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10 profile stars with less than five employees

They might be small, but these IFA businesses have all been on the cover of our magazine.

Broadway brilliance

Name: Keri Carter, managing director

Firm: Broadway Financial Planning

Location: Worcestershire

Funds under advice: £60 million

Number of staff: five

Staff breakdown: one adviser, one paraplanner, one operations manager, one administrator, one book-keeper.

What you need to know:

Planning pioneer Broadway Financial Planning first featured as a New Model Adviser® cover star in 2006, when Simon Pym Williamson was managing director. Since then, the company has become one of our Top 100 firms for 2016. Keri Carter is now managing director.

They say:

'We have an all-female staff, though it is not deliberate and we would like to balance that. But there is a strong feminine element to what we do, with flowers in the office, cakes for clients and an emphasis on feelings and empathy. That can help clients talk about things they may feel silly talking about even with their family.'

Broadway brilliance

Name: Keri Carter, managing director

Firm: Broadway Financial Planning

Location: Worcestershire

Funds under advice: £60 million

Number of staff: five

Staff breakdown: one adviser, one paraplanner, one operations manager, one administrator, one book-keeper.

What you need to know:

Planning pioneer Broadway Financial Planning first featured as a New Model Adviser® cover star in 2006, when Simon Pym Williamson was managing director. Since then, the company has become one of our Top 100 firms for 2016. Keri Carter is now managing director.

They say:

'We have an all-female staff, though it is not deliberate and we would like to balance that. But there is a strong feminine element to what we do, with flowers in the office, cakes for clients and an emphasis on feelings and empathy. That can help clients talk about things they may feel silly talking about even with their family.'

Clari-net profits

Name: Ailsa Brown

Firm: Gilliland Neilson Brown

Location: Glasgow

Funds under advice: £65 million

Number of staff: five

Staff breakdown: one managing director, one director, one adviser, one senior administrator and one administrator.

What you need to know:

In 1993, Brown sat down at her desk with an empty filing cabinet and lofty ambitions for her new firm, Neilson Brown and thought, "what do I do now?" It was 10 years before the firm became GNB, following a successful merger with Gilliland & Co Financial Services. 'That was the biggest springboard,' reflects Brown. 'Prior to that it was just me, and there’s a limit to what you can do by yourself in a little office.'

They say:

'We’re about looking after our clients; it’s the entire focus. If we don’t have happy clients we don’t have a business.'

Cooking up a storm

Name: Darren Cooke

Firm: Red Circle Financial Planning

Location: Derbyshire

Funds under advice: £33 million

Number of staff: three

Staff breakdown: one director/adviser, one practice manager, one administrator

What you need to know:

Many advisers see growing their businesses for scale as essential, and Cooke initially set out with the same intention. However, following the death of his father-in-law he changed direction.

They say:

'The idea was to build a larger business, but that made me think about my late dad. He always taught me that life was for living and not for ending up the richest man in the graveyard.'

Central success

Name: Ian Smith

Firm: Central Wealth Planning

Location: Solihull

Number of employees: three

Funds under advice: £30 million

2017 profits: £59,000

Staff breakdown: Two directors, both chartered financial planners

What you need to know:

When we profiled Central Wealth Planning as part of our Top 100 compilation last year, the business said it still reinvests 25% of its revenue into training and education. The team has also been involved in CISI projects such as Financial Planning Week. At the time, Director Ian Smith (pictured) was also 

They say:

[On positive publicity from winning awards] 'It has been invaluable because a lot of people have said they had been looking for financial planning but did not know where to go until then.'

 

Creating wealth

Name: Peter Davies

Firm: Create Wealth

Location: Cardiff

Number of employees: five

Funds under advice: £53 million

2017 profits: £400,000

What you need to know:

There is no doubt that Create Wealth directors Peter Davies and Stephen Ng have fought hard to create their own destiny at their chartered firm. Three years ago they expanded their business by hiring former New Model Adviser® coverstar Richard Gough as a financial planning technical specialist. They also appeared as coverstars in our magazine in 2015. 

