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2013 resolutions: IFAs set out their business plans
With turkey, crackers and even commission a distant memory, eight advisers look ahead to 2013 and reveal their business resolutions.
Sights set firmly on growth in turnover and staff numbers
After a busy and successful year, Sheriar Bradbury, managing director of London-based Bradbury Hamilton, is hoping to increase turnover and recurring income in 2013.
With four acquisitions under his belt from 2012, Bradbury will embark on a recruitment drive next year to boost adviser, paraplanner and support staff numbers at the firm.
‘We’ve had lots of activity, lots of success and a big influx of new clients,’ he said.
‘My goal is to get to £2.7 million turnover in the next 12 months. We had £1.65 million last year and we’re building toward the £2.5 million turnover mark, which would be great. But the goal is £2.7 million.’
Bradbury said he was less worried about profitability in 2013, as long as the firm did not incur a significant loss.
He said he wanted to continue his acquisition strategy into the New Year. ‘I think in the next two to three years there will be lots of deals and then that market will more or less finish,’ he said.
On a personal level, Bradbury would like to get his house renovated. He said he wanted to add a basement to his Hampstead home, which was originally a church.
Ready to explore and forge professional connections
Cambridge-based 35 Finance is targeting more professional connections with solicitors and accountants in 2013, following a recent change in its ownership structure.
Jeremy Davis, managing director of 35 Finance, said because the firm was born out of the in-house advice arms of two solicitor firms that had retained their shares, this had put off other solicitors making referrals.
He said the two solicitors, Barr Ellison and Kenneth Bush Solicitors, had sold their stakes in the firm to its chief executive David Saunderson in October, giving him an opportunity to build fresh links with local lawyers and accountants.
‘Previously when we talked to solicitors, they would say they would love to work with us but couldn’t because we were tied up with their competitors,’ said Davis.
‘So we feel we have a new opportunity in 2013 to explore professional connections with our new freedom to explore that area more widely,’ said Davis.
‘We have a lot of experience working with professionals and that is our origin, our niche, and that’s what we’re good at.’
Brushing up client meetings with improved agendas
Following a stressful 2012 with the collapse of network Burns Anderson, Leeds-based Francis Klonowski has a down-to-earth ambition for 2013: to draw up better agendas for client meetings.
‘I won’t set myself a long list of New Year’s resolutions as there’s only so many I can cope with,’ he said.
‘I want to make more from agendas for client meetings. It’s something I’ve not done properly yet, and would like to make that part of the ongoing [advice] process. So, instead of just sending clients notes, I want to tell them what we are going to discuss and make better notes afterwards.’
Away from the office, Klonowski hopes to declutter his house, which is on the market, and start looking for a new home.
‘I’ve been starting to get interest, and when the viewers come over, I have to run around hiding things, and I forget where I hid them,’ he said. ‘I always hope they don’t want to see inside the wardrobes.
‘I did start looking at new houses but got bored after an hour in an estate agent and went round to have a cup of tea with my daughter instead.’
Tapping Eastern wisdom for a route to long-term success
John Fachiri, managing director of John Fachiri Chartered Financial Planners, wants to bring some Eastern wisdom to his North West firm.
Wirral-based Fachiri said he and his co-manager Vicky Fachiri had been building kaizen, the Japanese method of long-term success through small regular improvements, into their business.
‘One of our friends is massively into it, and it works brilliantly,’ he said.
‘Next year, we will use this approach to have a list of jobs to do on the first day of the month, like updating figures and finishing paperwork quickly.’
Fachiri said he also hoped to maintain his recently acquired healthy diet and exercise habits in 2013.
‘I have given up sausages, bacon and butter in the morning and now have rabbity-type food. I’m having poached eggs on brown bread and avoiding Marmite,’ he said.
‘I’ve lost three pounds in two weeks, so I will keep that up, along with my 60 sit-ups a day.’
Get chartered and ensure client satisfaction
After launching Hampshire-based Cube Financial Planning in 2011, director Mike Godfrey wants to build on its first full year of trading and obtain chartered status and possibly become an Institute of Financial Planning accredited firm.
Godfrey said the firm would also undertake a client satisfaction survey and formalise internal procedures.
Godfrey said he hoped for organic growth through client referrals and targeted marketing but steered clear of making too many predictions about the coming year.
‘The only one [prediction] I will make is that change is the only constant so accept it and deal with, don’t fight it.
‘As Lao Tzu, an ancient Chinese philosopher, put it “those who have knowledge do not predict. Those who predict do not have knowledge!”’
Away from the office Godfrey aims to get his golf handicap down, spend more time with his wife, and sharpen his photography skills.
Improve work/life balance and focus on existing clients
Affluent Financial Planning managing director Carl Melvin is looking to improve his work/life balance in 2013 following his most profitable year to date in 2012.
Melvin said he wanted the Paisley-based firm to add a small number of high quality clients to its bank, but would largely focus on servicing its existing customers.
Raise profile and grow client numbers
After fine tuning her business in 2012 Anna Sofat, director of London-based Addidi Wealth, is planning a marketing push and hopes to increase client numbers over the next 12 months.
Sofat said Addidi had focussed on perfecting its back office functions and had refined its client and investment propositions in 2012.
She said 2013 would see the firm have a more outward looking approach and planned to up its marketing activity and grow client numbers.
Build on success and launch joint venture
Jillian Thomas, managing director of Sheffield-based Future Life Wealth Management, is set to have achieved one of her New Year resolutions by the end of January, when she launches a joint venture with Banner Jones Solicitors
Thomas said 2013 was all about her consolidating the progress the business made last year when it scooped the Derbyshire Times Small Business of the Year award, and ensuring the joint venture was a success.
Thomas added that she wanted to spend less time in the office, and was worried by threats from her staff that they planned to drag her to the gym!