The complete Top 100: check out every firm on our list
Addidi Wealth serves female clients with a one-stop-shop for financial planning, tax strategies, wealth management and financial concierge support.
Director Anna Sofat brims with ideas and has launched several ventures, including Addidi Business Angels, to help aspiring businesses; and the Addidi Inspiration Awards, which recognise outstanding women in history and modern society.
Another initiative, Addidi Enterprise, helps members use their wealth, talent and time to help small businesses and social projects for mutual benefit. Sofat says: ‘Addidi’s purpose is to empower women to be good to themselves and compassionate to others, while fulfilling their pivotal role in life and living in the moment.’
Affluent Financial Planning
When Paisley-based chief executive Carl Melvin completes his financial planning masters at Manchester Metropolitan University in December, it will be the latest in a long line of qualifications and awards – he is already certified and chartered.
Melvin says: ‘Affluent FP embodies the spirit and practice of the new model movement. It has shown real commitment to the principles of the retail distribution review (RDR) by providing a clear client proposition to ensure long-term, professional engagement with our clients.’
Apart from all this, what is his greatest achievement? Coping with the demands of two young children, he says.
Director Dave Robinson is one of the most qualified financial planners in the south west. His first job was in an accountancy practice and he says that sound business planning has become a crucial success factor for advisers post-RDR.
Taunton-based Albert Goodman provides financial planning services in a wide range of specialist areas, including court of protection work and advice for personal injury claimants and clients going through divorce.
Each service is provided by a dedicated team with relevant specialist qualifications under the management of a director. Albert Goodman offers training to other financial planners in these fields and writes technical guides for the profession. Robinson is also establishing an accreditation scheme for financial planners specialising in personal injury awards.
Ex-flight controller Carl Lamb started Almary Green in 2001 and set a course to become one of the most successful advisory firms in East Anglia – despite having many lower net worth clients. It is a chartered firm and half of its advisers
are also chartered: two are Personal Finance Society (PFS) fellows; four are Resolution accredited specialists; two are Society of Later Life Advisers (Solla) members; and two are members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (Step).
The firm aims to stand out wherever possible, for example, sponsoring the Norwich Theatre Royal pantomime for the third year running and one of Norwich’s GoGo Gorillas statues, which graced the city this summer. Lamb has been inspired by wounded troops returning from Afghanistan, and Almary Green has done charitable work for Help the Heroes
and a wide range of other charities in East Anglia.
Altorfer Financial Management
Founder Roger Taylor is a talented musician and writer and has sailed to the Arctic and back. He keeps a steady hand on the tiller at this award-winning financial planning firm, which services many NHS healthcare officials.
London-based Taylor says: ‘We adopted the new model in 1993 and have stuck to our knitting ever since. Our growth has always been organic and client-led. We have always charged modest fees and paid ourselves modest salaries. All this has created a virtuous circle of client trust and longevity, zero marketing costs and rock-steady income and profitability.’
Anthony Harding & Partners
Winchester-based Anthony Harding & Partners was the first IFA to become a member of Sifa that was not owned by a solicitor or accountancy practice. Managing director Anthony Harding was a director of the Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) for 12 years and is now deputy chairman of the Tax Incentivised Savings Association (Tisa) centralised investment proposition (CIP) executive, working towards improving standards.
He has been an exponent of distributor-influenced funds (DIFs) and has worked with lobby groups in this area. Harding says: ‘It is important to exercise oversight and control over the management and performance of client investments. The world is increasingly dominated by large, impersonal organisations intent on selling financial products against a background of complexity.’
Antrams Financial Services
Antrams Financial Services has been running for 25 years. It has grown steadily through acquisitions and this year it bought execution-only website Moneyspider.com to provide a service for its lower-net-worth clients. Brighton-based Antrams is part of a wider financial services group, integrating investment, tax and accounting advice. It aims to work like a partnership, where advisers specialise in certain areas while mentoring a younger generation.