They say:

‘There are sufficient good quality fund managers to create a portfolio that will outperform in the longer term. We explain the differences between active and passive management to clients and give them a choice. We have continued doing bespoke, so if a client wants a percentage in ethical, trackers or multi-manager funds, we will support that.’

 

Family firm

Name: Mike Godfrey

Firm: Cube Financial Planning

Location: Romsey

Number of employees: four

Funds under advice: £105 million

2017 profits: £400,000

What you need to know: 

New Model Adviser® cover star Mike Godfrey set up Cube Financial Planning after leaving his former employer Bluefin Financial Advisory Services, to whom he had previously sold his former business before coming on board. Today, with sons Jonny and Leigh, and fellow chartered wealth manager Neil Emburey, Godfrey runs Cube Financial Planning, a small but profitable advice business just outside of Southampton. 

They say:

'In the second half of 2015, we decided the pace of organic growth on its own was not enough to achieve our business goals. We have therefore focused on increasing new client intake by developing our profile in the Lloyd's Insurance market in the City.'

 

Derby's David Rouse

Name: David Rouse

Firm: Friar Gate IFS

Location: Derby

Number of staff: four

Funds under advice: £72 million

2017 profits: £195,000

What you need to know: David Rouse's Derby-based business is right next to Derby County Football Club's Pride Park stadium, and the business has counted many football (and rugby!) stars among its clients. Former Manchester United stars Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Peter Schmeichel have been clients, as has Schmeichel's son Kaspar Schmeichel, who is a goalkeeper for Leicester City. Friar Gate also does pro bono, and has also directed its charitable efforts towards supporting the neo-natal intensive care unit at Royal Derby Hospital.

They say:

'It’s about being happy with what you have, rather than striving for more all the time when the risks involved are so high. That has embedded itself clearly in my working life as well.'

Glennan comes good

Name: Lee Glennan

Firm: Glennan Wealth Management

Location: Leeds

Number of employees: four

Funds under advice: £50 million

2017 profits: £250,000

What you need to know: 

When we profiled Glennan Wealth Management as part of our Top 100 firms last year, we described how the business did not have grandiose ambitions.  Rather, it has been quitely building a solid business with strong local links. In addition, the firm is an ongoing sponsor of a local hospice and Glennan has attended a number of events throughout the year on its behalf.

They say:

'Some say the value of what we do is in the financial planning and you have to make the client appreciate that by charging for it. But I wanted a simpler system that is easier to understand. As long as they meet the minimum investment criteria, clients get all the services and all pay the same regardless of how much time they need.'

High net worth

Name: Nicola Watts

Firm: Jane Smith Financial Planning

Location: Olney

Number of employees: five

Funds under advice: £41 million

2017 profit: £40,000 loss

What you need to know:

When we profiled Jane Smith Financial Planning last year as part of our Top 100, Nicola Watts said that the business's focused approach to dealing more with high net worth individuals was paying off. It had resulted in a higher turnover and, consequently, higher fees, but this does not seem to have impacted the firm's recurring income.' The 2017 loss reported in the figures above is due to the purchase of a new premises. 

They say:

[On focusing on high net worth clients]

'Something had to give. We couldn’t continue working loads of hours with evening appointments when I had a young family at home. We needed to change because we were offering a full review service to everyone, whether they had one pound or a million. And we did not have the resources to deal with that. The transition has meant looking after fewer clients and being much more proactive with them. It is a more detailed financial planning process now.'

Family firm

Name: Darren Lloyd Thomas

Firm: Thomas and Thomas

Location: Pembrokeshire

Number of staff: four

Funds under advice: £31 million

2017 profit: £260,000. 

What you need to know:

Darren Lloyd Thomas's family firm was the first chartered financial advice business in Pembrokeshire. Indeed, this three-time New Model Adviser® regional award winning financial adviser is not only a champion of ethical investing when he is in the office, but also a kickboxing enthusiast when he is not at work. When we profiled him last year and put him on the cover of our magazine, he said it was this sport that kept him on his toes. A graduate hire in the last year takes the firm's employee numbers to four.

They say:

[On winning his third New Model Adviser® award for Wales in January this year]

'I don't know why but this one feels like the important one. I think sometimes just need to be able to verify that you're still as hungry as you were, still as keen as you were.'

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