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Adviser ambitions: IFAs reveal their New Year's resolutions

Making acquisitions, refining processes, training young advisers (and training off Christmas dinner in the gym) are among advisers' ambitions for 2017.

Paul Lindfield, Sedulo Wealth Management

For Paul Lindfield, director of wealth management at Manchester-based Sedulo Wealth Management, the focus for 2017 will be on acquisitions and expansion.

‘We have recently consolidated and brought in a chartered adviser, and we will be looking to grow our assets under advice, and continue the good work that we have done thus far.’

Since it began as a two-person business in 2013, Sedulo has expanded both its staff roster and reputation. Lindfield said the firm is centred on the provision of financial consultancy services to entrepreneurs.

He said: ‘We are growing organically and want to continue building on our good reputation and the brand that we have built over the last four years or so.’

From a personal standpoint, Lindfield is looking to maintain his commitment to developing leadership skills.

‘I have already done some courses this year and will be trying to improve as an individual and enhance my ability to lead the business forward,’ he added.

Paul Lindfield, Sedulo Wealth Management

For Paul Lindfield, director of wealth management at Manchester-based Sedulo Wealth Management, the focus for 2017 will be on acquisitions and expansion.

‘We have recently consolidated and brought in a chartered adviser, and we will be looking to grow our assets under advice, and continue the good work that we have done thus far.’

Since it began as a two-person business in 2013, Sedulo has expanded both its staff roster and reputation. Lindfield said the firm is centred on the provision of financial consultancy services to entrepreneurs.

He said: ‘We are growing organically and want to continue building on our good reputation and the brand that we have built over the last four years or so.’

From a personal standpoint, Lindfield is looking to maintain his commitment to developing leadership skills.

‘I have already done some courses this year and will be trying to improve as an individual and enhance my ability to lead the business forward,’ he added.

Ian Poysden. IEP Financial

Ian Poysden, managing director of Brighton’s IEP Financial, is targeting three areas of the business going into the New Year.

His priority is a review of the company’s client review process. He said: ‘We are looking at everything we do with client reviews to ensure that they are relevant for what they want and expect.

‘Does it work logistically? Is it easy enough for them to come to the office or would a Skype, email or phone conversation be more convenient?’

The firm will use feedback received from clients to test whether their current review processes are still as effective as they can possibly be.

A second target area is the firm’s professional connections. Poysden explained: ‘We have been in touch with all our professional connections to ask how they value the referrals we make. Are they the right sort of clients? What does their perfect client look like?’

IEP will also continue with its year-round due diligence on its investment partners, look for new investment ideas and check up on how various investment houses are operating.

Poysden, who recently turned 50, also hinted at some more personal goals. ‘So far I have got away without too many illnesses across my 30 year financial career, but I think I’ll be looking to trim a few inches from the waistline and do a bit more exercise come January.’

Stuart Doughty, Centurion Wealth Management

There are lofty plans afoot for Bath-based Centurion Wealth Management and its director Stuart Doughty, who is pushing himself into new territory both personally and professionally.

Doughty said: ‘The financial services world has never been more complicated, which means relationship-based financial planners should be in great demand.’

In 2017, Centurion plans to double or triple its turnover by acquisition.

Doughty said it has achieved its goal of an earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation margin of 25% in 2016, but Doughty expects that this will fall in 2017 as it invests in new people. However, Doughty said this new generation would be important for the future of the firm.

‘The quality of the advice community is poor and so we will recruit at a younger level with no bad habits and a more realistic assessment of value,' he said.

‘We are opportunity rich but resource light. In this pension/life company support team knowledge vacuum, we need a high calibre, service orientated team, which has taken me seven years to achieve. Recruitment against this benchmark when the quality "bar" is so low, is a challenge.’

But Doughty’s ambition for 2017 stretches far beyond the boardroom. He intends to raise £50,000 for charity in his 50th year.

'Next year I am 50 and will take part in the inaugural Hawaii multi-day ultra, six marathons over seven days, carrying our own kit.

The funds from Doughty’s efforts will be split 50/50 between Walking With The Wounded and Bath Rugby Foundation, the club’s charity, which he chairs.

Peter Davies, Create Wealth Management

Peter Davies, director of Cardiff-based Create Wealth Management, is targeting the creation of new services in 2017, as well as some personal resolutions.

He said: ‘Our main aim for the first quarter of 2017 is to establish a risk profiled passive portfolio service.

‘Healthwise, I barely drink but would like to lose some of the excess that you tend to accumulate in your late 40s!’

Davies is also hoping to implement another vital household lifestyle change in 2017, to establish a ban on reality television in his house.

A noble cause indeed!

Steve Perera, Britannic Place

Steve Perera, principal of Worcester-based financial planning firm Britannic Place, is looking to help some of the younger members of his team develop as advisers in 2017.

‘My key focus is about developing the staff within the business,’ he said. ‘We took on a new paraplanner 18 months ago and he started doing the diploma in regulated financial planning. He is now halfway through that and will be fully qualified by the end of next year. I also want to develop his experience in direct client contact with a view to making him a junior adviser.’

In September, Perera also took on a financial services trainee with a view to getting her started on the diploma, along with learning the ropes to develop into a paraplanning role.

Outside the office, fitness enthusiast Perera is looking to get his training regime back on track. ‘I am going to try and do dry January and get back into fitness. I generally do a lot but it has slipped a bit in the last six months, so I want to step it up.’

Lee Coates, Ethical Investors

The business resolutions at Cheltenham-based advice firm Ethical Investors, straddle the practical and ideological, with director Lee Coates continuing on his quest to move ethical investment into the mainstream.

Asked what he wanted to achieve in 2017, Coates said: ‘World peace, save the planet, the usual,’ before adding, ‘as a business, we are going to consolidate the proposition we offer to clients, so we will have a quasi-robo and a fully advised proposition.’

From an ethical standpoint, Coates intends to continue to rail against those who dismiss responsible investment. ‘I’ll continue to prove wrong all the people who laugh at ethical and responsible investment,' he said. 'Other trackers may be cheap but in the new world order, they are mostly bad news.’

Away from work, keen drummer Coates is tasking himself with shedding a few pounds in the New Year.

Nick Evans, One Life Wealth Planning

For Hatfield-based financial planner Nick Evans, director of One Life Wealth Planning, 2017 will be a year of consolidation and renovation.

‘We are now moving away from a focus on new client acquisition and we are seeking to find ways of improving the quality of our service proposition,' he said.

‘We aim to leave our clients with no doubt that we are valuable to them and will be re-examining all aspects of our business from fees to the investment proposition, to our client-facing documents and reports.’

Evans will also embark on a year-long project to redevelop his new home. He said he will be working hard to finish the job in good time so he can get back to spending quality time with his family.

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