Many firms will be happy to see the back of 2009, but for those that triumphed at the New Model Adviser® awards, the year has turned out to be a resounding success. Nine adviser firms managed to rise to the top of their profession and were named New Model Adviser® of the Year for their regions. Here we reveal the best of the best.
All firms scored highly for the professional manner in which they ran their businesses and treated their clients. Levels of recurring income and qualifications were also taken into account. The awards were jointly presented by Will Greenwood, a member of England's Rugby World Cup 2003 winning team (left in pictures), and Citywire chairman Lawrence Lever (pictured right).
Rebecca Taylor (pictured above) of Dunham Financial Services in Peterborough said the firm had faced strong competition after winning the award for the East of England region for the second time. 'It is fantastic to be recognised,' she said. 'New Model Adviser® is one of the few magazines that recognises good financial practice so I am really pleased. There hasn’t been massive change in the shortlist in my region [over the years] and that shows we have got good competition there.’
Paradigm Norton Financial Planning in Bristol was the joint winner for the South West region, the fourth time the firm has picked up the award. Director Barry Horner said winning it again was 'an ongoing testimony that we're doing the right thing'. Horner said the success of the firm was down to close contact with clients. 'We have a client board so I meet with my clients twice a year to find out from them what they want - it's great when we can go back to them year after year and say we're still winning awards,' he said.
Cathedral Financial Management, joint winners in the South West region, won the award after a year of change for the business. Tim Ames, managing director of the Exeter and Devon-based firm, said, 'The biggest development we made was to move the business from an advisory business to a discretionary business, that's gone especially well. We worked with our partners at Seven Investment Management and during what's been a difficult year, that enabled us to build our recurring income and turn it in to a very strong position during the year.'
Ian Howe of Baigrie Davies said winning the award for the London region meant a lot as it had come after a difficult transition for the firm. 'It is a real pat on the back for the team, for the company and for the clients as well. It has been a hell of a slog to transition over three to five years and it means an awful lot.’
Carl Melvin of Paisley-based Affluent Financial Planning said he was surprised his firm won the award for Scotland and Northern Ireland. ‘I am delighted,' he said. 'It is the third time I have been a finalist and to finally succeed is a great feeling. It is validation that we are doing a good job and we are considered to be among the best.’
Mike Deverell of Equilibrium Asset Management in Wilmslow said the firm's award for the North region had come after a year of transition for the firm, which has rebranded and moved clients over to its new financial planning proposition. 'We've been in a transitional phase, trying to move our existing clients over to the New Model and that's caused some difficulties, but in general everything is really positive at the moment and we are really pleased with how things are going,' he said. 'We have quite a strong process and we are trying to do something a bit different in the way we combine financial planning and investment planning and that is translating into success now and hopefully will in the future too.'
Arthur Childs said he was surprised his Surrey firm Arch Financial Planning won the award for the South East region as his firm has been in business for 20 years. ‘It is entirely unexpected,’ he said. Childs said he was delighted to win as he felt it was harder for established firms to make the move to the new model. 'We are trying to become New Model Advisers but it is hard,' he said.
Chris Jordan of Newport-based Heron House Financial Management said that after a year of consolidation for the firm, he was not expecting to pick up the award for Wales. ‘We have won an award before but that was when the business was expanding,' he said.
‘We have had a couple of years of consolidation and that has allowed us to really drill down on the process to make sure clients get the right service and I think that comes across in our submission [for the award].’
Ian Smith, director of Redditch-based Central Financial Planning, scooped the regional award for the Midlands after being shortlisted for the past two years. He said: 'It's great that we won. This award shows that you don't have to be a massive firm or have a huge turnover to win. We're only a small business, we're delighted.'