Around the UK in 30 IFA offices: the 2018 news so far

With the first quarter of the year over, we take a look back across the first three months of the year to round up all the goings on from across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

8 January 2018

London

EQ gets in the B queue

London-based EQ Investors announced its recertification as a B Corporation in January, signalling its commitment to environmental and social issues.

To qualify for the status, EQ adhered to performance standards concerning transparency, accountability and consideration of stakeholder interests. It also changed its legal structure.

'We are applying our resources and expertise to address a growing array of social and environmental problems,' chief executive John Spiers said at the time. 'More than ever before, the most successful, respected and desirable businesses exist to do much more than make money.'

8 January 2018

London

EQ gets in the B queue

London-based EQ Investors announced its recertification as a B Corporation in January, signalling its commitment to environmental and social issues.

To qualify for the status, EQ adhered to performance standards concerning transparency, accountability and consideration of stakeholder interests. It also changed its legal structure.

'We are applying our resources and expertise to address a growing array of social and environmental problems,' chief executive John Spiers said at the time. 'More than ever before, the most successful, respected and desirable businesses exist to do much more than make money.'

8 January 2018

Plymouth

Brown bags business award

Plymouth-based Continuum Financial Services was named second in the financial services sector at the UK Business Awards, held at Wembley Stadium in November 2017.

It was encouraged to apply after coming third in 2016. Once shortlisted, the firm was invited to deliver a formal presentation to a panel of judges.

Continuum managing partner Martin Brown received nominations for 17 different awards last year.

'Every award is recognition for client engagement,' Brown said at the time. ‘From day one we set out to create a business that both advisers and clients are proud of.'

8 January 2018

Dorset

Roberts' in the running for chartered

When we sat down with Simone Roberts of Dorset-based Ward Goodman, she told us all about her ambitions to be a top young financial adviser.

A year travelling the world made one thing clear for her: she was not going to go to university, she was going to work in financial services instead.

After finishing her A-levels, Roberts set off around Australia and Thailand, where she says she learnt the valuable skill of being adaptable. Prior to travelling she had worked in a data entry job in financial services, so she returned to that skillset.

'When I came back I just thought university wasn’t for me and I would rather do a job where I could earn some money and do on-the-job training as well,' she told our audience development team.

 

15 January 2018

Manchester

Bowen building scale with ethical ethos

'We look more corporate now,' Castlefield partner Olivia Bowen told our head of UK audience development Ian Horne when they spoke in January.

The company's polished appearance is part of a broader marketing and business strategy, which intends to present socially and environmentally conscious investment decisions as the norm.

'It allows us to reach out to people who might not identify as ethical consumers,' she said.

'I think our enthusiasm for ethical investments might have put people off in the past, and maybe we didn’t look enough like financial advisers. I mean, we wore suits but we were a little more avant-garde.'

The danger is the firm may have lost its way and diluted its message. But Bowen is convinced that is not true. 'We haven’t lost that heart, and our passions are still absolutely the same,' she said.

'But I think we’re doing a better job of integrating, both with clients and within the profession. It’s easier to be influential from within.'

15 January 2018

Bury

PM+M helps out homeless

Lancashire-based advice and wealth management firm PM+M told us all about their work supporting homelessness in the Bury area in January.

The firm donated more than £2,600 to Bury Hospice by participating in the Bury Hospice Corporate Challenge.

'Bury Hospice provides a vital service in the most difficult of times, so it was a no-brainer,' PM+M head of corporate services Helen Clayton told us at the time. 

PM+M also signed up as a corporate sponsor of The Met, a local performing arts and entertainment venue. 'We wanted to support a local organisation that adds value to the community,' Clayton said.

15 January 2018

Glasgow

Agile Argyle celebrates anniversary

Argyle Consulting, which launched in 1997, celebrated its 20th anniversary last year by breaking the £1 billion of funds under advice barrier.

When managing director Stuart Dunbar spoke to our audience development team at the beginning of this year, he said:

'We are immensely proud that clients have entrusted us to manage £1 billion of assets on their behalf. To reach this milestone as we celebrate our 20th anniversary is particularly meaningful.'

The business employs more than 40 staff in its Glasgow and Edinburgh offices. Last February it became the UK's first IFA to be awarded the Investors in People platinum status. 

