginning work.  We will tell you if you have to pay VAT.

Our typical charges are:

Investments up to £50,000 3.00%
Investments £50,001 – £250,000 2.00%
Investments above £250,001 1.00%

e.g. An investment of £100,000 at 2.00% commission = £2,000.

c) Reviews

We will confirm what we will charge you in writing before beginning work.  We will tell you if you have to pay VAT.

Our typical charges are:

Initial review: £1,500
Annual review: £1,000

You may ask us for an estimate of how much in total we might charge.  You may also ask us not to exceed a given amount without checking with you first.”

Paying by commission (through product charges)

If you buy a non- investment product, we will normally receive commission on the sale from the product provider.  Although you pay nothing to us up front, that does not mean our service is free.  You still pay us indirectly through product charges.  Product charges pay for the product provider’s own costs and any commission.  These charges reduce the amount left for investment.  If you buy direct, the product charges could be the same as when buying through an adviser, or they could be higher or lower.

The amount of commission we receive will vary depending on the amount you invest and (sometimes) how long you invest or your age.

For example:

  • If you invest £10,000 in an individual savings account (ISA) we would receive commission of 3% of the amount invested (£300) and 1%* of the value of the fund (roughly £100 every year).
  • If you pay £100 a month into a personal pension (with a term of 25 years) then we would receive commission of 3.00% plus an on-going annual service charge of 1.00% of the fund.
  • If you pay £100 towards a whole life policy then we would receive £1,500.

We will tell you how much the commission will be before you complete an investment, but you may ask for this information earlier.

  • The 1.00% includes the cost of any on-going advice such as periodic reviews, issuing of annual statements & attitude to risk questionnaires and rebalancing & refocusing of investment strategies to reflect both your personal requirements and the general economic background.

Paying by a combination of fee and commission (through product charges)

We will charge you a combination of fees and commission.  The actual amounts will depend on the service provided to you, but will be in line with the arrangements set out in the sections headed “Paying by fee” and “Paying by commission (through product charges)

Insurance

A fee of £1,000 for advising and arranging a non-investment insurance contract.  Any commission will be used to offset this fee.  Any surplus will be refunded to you.

You will receive a quotation which will tell you about any other fees relating to any particular insurance policy.

Mortgages

An arrangement fee of £500 is payable immediately. Following completion, this will be refunded on a £ for £ basis for commissions received above our minimum completion fee of £500.

You will receive a key facts illustration when considering a particular mortgage, which will tell you about any fees relating to it.

Refund of fees

 If we charge you a fee, and your mortgage does not go ahead, you will receive:  a full refund if the lender rejects your application unless  you decide not to proceed or because of lender rejection due to your non-disclosure of important information.

Our fees are computed on the basis of time spent on your affairs by the principals and our staff (including subcontractors and consultants), and on the levels of skill and responsibility involved.  Disbursements, represent travel, accommodation and other expenses incurred in dealing with your affairs.  If it is necessary to carry out work outside the responsibilities outlined in this letter it will involve additional fees.

It is our normal practice to request that clients make arrangements to pay a proportion of their fee on a monthly standing order.  These standing orders will be applied to fees arising from work agreed in this letter of engagement for the current and ensuing years. Once we have been able to assess the amount of work and time involved we would be grateful if you would agree to pay an amount to us on a regular basis.  All charges/fees will initially be disclosed to you in summary form.  The precise charges relating to any recommendations we make will be confirmed in your Suitability Report or relevant product disclosure information that is provided to you.

Our terms relating to payment of amounts invoiced (both fees and disbursements) and not covered by standing orders, where appropriate, are strictly 30 days net.

Where a policy which we have arranged for you ceases and in consequence we are obliged to refund the commission that has been paid to us, we reserve the right to charge you a fee representing the amount we have to repay, for a period of up to four years after commencement of the policy.  We will confirm the exact amount that will need to be repaid by you and the timescales over which it will need to be repaid in the suitability report we will send to you when a recommendation is made. We will not charge any such fee if you exercise your right to cancel in accordance with any cancellation notice sent to you by the life insurance company.

There is no additional cost to you for using a means of distance communication.

