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We understand it can be daunting reaching out to a financial professional. To ease any worries you may have, we’ve answered some of the questions we often get asked below.


If you have any questions we haven’t answered below, however, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us.

What makes you different?

As a family-run practice, we have offered a friendly, professional, client advisory service since 1978. Started by John Hitchell and now run by his two sons, James and Richard, our ethos is that we treat clients like family, and always try to go the ‘extra mile’. Our clients tell us they are looking for consistency and that, being younger than the average advisers in the UK, our long-term view allows us to build long-term professional relationships.

What does it mean to be Chartered Financial Planners?

Both Richard and James Hitchell hold individual Chartered Financial Planner status.

Chartered status is awarded by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). It is considered the ‘gold standard’ in financial planning and is a symbol of technical competence. It also signifies a public commitment to the highest professional standards, continuing professional development, and adherence to a Code of Ethics.

Having two individually Chartered Financial Planners within our practice means your advice will come from a practitioner at the forefront of their profession

Are you independent?

We choose to be part of Openwork, an award-winning financial network. As such we are 'restricted' and not ‘independent’ advisers.

Being a member of Openwork allows us access to services that enhance our business including a meticulously-researched and managed panel of investments, and products specifically selected to meet our clients’ needs. These solutions are only introduced to our panel once extensive due diligence has been completed and they are removed if strict criteria aren't maintained.

What is the difference between independent and restricted advisers?

It is important to understand that not being independent does not mean our advice is not impartial; it is. Neither independent nor restricted advisers are allowed to be incentivised to recommend one product over another.

We always and only make recommendations that we believe are in your best interests. Being restricted allows us to focus our attention on what we feel really matters to our clients - the quality of our advice.

It is also important to understand that regardless of which type of advice you choose, all financial advisers must have obtained a recognised 'Level 4' qualification, which takes around a year to obtain via examinations. Both James and Richard have exceeded this requirement and are Chartered Financial Planners, a status considered to be the 'gold standard' for financial advice.

Where are meetings held?

Meetings can be held in our Tunbridge Wells office. You can find full details of how to find our office on our contact page.

We provide tea or coffee, and there might even be some biscuits.

But if you prefer, we can visit you at your home or office, providing there is a private room available.

We also host meetings at Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, in London should that be a more convenient location for you.

COVID-19 update: At present, while it isn't possible for us to meet face-to-face, we are using Microsoft Teams to hold virtual meetings. We can talk you through how to access Microsoft Teams if you haven’t used it before. We will review this policy as the situation changes and follow updated government guidelines as they are published.

Do you have parking?

Yes, please let us know if you would like us to reserve a car parking space for you when you visit the office.

Are you close to the train station?

Yes, we are a short walk away from Tunbridge Wells station, with regular trains from Charing Cross and Cannon Street.

Do I need to bring anything to our first meeting?

The discovery meeting is about getting to know each other, your story and what you want the next chapter of your life to look like. Having details of existing pensions, investments and protection plans is helpful, but it’s not essential.

Do I have to pay for an initial meeting?

No, the initial discovery meeting is at our expense. We won’t charge you to find out if we can help you. The initial meeting is a chance for us to see if we can add value based on your circumstances, and for both of us to get to know each other better.

How can I book an initial meeting?

Please use the contact form below, call us on (01892) 532700, or email: or fill out our contact form. If you call and an adviser isn't available for an initial chat, please leave a message, and we will call you back as soon as we’re able.

How do decide which funds you will recommend?

Unlike many, we freely admit that no-one knows which fund managers will turn out to be the most effective over the years. And, if we were to employ our own fund managers to manage individual funds, it’s unlikely that they would be the best in the business at all times.

So rather than manage the assets ourselves, we have a team of extremely powerful and experienced investment professionals whose job is to identify and hold to account some of the best fund managers in the market. If any of those fund managers stop delivering to our requirements, we replace them with those who can.

This recommended fund list is compiled and updated by the Openwork Investment Committee. They are supported in this by authoritative investment research and analysis from Morningstar and Mercers.

This list includes dozens of leading companies offering both active and passive funds. We also offer a range of funds with a focus on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) responsibility for those who wish to consider the sustainability and societal impact of their investments. The range of options available to us enables us to create a portfolio that matches your values, your goals, the timescale over which you want to see growth, as well as your attitude to risk.

Are restricted advisers less qualified than independent?

No, regardless of which type of advice you choose, all financial advisers must have obtained a recognised 'Level 4' qualification, which takes around a year to obtain via examinations for new advisers. Both James and Richard have exceeded this requirement and are Chartered Financial Planners, considered to be the 'gold standard' qualification for financial advice.

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We’ve been providing expert financial advice for more than 40 years. Over the course of that time, we’ve learnt a lot about what our clients want and need, and how we can best serve their needs.

Enter your details & we'll be in touch to discuss your needs. Alternatively, contact us directly and speak to a member of the team.

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Hitchell Financial Planning is a trading name of Hitchell Associates LLP. Hitchell Associates LLP is registered in England No. OC355844.

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