15 January 2018

Sheffield

A different kind of future life

Jillian Thomas (pictured), managing director of Future Life Wealth Management told our audience development team earlier this year about her success as a school governor.

Thomas, who is based in Sheffield, was appointed governor of Chesterfield College, but this is only one of her extra-curricular activities.

Outside of financial advice, she was until recently president of the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce. She was the second woman to have held the post in the chamber's 160-year history. 

 

22 January 2018

Bath

Double Charity challenge

Bath-based IFA Epoch Wealth Management raised £29,000 for The Lewis Moody Foundation and £20,000 for the Children's Hospice South West earlier this year.

Former England rugby union star Lewis Moody set up the eponymous charity to fund research into brain tumours. Epoch managing partner Barry Newbury and co-founding partner John Rolfe travelled across Costa Rica on mountain bikes, in kayaks and on foot as part of their fundraising mission.

Meanwhile, Epoch personal assistant Helen Whitcombe also helped to raise £20,000 for the Children's Hospice South West by trekking to Mount Everest base camp. 

 

22 January 2018

Newport, Wales

Bryn the dragon

It's been a busy time for Newport-based firm Niche IFA. What with the British Steel pension saga rumbling all around them, and the regulator taking a keen interest in IFA activity in the area. Just to be safe, Niche shut its doors to new clients for a while, but has since re-opened.

On a lighter note, the firm also welcomed Bryn the dragon as a permanent fixture atop its roof, a process which involved input from the IFA community on Twitter, along with clients too, of course. 

The dragon is a focal point for anyone driving down the M4 nearby, as was conveyed by the hashtag #NameTheM4Dragon. Let's hope there aren't any crashes!

 

29 January 2018

Exeter

P1 Planet savers

Exeter-based P1 Investment Management became a signatory to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) earlier this year. It had only recently achieved an ISO1400 certification in environmental management.

Quentin Rayer, P1's head of research and investing, said at the time that his firm would be working to help the CDP identify the 'leaders and laggards' in environmental reporting and performance.

'This will help inform our investment decisions and stewardship activities,' he said. 

29 January

Norwich

Investing Ethically puts its money where its mouth is

Earlier this year we covered the news that Norwich-based Investing Ethically had been accredited as a Living Wage Employer. 

That meant that everyone working for the firm, from direct employees to third-party staff, will receive (at least) the minimum hourly wage of £8.75 in the UK, or £10.20 in London.

Client relationship manager Debbie Chettleburgh said that 'as an ethical organisation it is only right we set the correct example in-house. The need for transparency is paramount across the industry. We value our staff and this commitment verifies that.'

5 February 2018

Newport, Wales

Adams adamant about adviser book

Having set up new dragon Bryn on the roof of his office, Niche IFA's Ray Adams announced that he was aiming to boost IFA uptake of his financial adviser directory AdviserBook by holding off on subscription fees until at least 2019.

Adams set AdviserBook up to challenge the likes of VouchedFor and Unbiased and set that it was time for a more 'user-friendly' service that better suited advisers and clients alike.

'There simply needs to be one,' he said.

'By removing the cost element, we are essentially inviting everyone to claim their AdviserBook profile and help create a directory that works for everyone.'

5 February 

Back to London

Robo-rise top of the agenda

In February it fell to Citywire's head of UK audience development Ian Horne to join business leaders from across the south of England to discuss the key issues facing the advice community.

Conversation and presentations at the Bishopsgate event included robotics and artificial intelligence, qualifications, regulation and financial education. 

Ian also gave his own presentation to discuss his findings from life on the road, using data that showed how and why IFAs are engaging with the press, and why certain topics - the Financial Services Compensation Scheme levy? - continue to dominate the headlines.

Mark Duggan, intermediary sales manager at Charles Stanley, and Matthew Cheek, sales manager at Janus Henderson, hosted the event.

5 February 2018

Manchester

Horne hears all about the PFS's goals

It was back on the road for Ian Horne (pictured) as he then went up to Manchester to attend the Officers Conference of the Personal Finance Society (PFS).

Hosted at the Midland Hotel in Manchester, the event set out the next steps for PFS regional committee members as it pushes the profession forward in 2018. 

As well as learning about the PFS's goals for the year, Ian delivered his speech on adviser media engagement again, and specifically addressed how advisers can better collaborate with the trade press to achieve their goals.

