About our services and costs
Our Terms of Business, along with your Client Acceptance and Our services and charges guide, form your client agreement – which we ask you to sign before we do any chargeable work for you. The next steps are to develop and put your plan in place. This plan, which will detail the services you have chosen, will be set out for you in your personalised Suitability Report.
We have outlined our general terms of business below. Abrdn Financial Planning and Advice Limited is part of abrdn plc - a global asset management company offering active wealth management, financial planning and advice services). . When you become an abrdn client, your financial planner will provide you with a copy of these terms that contains all of the correct legal, regulatory and contact information for the part of abrdn you are working with. If you have any questions about our terms, get in touch.
If your financial adviser has recently been acquired by abrdn, your terms will not automatically change and your current agreement still stands until you sign an abrdn Client Acceptance.
Please note this general Terms of Business applies to clients of our individual financial planning services. This Terms of Business does not apply to direct-to-consumer customers such as ISA account holders, or private clients. If you are a private client, please contact your financial planner for a copy of your terms.
1. What is the terms of business for?
The Terms of Business sets out the general terms that govern our relationship. Services and charges are set out in Our services and charges guide. Together, the Terms of Business and Client Acceptance set out how we will work together, and they both come into force when we receive your signed Client Acceptance.
2. Corporate structure and authorisation
abrdn Financial Planning and Advice Limited is part of abrdn plc - a global asset management company offering active wealth management, financial planning and advice services). The relevant structure and authorisation information to your associated part of abrdn is detailed on the Terms of Business document you receive from your Financial Planner.
3. For your protection
Unless we tell you otherwise, we’ll classify you as a ‘retail client’ or a ‘consumer’. This means that you have the highest level of protection under the FCA rules and should have the right to take any complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). However, certain types of businesses, charities and trustees can’t take complaints to FOS under current FCA rules. If you would like more information about this protection, please contact us.
4. Personalised advice for abrdn
We provide high quality financial planning and advisory services to help you achieve your goals and objectives and have embraced the FCA ‘Treating Customers Fairly’ principle. We want to ensure that you are able to make an informed decision about the services we provide to you, how these meet your needs and that you understand the associated costs you will incur.
5. Our advice status
abrdn offers a broad spectrum of financial planning advice, which we deliver through solutions from a carefully selected range of providers and investment managers. This means our regulatory status is Restricted rather than Independent. This applies because we have filtered the range of solutions our Financial Planners can choose from, rather than selecting from the whole market every time we advise on a new solution. This brings benefits of being owned by Abrdn plc such as leveraging its expertise as a global organisation, accessing solutions on discounted terms and utilising the knowledge of a team of financial, tax and investment professionals.
If you already hold investments, we can consider these when advising on your financial plan. We can include your existing plans in our recommendations and where you take advantage of one of our ongoing advice services, we can continue to advise you on these investments as part of your overall financial plan. Remember, the value of investments can go down as well as up, and could be worth less than what was paid in.
We will only recommend a product or investment solution if we believe it is suitable for you. When giving our recommendations, we will take into account any restrictions you wish to place on the type of products or providers you wish to consider. We will review the personal information we collect from you on a regular basis. In the event that new advice or changes to our recommendations are necessary, all changes will be provided to you in writing.
Any life changing event such as, marriage, divorce, bereavement, long term illness, birth or any other change that affects your financial circumstances may impact the suitability of our recommendation. In the event of a change to any of these circumstances, please get in touch with your Financial Planner.
Where our financial planning results in a recommendation for a protection solution, we are an insurance intermediary and will provide advice which is based on a fair and personal analysis of the market.
For our insurance services, such as critical illness cover or life cover, we only offer products from a limited number of insurers. You can ask us for a list of insurers we offer insurance from.
If you progress with our financial planning recommendations and instruct us to make investments on your behalf, abrdn will place investment instructions within 3 working days following receipt of your agreement to proceed.
Our advice services are available to anyone who is over the age of 18 and resident in the UK.
6. Our services and charges
The services that we agree you will take advantage of will be set out in your personalised Suitability Report. The services we offer are
1. Providing a new financial plan which can include any of:
- Pensions, savings and investment advice
- Retirement planning advice
- Tax, trust and estate planning as part of your financial plan
- Non-investment insurance advice
2. To fully cater for your ongoing needs, we offer a range of ongoing services to manage your plan.
3. Standalone financial, tax, trust and estate planning advice.
Your financial planner will be able to give you much more information on the services we offer – and you can find out more by visiting our solutions and products page.
You can also find out about what to expect from our financial process on our fees and charges page.
