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Success stories: Seven advisers reveal their highlights of 2016

2016 was not all bad. Advisers explain their most magnificent moments of the past 12 months, from hiring a professional footballer to performing as a protégé’s best man.

Ken Simpson, managing director, Independent Benefit Consultancy, Glasgow

It has been a big year for recent New Model Adviser® cover star firm Independent Benefit Consultancy. Managing director Ken Simpson has plenty to be pleased about in 2016, with IFA partnerships, increased turnover, and increased assets under management putting the Glasgow firm in a strong position. However, he views the opportunity to bring on two non-industry trainee advisers, Craig Thomas and Kevin McCann, as the best development of the past 12 months.

Whole new ball game

Thomas, 24, arrived from Scottish Widows, where he worked in the life technical department. McCann, meanwhile, may be a familiar name to football fans owing to his playing career, which included a League Cup winner’s medal for Hibernian and four caps for Scotland’s under-21 team.

‘Both of the trainee advisers have sat and passed R01 first time, and have begun their studies for R02,’ says Simpson. ‘The joy of hearing they had passed certainly goes down as a high for 2016.’

Ken Simpson, managing director, Independent Benefit Consultancy, Glasgow

It has been a big year for recent New Model Adviser® cover star firm Independent Benefit Consultancy. Managing director Ken Simpson has plenty to be pleased about in 2016, with IFA partnerships, increased turnover, and increased assets under management putting the Glasgow firm in a strong position. However, he views the opportunity to bring on two non-industry trainee advisers, Craig Thomas and Kevin McCann, as the best development of the past 12 months.

Whole new ball game

Thomas, 24, arrived from Scottish Widows, where he worked in the life technical department. McCann, meanwhile, may be a familiar name to football fans owing to his playing career, which included a League Cup winner’s medal for Hibernian and four caps for Scotland’s under-21 team.

‘Both of the trainee advisers have sat and passed R01 first time, and have begun their studies for R02,’ says Simpson. ‘The joy of hearing they had passed certainly goes down as a high for 2016.’

Ken Abram, financial planning director, Abram Partnership, Cardiff

For Ken Abram, 2016 has been full of heartfelt ‘thank yous’ from retired clients whose lifestyles have improved since seeking his advice.

‘Every day we thank our lucky stars we discovered the Abram Partnership,’ reads one testimonial from retired couple Illian and Sian James from Cowbridge, who can now explore the world first class thanks to Abram. Abram takes a holistic approach and has been using cashflow modelling to help clients ‘spend their money and enjoy their retirement years’.

Second opinion

The addition of equity release specialist Ian Dunham last year boosted business and Abram is also beginning to reap the rewards of a new second opinion service. This enables potential clients to access a second opinion at no initial cost. ‘2016 has been a fantastic year for Abram Partnership with turnover and profits increasing,’ Abram says.

Nick Rippon, chartered financial planner, Rippon Financial Management, Tyne and Wear

It has been a year for building relationships and learning from peers for Nick Rippon. While studying and completing exams have always ranked highly on his to-do list, the advice and support provided by ‘like-minded people that have the same goals and aspirations’ has helped him build on his investment proposition and internal processes at the firm.

‘I spent a lot of time with established advisory firms, trying to explore where we can improve our proposition further,’ says Rippon. ‘As a relatively young adviser, I am extremely fortunate to have built relationships with experienced advisers operating at the highest levels,’ he adds.

Role model

As a regular contributor to New Model Adviser®, Rippon has also been a voice for the next generation of advisers this year, and hopes to encourage other young talent to consider a role within financial services.

Lisa Hardman , Director, Investing Ethically, Norwich

With Donald Trump preparing to enter the White House, you might suspect 2016 provided a backwards step for sustainable investment. However Lisa Hardman says many sustainable funds had first-rate investment performance this year.

‘I’m absolutely still optimistic about sustainable investing,’ says Hardman, citing the performance of the Impax Environmental Markets fund, up more than 30% over the past year.

Optimistic outlook

Although voters appear to have shifted to the right of late, and despite tangible political support for coal in the US and fracking in the UK, Hardman believes people are open to the messages provided by sustainable and ethical investing.

‘I think people voted against globalisation, and there are positive things we can take from that,’ she says. ‘Globalisation isn’t an unfettered good for everyone and in some respects can appeal to our greedy side. Sustainable investment looks to make things better for everyone.’

James Wetherall, director, Wetherall’s, Manchester

James Wetherall has a guest lecture slot at Manchester Metropolitan University, which he uses to raise awareness of financial planning as a career path for economics and finance students. This platform has enabled him to mentor young undergraduates and graduates looking to enter the profession.

Best man for the job

The lecture work led to one of his highlights of 2016, as one of his former protégés asked him to be the best man at his wedding. ‘I secured a work placement for my first ever undergraduate mentee with my former employers IFG,’ he explains. ‘We went on to work together for a while, during which time we became good friends.

‘Speaking at his wedding in July was my high point of 2016 and shows the positive impact you can have on people’s lives by giving something back.’

Wetherall served his best man duties with aplomb. ‘People laughed at my jokes and everything!’ he says. ‘They must have been drunk.’

Michael Shepherd, Associate, Beckford James, Birmingham

Whatever your take on this year’s political events, there are reasons for optimism from a business perspective. This is certainly the message coming from Beckford James, which enjoyed a strong year in both its Bath and Birmingham offices. Michael Shepherd, who reached certified status this year, notes the reduced annual allowances, combined with the political uncertainty, have led to a steady inflow of profitable business. ‘It’s been a good time for attracting high-net-worth clients,’ he says. ‘Uncertainty does seem to drive people towards financial advice.’

On the move

Shepherd reports the team in Birmingham has been in good spirits following its move from the Jewellery Quarter to its new central location in Newhall Street. The new office has also coincided with the introduction of a new adviser and administrator.

Andrew Pople, director, Map Financial, Hampshire

For Andy Pople, there are several reasons for festive cheer as we approach the end of 2016. ‘One of the best things for us has been the development of our apprentice, Chloe Beswick,’ he says. ‘She has come on leaps and bounds and become a real credit to the business.’

Learning curve

Beswick is the first apprentice to ever enter Map Financial’s ranks, and she will finish her apprenticeship in January. She will then stay with the firm as she begins her journey from administrator to adviser.

Although Pople admits taking on an apprentice has been a ‘constant learning curve’, he has found the process fruitful. Accordingly, he brought in another apprentice, Benn Little, on 7 November.

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