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Financial Planning Website Page

Independent Financial Planning


Meet Tracy Furminger

Our aim is to provide you with the best advice possible for your circumstances and objectives and to retain you as a client for many years.

In March 1993 Girlings was one of the first Solicitors in the country to establish an in-house Independent Financial Services department. We have an extremely experienced team based in our Canterbury office that prides itself on putting the clients' interest first, and our whole approach is driven by this ethos.

Our services are subject to the high standard of regulation laid down by both the Financial Conduct Authority and the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Savings and investments

Whether you require income, growth, or both from a lump sum investment or regular savings, our approach is to apply tried and tested investment principles to financial planning. We go to great lengths to ensure that the risk profile of our advice matches your requirement, and offer a regular review service to make sure it continues to do so. We take care to make sure that you fully understand the type, purpose and make up of any investments that we recommend, and that our financial recommendations are consistent with your tolerance to risk and your time horizons.

Our investment process

The key to successful investment is asset allocation - the allocation of funds between the main choices or ‘asset classes’ open to you as an investor:

  • Shares (equities): have historically produced the highest returns over long periods of time, but in the shorter term their values have been subject to greater fluctuation. This fluctuation can be higher for non-UK shares because their value is affected by changes in currency values.
  • Fixed investments usually offer a higher income than shares and the possibility of increased capital values, but their values can still fluctuate.
  • Commercial property sits between shares and fixed investments in terms of its investment characteristics.
  • Absolute return funds and structured products are a new asset class which use money market instruments in an attempt to produce a positive return which will exceed the return on cash, regardless of market conditions.
  • Cash is the safest type of investment, but holds no prospect of capital growth, and values are therefore likely to be eroded by inflation over time.
  • Take a look at The Investment Spectrum within each of the asset classes. Our task is to achieve a spread of investments which achieves your investment objectives with regard to your tolerance to risk and time horizons. This boils down to balancing safety and return, and in order to assist this process we have given each asset class a risk rating on a scale of 1 to 5, (5 is the highest risk in relative terms).

Core Holding Theme: Our recommendations are based on choosing investment funds within what is known as a "Core Holding Theme". The Core Holding is the central part of the portfolio that aims to be consistent and reliable year after year and this is the foundation of the portfolio. Additional funds, referred to as "Satellite" funds, will be added to the Core Holdings in order to meet specific aims and the risk profile of the individual investor. The optimum balance is often achieved by mixing higher and lower-risk investments and selecting investments which are likely to behave differently in given economic and market conditions. For many investors, a suitable starting point or Core Holding might be a multi-manager or multi-asset fund, which combines at least two asset classes and therefore offers greater inherent stability.

Funds & managers: Having determined the composition of the portfolio at the generic level, we then go on to select the most suitable funds and managers. We confine our choice to collective investments rather than suggesting direct holdings in shares or other securities because collective funds help to spread risk by investing in a large number of securities, and they also provide the benefit of expert securities management. Another advantage of funds is that they are available through a different range of "tax wrappers" - for example, Unit Trusts and Open Ended Investment Companies; ISA's, Pension and Investment Bonds - which enable the holder to improve returns by reducing the tax charge. Our selection of a suitable tax-wrapper is based on each client's individual tax status.

Portfolio planning

If you already have a portfolio of investments, or if you are looking to set one up, you may benefit from our Advisory Portfolio Service, a portfolio management service which helps to take care of all the paperwork and gives you regular comprehensive reviews and updates.

Our Advisory Portfolio Service enables you to have control over the investment decisions made in relation to your portfolio, whilst still benefitting from our professional financial advice. This service has been designed to enable you to have an active involvement in the investment decisions made in relation to your portfolio. Our recommendations are based on extensive research and are always made on the basis that they meet your attitude to risk and meet any time horizons that you may have.

At the outset an agreement is drawn up that outlines our agreed service levels to you, and the relevant costs of those services, as well as outlining the terms and conditions of our Advisory Portfolio Service.

Pensions and retirement

We research the whole of the market to advise you on the best type of policy to provide you with the income that you require in retirement. If you are looking to start up your own personal style pension or if you wish to review your existing arrangements, we will guide you through the pension maze to ensure that your chosen provisions will truly meet your retirement plan.

When the time comes for you to take your retirement benefits, again we will guide you through all the retirement options that are available to you, making sure that the correct decisions are made and that you fully understand the implications of all of the recent pension changes.

Useful links
  • The Financial Conduct Authority is the UK’s financial services regulator and the website provides a good source of information.
  • The Money Advice Service is a consumer education website set up by the Government. It has useful tools relating to financial services and provides free guides on a variety of money related subjects, including pensions, savings and investments.
  • HM Revenue & Customs: The Government website where you can find information about all UK taxes and customs.

We go to great lengths to ensure that the risk profile of our advice matches your requirement, and offer a regular review service to make sure it continues to do so.

For further advice, please contact our highly experienced and qualified Independent Financial Adviser team, which is led by Tracy Furminger. Girlings has offices in Canterbury, Ashford and Herne Bay.

Our Experts

Tracy Furminger

Chartered Financial Planner
Independent Financial Planning

Natasha Boyd

Tax Technician
Wills, Tax & Estate Administration