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St George's Day: 15 award winning firms from across England

As England celebrates St George's day, we take a look at 15 top IFA firms who have taken home awards at our annual ceremony in the last three years.

Champion Chamberlyns

Firm: Chamberlyns

Location: Bedfordshire and Herfordshire

What you need to know: 

Chamberlyns took home our award for the East of England region at our 2018 conference and awards ceremony in January.

2017 was a bumber year for the business. Last year, chief executive Michael Smith was a panellist for the Social Impact Academy.

Geoff Husaunndee (pictured centre), chief operating officer at the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire-based firm, collected the award. He said the firm’s approach to social impact investing made it forward-looking and in touch with future clients’ values.

‘It’s really looking ahead at the direction of travel,’ he said.

‘What we’re increasingly finding is clients, and particularly the future generations, going to find or wanting an avenue to deploy their capital in a meaningful way and in accordance with their values.’

Champion Chamberlyns

Firm: Chamberlyns

Location: Bedfordshire and Herfordshire

What you need to know: 

Chamberlyns took home our award for the East of England region at our 2018 conference and awards ceremony in January.

2017 was a bumber year for the business. Last year, chief executive Michael Smith was a panellist for the Social Impact Academy.

Geoff Husaunndee (pictured centre), chief operating officer at the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire-based firm, collected the award. He said the firm’s approach to social impact investing made it forward-looking and in touch with future clients’ values.

‘It’s really looking ahead at the direction of travel,’ he said.

‘What we’re increasingly finding is clients, and particularly the future generations, going to find or wanting an avenue to deploy their capital in a meaningful way and in accordance with their values.’

Amazing Mazars

Firm: Mazars Financial Planning

Location: London

What you need to know: 

Mazars Financial Planning returned to pick up our award for Greater London award again in 2018, having taken home the same prize in 2017.

The business recently acquired Salisbury-based financial planning firm RCL Consultancy from The Embark Group, which added £300 million in assets under advice to the business’s roster. Following a record growth year last year, Mazars now has more than £1 billion of assets under advice.

Mazars' director and senior manager Andy Springford and Natalie Wright (pictured) also featured on the cover of our magazine recently in a cover star profile that charted their rapid rise to the top of their profession.

 

Fortitude a firm favourite

Firm: Fortitude Financial Planning

Location: Northampton

What you need to know: 

Our 2018 awards were a terrific return to form for this Northampton-based financial planning firm, as Fortitude took back the Midlands title from Cooper Parry Wealth.

Fortitude has had a fantastic year in 2017. Recent stories from the firm include director Neil Bailey joining a 12-strong panel of financial planners appointed by the Personal Finance Society to help promote and develop the financial advice profession.

Fortitude director Mark White (pictured centre) said: ‘I would hope it’s [to do with] our consistent philosophy.’

He added: ‘Proper financial planning is at the heart of what we do. We’ve never deviated from that over the years. We believe all clients need proper financial planning.’

 

Rocket-propelled growth

Firm: RPG Wealth Management 

Location: London, Manchester and North Wales

What you need to know: 

North Wales and Manchester-based RPG Wealth was also among the firms returning for more glory at this year’s conference, picking up the award for best Northern firm for the second year in a row.

Director Phillip Owen (pictured left) said he thought continuing the firm’s efforts to build on its progress was crucial in its repeated success.

'I think we’ve carried on with what we did [in 2016]' he said. 'We have three graduates in the team, and they’ve gone from strength to strength. They’re one or two exams away from diploma.

'Afterwards, they’ll be looking to maybe help out on the advice side. We’ve got a compliance director who does nothing but compliance, and he really guides us well.'

Skerritt's Skill

Firm: Skerritt Consultants 

Location: Hove

What you need to know: 

Skerritt Consultants is going from strength to strength and continues to dominate our South East regional award. 

Last year the business broke through the £1 billion in assets under management mark and managing director Richard Skerritt (pictured) even produced some billionaire shortbread to celebrate.

Investment manager Charlie Lloyd and business development manager Andrew Cooper said there was little on the horizon that would change their enthusiasm for making the business bigger and better than ever.

Collecting the award at this year's ceremony, they said: 'We are consistent in what we’re doing, and we’re just going to build on that really.

'We’re just going to carry on. The passion is still there, across the whole firm, so we will continue growing.'

A new Paradigm

Firm: Paradigm Norton

Location: Bristol

What you need to know: 

The ink had barely dried on the news that Bristol-based Paradigm Norton would merge with London-based Red House Consulting when Barry Horner, chief executive of Paradigm Norton, arrived at our 2018 conference and awards to collect the award for the South West region for the eighth time. It was the talk of the conference.

Horner (pictured) said there were no specific acquisition plans in the pipeline just yet, although he did suggest the firm would keep growing.

'The next few years are really going to be about integrating that business and making sure we get a great outcome for the Paradigm Norton clients in Bristol [and] London,' he said.