Chartered financial planner Lester Killip says: ‘High quality professionals delivering low-cost, efficient investment strategies to clients within an integrated financial and professional services environment – this is what makes Antrams stand out.’
Aquila Financial Management
Aquila is a typical example of the way forward-thinking firms are increasing specialisation in the RDR world. The Exeter-based firm has developed a wide range of advice areas. Each adviser has a niche, with the relevant specialist qualifications as well as being a general planner. Their areas of expertise, which include pensions, investments, mortgages, long-term
care, inheritance planning and divorce, are supported by close links with accountancy and legal firms. Managing director Nigel Hemming’s area of specialism is pensions.
Among other things, he has written exam papers for the IFP and Chartered Insurance Institute (CII); and worked as a volunteer adviser for The Pensions Advisory Service.
Arch Financial Planning
Arch has travelled a long road since its foundation as a self-confessed ‘old-style’ adviser 20 years ago. These days it is all about continual education, and the firm was recently awarded corporate chartered status in recognition of its commitment to professional excellence.
Managing director Arthur Childs’ wisdom and experience is perhaps even more valuable than his individual chartered and certified status or his cherished New Model Adviser® award for the South East, won in 2010. The Surrey-based firm puts a strong emphasis on client education and online technology. It has also played a role in developing Nucleus over the past six years by sitting on the platform’s advisory board. Childs says: ‘We believe this gives us a special insight into the use of platforms that benefits our clients.’
Astute Wealth Management
Chartered financial planner Andy McLaughlin set up Astute Wealth Management in 2007 with his wife and business partner Jean. Their vision was a family office offering high-quality, holistic, fee-based financial planning. McLaughlin is an influential member in the North West advisory community and a former chairman of the PFS in Manchester.
He is committed to raising standards in the profession, and encourages and supports staff in their development. This is evidenced in the exam successes of Astute’s employees and in one of its paraplanners being shortlisted twice for Paraplanner of the Year. Astute recently launched a graduate scheme and to date has recruited two graduates from a local university.
For Newmarket-based Atkinson Bolton, 2013 has been a year of change after it was acquired in July by AIM-listed Sipp provider and advice firm Mattioli Woods in a £6 million deal.
Director Simon Gibson has been in the profession for 25 years and still believes there are ‘fantastic opportunities for a 21st century financial services firm built with expertise, integrity and delivered with passion.’ Outside of work, he supports Alzheimer’s Research UK and is an active member of the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT).
Austyn James Consulting
Austyn James, based in Beaconsfield, has pioneered a number of planning processes including ‘money mapping’, which helps clients make the first step towards change by achieving a deeper self-awareness of where they are, what they want and why. This uses mind maps and ‘what if’ scenarios, allowing clients to spend more time thinking about the strategy before moving forward.
Director Austyn Smith says: ‘We are cautious because we help people prepare for life changing financial decisions. Our Safe Harbour Planning process also helps clients press the pause button and take them back a few steps. Our goals-based approach has enabled us to create long-term planning partnerships and be regarded by clients as their "financial concierge".’
AV Trinity has a high proportion of female advisers, which brings a different dynamic in specialist areas of advice such as care fees and divorce. Managing director Karen Vidler has more than 20 years’ experience.
As well as specialising in care fees, divorce and trust work, she also has a strong passion for charity work. The whole team is involved in the Tunbridge Wells community. For example, they have held regular charity events and sponsored a local dressage rider. Even Finn, the office dog, gets involved and has qualified as a Pets As Therapy visitor to local care homes.
Beacon Wealth Management
This Kimbolton-based firm has received a number of accolades, including a New Model Adviser® award for the East of England this year, while managing director Tony Larkins was named Huntingdonshire Business Person of the Year in 2010.
Beacon has achieved strong growth through a keen focus on marketing and building a fat file of press clippings. Incentivising staff has also played a role. Larkins says all employees share in the firm’s vision, helped by monthly meetings that encourage full participation. Beacon’s in-house portfolios have performed well, which is now helping the firm expand its investment proposition to group scheme members in the auto-enrolment market.