We obtain professional support services from threesixty services LLP, who provide us with regulatory and business advice.  Threesixty are supported by product providers, fund managers and platforms, through the provision of training resources and occasionally through commission payments made direct to them, which can be used to offset our own fees to them. In the event that threesixty is remunerated through commission, this will be disclosed in the literature provided to you, and in no way will it affect the charges you pay.

Conflict of interest

We will endeavour always to act in the best interests of our clients.   However, circumstances can arise where we or one of our other customers may have some form of interest in business being transacted for you.  If this happens or we become aware that our interests or those of one of our other customers conflict with your interests, we will write to you and obtain your consent before we carry out your instructions, and detail the steps we will take to ensure fair treatment.

In executing or transmitting orders on your behalf to third parties, we will take all reasonable steps to ensure that we obtain the best possible result for you in terms of best execution.

Risk warnings

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, or investment strategies, we recommend will be confirmed to you in your Suitability Report.

Cancellation rights

In most cases you can exercise a right to cancel, by withdrawing from the contract recommended to you.  In general terms you will normally have a 30 day cancellation period for a life, pure protection, payment protection or pension policy and a 14 day cancellation period for all other policies. In most instances, you will not be able to exercise a right to cancel a mortgage contract, unless the contract is concluded at a distance (i.e. no face to face advice), at which point you may have a 14 day cancellation period.

The start of the cancellation period will normally begin, for pure protection policies, when you are informed that the contract has been concluded or, if later, when you have received the contractual terms and conditions. In other cases, the cancellation period will begin on the day the contract is concluded or, if later, the day on which you receive the contractual terms and conditions. Instructions for exercising the right to cancel, if applicable, will be contained in the relevant product disclosure information which will be issued to you.

If you cancel a single premium contract, we may require you to pay for any loss you might reasonably incur in cancelling it which is caused by market movements.  This means that, in certain circumstances, you might not get back the full amount you invested if you cancel the policy.

Documentation

We will endeavour to make arrangements for all your investments to be registered in your name unless you first instruct us otherwise in writing.  All Policy Documents or Lender’s Offer Documents will be forwarded to you as soon as practicable after we receive them.  If there are a number of documents relating to a series of transactions, we will normally hold each document until the series is complete and then forward them to you.

Data Protection

Your personal information is very important to us.   We will endeavour to take all due care to protect this information.  We would like to highlight below a few matters relating to your information that you should be aware of.

We may obtain, use, process and disclose personal data about you in order that we may discharge the services agreed under this engagement letter, and for other related purposes including updating and enhancing client records, analysis for management purposes and statutory returns, crime prevention and legal and regulatory compliance.  You have a right of access, under the Data Protection Act 1998.

During the course of our work we will collect information from you and others acting on your behalf and will return any original documents to you following completion of the work carried out on your behalf.  You should retain these records for at least seven years.

Whilst certain documents may legally belong to you, we intend to destroy correspondence and other papers that we store which are more than seven years old, except where we are required to retain them indefinitely or, which we consider to be of continuing significance.  Any documents that we deem to be legally belonging to you will be returned to your last recorded address.

Some services are provided to Clear Solutions (Wealth & Tax Management) Ltd by third parties such as processing business or obtaining compliance or regulatory advice, which warrant the disclosure of more than just your basic contact details.  You agree that personal information held by Clear Solutions (Wealth & Tax Management) Ltd may be disclosed on a confidential basis, and in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998, to any such third parties.  You also agree that this information may be transferred electronically, e.g. email and you agree that ourselves, or any such third party, may contact you in future by any means of communication which we consider appropriate at the time.

Product Providers, Lenders and Investment Managers may administer your policy, any existing policies you may have with them and provide other services, from centres in countries outside Europe (such as India and the USA) that do not always have the same standard of data Protection laws as the UK. However, they are required to put a contract in place to ensure that your information is adequately protected, and they will remain bound by their obligations under the Data Protection Act even when your personal information is processed outside Europe.

As part of our ongoing commitment to providing a quality service, our files are periodically subject to an independent quality review.  Our reviewers are highly experienced and professional people and are, of course, bound by the same requirements of confidentiality as our principals and staff.

