The directors present their report and financial statements for the year ended 31 October 2020.
The principal activity of the Group continued to be that of independent financial advisers and investment managers.
Results and dividends
The consolidated statement of comprehensive income for the year is set out on page 36.
The amount that the directors recommend should be paid out by way of dividends has been disclosed in the Strategic Report on page 5.
The Group continues to focus on organic growth and generating leads though strategic marketing campaigns to increase brand awareness amongst the mass affluent population and to drive revenue and profitability.
The Group continues to invest in its digital footprint, technology including, to improve the service to both clients and AFH advisers whilst enabling greater efficiency in its administration. Digitalisation of both the advice and investment service is also expected to open new market channels to future clients who embrace digital and mobile technology.
The following directors have held office since 1 November 2019:
Mr A Hudson
Mr J Wheatley
Mr P Wright
Mrs S Lewis
Mr M Chambers
Mr A Broad
Mrs A Larvin
Full disclosure of information
Each of the Directors at the time of this report confirm that so far as they are aware, there is no relevant audit information of which the company’s auditor is unaware and he / she has taken all appropriate steps to make himself / herself aware of any relevant audit information and to establish that the company’s auditor is aware of that information.
As at the time of the signing of the financial statements the global Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact on global stock markets, short term business confidence and UK companies’ ability to continue normal trading conditions. We expect our recurring revenue to be impacted by global stock markets movements as the global pandemic continues to unfold, however, many client assets are held in non-equity instruments and the impact of the markets on revenue is considerably diluted. The Directors are actively monitoring the position on a regular basis and reviewing cash flow forecasts. Following this crisis we expect there to be increased demand for financial planning services alongside increased awareness of the importance of protection based insurance.
The company has made qualifying third party indemnity provisions for the benefit of its directors which were made during the year and remain in force at the date of this report.
Evaluating Board Performance
At the current stage of the Group’s development, assessment of the Board’s performance and that of its committees is undertaken by the Board as a whole, led by the Company’s Chairman. Although the Company has no formal procedure for measuring the effectiveness of the Board, the Board will be carefully reviewing its effectiveness and the need to refresh its membership by reference to financial performance, adherence to budgets and the overall growth of the Group and taking account of the opinions and insights of its auditors, Nominated Adviser, broker, legal and other advisers. The method of assessing Board effectiveness and performance will be reviewed on a continuing basis.
Matters covered in the Strategic Report and Financial Statements
As permitted by paragraph 1A of schedule 7 to the Large and Medium Sized Companies and Groups (Accounts and Reports) Regulations 2008 certain matters which are required to be disclosed in the Directors Report have been omitted as they are included in the Strategic Report on pages 4-21 and in notes 23 and 24 of the Financial Statements. These matters relate to principal risks and uncertainties which have been disclosed in the Strategic Report, Financial Risk Management which has been disclosed in note 22, and Events subsequent to the Statement of Financial Position which has been disclosed in note 24.
Corporate Governance Statement
The Corporate Governance Statement is published on our external website.
Greenhouse Gas emissions
The Group disclose their energy use and greenhouse gas emissions for which they are responsible in line with SECR requirements. This is the first year of SECR reporting and is aligned with the financial year 01/11/2019 to 31/10/2020.
The reported usage above relates to AFH Independent Financial Services ltd, the only entity required to report in line with SECR requirements
The Green House Gas (GHG) Reporting Protocol – Corporate Standard has been followed to allow easy comparison with equivalent organisational reporting. Carbon emissions are therefore reported as Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. The report has also used the 2020 UK Government’s Conversion Factors for Company Reporting.
Benchmarking and Intensity Metrics
The Group has chosen to utilise an intensity metric that will support comparison to the baseline emissions in future years and will hopefully also seek to measure its emissions against peers for transparency. The chosen intensity measurement ratio is total gross emissions in metric tonnes CO2e per number of employees, the recommended ratio for the sector.
Energy Efficiency Actions
In the period covered by the report, the Group has implemented an Efficiency At Work policy which sets out how many aspects of their energy usage can be reduced. Furthermore, the Group plans to instal LED lighting to various buildings. No formal targets have been set at this point but it is expected to deliver reductions year-on-year as various elements of the policy are implemented.
Comparisons year-on-year will confirm the efficacy of the policy.
The Group gives full consideration to applications for employment from disabled persons where the candidate’s particular aptitudes and abilities are consistent with adequately meeting the requirements of the job. Opportunities are available to disabled employees for training, career development and promotion.
Where existing employees become disabled, it is the Company’s policy to provide continuing employment wherever practicable in the same or an alternative position and to provide appropriate training to achieve this aim.
The Group involves employees in the running of the business through a strategic board and senior management team that works closely with management and staff members.
Employees are involved in an Employee forum where they can contribute ideas towards ways to improve the business, staff benefits and the working environment.
In line with government legislations the Group offers a group wide pension scheme, where staff have the option to opt out if they wish.
A resolution proposing that Saffery Champness LLP be reappointed as auditors of the Group and its Subsidiaries will be put to the members at the Annual General Meeting.
The directors are responsible for preparing the Strategic Report, Directors’ Report and the financial statements in accordance with applicable law and regulations.
Company law requires the directors to prepare financial statements for each financial year. Under that law the directors have elected to prepare the financial statements in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”) as adopted by the European Union and applicable law. Under company law the directors must not approve the financial statements unless they are satisfied that they give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the company and of the profit or loss of the company for that period.
In preparing these financial statements, the directors are required to:
- select suitable accounting policies and then apply
- make judgments and accounting estimates that are reasonable and prudent;
- state whether IFRS as adopted by the European Union
have been followed subject to any material departures disclosed and explained in the financial statements
- provide additional disclosures when compliance with specific requirements in IFRS is insufficient to enable users to understand the impact of particular transactions, other events and conditions on the entity’s financial position and financial performance; and
- prepare the financial statements on the going concern basis unless it is inappropriate to presume that the company will continue in business
The directors are responsible for keeping adequate accounting records that are sufficient to show and explain the company’s transactions and disclose with reasonable accuracy at any time the financial position of the company and enable them to ensure that the financial statements comply with the Companies Act 2006. They are also responsible for safeguarding the assets of the company and hence for taking reasonable steps for the prevention and detection of fraud and other irregularities.
On behalf of the board.
15 January 2021
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