Located in west London, Ealing is the third largest London borough with nearly 350,000 residents.
With a booming population comes housing. ‘There is a lot of wealth around here,’ says Vanessa Barnes, principal of Hannay Investments. ‘The gentrification has expanded quite a bit to cover Brentford, Hanwell and Acton.’
Ealing is also known for its part in the formation of the Rolling Stones and for being home to the world’s oldest film studio still in production. It is also my hometown, so I was excited to find out more about what wealth in the area means for local IFAs.
Barnes predicts the growing population presents a great opportunity. ‘The properties are worth a lot of money. You can get properties worth £2 million to £3 million commonly in Ealing, and more than £1 million in the surrounding area,’ she says.
This has opened a window for inheritance tax planning, as even modestly priced properties can push over the nil-rate band.
I visited a few firms based within a stone’s throw of its administrative centre of Ealing Broadway. If that place rings a bell, it may be because you travel on the westbound central line and have had it hammered into your brain ‘this train terminates at Ealing Broadway’.
With 19 overground and underground stations, nine railway stations and a surplus of regular bus services, the area is incredibly well-connected by public transport links. This will only be further improved once the Crossrail opens. It will pass through Ealing Broadway and connect the westernmost parts of London, up to Reading, through to the Essex area.
The immense property market has also meant there is virtually no competition between financial services firms. ‘Most of the other firms are mostly mortgage-based, because of the very large property market in west London,’ says Barnes.
Robert Taylor, managing partner at FPS London, has been running the firm for 13 years. He confirms ‘there are more than enough clients to go around’.
There are also a lot of investment and development opportunities. Ealing is a hotbed for business growth, with more VAT-registered businesses than anywhere else in west London. It is also where you can find one of Europe’s largest industrial estates, Park Royal. With this comes a plethora of business owners, and wealth to be managed.
As one of the greenest boroughs in London, it appears a lot of clients like to visit both Hannay Investments and FPS London by foot, although for those driving, Barnes says she has parking. ‘It’s not like central London where it’s difficult to drive in.’
Combining all these factors makes Ealing a fantastic place to set up camp. It is a particularly popular area for families to settle. Assessing the prices of the properties and number of private schools in the area, it is certainly a borough with wealth. Its proximity to central London and the connected motorway routes outside London make it an accessible base.
Having experienced the commuter routines of a professional working in central London, both Barnes and Taylor believe Ealing has been able to offer a better work-life balance. ‘It is a great place to live and a great place to work,’ Taylor says.