Gregg has been involved in the financial services industry since April 1996. An ex high school mathematics teacher, he worked at various companies before leaving the corporate world with a business partner to set up their own financial planning practice, MacConnell Sneddon Personal Wealth Management cc,  in March 2000. Since then they have built solid financial planning businesses based on long-term relationships and “value for money” principles. They have a substantial and loyal client base with just under R500 million in assets under management.

  • Gregg also served as Chairman of the Western Cape Chapter of the Financial Planning Institute from 2001 to 2006. During this time he also sat on the national board of the FPI.
  • Gregg holds a BSc (Hons) degree as well as the Higher Diploma in Education from UCT.
  • He also holds the Post Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning from UOFS and is a Certified Financial Planner ®
  • He also passed the Registered Person Exams through the South African Institute of Financial Markets (SAIFM).
  • He has also successfully completed various other courses in Investments and Taxation through the Institute of Bankers and UCT and is also a registered tax practitioner with the South African Institute of Tax Practitioners.

Fee-based?

There is currently no “prescribed” model for fee-based financial planning in SA (nor, for that matter, is there a definition of financial planner). There are many financial planners that refer to themselves as “fee-based” but when push comes to shove, many of them still earn commission. While there is nothing wrong with earning commission, it is mis-leading of them to claim that they are fee-based—so make sure you know how your financial planner is getting paid.

At The Financial Coach™ we only get paid directly by our clients for work that we do for them. This is all “pre-quoted” and both parties have agreed to the work as well as the scale of remuneration prior to commencement.

In many instances, we also place business for our clients—this is done through an affiliated company, MacConnell Sneddon Personal Wealth Management cc, that holds contracts with a number of financial service providers. In such instances, no initial commission is earned on investments or insurance (these savings are all passed back to the client) and in most instances, as a result of this, business is done at no initial fees.

Where clients appoint us in an ongoing advisory capacity on their investments we earn an annual advice fee on their funds. These fees are paid out of the clients funds directly to the planner. Industry norms range from 0.5% -1% per annum. At MacConnell Sneddon Personal Wealth Management cc, all our fees are 0.5% per annum and lower (depending on the portfolio size). Ideally, in a fee-based model, the client would pay these fees directly to the planner—practically, it is much easier to have these fees paid by the company (although we do have some clients who are happy to pay us directly).

We also do quite a bit of fee-only advice work. This is all done on an hourly basis and much of it is “second opinion” type work. In these cases, work is quoted upfront and the clients are free to contact us on an “as and when” basis.

Financial Planning?

“…objective (measurable) advice that results in a plan to identify and manage current financial risks and achieve future financial needs and goals.”

Many institutions offer Financial Planning Services, however, in most instances this is done on a commission basis where the so-called “planners” are incentivised to sell products.

It is internationally accepted that Financial Planning is best done by way of a fee where there is no incentrive to sell a prodcut in order to justify time spent with a client. This results in more objective advice.

Financial Planning involves an internationally recognised 6 step process; they are:

  1. Establish and define client planner relationship
  2. Gather data and information from the client
  3. Analyse the data and develop the plan
  4. Present the plan (and alternatives)
  5. Implement the plan
  6. Review the plan on a regular (annual) basis

All work done at The Financial Coach™ follows the above 6 step process and our financial plans are written in plain English. we email these to clients so that they can review them before we meet with them to discuss it. If we enter into an ongoing financial planning relationship with the client, then by default we review the plan on an annual basis with the clients. In certain situations this is done more frequently but it is our experience thatthe more often clients review their portfolios, the more likely they are to focus on short-term “noise” and lose sight of the long term plan.