How We Advise
miPlan uses cutting-edge business processes and systems that help us operate efficiently and keep costs down.
Our Advice Process
We gather your information and goals in the miPlan client portal to create a real time view of your world. We then provide a financial health report which shows where you are heading and identifies opportunities.
Our scenarios based approach results in a more natural conversation with clients, which in turn helps demystify what we do and clarify the benefits our clients receive over the long term.
We then meet to discuss your situation. This is the chance for us to decide whether we can work together.
When choosing advice and adviser, you should ask yourself three things:
- Do I like this person? Would I enjoy working with them to secure my financial future over many years?
- Could I trust this person? Trust cannot be immediate, but you have to believe that your adviser will be in your corner and there for you when you need them.
- Does what they say make sense? Do their ideas fit with my goals? Can I see value in the approach?
If you like what you hear and see, we can then agree to the scope of your advice and a price for that piece of work.
Financial Advice Process
Financial Planning Elements
Affordability Through Technology
Affordable Financial Advice For The Average Australian
miPlan uses cutting-edge business processes and systems that help us operate efficiently and keep costs down. As a result, we can offer affordable financial advice for the average Australian.
By managing data through our Customer Relationship Management system, we reduce the amount of time taken to deliver advice so you pay less.
Where possible we manage your investments through the technology of a ‘managed portfolio’ structure which transfers autonomy to our investment committee supported by our investment consultants InvestSense. This means we are able to respond quickly and make changes if needed.
How We Charge
miPlan is a fee for service business.
We charge our clients according to the time it takes us to do their work for them.
Once your plan is in place, we usually recommend an ongoing service fee which will allow you to continually update and improve your plan, through our review service.
This is an annual opt in service and we will explain what services you will receive each year and what you will pay, so you can judge the value of the arrangement.
This support will include regular reviews via phone or in person, use of our client portal to store and access your financial information, administration of your financial products, liaison with third parties including Centrelink, legal and accounting representatives, and access to pertinent financial & educational information.
Ongoing support for your protection plan including claims management, is covered by the insurance trail received.
If additional advice not related to the original plan is required, you may be charged a fee (to be determined depending of the nature of the work involved). This will be agreed in advance.
miPlan embraces the philosophy that the benefits of sound advice far exceed the costs. If you are better off financially than you would have been without our help, effectively there is no cost for the advice.
We work with you to have a shared responsibility for your investment goals.
We Divide Your Money Into Buckets To Suit Different Purposes
- Your cash bucket for emergency savings and short term planned lump sum expenses.
- Your income bucket to provide regular income to support lifestyle or other medium-term goals.
- Your growth bucket for long term wealth accumulation.
Breaking your money up into different buckets allows us to match an investment strategy to each, a ‘horses for courses’ approach. The longer you are investing the more risk you can take with your investments.
Overall our focus is risk management. We think big picture. We structure your investments to reduce the likelihood of loss, while managing long term growth to achieve your financial goals. We work closely with specialist investment consultants InvestSense forming views of prospective returns, implementing your portfolios in an agile and efficient manner, and communicating this to you.
We believe income is important for clients at all stages of life.
- While working we protect our clients’ ability to support their family and pay their bills.
- Whilst in retirement we set up a guaranteed ‘income bucket’ so clients can plan on reliable cashflow and sleep at night.
We encourage all clients to remain growth investors right through their lives.
- Even in retirement we generate a surplus, to be invested into a ‘growth bucket’ for long term wealth creation.
- This removes the damaging psychology investors can face where they see their capital eroded by poor returns and think their only option is to move to cash, thereby guaranteeing they will not meet their goals.
We believe that managing money on behalf of other people requires us to have high standards of openness and transparency.
- We take this responsibility very seriously, and believe that two heads are better than one.
- For that reason, we meet with InvestSense quarterly and liaise with them regularly – to have an additional level of comfort and rigour in our investment choices.
We focus on what we can control, and fees is one thing we can control.
- We do not know what returns investments will give, but we do know what they will cost
- We negotiate to reduce the cost of your platform.
- We use passive management (where available) to reduce the investment cost, reverting to active management only where we believe the higher cost is justified.
