Terms of Business
This document must be read in conjunction with our Client Agreement & Service Proposition & Engagement
Spires Independent is Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates financial services in the UK and you can check our authorisation and permitted activities 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.
We provide independent investment advice. We will consider a range of regulated products from the available market that can meet the investment objectives of a retail client, but we will only provide a recommendation to you when we know the product is suitable for your personal circumstances.
You should be aware that investments carry varying degrees of risk and as their underlying value can fall as well as rise you may not get back the full amount invested.
For Non-investment protection contracts, we are an intermediary and will act on your behalf when providing advice and making our personal recommendation(s) to you. We will do this based on a fair analysis of insurers for term assurance, income protection, critical illness.
For general insurance contracts we are an intermediary and will act on your behalf when recommending an insurer based on your demands and needs from a fair analysis of the market. The insurers we consider will be listed to you when we carry out our research. It will be your responsibility to ensure the policy meets your demands and needs for building and/or contents, private medical insurance, accident sickness and unemployment.
Full details of the products we recommend will be confirmed in the product literature you will receive before it is arranged. We will inform you if any investment we recommend restricts future access to your capital.
We offer you an initial discussion (at our expense) during which we will describe our financial planning process, service levels and charges more fully, and explain the payment options.
Your aims and objectives
Unless we notify you in writing to the contrary, we will be treating you as a “retail client” for investment business. 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.
Any advice or recommendation(s) we offer to you will only be given after we have assessed your needs and considered your financial objectives, attitude to risk and capacity to bear any losses. We will also take into account any restrictions that you wish to place on the types of products or investment strategy you would be willing to consider.
Full details of the products we recommend to you including, for example, the minimum duration of the product, information on your right to cancel or whether no right to cancel exists, 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.
We will issue any documentation/recommendations and any other communication to you in English (unless agreed otherwise).
We may also, on occasion, advise on other financial products which are not regulated by the FCA under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme does not apply to any of these products.
Our Ethical Policy
We are committed to providing the highest standard of financial advice and service possible. The interest of our clients is paramount to us and to achieve this we have designed our systems and procedures to place you at the heart of our business. In doing so, we will:
- be open, honest and transparent in the way we deal with you;
- not place our interests above yours;
- communicate clearly, promptly and without jargon;
- Seek your views and perception of our dealings with you to ensure it meets your expectations or to identify any improvements required.
We only accept instructions in writing (paper or electronic means) to aid clarification and avoid future misunderstandings. Please note we will not act on oral instructions to avoid any possible misunderstandings.
In most cases you can exercise a right to cancel by withdrawing from the contract. 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.
For pure protection policies the start of the cancellation period will normally begin 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 Contribution contract, you may be required 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.
Under current legislation our services are not subject to VAT, but should this change in future, and where VAT becomes due, we will notify you before conducting any further work.
Spires Independent 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.
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 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.
We will act honestly, fairly and professionally known as conducting business in ‘Client’s best interest’ regulations. Occasionally situations may arise where we or one of our other clients have some form of interest in business transacted for you. If this happens or we become aware that our interests or those of one of our other clients’ conflict with your interest, 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. Where this cannot be achieved, we will not conduct the business. A copy of our Conflict Of Interest Policy is available on request.
If you wish to register a complaint, please write to Spires Independent Ltd, 33 Market Street, Lichfield, Staffs, WS13 6LA or telephone 01543 624426
A summary of our internal complaints handling procedures for the reasonable and prompt handling of complaints is available on request and if you cannot settle your complaint with us, you may be entitled to refer it to the Financial Ombudsman Service at www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk or by contacting them on T: 0800 023 4 567.
If you make a complaint and we are unable to meet our liabilities, you may be entitled to compensation from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Investment business will normally be covered up to a maximum of £85,000.
Further information about these amounts and limits for all other product types are available from the FSCS at www.fscs.org.uk/what-we-cover/products
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 and we may conduct these checks from time to time throughout our relationship, not just at the beginning.
This client agreement is governed and shall be construed in accordance with English Law and the parties shall submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts.
Spires Independent shall not be in breach of this Agreement and shall not incur any liability to you if there is any failure to perform its duties due to any circumstances reasonably beyond its control.
The authority to act on your behalf may be terminated at any time without penalty by either party giving seven days’ notice in writing to that effect to the other, but without prejudice to the completion of transactions already initiated. Any transactions effected before termination and a due proportion of any period charges for services shall be settled to that date.
Client Agreement for Investments & Insurances
This document must be read in conjunction with our Service Proposition & Engagement & Terms of Business
Our Investment Services and Costs
We provide you with an initial consultation free of charge. This helps us to understand your financial objectives and we will confirm how we can support you in working towards these goals. We will also discuss the cost, and levels, of our services both initially and throughout our relationship with you. We charge our services by way of a fee. These fees are based on a percentage of the amount you invest, subject to a minimum fee. The 2 steps of this process are explained here:
Financial Review and Recommendation
This can be a continuation from the initial discussion, where agreed, or a further appointment. This process covers the:
- gathering of information about your existing financial arrangements and full personal circumstances;
- understanding of your investment knowledge and attitude and tolerance towards investment risk;
- recommendation of an asset allocation model that matches your risk profile and the subsequent assessment and suitability of any existing holdings;
- preparation of our recommendations to you;
- arranging a second appointment to explain and discuss our recommendations in detail.
Our charge for this service is a fixed fee of £1,500, (£ (where Occupational Pensions are involved this will be subjected to a minimum fee of £3,000) payable on provision of the report containing our recommendations to you.
NB: This fee will be offset against the implementation fee should you instruct us to implement any of our recommendations.
Policy Arrangement & Implementation – Lump Sum Investments or Transfers
Our charge for this service is based on a percentage of the amount you invest and/or transfer. This charge is 4%.
This payment can either be taken from your investment upon receipt by the policy provider or paid directly by you.
Example 1; if we arrange an investment on your behalf for £10,000 our Policy Arrangement & Implementation fee would be £400. As this is less than the ‘financial review and recommendation’ fee of £1,500* we would charge you an additional £1,100 as the balance. The total fee payable would be £1,500
Example 2; if we arrange investments on your behalf totalling £60,000 our Policy Arrangement & Implementation fee would be £2400. As this is less than the ‘financial review and recommendation’ fee we would charge you an additional £600. The total fee payable would be £3000
Example 3; if we arrange investments on your behalf totalling £120,000 our Policy Arrangement & Implementation fee would be £4800. As this exceeds the ‘financial review and recommendation’ fee no other charges would be applied. The total fee payable would be £4800.
NB; * For advice relating to occupational pensions, the minimum financial review & recommendation fee is £3000.
Policy Arrangement & Implementation – Regular Contribution Savings or Investments
We do not charge for implementing a regular contribution savings or investment plan. However, you will still be expected to pay our “review and recommendation” fee of £1,500. We will issue an Invoice within 7 days of your investment plan going live. You can pay this directly on receipt of the invoice. Payment must be made in full within 30 days of issue.
Our General Insurance and Protection Services and Costs
Similar to our investment services above, we will provide you with a personal and financial review prior to making our recommendation(s) to you. Should you accept our recommendation(s) we will arrange the implementation of this/these for you. The reasons for our recommendations will also be provided to you in a written report.
We do not charge a fee for our insurance and protection services as we will normally receive commission from the policy provider.
It is important to review every investment you hold and at regular intervals. At the time of, or prior to, our recommendation to you we will discuss our on-going service proposition. This is confirmed in our ‘service proposition and engagement’ document which will be sent to you separately from this agreement.