 

5 February 2018

Wales (again)

BSPS debacle brings IFAs together

In February we reported how more than 20 advisers had gotten together with our on the road team for a catch up at the Tiny Rebel bar in Cardiff.

The British Steel Pension Scheme saga was obviously top of the agenda, but we are told there were lots of upbeat discussions too. Ian and his team also learned about a book launch. Craig Palfrey, chartered financial planner at Cardiff-based Penguin Wealth, has since published his tome, which is all about creating and building the wealth that you want for your future. 

12 February 2018

Glasgow

Trio talk regulation at roadshow

New Model Adviser®'s  own Bhavna Koli joined the moneyinfo roadshow in Glasgow earlier this year, for half a day's insight into the upcoming general data protection regulation (GDPR).

The opening speaker was Tessa Lee, managing director at moneyinfo, who provided insight into the new EU regulation and key changes from the Data Protection Act. The audience then heard from Chris Davies, founder of Engage Insight. At the time he was preparing to launch Model Office, an IT system that aims to help businesses stay up to date with new regulatory directives.

To close, business development manager Rikki Renshaw gave a presentation about moneyinfo's client portal, which is a tool for clients to securely update their adviser with key information. 

12 February 2018

Coventry

Fresh Face Manak Scoops Award

Following his appearance in our 'Fresh Faces' article, we caught up with Jeevan Manak, paraplanner at Rugby-based Perry Appleton group.

He had more good news to share with us, most notably that he was recently awarded the 'young achiever award' at the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) Coventry annual dinner.

'Although this is a great personal accolade, I truly believe you are only as good as the people you work with,' he told us.

'I am honoured to work with Perry Appleton and I hope to make further contributions to the firm, our clients and the profession.'

12 February 2018

Teeside

Active's investment in staff wins award

In February our on the road team caught up with the team at Active Financial Planners. They were in high spirits, having just been announced the 'North East employer of the year' at the annual Federation of Small Business awards.

Active beat off competition from two other firms to take home its title. The winner was decided based on the growth of the business, the company's financial records, and the investments made in staff.

'It is important our staff are happy and fulfilled, as it encourages them to stay with us and do exceptional work,' managing director Karl Pemberton said.

19 February 2018

Birmingham

IFAs back homeless with charity work

Staff at Wealth Solutions will support St Basils this year, a charity that works with young homeless people and those at risk of homelessness.

It is the first time the firm has elected a specific charity to support throughout the year and it is keen to make it an annual event.

Staff will take on the St Basils Walk through the Black Mountains in June and the Big Birmingham Sleep Out in November.

Wealth Solutions administrator Kelly Shephard said: 

'It is a great charity that helps a lot of vulnerable young people and the staff are very passionate about what they do. We're very excited to be supporting them this year.'

19 February 2018

Aberdeen 

Burns Club Supper Speech

A familiar face played a key role at the Ellon Burns Club Annual Supper at the Buchan Hotel earlier this year.

Phil Anderson, managing director of Phil Anderson Financial Services, delivered the annual 'Toast to The Lassies.' This is traditionally delivered to say thanks to the women who put the supper together.

Bringing this tradition into the 21st century, Anderson chose to speak about the lack of women in financial services and also touched on the gender pay gap.

'I've been asked to come back and do it again next year,' he told us.

'I must have done a decent job to be asked back.'

19 February 2018

Cambridge

Gibbs Denley in portfolio push

In February Cambridge-based Gibbs Denley Investment Management launched model portfolios to be used by advice firms.

Associate director and investment manager Tom Sparke will head up the portfolios, which will be overseen by the investment committee chaired by director Mark Denley.

Denley told us:

'We provide advisers with the information they need to identify the right portfolio for their clients, and provide help as needed. But we leave the advising to the advisers, who know their clients best.'

'This enables us to provide our portfolios at a very competitive price without compromising on quality.'

26 February 2018

London

From London to India

The Foundation of Independent Financial Advisers (Fifa, no, not that Fifa) in India welcomed a familiar contributor to New Model Adviser®'s pages in February.

Phil Billingham, director of London-based Perceptive Planning, delivered workshops in New Delhi and Mumbai on the transition to fee-based models.

Billingham has delivered presentations in 15 countries worldwide. He was approached by Fifa India after speaking at a conference in London in October.