Money Laundering

In common with all financial services companies, we are required by the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 to:

  • Maintain identification procedures for all new clients
  • Maintain records of identification evidence obtained; and
  • Report, in accordance with the relevant legislation and regulations

We have a duty under s.330 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to report to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) if we know, or have reasonable cause to suspect, that you, or anyone connected with your business, are or have been involved in money laundering.  Failure on our part to make a report where we have knowledge or reasonable grounds for suspicion would constitute a criminal offence.

The offence of money laundering includes concealing, converting, using or possessing the benefits of any activity that constitutes a criminal offence in the UK.  The definition is very wide and includes

  • Deliberate tax evasion
  • Deliberate failure to inform the tax authorities of known underpayments or excessive repayments
  • Fraudulent claiming of benefits or grants; or
  • Obtaining a contract through bribery

Clearly this list is by no means exhaustive.

Help us to give you the right service

If at any time you would like to discuss with us how our service to you could be improved, or if you are dissatisfied with the service you are receiving, please let us know, by contacting us.

We undertake to look into any complaint carefully and promptly and to do all we can to explain the position to you.  We undertake to do everything reasonable to address your concerns.

We are required by the anti-money laundering regulations to verify the identity of our clients, to obtain information as to the purpose and nature of the business which we conduct on their behalf, and to ensure that the information we hold is up-to-date. For this purpose we may use electronic identity verification systems similar those used for credit checks and we may conduct these checks from time to time throughout our relationship, not just at the beginning.

Internet Communications

 Internet communications are capable of data corruption and therefore we do not accept any responsibility for changes made to such communications after their despatch.  It may therefore be inappropriate to rely on advice contained in an e-mail without obtaining written confirmation of it. We do not accept responsibility for any errors or problems that may arise through the use of internet communication and all risks connected with sending commercially sensitive information relating to your business are borne by you. If you do not agree to accept this risk, you should notify us in writing that e-mail is not an acceptable means of communication.

Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999

Persons who are not party to this agreement shall have no rights under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 to enforce any term of this agreement.  This clause does not affect any right or remedy of any person which exists or is available otherwise than pursuant to that Act.

The advice that we give to you is for your sole use and does not constitute advice to third parties for any aspect of our professional services or work that is made available to them.

Termination

You or we may terminate our authority to act on your behalf at any time, without penalty.  Notice of this termination must be given in writing and will take effect from the date of receipt.  Termination is without prejudice to any transactions already initiated which will be completed according to these terms of business unless otherwise agreed in writing. You will be liable to pay for any transactions made prior to termination and any fees outstanding, if applicable.

We also reserve the right to cancel the engagement between us if you:

  1. Fail to provide us with relevant records and information when requested.
  2. Become bankrupt, insolvent or enter into arrangements with creditors.
  3. Fail to pay our fees by the due dates

 Our regulator

 Financial Conduct Authority, 25 The North Colonnade, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5HS. Our FSA Register number is 429206.  Our permitted business is advising on and arranging pensions, savings and investment products, mortgages and non investment insurance contracts.You can check this on the FCA’s Register by visiting the FCA’s website http://www.fsa.gov.uk/register/home.do or by contacting the FCA on 0800 111 6768.

What to do if you have a complaint

 Please contact us: In writing to The Compliance Officer, Clear Solutions (Wealth & Tax Management) Ltd, Chatsworth Court, Alpha House, Uttoxeter Road, Hilton, Derbyshire DE65 5GE or by phone 01283 730080.  If you cannot settle your complaint with us, you may be entitled to refer it to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Contact details for the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)

 You may be entitled to compensation from the scheme if we cannot meet our obligations.  This depends on the type of business and the circumstances of the claim.

Investment

Most types of investment business are covered for up to a maximum limit of £50,000 per individual.

Insurance

Insurance advising and arranging is covered for 90% of the claim, without any upper limit; or

For compulsory classes of insurance, insurance advising and arranging is covered for 100% of the claim, without any upper limit.

Mortgages

Mortgage advising and arranging is covered for up to a maximum limit of £50,000.

Further information about compensation scheme arrangements is available from the FSCS.

Ways to contact us

Share This