Independent Financial Adviser (IFA), Eamonn Lynch, Dip PFS, joined Suckling Waddington Partners (SWP) in 2013 and has devoted his working life to the financial services industry for more than 35 years.

Since leaving school at 18, Eamonn has undertaken senior business-to-business roles for some of the largest financial services companies in the UK. He spent the first ten years in banks, then in Business-to-Business pensions and insurance. The last 10+ years have been spent in financial advice, his extensive experience underpinned by a Diploma in Financial Planning from the Personal Finance Society.

We caught up with Eamonn to talk about working at SWP, how Covid has impacted his clients and what people should be doing to prepare for their financial future.

What is your role as an IFA?

“At private client level, I have provided holistic financial advice to help a wide range of clients make informed decisions in the context of an increasingly complex financial world. As my advice has proved reliable, I have enjoyed referrals and recommendations within families. I take pride in being a trusted adviser through the generations. I’m a stickler for good communication too, so I make a point of keeping in touch with clients so they can take advantage of any timely adjustments to their plans.”

Why did you join SWP?

“In all honesty I was a bit fed up with corporate life and the politics that came with it. I was looking for a new opportunity do my own thing and SWP came along. I joined in February 2013 as it was a good opportunity to join a small, hands-on firm, in a good team while having the freedom to do things in my own way – within the guidelines and framework of MPA and SWP. It felt a bit like growing my own business within an existing one.”

What kind of advice do you specialise in?

“I think I would say generalist advice depending on the client’s situation, but I do have a particular interest in investment planning, retirement and at retirement planning as well as pension transfer advice, including money purchase and final salary schemes.

“I work with everyday people looking for advice. I probably work mostly with families with children, relatives, friends and work with them through their life cycle. I deal with ordinary people who want to make the best of their financial future for themselves and their families.”

What impact has Covid had on people’s investment decisions?

“It has made many people examine their own mortality. Some people are buying the car, going on the trip, realising life is short. Overall, people are not any more risk averse – they accept that markets go up and down. There seems to be more sense of urgency to ‘do it now while I’m well.’

“There is a trend in people retiring earlier – semi retirement, going part time, taking it easier or switching to a job that is less stressful.

“It has made more people get their affairs in order and has made people more aware of how precious life is, being more focused about the basics.”

What’s the best way to find an IFA?

“Ask for recommendations. That way you are not walking in cold, you have a bit of an idea of what advice they have offered someone else.

First, and sometimes second, meeting is usually free, with no obligation. It’s a chat about general objectives and goals. The first 10-15 mins is all about the person. Our job is factfinding, getting people to talk about themselves. It relaxes people, they give you 50% of the facts in general conversation and then can get onto specifics.

It’s a people business. People buy people. To give advice, trust is important and being a real human.”

Final thoughts…Getting the basics right

“For many of my clients it is about putting the basics in place so that their assets and investments can be managed in the future and that includes planning for the end of life. No one likes to think about dying, but it will inevitably happen and having things like a Power of Attorney set up and a Will in place will make things much easier for those left to deal with an individual’s affairs.

As an adviser, the most practical thing I can do is to marshal people to be sensible and action the basic things to make future easier for family members. Without Power of Attorney, it takes four months or more to access funds and the lack of Will can make it even more difficult.

It is important to build a relationship with people and have an intergenerational approach. Do you have a ‘Box’ for people to know where to go if the worst happens? Having been through this personally I cannot overstate its importance.”

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