'The feedback has been very positive,' he said.

'The objective of the workshops is to translate principles into practice. India is going through regulatory change just as the UK did.'

26 February 2018

Edinburgh

Glassey welcomes new website

Wealthflow founding partner Duncan Glassey found time to catch up with our audience development team recently, and shared news of his new website.

The site is now live and Glassey said:

'Our new website allows us to address existing and new clients much more directly. Our design team worked extremely hard to develop this website for current and potential clients.'

'We are delighted that the look and feel of the new site is person-focused and, at the same time, highlights our high standards of service and professionalism.'

 

26 February 2018

Lewes

Shedding the old model of advice

New Model Adviser®'s Ashley Thomas-Walsh has been in some strange places in his time, but that's normally just at the weekends. So you can imagine his wonder when he visited east Sussex to catch up with Matt Bradford, founder of Freedom Sooner.

Bradford has set up his new office very close to home indeed: in his own shed.

But forget lawnmowers and tools; Bradford has created a vibrant and professional office space that boasts heating, electricity, and even a dartboard. 

5 March 2018

Bristol

Frapple grapples with lack of youth in advice

Audience development executives Bhavna Koli and Ashley-Thomas Walsh caught up with Phil Frapple, director of Somerset-based Nexus IFA, at the Quilter Cheviot roadshow earlier this year. At the Leigh Court venue in Bristol, Frapple bemoaned the lack of young people in the profession.

He joked that many of New Model Adviser®’s ‘Top 35 Next Generation Advisers’ last year were nearer the upper end of the age spectrum.

On the topic of the next generation of advisers, Frapple mentioned his son Harry Frapple, 21, and Paulo Costa, 22. The pair joined the firm as trainee advisers in 2016.

 

5 March 2018

London

Female IFAs join forces to help Sierra Leone

Earlier this year Petronella West, director of London-based Investment Quorum, hosted a 'Girls Speak Out' event at the Institute of Directors.

She discussed how women in the UK can help support the 'Girls Speak Out' network, which aims to give girls in Sierra Leone better access to education.

Familiar faces included Ruth Sturkey, client director of London-based The Red House Consulting, and Tina Weeks, director of London-based Serenity Financial Planning.

'We now aim to turn momentum into action,' West told us.

12 March 2018

Stockport

New hire

In the first quarter of this year Stockport-based Prest Financial Planning hired Mike Walker as a financial planner.

Walker joined with a wealth of experience as Prest continues to aim for record growth, building on its £350 million assets under management.

Speaking to New Model Adviser®, Walker said:

'Joining Prest has been a real breath of fresh air after a career in large, corporate firms. As a family business, it puts its clients’ needs at the heart of its proposition. It also has the depth and breadth of expertise to deliver the solutions and results clients need.'

12 March 2018

London

New targets

After a week travelling the south west of the UK and Wales, the On the Road team managed to spend some time with IFAs in London again. Ian, Bhavna and Ashley caught up with EA Financial Solutions over tapas at central London-based restaurant Hispania.

Managing director Minesh Patel and trainee IFA George Bugakov were keen to share their start to 2018 with us. Patel has been looking to rebuild the business model and continue growth, with the aim of reaching £100 million assets under management by the end of 2018.

26 March 2018

London

Midfield maestro Mullan makes debut

IFA networking took on a new twist last month when Ian Horne invited London-based Eelah’s Alfie Mullan to join his five-a-side football team on a mild Monday night in Camden.

The chartered financial planner impressed on his debut, providing some much-needed energy in midfield. But an inspired performance from the opposition goalkeeper resulted in a 5-3 loss.

Horne would like to make it clear the defeat had nothing to do with his wayward shooting. Meanwhile, talks with Mullan’s agent, regarding a longer-term deal, are currently underway.

 

26 March 2018

Glasgow

Roadshow prep

With the New Model Adviser® roadshow fast approaching, Ashley Thomas-Walsh travelled to Glasgow to meet up with firms, ahead of the roadshow event there on 10 May this year.

During his time in the unusually sunny city, Thomas-Walsh met with Rosemount Asset Management and Paterson Financial Planning. They discussed future investment opportunities and how firms should have been more prepared to deal with Mifid II.

Thomas-Walsh also met with newly qualified financial adviser Jonathan Robinson at TruWealth. 

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