Director Lorraine McLoughney established this Lancashire-based firm in 1999 after running Becketts Chartered Accountants for seven years. She is a chartered accountant and has a particular focus on tax planning. Dominic, Lorraine’s son, joined the company in 2006 and became a director in 2008. Although only 30, Dominic has been working hard at helping employees gain higher qualifications. He plans to work with organisations in the wider profession to promote and recognise good practice
Bloomsbury was one of the first advisers to adopt passive investing in 2003, which remains central to the firm’s offering. Director Jason Butler and his team have won numerous awards thanks to their innovation, quality of communications and commitment to high standards. Butler says: ‘We are not afraid to question the status quo and stand up for the interest of our clients. This was evidenced by our epic, but ultimately successful, battle with HM Revenue & Customs over the VAT treatment of our fees.’ London-based Bloomsbury is particularly active in recruiting graduates to become trainee advisers.
Cardiff practice head Julie Lord was a pioneer of fee-based financial planning in the UK when she founded Cavendish Financial Management in 1991. In 2007, she sold it to Thinc, which became Bluefin. Among many important positions in the profession, she was the first woman to be chair and president of the Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) and has had 15 years on the IFP board. Lord likes to make planning fun by comparing clients’ financial behaviour to restless monkeys; cautious squirrels; conspicuous spending hounds; or clever dolphins. ‘It shows that we understand their behaviour and can help,’ she says. Finding out what is really important to clients is a rare and complex skill, she adds.
This Exeter-based firm was this year crowned New Model Adviser® of the Year for the South West. Directors Mo Bowen and Simon Boulter aim to grow by marketing in promotional publications and taking on more appointed representatives. Boulter and Bowen have been developing replicable processes, which they say ‘free their team to be brilliant’. They doubled their income to £1.5 million in the five years to 2012 and improved recurring income from 62% to 81% in the same period.
Twenty-year-old Bradbury Hamilton continues to acquire client banks, which have helped it amass assets under advice of over £300 million, 2,500 active clients and 33 staff spanning the Midlands, Manchester and London. Managing director Sheriar Bradbury says: ‘We are wholly independent. Post-RDR, we are seeing more firms go restricted as the costs and complexities of remaining independent prove too difficult. Bradbury Hamilton has offered a solution...carefully looking after the clients of smaller businesses.’ Bradbury Hamilton is a chartered firm. It has three chartered advisers and expects to have five by the end of this year. ‘Chartered and certified qualifications will become required,’ says Bradbury.
Capelin Financial Management
Solihull-based Capelin Financial Management is 11 years old and still expanding thanks to strong links with professional introducers. It was also among the first IFAs in the Midlands to obtain corporate chartered status. Managing director Derek Capelin is passionate about professional development. ‘I am a compulsive reader of professional development books,’ he says. He recently stepped down as PFS chartered champion for Birmingham, after forging links between chartered planners and other professionals.
Capital Financial Management
Capital is a boutique financial planning business based in the City. Chief executive officer Alan Smith has been outspoken on issues such as the benefits of passive investing. He and his team have won numerous accolades including the IFP’s David Norton ‘Building Excellence’ award. The firm was an early adopter of platform technology and a ‘clear fees for a service proposition’. It has five financial planners managing £182 million of client assets across 200 families. Smith says that the firm’s proprietary Future Map financial planning process offers clients a unique experience and differentiates the firm from product-led propositions. Capital has ambitious plans to grow over the next few years.
Chartered Financial Planners
Caroline Banks was one of the first individuals to become a chartered financial planner in 2006 and this was one of the first firms to receive corporate chartered status in 2007. Banks is an affiliate of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (Step). The firm work with professional advisers across many other areas including fund management and detailed tax and legal advice; and all new clients to the company come through referral only. In December last year, Banks set up a new brand with Robert Reid of Syndaxi, called Particular. The aim is to help both companies maximise opportunities arising as a result of the RDR.
