FAQ Page 2

Financial Advisers are not all the same, and each has a way of working that may be more or less suited to you. You may only want a single piece of advice in a specific area. Or you may want a continuing relationship, and an adviser with an overarching view of your financial situation.

Perhaps you are someone who relishes detail and getting to the bottom of the numbers. Alternatively you might prefer the big picture, leaving the detail to someone else? Neither is wrong, it’s simply the way we’re individually wired.

In our firm we like working with ‘big picture’ people who have complex needs looking for simple, realistic and considered solutions. We’re doing our job right when we take a complicated financial problem and distil it into a short ‘executive summary’ that our clients can act on.

We work hard to shield clients from complex analysis whilst leaving them fully informed and in control. It takes more time and it’s not an easy thing to do, but we believe it makes our client’s lives easier.

Achieving this is down to teamwork. We cannot avoid the complexity of financial advice, so we have people who enjoy working with numbers, and getting their teeth into pensions legislation and the like. We have others on the team who spend most of their time simplifying things and communicating them to our clients.

Our work is involved, and the standards we work to mean we are not suited to small one-off advice projects.  When we take on a new client it is with a view to forming a continuing relationship where we can add value. We occasionally undertake a one-off project, but it’s typically for something relatively complicated.

For many years we have worked on a fee basis, and embrace the idea of a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. It has taken several years to arrive at a scale of fees matching that ideal, so we are not open to negotiation. We are confident we provide value for money, so much so we offer a ‘no quibble, money back guarantee’.

The Blackstone investment philosophy is founded on several core fundamentals. Most importantly we believe that correct asset allocation holds the key to consistent, above average, risk controlled returns and that ‘time in’ the market is more important than ‘timing’ the market.

Our investment process places huge emphasis on team work, an approach which helps to maximise returns whilst controlling risk.  Our investment solutions combine the following:

  • A robust and rigorous research and ongoing review process
  • Risk rated investment strategies, including fund of funds and advisory model portfolios
  • Bespoke portfolios, tailored specifically to meet the needs of clients
  • A blend of active and passive fund management to control costs
  • A choice of capital growth, income or a combination of both
  • Reduced administration and taxation via a fund of funds approach

A key part of our advice process is the close personal relationship we develop with each of our clients. We recognise that everyone has different objectives, and that over time these objectives may change. That’s why long term relationships matter to us, ensuring we deliver tailored investment advice that consistently delivers for our clients.


When you ask us for financial or investment advice, we understand it might be a big step for you. Placing your trust with people you have recently met can be uncomfortable, so you’ll want to know that in your dealings with us, you will be treated in the right way.

Treating Customers Fairly has also been central to financial services regulation the delivery of financial services to consumers. Firms must be able to show they are consistently delivering fair outcomes to their clients, and that a culture of fairness exists throughout the firm.

The Financial Conduct Authority (the financial services regulator) has six consumer outcomes it believes ensures that there is an efficient and effective market for financial services, and which helps consumers achieve a fair deal.

We have outlined these six outcomes below, and what they mean for you:

  • You can be confident you are dealing with a firm where the fair treatment of you, is central to our culture
  • The products and services we recommend are selected to meet your needs and are recommended to you accordingly
  • You are provided with clear information and are kept appropriately informed before, during and after the point you pay for our advice
  • The advice we provide is suitable and takes account of your circumstances
  • Any financial products we recommend will perform in a way we have led you to expect, and any associated service is of an acceptable standard and as you have been led to expect
  • You will not face unreasonable barriers imposed by us (or the firms we recommend) to change financial product, switch provider, submit a claim or make a complaint.

If that sounds all a bit formal and stuffy it’s because it is  – that’s what happens when the concept of ‘fairness’ is developed into a set of rules.

We prefer to put things more simply. We never forget it is your money we’re dealing with. And if something goes wrong, we will treat you in the manner we would expect to be treated if the ‘boot was on the other foot’.


Excess risk is pointless risk.

We do not believe that it is sensible or worthwhile to take any more risk than is necessary to meet your personal financial goals. Whilst it is difficult to accurately measure an individual’s attitude to risk, interpreting the feedback on the subject of risk can be even more difficult.

