Taking forever to implement the advice

Once the advice has been completed and the SOA accepted, sometimes advisers can take an interminable time to get cracking on implementing the advice. This is to be avoided: advice should be implemented as soon as practicable, unless the plan was for otherwise (for example, if the advice was to invest the proceeds of a property sale, then obviously the advice is intended to be implemented after the property has settled).

The standard for implementing advice is thirty days. Dover reflects this in our Financial Services Guide, which states:

Time limits and responsibility for implementing our advice

You should not act on any recommendation after thirty days of the date of the statement of advice without our written confirmation that our recommendations are still suited to you.

No responsibility will be taken for any advice acted on after thirty days without our separate written confirmation that the advice is still suited to you.

We will not be responsible for any losses connected to our advice if it is not implemented by us, if you do not engage us as your adviser or if you cease to engage us as your adviser.

It goes without saying that if we are telling clients that they should act on our advice within thirty days, then we should too.

If the implementation is being delayed, keep the client informed of your progress and aware of any delays. Record these by e-mail and log your e-mails in your client file, in case they are needed for a FOS complaint.  For example, if you fall off your boat and break your collarbone (it has happened) and are off work for a month let your client know (or get someone else to let them know). If necessary get another financial planner in to help you. Dover can arrange a locum if needed.

Often clients will accept your advice and instruct you to proceed but will then not cooperate and/or lose enthusiasm for the implementation. This is where making and keeping records (emails) that you were trying to implement the advice are vital. If you can show that you were routinely contacting the client and they were not responding then it will be difficult for them to argue at some later stage that the delayed or non-implementation was your fault.

The Dover Group