We believe that environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues and sustainability considerations are important within the context of our investment portfolios.
InvestSense has designed diversified portfolios to suit conservative, balanced, growth and high growth investment goals. We offer these as portfolios of managed funds, managed accounts or via direct shares.
Diversification is the best way to reduce volatility and maximise returns for the risk each client is willing to take. So, each portfolio invests across several investment classes: Australian and international shares; property and infrastructure; alternative assets; fixed interest and cash.
Deciding how much goes into each investment class is called asset allocation. We use a variety of inputs and methodologies to identify potential returns or losses, then design the best possible mix of assets. Once asset allocation is decided we fill each category with the best available funds. We study how each fund will work in combination with the others. We weigh their potential benefit against the fees they charge.
Managed funds suit small amounts invested regularly, via a regular investment plan or RIP. Regular investing reduces market timing risk and supports for the compounding of investment returns. Einstein called compound interest the 8th wonder of the world!
All funds are liquid, and assets can be realised in a matter of days if required. The portfolios aim to return CPI + 2/3/4/5% over the medium term. In its Monetary Policy statement for May 2019, the RBA forecasts CPI to be 2.0% for the 12 months to June 2020.
Along the way, we try to minimise the number of changes and therefore transaction costs, as over time they can make a significant difference.
The portfolios have a core of index investments, to reduce the overall cost. Index (passive) investments track the performance of an overall market. There is no stock selection. Active funds tilt the portfolio to the assets and geographies which offer the most compelling valuations at the time and the managers will actively select individual stocks to meet the investment goals.
miPlan has created Managed Accounts on Colonial First State and uses InvestSense Diversified Portfolios on HUB24 to offer affordable access to actively managed portfolios across all asset classes. The benefits of managed accounts compared to model portfolios or multi-managers are:
- Full transparency.
- Direct ownership in Australian equities (HUB24 only).
- Tax efficiency and potentially lower transaction costs.
- Diversified but not overly diversified.
- No need for permission to make changes, allowing timely response to changes in market conditions.
miPlan uses annuities as the bedrock of a retirement income bucket. Annuities are capital guaranteed products where the interest rate (return) and therefore income is locked in at the outset. Annuities allow you to plan on a certain cashflow for the term of the annuity. Different terms are available, the term can be deferred, and you can opt to have capital returned at the end. Annuities have existed since Roman times and remain a valuable part of any financial plan today.
miPlan Income Portfolio & Direct Shares
The income portfolio is low cost with a focus on direct shares. It has a home bias, as Australian shares pay higher dividends than international shares, and provide franking (tax) credits. We can find some diversification via international shares and fixed income strategies, which offer decent returns.
Direct shares incur no ongoing management cost after their initial transaction cost, except for listed investment companies (LICs) and exchange traded funds (ETFs), where a management fee is built into the share price. The characteristics that guide our investment selection are:
- Lower Price to Earnings (PE) ratio than average, indicating undervalued stocks
- A higher gross dividend yield than average, a better payout for investors
- A lower payout ratio than average, indicating greater ability to increase dividends
- Lower debt than average, indicating a reduced default risk, and ability to sustain dividends
- A deliberate tilt away from financials, which we believe will be challenged in the medium term
- Reduced exposure to top 50 stocks, as we search for companies with the ability to grow dividends
We work with you to have a shared responsibility for risk management plan.
We believe a risk management plan is vital for all clients. Without a Plan B your Plan A can fall over very quickly. A risk management plan is not just about life insurance, it can include a cashflow buffer or a flexible estate and succession plan. If there is a gap in funding, that gap may need to be insured.
We encourage all clients to take on a level of self-insurance and understand the trade-off. This could include a waiting period before any cover will kick in and reinforces the need to have a liquid emergency fund, or assets you would be willing to sell if needed.
Where a safety net is required, we believe it must be flexible enough to meet changing requirements and be sustainable throughout a clients’ risk management timeframe.
We believe education is essential to help our clients engage with their risk management plan and be aware of where self-insurance ends and where protection solution begins.
We believe in providing as much certainty of claim as possible for clients. This requires a thorough and full disclosure of personal, financial and medical information prior to application. We will work with you to manage your health and occupation history to find the best balance of cover and cost.