When my previous IFA decided to retire, I approached probably 20 other local IFA’s to ‘pick up where he left off’, but with a slightly different approach. None of them gave me real confidence that they were really going to deliver what I wanted, whilst ‘earning their keep’.

Having learned a lot about personal financial planning and investing over the last few years, I then decided to take on most of my financial planning and management myself, but to try to find an IFA who could advise me on specific issues on an ad-hoc basis, in lieu of the more normal ‘full service’ IFA arrangement.

Sarah McCarthy of Investment SenseEnter Sarah McCarthy (right) of Investment Sense.

Her first brief, carried out on a fixed price basis, to recommend a new SIPP that could meet a very detailed (and numerous!) set of specific requirements that I gave to her, the top 3 of which were:

  • To be low cost
  • To permit investment in interest bearing deposit accounts, ETF’s, shares, bonds and similar stocks etc
  • And to be able to be set up and run easily by the SIPP holder without the involvement of an IFA

Sarah’s report did indeed present various options that met all my requirements, and were considerably lower cost than my existing SIPP. 

But, using a bit of lateral thinking, she also proposed another SIPP, which, whilst requiring an IFA to set it up, allowed me to do most of the investment management myself, with only a very minimal amount requiring IFA input. Allowing for future IFA fees estimated on an hourly fee basis, this scheme proved to be the most cost effective without losing any flexibility. I chose this one. Sarah is now setting it all up for me and arranging the in-specie transfers from my existing SIPP (again on a fixed price basis).

I have a long standing reputation for extreme attention to detail and asking ‘awkward questions’ that on many occasions have caused my previous IFA to wince or admit that he hadn’t thought about the subject, or didn’t know the answer. Sarah has been flooded with my questions by e-mail. Sarah’s approach? No problems! Straightforward, confident, understandable replies, usually delivered within 24 hours or less.

I am happy to recommend Sarah McCarthy. The service she has provided to me can only be described as truly excelling, and superb value for money – an important criteria to me in the current financial climate!