7. Data protection
8. Anti-money laundering
To comply with the Money Laundering Regulations, we are required to verify the identity of our clients. We do this by carrying out an online identity check with a reference agency. This is not a credit check and will not affect your credit rating. The agency will verify your identity against public records and confirm whether you have a credit history (but will not disclose any information to us about your actual borrowings). The agency will add a note to your credit file to show that an identity check was requested. If successful, a copy of the results will be held to evidence that your identity has been verified. We regret that we cannot offer an alternative unless the online check does not confirm your identity, in which case we will carry out a manual check.
9. Conflicts of interest
We aim to avoid conflicts of interest wherever possible and have procedures in place to help us to do this. However, sometimes conflicts of interest are inevitable. Should conflicts arise, we will ensure you are fully aware of the situation and will aim to resolve promptly.
We operate in accordance with our Conflicts of Interest Policy which sets out the types of actual or potential conflicts of interest which affect our business and provides details of how we manage these.
We also have a policy and organisational arrangements in place to manage potential conflicts arising from our corporate structure that are in line with FCA rules.
Abrdn plc has an indirect holding representing 10% or more of the voting rights or capital in Abrdn Financial Planning and Advice Limited. This shareholding does not alter our regulatory responsibility to provide you with impartial advice, and so will not influence our advice to you. Please ask if you want to discuss this in further detail.
We may provide/receive certain benefits (such as training events, seminars, incidental hospitality, information relating to products or services) to/from: (i) members of the abrdn group; (ii) other product providers, fund managers and platforms; or (iii) other third parties.
Any benefits provided or received will be assessed to ensure they are reasonable, proportionate and of such scale that they enhance the service provided to you and allow us/them to continue to act in your best interests.
Details of the benefits provided to Abrdn Financial Planning and Advice Limited under the abrdn brand can be found online in the legal information.
In providing our services, we will contact you using the contact information you give us. This could be by telephone, by electronic means such as email, or by post. Emails have the same status as documents sent by post. But, if we are required by law or applicable regulations in the UK to issue specific documents to you directly by post, we shall do so. All communications will be in English.
In addition to our normal communication, there may be times when we or you are required under these terms to give formal notification. These notices must be in writing.
Any notice you serve on us will be effective when we receive it.
If we serve a notice by email, we will use the email address that you have given us and it will be deemed to be delivered to you on the day it was sent provided no ‘non-delivered’ message is received by us.
If we serve notice by post, we will use the most up to date address that we have for you and that notice will be deemed to be delivered to you five business days after being posted.
It is your responsibility to keep us informed of your up-to-date contact details and we cannot be held responsible for any delay or losses arising out of your failure to do so.
When possible, we will endeavour to make arrangements for your investments to be registered in your name.
14. Client responsibility
To allow us to provide you with the best possible service, it is important that you provide us with the information we request. Please do not withhold relevant information and let us know if we have misinterpreted anything you have told us. Any information, recommendations or advice that we provide to you will be based on the information you provide.
Please also keep us informed of any changes to your personal or financial circumstances, such as; marriage, divorce, bereavement, long term illness, birth or any other change which may impact the recommendations and/or suitability of solutions arranged on your behalf.
Under the FCA rules, we are required to consider whether it is in your best interests for us to act for you if you refuse to provide the information necessary for us to provide you with suitable advice. We can decline to act for you if we believe that you have not provided adequate information.
We may refuse to act on your instructions where we cannot verify these or where these are unclear or ambiguous. If this happens, we will contact you to try to clarify/confirm your instructions.
We may be unable to provide services to you until we are in receipt of all necessary and relevant information relating to your personal and financial circumstances. You must provide us promptly with any information that we ask for. Where we have to obtain information from one or more third parties (for example pension policy information) you should be aware that this could lead to delays that are beyond our control.
We will try to keep you informed throughout this process and will continue to provide services to the extent possible, but will not be liable for the consequences of any delays arising out of us waiting to receive information that we have asked for. Any initial or ongoing advice recommendations will be communicated to you in writing.
We are committed to providing the highest levels of service to you. If you have any concerns about the service you are receiving, please let us know immediately so that we can deal with these concerns promptly.
We have a complaints procedure in relation to our services which conforms to the FCA’s complaints procedure requirements. Our complaints procedure is available on request.
If you have a concern or complaint, you can write to us at:
Clayton Wood Rise
Calls may be monitored and/or recorded to protect both you and us and help with our training. Call charges will vary.
If we cannot resolve your complaint for you, you may be able to refer it to FOS.
FOS is an independent service set up by the UK parliament to resolve disputes between consumers and businesses providing financial services. This service is free to consumers. Further information about FOS may be found at www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk . Complaining to FOS will not affect your rights. In general, you have 6 months from the date of our final response to refer your complaint to FOS.
16. Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), established under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, has been set up to provide protection to consumers if authorised financial services firms are unable, or likely to be unable, to meet claims against them.
