Cover star catch up: Chris Daems of Cervello FP

Catch up with Chris Daems of Cervello Financial Planning.

It has been a whirlwind three years for Chris Daems since he featured as a New Model Adviser® cover star in 2012. Since then, his business has done more than just tick over nicely, and he now runs the auto-enrolment tool provider AE in a Box alongside his financial planning firm, which rebranded from Principal Financial Solutions to Cervello Financial Planning in February.

Cervello, which is based in Rainham, Essex, continues to grow at an enviable rate, attracting roughly 10 new clients each month. With technology becoming a focal part of Daems’ business plan, the company has scaled up effectively.

‘Our focus was originally on scaling up in terms of people,’ he says. ‘We tried that but realised it was a labour-intensive way of doing business. Technology is far more scalable and allows us to be a much bigger business while staying small and nimble, and that’s what we want.’

The firm left network Intrinsic last year and became directly authorised, setting the scene for the rebrand.

It has been a whirlwind three years for Chris Daems since he featured as a New Model Adviser® cover star in 2012. Since then, his business has done more than just tick over nicely, and he now runs the auto-enrolment tool provider AE in a Box alongside his financial planning firm, which rebranded from Principal Financial Solutions to Cervello Financial Planning in February.

Cervello, which is based in Rainham, Essex, continues to grow at an enviable rate, attracting roughly 10 new clients each month. With technology becoming a focal part of Daems’ business plan, the company has scaled up effectively.

‘Our focus was originally on scaling up in terms of people,’ he says. ‘We tried that but realised it was a labour-intensive way of doing business. Technology is far more scalable and allows us to be a much bigger business while staying small and nimble, and that’s what we want.’

The firm left network Intrinsic last year and became directly authorised, setting the scene for the rebrand.

Big ambitions

Looking to the future, Daems is not afraid to dream big. ‘We’ve got some really big plans for both businesses, and we’re probably over-ambitious but we’re not scared of that,’ he says.

The plans for AE in a Box include having 3,000 employers using the technology by the end of the year, and 30,000 (roughly 5% of the market) by the end of 2016. For Cervello, the ambition is to continue to grow organically, innovate and provide good value for clients.

Daems has lofty ambitions outside of the office too. He hopes to run a marathon in the next three years. He is taking plenty of steps in the right direction, having completed the Great North Run last year (pictured left) and a 10k around the Olympic Park last month.

‘As you come into the stadium they play Chariots of Fire,’ he says. ‘That was brilliant.’

Charity Work

‘The thing I did recently, which was really good fun and again at the Olympic Park, was abseiling the Orbit,’ says Daems.

‘It was for a charity called Richard House, a children’s hospice in East London. We raised about £800 for it by me throwing myself off a large structure, so that was good.’

First Job

‘At 14 I used to collect glasses in a working men’s club,’ says Daems. ‘My uncle ran the club in Canning Town. I used to earn £4 a session, and then I went to East Ham working man’s club where I earned £10 a session.

‘I thought it was brilliant! I actually met my wife, Cassie, at the East Ham club.’

Retirement Plans

‘My retirement plan is to carry on doing the things I love. I like to travel, so when I retire I’ll do more of that,’ says Daems.

‘I’m not going to wait until I retire, but six months of travelling and six months back doing something I enjoy would be the right balance.’

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