Life Landscaping® from Amber River

Jacob Rudman is an Independent Chartered Financial Planner from Exeter-based Shipman Financial Planning, part of the Amber River Group. He’s passionate about helping his clients to understand how risk can affect their investments in positive and negative ways.

Amber River South West

For Jacob Rudman, an Independent Chartered Financial Planner with Shipman Financial Planning, life is all about taking calculated risks. He’s not averse to taking a few risks himself - he once swam the English Channel as part of a relay team. But Jacob understands the need to consider risk carefully and coaches his clients about the financial risks they should be taking, and those they should avoid.

Jacob’s interest in financial planning was first realised while he was at university. He recalls: “I was taking a Business Studies degree, and while some parts of the course covered topics like accounting, it was the financial services section that I found most engaging. After university I started working for NatWest Bank. One of the financial advisers there pointed me in the direction of the Financial Planning Certificate (FPC) – the qualification I would need to become an adviser. So that’s what I set out to do”.

Jacob continues: “After gaining my qualifications at the age of 25, I started my career as a trainee adviser with a large Bristol based firm. It was a great place to learn all about investments and financial planning. I worked with some highly talented people and learnt a lot from them”.

"People rely on their financial advisers to do the worrying for them"

From there, Jacob moved to a smaller, independent financial planning (IFA) practice in Swindon. There, he continued to hone his knowledge on the science of investing and enjoyed talking to clients about critical concepts such as risk versus reward.

Today, Jacob specialises in helping clients and their loved ones’ plan for their financial future – and factoring risk into the decisions they make together. As he explains: “I’m pretty passionate about risk. It’s important that people have a good understanding of the risks they should and shouldn’t take. Not only is risk the key to investment returns, it also has a massive impact when it comes to understanding how certain investments react the way they do”.

Now is an appropriate time to be discussing risk. Markets have been volatile throughout 2022, and recent events prompted a sharp sell-off of UK government bonds, an asset class much loved by cautious investors. As a result, in the past few months, Jacob has spent a lot of his time talking to clients, explaining what has happened, and discussing what their response should be.

“At the moment many of my clients are worried about rising interest rates and inflation. In times of crisis, advice can be different to when the markets are more stable. People rely on their financial advisers to do the worrying for them. But as much as we can advise on the right responses in times like these, we can’t predict the future.

“Every client is different, of course, but many of my clients contact me during difficult times – not because they expect me to sell their investments, but because they want to hear my perspective on what’s going on and whether their long-term goals will be affected. Usually short-term volatility is just that, short-term. Provided we have agreed a sensible long-term plan, clients are usually much better off riding out the storm instead of selling during a downturn.”

"We’re dealing with people's hopes, fears, and ambitions – and health, wealth and happiness is all interconnected with that"

And when things seem really bleak within financial markets, Jacob can always get a second opinion from his wife, who is a nurse. “My wife is always very good at putting things into perspective, especially when everyone is talking about financial doom and gloom. I’m dealing with people’s money, she’s looking after people’s lives, which in many ways is far more immediate and critical. As financial planners, we’re dealing with people’s hopes, fears, and ambitions – and our health, wealth and happiness is all interconnected”.

That kind of level-headed but responsible approach helps shape Jacob’s thinking when it comes to developing financial plans for his clients. One aspect Jacob feels strongly about is the importance of holistic planning, covering a broad variety of financial issues, rather than just focusing on one particular problem.

For example, while some people might be keen to take advantage of pension freedoms and withdraw a tax-free lump sum from their pension after reaching 55, Jacob will remind them that being tax-efficient into their retirement is just as important as having a large pot of money.

“Sometimes, taking a lump sum is not the most tax-efficient strategy. I try to help by taking a look at the bigger picture and making people aware of any potential pitfalls, such as an inheritance tax liability, that could occur without careful planning. But it can also involve making sure someone uses their personal tax allowances, which can be important to help them generate an income during retirement”.

"The best part of the job all about helping my clients achieve their life goals"

When he’s not delivering reassurance to his clients, Jacob likes to keep himself busy: “I’m very lucky to have two children: Alex is 14 and Molly’s 11. I am probably most happy when I am standing on the side of various football and rugby pitches at the weekend watching them play.”

He continues: “On a more personal note, swimming is my thing. I probably try and swim three times a week if I can. I used to swim competitively when I was younger. I also enjoy open water swimming and swam the Channel back in 2008 in a relay team with a group of friends. We managed a competitive time, and I loved every second of it. I’ve just read (Olympic champion) Adam Peaty’s book on holiday – a great read. He’s motivated me to return to competitive swimming next year”.

Ask Jacob about the best part of his job, and he’ll say it’s all about helping his clients achieve their life goals: “When you are able to create a long-term financial plan that provides a client with the reassurance that they will be comfortable into old age, that’s what I find really rewarding. It means they’ll be in a position to do all of the things in retirement they’ve dreamed of.”

The Expert's Insights

For Jacob’s top tips on managing risk within your own investment portfolio

Understanding the risks of investing

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