At Blackstone we utilise a range of methods to assess the degree of risk each of our clients is comfortable with. First, we use tried and tested psychometric profiling methods to identify a client’s tolerance to risk. Then we interpret those results calling on all our investment experience and finally we refer to your own financial plan. This approach helps us to firmly establish and agree your desire for risk.

Many firms build portfolios based purely on risk tolerance, in our view that is a recipe for disaster.

If you don’t understand it don’t invest in it.

This is our ‘too hard, too good to be true, principle’. In other words, if we do not absolutely understand how an investment works and where its returns come from, then we’ll not invest a penny in it. And even if we do understand how it works, if we can’t explain it clearly to you over a 45-minute discussion then we’ll not recommend it to you.

We will not be bamboozled by jargon, nor will we be tempted by straight (up) line graphs or ‘flavour of the month’ products.

  • Construct a financial plan first
  • Eliminate bias
  •  Identify your financial goals
  • View your finances as a whole
  • We tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear

We will construct a financial plan that will detail what you can expect from your finances. Its simple aim is to ensure that regardless of what happens in your life or in the economic world that you can continue to enjoy the lifestyle that you have designed for yourself.

We need to make sure that your financial plan and investment portfolio is not only kept up to date, but is actually ahead of the curve of changing taxes, investment markets and product developments.

We will also ensure that we will anticipate the lifestyle events that will inevitably happen within your own lives, and also quickly adapt to the unexpected.

We will provide you with a Portfolio Report every year that details all of the losses and gains within your portfolio, so that they you can clearly see the after tax and charges returns you are achieving.

Bias has been rife in our industry for decades. It has lead to mis-selling scandals, it has lead to clients buying the most inappropriate product at completely the wrong time and it has lead to unacceptable losses in portfolios and the destruction of trust in our industry.

At Blackstone we have eliminated bias in its entirety. We have no bias between products, no bias between funds and no bias between asset classes. We are just as likely to recommend an ISA as a pension, cash on deposit as shares. We have no bias in the selection of company and wrap platform, our only bias is in delivering the returns you expect and in providing a first class service.

Our aim is for you to be financially independent and sufficiently knowledgeable to make informed investment decisions always mindful of your goals.

No matter whether your money is in a bank account, a pension or an ISA, it is still your money. If you need an income from your savings, any of these products can produce it for you. If you put some of the money you save at risk by investing your pension contributions in equities for example, then perhaps you should consider investing in a different asset class (property, cash, bonds etc) for your ISA. In other words, you need to view your investments holistically and make informed decisions based on the bigger picture, not in isolation.

We tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.

If we feel your goals are unrealistic, we’ll tell you so – rather than allowing you to pursue a strategy that will never succeed. We would rather turn away business than knowingly allow a client to adopt a plan or make investments that we believe are inappropriate.


When we started Blackstone it was usual for financial advisers to sell financial products and investments in exchange for a commission payment. We were unusual because we didn’t want our income to be conditional on selling anyone a financial product or an investment. So instead, we charged a fee for our advice.

Because we have been working with fees for several years we have a good understanding of what is the right fee to charge. Charging too much is detrimental to our clients, whereas charging too little means we go out of business or we have to cut corners – we don’t want to do either.

We offer a brief initial consultation to prospective new clients, at no cost to them – but only after a preliminary telephone discussion to determine whether there might be a ‘good fit’ between us.

If after the preliminary meeting we believe that we can offer you a valuable service at a competitive price we will prepare an initial proposal covering our investment strategy and the areas of financial advice we think need looking at. Again this proposal is offered at no charge to you.

If our proposal is accepted our fees will commence.

Every relationship is unique, and so every initial fee package different. It will vary depending on the type of advice required, and the amount of work we need to do. Written fee proposals are provided in advance, and will always be agreed with you before any chargeable work begins.

Often we will agree to cap our initial fees so as to provide some certainty, we can also offer hourly fees if this is preferable.

Our annual fee for providing ongoing financial advice and portfolio management is 1% on the first £1,000,000 and less on amounts above £1,000,000.