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New Model Adviser® 2013 award winners revealed

There were fresh triumphs and more glory for previous winners as we recognised the best of financial planning in the annual New Model Adviser® awards. The winners share the secrets of their success and reveal how they plan to stay ahead in 2013, that’s if they can be heard over the booming of Brian Blessed in the background.

East of England

Beacon Wealth Management

Cambridgeshire-based Beacon Wealth Management aims to build on its win in the East of England region with a year of expansion.

Managing director Tony Larkin said: ‘The plans for 2013 are our new premises in Kimbolton, we’ve taken on another adviser, we’re taking on a couple more and we’re also interviewing another paraplanner. So there is still a lot happening for us.’

Greater London

Bloomsbury Wealth Management

Bloomsbury Wealth Management scooped the award for London, scoring highly in client communication. Director Jason Butler said the award had ‘capped off a great year’ for the firm.

‘With client communication, we don’t look at it from a financial services point of view but an emotional one,’ he said. ‘We try to make the complex simple; we don’t want to look like we know everything but to make people feel confident to make decisions.’

The North

Eldon Financial Planning

Eldon Financial Planning directors Joss Harwood (centre) and Tony Conner and adviser Gemma Langlands collected the award for the North, the second year in a row the firm has won it.

Harwood said Eldon had spent the last year both preparing for the RDR and expanding. ‘Over the past year, we’ve consolidated our position. We have a small team of young financial planners who are on top of the game. So we think we’re ready to develop now and expand in the North East of England.’

Three of Eldon’s advisers, Jon Bean, Gemma Langlands and Kevin McCarthy, are launching a low-cost proposition for clients of around 30 years old, as they are also all under 30. Langlands became a fellow of the Personal Finance Society (PFS) in 2012 and was named PFS paraplanner of the year.

Scotland and Northern Ireland

Verus Wealth Chartered Financial Planners

Dundee-based Verus Wealth Chartered Financial Planners took the prize for Scotland and Northern Ireland after several years of being shortlisted.

Co-director Paul Lothian said he and Jonathan Gibson were ‘over the moon’ and put the firm’s success down to innovation.

‘I think you always have to look to broaden your horizons,’ he said. ‘The day we become staid and predictable is the day to leave. You need to keep challenging yourself. It’s about being the best you can be for your clients’ benefit and I’d like to think that’s what we’re being recognised for.’

Gibson said he was proud of the firm’s commitment to professionalism, lifelong learning and to providing a holistic, consultative ongoing service.

The Midlands

Central Financial Planning

Solihull-based Central Financial Planning has claimed the award for the Midlands for a third time, after winning in 2010 and 2012.

Central directors Ian Smith and Samantha Barrett credited the firm’s success to time spent perfecting client communications and working with consultant Brett Davidson of FP Advance.

Smith said he felt proud to win the award this year more than ever, as many firms had to step up their game for the retail distribution review (RDR).

‘The RDR brings up the bar so it makes us feel really good to win this again,’ he said.

South East

Skerritt Consultants

Brighton-based Skerritt Consultants has notched up a third consecutive win in the South East region.

The chartered firm has grown by acquisition, snapping up eight firms in the past seven years.

Managing director Richard Skerritt said: ‘I have to give it to the team we have: they’re a great bunch of people. It comes down to having the right people in the right place and if you have the right staff, it just kind of happens.’

South West

BoulterBowen WealthCare

Exeter-based BoulterBowen WealthCare has won the award for the South West for the first time, and credited the victory to boosts to turnover and profit.

Director Simon Boulter, picking up the award with fellow director Mo Bowen, said: ‘Two years ago we won the David Norton award from the Institute of Financial Planning and that gave us a confidence boost. We recruited two appointed representatives and brought them into our business with their clients, and it’s made a massive difference to our level of infrastructure. Our aim is to do the same again and appoint two more next year.’

Wales

Thomas and Thomas Finance

Pembrokeshire-based Thomas and Thomas has finally scooped the award for Wales after four years of being shortlisted.

Managing director Darren Lloyd Thomas said: ‘We’ve been in the final four years running and it’s been our whole business desire to achieve this. We did achieve chartered status this year and we feel that helped us.

‘We’ve always had a unique proposition so we do something different for our clients. We’ve had investors masterclasses running in Haverfordwest, in Pembrokeshire, and managed to get fund houses down there.’

Thomas said the firm, which he runs with his wife Lisa, was committed to staying independent in the RDR world.