Each month we are introducing you to one of our colleagues at Chase de Vere. We’ll tell you a bit about their background, what they do and how their work helps us to provide you with a better overall service. This month we would like to introduce you to Julie Smith, who is a Senior Research Analyst and is based in our Bath office.
Julie works in our Technical Advisory Support team. This is a team of technical experts who support our financial advisers to help ensure they are giving the best advice to our clients. They keep up to date with the latest tax and legislative changes, answer technical questions, and they assess financial products, so that we are only recommending those which meet our stringent governance and research criteria.
Julie has responsibility for researching and assessing financial products. This includes reviewing pension products, such as personal pensions, SIPPs, SSASs and workplace pensions, protection products, such as life assurance, critical illness cover and income protection, and investment wrappers, such as platforms and investment bonds, Junior ISAs, Lifetime ISAs, Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) and Enterprise Investment Schemes (EISs).
Julie and her team aren’t responsible for researching any underlying investments, such as those held on platforms, investment bonds or Junior ISAs, this responsibility falls to our Portfolio Management Team.
Her professional background
Julie has worked in Chase de Vere’s Technical Advisory Support team for 19 years. Throughout that time her focus has been on reviewing and assessing financial products. She joined as a Research Analyst and was subsequently promoted to a Senior Research Analyst role.
She worked previously for a firm of accountants for 8 years and has attained the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning.
How Julie and her team help our clients
Julie’s work ensures that our Financial Advisers only recommend the most suitable products to their clients.
As Chase de Vere are Independent Financial Advisers this means that we review all financial products from across the marketplace. Julie ensures that we really get ‘under the bonnet’ of all these products before determining which ones meet our quality criteria. It’s important to note that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, and so Julie may conclude that a particular product can be considered for one type of client but not for another.
New products may be added, or existing products removed, from our recommendation panels if there are changes to their terms or conditions, material changes to the product provider companies themselves or even changes in legislation which may affect certain types of products.
The type of research undertaken will also vary by product type. Certain criteria are likely to be reviewed across most products, such as the financial strength of the product provider, the terms, conditions, flexibility and charges of the product and the service standards provided to clients. However, many products will require more specific research to be undertaken.
As an example, we often recommend protection products such as life assurance, critical illness cover and income protection to our clients. With critical illness cover, Julie has a thorough understanding of which illnesses are covered by which product and also each provider’s claims history, to help ensure that our clients can get the most comprehensive cover.
Similarly, with income protection policies, Julie knows which products are more likely to accept clients with specific health issues, and even those which will accept clients who partake in dangerous hobbies. Importantly, she looks for policies which will provide cover for a client’s “own occupation”, rather than “any occupation” to ensure that they have a better level of cover.
So, while our Advisers may discuss the suitability of products, our clients can also be assured that a huge amount of due diligence has taken place in the background to ensure that any recommended products meet our research criteria and are an appropriate choice for that particular client and their requirements.
Outside of work
Julie has some varied and interesting hobbies outside of work. She runs a local netball club, plays as a wing attack and is also a qualified umpire.
She loves swimming, and particularly wild swimming in rivers and marine lakes around the UK, or overseas if she is on holiday. She also enjoys riding motorbikes and is currently in the process of taking her test so that she can buy a bigger bike.
Julie has been a singer in different types of bands for many years. She sang in a skiffle band for some time and has regularly appeared in cover bands singing hits from the 1960s and 1970s and has even been in a Rolling Stones cover band. She can play the ukulele and the recorder and is currently learning bass guitar.
She is also a supporter of Bristol Rovers football club.