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Big hitters: 10 advice firms with over 50 employees

Check out our lowdown of ten big IFA firms from around Britain.

Beckett: big business

Name: Ian White

Firm: Beckett Investment Management Group

Location(s): Bury St Edmunds

Number of employees: 56

Funds under advice: £625 million

2017 profits: £825,000

What you need to know:

Ian White says he wants Becketts to be regarded as 'best in class' for what it does. The firm is a multiple award winner, having picked up the best medium-sized firm and director of the year at the East Anglian Daily Times Business Awards last year.

They say: 'It’s not easy to differentiate ourselves in a tightly regulated environment so it’s gratifying to have been recognised.'

Beckett: big business

Name: Ian White

Firm: Beckett Investment Management Group

Location(s): Bury St Edmunds

Number of employees: 56

Funds under advice: £625 million

2017 profits: £825,000

What you need to know:

Ian White says he wants Becketts to be regarded as 'best in class' for what it does. The firm is a multiple award winner, having picked up the best medium-sized firm and director of the year at the East Anglian Daily Times Business Awards last year.

They say: 'It’s not easy to differentiate ourselves in a tightly regulated environment so it’s gratifying to have been recognised.'

EQ Investors

Name: Jeannie Boyle

Firm: EQ Investors

Location(s): London

Number of employees: 62

Funds under advice: £750 million

2017 profits: £600,000

What you need to know:

EQ Investors has built up an impressive offering of tech-centred solutions, including a client portal which users can interact with via their Amazon voice enabled 'Alexa' software. Director Jeannie Boyle has also been an ambassador for women in advice, appearing on our cover and as part of our International Women's Day coverage. 

They say:

'We believe people come in to work, and they just want to do a really good job. They take pride in what they do, and are therefore capable of managing themselves.'

 

Everything in equilibrium

Name: Gaynor Rigby 

Firm: Equilibrium 

Location(s): Manchester

Number of employees: 63

Funds under advice: £700 million

2017 profits: £1.7 million

What you need to know:

New Model Adviser® coverstar and Equilibrium partner Gaynor Rigby only recently described to us the lengths she had gone to to overhaul the business's culture and targets, and, by and large, this seems to have been a storming success. That is only the beginning though, as Rigby has set an audacious target for the business to reach £4 billion in funds under advice by 2021.

They say:

'Having to report on their activities weekly increased competitiveness, and we blitzed our targets.'

Carr-ving out success

Name: David Carr

Firm: Gale and Phillipson 

Location(s): York and London

Number of employees: 75

Funds under advice: £850 million

2017 profits: £1 million

What you need to know: Gale and Phillipson was the result of the merger between Easby Gale and Phillipson and Jonathan Fry London. The business is now aiming to reach the £1 billion in funds under advice mark, a target the business is hoping to reach this year.

They say:

'Phil [Morris, director]  is a big picture thinker, a leader and inspirer; Adam [Galache-Brown] has a good eye for detail; while I am project-oriented.' 

 

Not pulling any punches

Name: Phillip Rose

Firm: Group IFA

Location(s): Bolton, Chester 

Number of employees: 74

Funds under advice: £1 billion

2017 profits: £3.1 million

What you need to know: Boxer and chief executive Phillip Rose has developed a characteristically punchy strategy by recruiting disillusioned advisers working at consolidator firms. This among other things has helped the business progress to holding more than £1 billion in funds under advice.

They say:

When Rose appeared in our Top 100 last year, he said:

'To help embed the new advisers, we have reinvested 25% of revenue in infrastructure and centralising controls. Plus we have a new office in Chester, a new operations director and other new recruits.'

Lowes: higher and higher

Name: Ian Lowes

Firm: Lowes Financial Management

Location(s): Newcastle upon Tyne

Number of employees: 72

Funds under advice: £814 million

2017 profits: £1.5 million

What you need to know:

An increase in clients and funds under advice of £64 million was just one of the things that earned Lowes Financial Management a place in our Top 100 last year. It has also increased the number of client-facing consultants as well as support staff. 

They say: 

'The seminar programme is our main source of new clients but we do get a lot of referrals as well.' Ian Lowes, June 2015. 

Amazing Mazars 

Name: Natalie Wright (pictured) and Andy Springford

Firm: Mazars Financial Planning

Location(s): London

Number of employees: 72

Funds under advice: £1 billion+

2017 profits: £2.3 million

What you need to know: It is safe to say there is a lot going on at Mazars. At the annual New Model Adviser® conference and awards in January this year Mazars came up trumps again, winning the regional award for London again in the aftermath of the acquisition of Salisbury-based chartered financial planning firm RCL Consultancy from The Embark Group.

They say:

'There are lots of data now about how financial wellbeing affects productivity. One important source I use is [Ovation Finance managing director] Chris Budd’s book Financial Wellbeing and his podcasts.' Natalie Wright

 

The gloves are off

Name: Richard Skerritt

Firm: Skerritt Consultants

Location(s): Hove

Number of employees: 57

Funds under advice: £1 billion+

Number of employees: 57

2017 profits: £1.5 million

What you need to know: Richard Skerritt's Hove-based business was one of our regional award winners at the annual New Model Adviser® conference and awards this January. When we last profiled the firm as part of our Top 100 last year, Skerritt was inches away from hitting the £1 billion mark in funds under advice. The business has now smashed that target and is looking to the future.

They say: 

'I always said I wanted to run my own business. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I always wanted to run a business.'

Barry's big deal

Name: Barry Horner

Firm: Paradigm Norton Financial Planning 

Location(s): Bristol, London, Torquay

Number of employees: 55

Funds under advice: £750 million

2017 profits: £1.5 million

What you need to know: Paradigm Norton's merger with London-based financial planning firm Red House Consulting was the talk of the town when it was announced at the beginning of this year. The move sees Horner team up with Red House's Ruth Sturkey to create a combined business with greater reach across the south. Social investing is a key part of Horner's business model; Paradigm Norton has given more than £175,000 to good causes through the Paradigm Norton Trust. 

They say: 

'I must emphasise [the merger is] part of a balanced scorecard. That's not the key metric. At the end of the day I don't want to hit a billion and not have a happy team.'

Punting for the planning profession

Name: John Hamilton Hunt

Firm: Punter Southall Financial Management

Location(s): London

Number of employees: 52

Funds under advice: £1.8 billion

2017 profits: £1.7 million

What you need to know:

When we profiled Punter Southall as part of our Top 100 last year, the business had amassed a whopping £1.9 billion in funds under advice, with a remarkable 42% profit jump to £1.7 million. The business had invested heavily in IT, client management systems and other 'operational streamlining, Hunt told us at the time. 

They say: 

'We’re looking at future opportunities too; apprenticeships for example. It will be an opportunity for us to bring some youth into the business.'

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