The FSCS provides protection for claims against firms where the loss arises from:
- bad or misleading advice,
- -negligent management of investments; or
- fraud or misrepresentation
and the firm in question has been ‘declared in default’ by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
For claims on this basis the FSCS can pay up to £85,000 in compensation per person per firm for pensions, investments and mortgages and between 90% and 100% of the claim for non-investment insurance contracts (without an upper limit) depending on the circumstances.
Please note that the FSCS compensation scheme only applies to certain types of “eligible claimants” and FSCS do not pay compensation where your investment simply does not perform as well as you hoped unless this is as a result of our negligence.
For further information on the compensation available under the FSCS please check their website www.fscs.org.uk or call the FSCS on 0800 678 1100. Please note only compensation queries should be directed to the FSCS.
17. Amendment of terms
We can make reasonable and appropriate changes to these terms at any time while you are continuing to use our services:
a) to reflect changes to relevant laws or regulation, new industry guidance or codes of practice or a decision of FOS; or
b) to reflect improvements to our services that technological, service or propositional enhancements have allowed us to make; or
c) where such change is not to your detriment, including to correct any errors or inaccuracies.
Changes made which are immaterial, not to your detriment and which we are not required to make you aware of under FCA rules will not require notification and may take effect immediately. If you object to such a change, please contact us.
If we are required to notify you of a change, we will follow the notice terms set out above and the change will take effect 30 days from the date of notification, or on any later date we specify. We will provide you with an amended version of these terms and update these general terms on our website. If you object to such a change, you can notify us within the 30 day notice period by following the notice terms above, but please note that your only recourse may be to terminate our services.
You can contact us for a copy of the current terms at any time.
18. Rights of third parties
This agreement excludes any rights which may be conferred upon third parties by the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999.
19. Business risk interruption
The performance of our obligations under these terms may be interrupted and shall be excused by the occurrence of a Business Risk Interruption event directly or indirectly affecting us.
In these terms Business Risk Interruption means any event beyond our reasonable control as a consequence of which we can no longer provide services to you for a given period. This could include, but is not limited to, any of the following:
a) act of God, fire, earthquake, storm or flood;
b) explosion, nuclear accident or collision; and
c) sabotage, riot, civil disturbance, insurrection, epidemic, national emergency (whether in fact or law) or act of war (whether declared or not) or terrorism.
Nothing in these terms detracts from or avoids our responsibility to provide you with suitable advice and service, nor from your right to complain to FOS. Subject to any of our duties or liabilities under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and the other provisions of these terms, we shall only be liable to you for any loss or damage you may suffer as a direct result of any services which we provide to you to the extent that such loss or damage arises as a result of fraud, negligence or wilful default by us.
We will not be liable for any losses, damages, liabilities or claims incurred due to:
a) the fall in value of any investments held by you;
b) any service related issues or delays caused by third parties which are beyond our control;
c) the completeness or accuracy of the information prepared by a third party;
d) the loss of any documentation (including without limitation share certificates or other documents of title) in the UK postal system;
e) the alteration or loss of confidentiality of any emailed information or electronic message;
f) penalties, surcharges, interest or additional tax liabilities arising from the supply by you or others of incorrect or incomplete information, or from the failure by you or others to supply any appropriate information or from your failure to act on our advice or to respond promptly to communications from us or the tax authorities;
g) the reliance on any information we provide by persons who are not UK resident or nominees for persons who are not UK resident;
h) reliance by any third party on our advice or work, unless we have consented in writing to it being passed to them;
i) a failure or delay in implementing instructions as a result of our inability to verify the authenticity of the instruction or where we consider the instruction to be unclear or ambiguous.
Nothing in these terms will exclude or limit our liability:
a) for death or personal injury caused by negligence
b) for fraud or misrepresentation as to a fundamental matter; or
c) for any other liability which cannot be excluded or limited under FCA Rules or applicable laws
21. Assignment and delegation
We may at any time, without your prior consent, assign all or any part of the benefit of, or rights and benefits under, these terms to any member from time to time of abrdn group. Any other assignment will require the prior written consent of the other party.
We may delegate or sub-contract all or any part of our obligations under these terms and the provision of our services at any time provided that this will not be materially detrimental to you. If we do, we shall remain responsible at all times for the delivery of the services and any other obligations under these terms.
22. Governing law
These terms are governed by, and shall be interpreted in accordance with English Law.
You and we submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts
23. Termination of authority and services
You or we may terminate our authority to act on your behalf and provide you with our services at any time, without penalty. Notice of this termination must be given in writing and in accordance with the notice provisions detailed above.
Termination is without prejudice to any transactions already initiated. These will be completed according to these terms unless otherwise agreed in writing. You will be liable to pay for any transactions made prior to termination and any outstanding fees accrued to the date of termination. The date of termination will be the date we receive your notification.