An inside look at the Investment Advisory Service

An inside look at the Investment Advisory Service

Published: 10 Jan 2018 Updated: 13 Jun 2022

While Tilney’s investment management services are chosen by those who wish to hand over the management of their investments to an expert, we also offer an Investment Advisory Service that is popular with clients who like more involvement with their investment decisions. Here, we speak to Jonathan Cowan and Sally Fawcitt, two of our investment advisers, about the service they offer and how they work with our financial planners.

With our Investment Advisory Service clients have a dedicated investment adviser who recommends a bespoke portfolio based on their individual needs and circumstances. The adviser provides advice on investment decisions but the client has the final say on how the money is invested.

Who is the service suited to?

Many clients of the service want an expert’s opinion but would still like some involvement in the investment decisions. Jonathan says: “Even if they’re going to take all of our advice, they still want to consider it and be able to say yes or no. Some people are thinking about having their investments managed for them, but they aren’t quite ready to take that step.”

Noel Ayling has been a Tilney client for 15 years. He chose the service because, although he wants some involvement in his investment decisions, he doesn’t have the time or confidence to manage his life savings on his own: “I don’t think I have the skills to manage my own investments – I’m sure I would make all the wrong decisions! I’m also very busy, and if I had to pore over financial reports and the pages of newspapers just to keep this portfolio alive, then I wouldn’t be able to do all that I currently do.”

A personalised portfolio and advice

Our Investment Advisory Service begins with a fact-find questionnaire. According to Jonathan: “This helps us to understand the client’s investment objectives and requirements, and ensures they understand the investment risk they’re taking.”

The results of the questionnaire are used to create an initial portfolio. Sally says: “When choosing funds we will also take into account the client’s other requirements, such as investing ethically or generating a regular income. And if the client brings over existing investments, we will review their portfolio with them. They don’t have to sell everything and buy what we recommend. If they would prefer to hold on to an investment, we can normally accommodate it.”

The results of the fact-find questionnaire form the basis for all of the ongoing investment advice that our advisers give. Every client’s financial circumstances and attitude to investing are also reviewed at least once a year to ensure that all advice remains suitable.

Investment expertise

This initial portfolio recommendation and all of the ongoing support is based on the outlook of Tilney’s Central Investment Team. According to Jonathan: “The Central Investment Team’s outlook feeds into all the advice we give, and there aren’t many other investment advice services with this kind of investment research behind them. Whether you’re an advisory client or use one of our managed services, everything follows a central house view – the whole Tilney business is consistent about this.”

When a client first joins the service, their investment aims and attitude to risk will be matched with one of our in-house asset models. These models are optimised to give the best possible returns for a given level of risk, and they take into account our latest views on the markets and wider economy. The portfolio will then be built in line with the model, using 20-30 funds from a list that the Central Investment Team has high conviction in.

"There aren’t many other investment advice services with this kind of investment research behind them."

Advice on all your decisions

Many clients speak to their advisers about current events, and they receive regular updates with the latest Tilney research. Investment advisers also contact their clients whenever there is something they need to know about – for example, if the Central Investment Team’s view on a sector or a fund they hold changes.

Jonathan says that his clients get in contact for a number of reasons: “A lot of clients read the financial papers at the weekends. We’ll get calls saying – ‘so and so recommended investing in this fund, what do you think?’ They also want to know how geopolitical events can affect the markets.”

Mr Ayling appreciates this part of the service: “I’m always keen to get a professional’s view on the world of money and how political events might affect my portfolio. That’s always interesting. I also like to know how my investments are performing, to hear the reasons for any advice, and understand when I should make any changes.”

Working with a financial planner

Tilney investment advisers often work hand-in-hand with our financial planners – what we call our two-expert approach. Sometimes the financial planner takes the lead role, and will contact the investment adviser when their expertise is needed. For example, if a client is making a new pension contribution and needs to know where to invest it.

In other cases, the need to speak to a financial planner only becomes apparent during a conversation with the investment adviser. According to Sally: “Sometimes we’ll have touched on pensions or estate planning in conversation and will bring a financial planner into a meeting. It can be event-driven, for example if the client has decided to start drawing their pension or there has been a change in their circumstances.”

"If I had to pore over financial reports and the pages of newspapers just to keep this portfolio alive, then I wouldn’t be able to do all the things I currently do!"

Find out more about the service

You can hear more from Jonathan and Sally, and read Mr Ayling’s story, in our guide – An inside look at the Investment Advisory Service. If you have any questions please get in touch by requesting a call back, calling us on 020 7189 2400 or emailing


This article was previously published on Tilney prior to the launch of Evelyn Partners.