We took some time to talk to Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) Ann Baguley, DipPFS about a second career after IT and understanding the complexities of funding care in later life.

How did you get into Financial Services?

“After a career in IT, ascending to management, I’d got to a point that I didn’t feel that I was making a difference in the world. Around 16 years ago, redundancy offered me the chance for a complete career change. It provided a time for me to reassess and an opportunity to do something that could make an actual difference to people’s lives.

I’d always been interested in financial matters and had the opportunity to work alongside an experienced adviser whilst I retrained.  I worked with them while taking exams and qualified within six months (the exams only came round every six months then, so failure was not an option!).”

Why did you join MPA?

“I’ve always been independent adviser and believe that is the cornerstone of advice. Only independent advisers can truly have the best interests of their client. I moved company when there was a risk my former employer would stop being independent.

I joined MPA six years ago after looking at various other IFAs.  When I met MPA’s MD, Phil McGovern, it was obvious that we had a meeting of minds in that clients come first, no matter what.

MPA is a great team and I get fantastic support to help me provide a good service to clients. If I’m not available clients can call the office and anyone will do their best to help. We’re small enough to be friendly and know everybody, but big enough to wield clout with providers on behalf of clients. The range of knowledge and experience is deep and wide.”

What is your area of expertise?

“I worked with a large national advisory firm for 10 years, meeting people from all walks of life and built up a range of experience across all areas of financial advice as a general adviser.

Within a few years I started to specialise in older clients, as they have a complex range of needs for advice which I don’t think are always well served. The Care fees system in particular is a minefield, and it can be difficult for people to work out what they are entitled to. I qualified as a Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA) accredited adviser several years ago and I work with specialist solicitors and care co-ordinators to try to ensure the best outcomes for clients.”

Do you have a typical type of client?

“Although I have clients from two months old to 96 years of age, I specialise in helping older clients with all aspects of their finances, especially care fees funding, inheritance tax planning and trusts.

I like to involve other family members in decisions to find the best solutions for the wider family. I frequently find myself advising three or even four generations of a family, ensuring that wealth is passed on in a timely and appropriate manner.

I also find working with Age UK deeply satisfying. Enquiries don’t often turn into clients, but I can help steer people in the right direction.”

Do you have any memorable cases?

“I love being an adviser because I love helping people and trying to make a difference in their lives.

One memorable case was getting the agreement of the Court of Protection to permit the Attorneys (under a Power of Attorney) for an elderly lady with dementia to make regular gifts from income to try to reduce the inheritance tax liability of her estate.  It is difficult to obtain the Court’s agreement to this, but working together with her family and her solicitor, we were able to obtain permission.

Another recent client was the CEO of a well-known organisation. I helped him to understand whether he could afford to retire and reduce the stress in his life. Using cash flow modelling tools, we worked on scenarios in which he could afford to retire this year, still in his 50s. He also got married to reduce the potential to inheritance tax and maximise the benefits of inherited pensions. That’s life changing advice.”

What you do to pass on your specialist knowledge?

“With an aging population the need for advice on care fees, trusts and inheritance tax is increasing. I regularly work with other members of the MPA team to pass on knowledge. This includes in-house training, joining them in client meetings and encouraging people to take the relevant exams.

I also get great satisfaction from being a Personal Finance Society (PFS) Education Champion, helping students in schools to understand more about money and managing their finances. The school curriculum does not cover money management, so we are invited by local schools in Henley in Arden, Warwick, Birmingham to cover this. Have a look at  Home – My Personal Finance Skills for more information and access to videos.”

Final thoughts…

“For anyone thinking about financial planning, talk to someone sooner rather than later. So many complications can be avoided by having proper Wills and Powers of Attorney in place and we can save huge amounts of money by putting in place proper plans to avoid inheritance tax.

Don’t assume you can do it yourself with the help of Google – you don’t know what you don’t know.”

For more information about how MPA can help you navigate care fees, inheritance tax and trusts, visit: https://www.mpafm.co.uk/services/.