'Will we do another one? Yes we will, but we have no conversations going on at the moment.'

KMD the kings of the East 

Firm: KMD Private Wealth Management 

Location: Essex        

What you need to know:

At our 2017 conference and awards Essex-based KMD Private Wealth Management bagged its second New Model Adviser® award in two years for the East of England region.

Partner Kevin Deamer (pictured) said improved profits and business investment had helped clinch the award again. 'This year we have improved our margins, expanded the team and increased our marketing spend, which has generated us more new clients,' he said.

Deamer plans to expand the firm in 2017 with two new recruits and up its marketing spend even more, 'to really get our name out there.'

First place

Firm: First Wealth

Location: London

What you need to know: 

At our 2017 awards Baker Street-based First Wealth secured the award for Greater London.

Adviser Claire Phillips (pictured with First Wealth partner Robert Caplan) said despite tough competition in the capital, the business had been selective in deciding which clients to take on.

Phillips said the firm was 'not afraid' to turn away unsuitable prospects as part of its goal to provide detailed lifestyle planning. 'There are lots of great firms in the region and we’re really happy to have won,' she said.

Super Cooper

Firm: Cooper Parry Wealth

Location: Derby

What you need to know:

At our 2017 conference and awards Derby-based Cooper Parry Wealth made it two years in a row with a victory in the Midlands category.

Chief executive Stephen Jones (pictured, centre) said the firm was developing young advisers though an intern scheme.

'We really want financial planning to be seen as a genuine career choice. We are recruiting graduates, have an intern scheme and are looking to bring young talent through,' he said.

Cooper Parry partnered with Kent-based accountancy firm Creaseys just over a year ago, which Jones said had fuelled growth.

Everything in equilibrium

Firm: Equilibrium Asset Management

Location: Wilmslow 

What you need to know:

At our 2016 conference and awards Wilmslow-based Equilibrium Asset Management picked up the award for the North for the second year in a row.

Equilibrium partner Andrew Hirst, pictured (left) with fellow partner Jason Lowe, said his staff’s qualifications were behind its success. ‘It’s important to be as qualified as possible, to bring as much new blood as possible and to be on top of your game so you can offer clients the best service,’ said Hirst, who plans to roll out a programme of seminars and begin a more ambitious growth strategy.

We recently profiled Equilibrium as a cover star for our magazine. You can read that profile and catch up with all the news here

The brilliant businesses of Bath

Firm: Epoch Wealth Management

Location: Bath

What you need to know: 

At our 2016 conference and awards the award for the South West region went to Bath-based Epoch Wealth Management.

Head of business development and marketing Tom Annear (pictured) said at the time that his firm had achieved high levels of recurring income but would work to drive revenue up further as it gained new business from professional connections.

'It comes down to recurring income. We’ve got to make that better,' he said. 'We have to continue forging relationships with professional introducers,' he said.

Managing partner Barry Newbury added: 'it’s about good quality clients and a good quality service, giving them what they paid for.'

Bloomin' brilliant

Firm: Bloomsbury Wealth

Location: London

What you need to know: 

At our conference and awards way back in January 2015 the award for best London-based advice business went to Bloomsbury Wealth Management.

Then-partner Jason Butler collected the award on behalf of the firm, saying at the time that 'it’s [about] always pushing to do things just that little bit better [and] delivering on not just what [clients] think they want, but what they don’t even know they want.'

Butler has since moved on from Bloomsbury to become a personal finance writer and speaker. However, we profiled Bloomsbury and Carolyn Gowen (pictured) in January this year. You can read that piece here

Business Beacon

Firm: Beacon Wealth Management 

Location: Cambridgeshire

What you need to know: 

At our conference and awards in January 2015, Cambridgeshire-based Beacon Wealth Management scooped the award for the East of England, citing company growth and a team approach as factors behind the win.

At the time, managing director Tony Larkins (pictured), said the firm had enjoyed a successful previous year and had grown significantly, with income up by 28% and assets under advice up 25%, without hiring extra staff.

NLP's recipe for success

Firm: NLP Financial Management

Location: London

What you need to know: 

As NLP Financial Management took home the 2014 New Model Adviser® of the Year award for Greater London, managing director Adam Katten (pictured) said the firm’s care for and attention to its staff and clients was crucial to its success.

'We care a lot about our staff, which is very important. We helped with training to get some staff up to chartered status, and we put clients first; it’s always been the mantra. I think a combination of care for staff and clients naturally leads to growth in business.'

Firm: Eldon Financial Planning

Location: Darlington

What you need to know: 

In 2014 Eldon Financial Planning director Joss Harwood (pictured) collected our regional award for the North for the third year in a row.

Harwood said the award vindicated the Bishop Auckland-based firm’s approach.

'We have always had the greatest respect for the new model adviser community,’ she said.

'It’s something we’ve been in since the beginning, so it means a lot to us. It shows that we continue to do things in the right sort of way.'

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