Cathedral Financial Management
Exeter-based Cathedral was established in 1993 and directors Tim and Emma Ames have grown it to become a well-established force in the area. Cathedral was one of the first 10 firms to be profiled by New Model Adviser®. Tim specialises in discretionary portfolio management and retirement planning; is chartered and certified; and has been chairman of the IFP’s South West branch.
Emma is also chartered and specialises in long-term care, inheritance tax planning and trustee investments. Cathedral Financial Management is a double winner of the New Model Adviser® of the Year award for the South West, scooping the prize in 2008 and 2010. Tim has a passion for cars and his ‘fleet’ includes an Aston Martin V8, a Porsche 911 C4S and a Range Rover.
Chief executive Adrian Ware plays guitar in punk rock band 14 Carat Grapefruit, while offstage he seeks to break down the barriers in the traditional relationship between client and adviser. ‘We sit on the same side of the table as our clients, and educate and inform as well as advise,’ he says. The firm has client niches in the private equity and travel businesses. The firm incurred losses in 2011 and 2012 as it invested in staff, systems and marketing, but is starting to reap the results, with a projected £275,000 profit for this year.
Central Financial Planning
Central Financial Planning was one of the first firms to achieve IFP-accredited firm status and this year, for an impressive third time, the firm won the New Model Adviser® of the Year Award for the Midlands. Chief executive Ian Smith credited the firm’s success to time spent perfecting client communications and working with consultant Brett Davidson of FP Advance. Smith also pays great attention to the education and training of Central’s advisers. Outside of the office, Smith says he likes to vent his frustrations associated with dealing with insurance companies and banks by practising kung fu and kickboxing.
Up until 2009, Chadney Bulgin had been struggling with contracting revenues and large-scale redundancies due to the collapse in the mortgage market. Managing partner David Thomas is clear that financial planning saved the firm, but he is once again optimistic about the property market thanks to the government’s Help to Buy scheme. Since 2009, Thomas and joint managing partner Martyn Griggs have grown the firm with an impressive acquisition strategy.
Chesterton House Financial Planning
Drawing on a number of inspirational sources, including Paul Etheridge, dubbed the godfather of financial planning, and US guru Bill Bachrach, director Andy Jervis has built a firm that consistently achieves outstanding scores for client satisfaction. He wants to create a multi-disciplinary practice. Last year, he launched a tax planning service and is building it into a full accounting service at this Loughborough-based firm. He has also applied for an alternative business structure licence from the Solicitors Regulation Authority to offer legal services.
Chetwood Wealth Management
Somerset-based Chetwood has been focused on developing its investment proposition, professional connections and use of technology. Around two-thirds of active clients are now signed up to its revamped investment proposition, helping to grow recurring income. The firm also recently hired a business development manager to focus on increasing professional connections. Operations director Richard Hansell says: ‘An ongoing investment in IT and technical personnel ensures that the firm can meet the developing needs of its clients and adapt to a variety of investment needs.’
Clay Rogers & Partners
Managing director Mark Rogers plays in a rock band and his charity fundraising work includes selling his band’s CDs as well as organising an annual golf tournament. Birmingham-based Rogers says that the financial planning profession has been through a paradigm shift. ‘The only thing we sell is our financial planning process,’ he says. ‘We do not sell products.’ Clay Rogers only wants to deal with clients who understand this process. ‘The main skills of the planner are comprehensive fact finding, goal discovering and setting – finding out exactly what is important to the client and how the many detailed soft facts fit into the plan,’ adds Rogers.
Cornerstone Asset Management
Cornerstone has only been running for three years, but it has a wealth of experience behind it in partner Alan Reid and his team. The Edinburgh-based firm provides integrated wealth and tax planning services to investors and business owners. Reid says his time building the company has confirmed that there is ‘no short cut to success, no newly invented wheel’. His advice is: ‘Clearly define your market and areas of expertise, outsource the remainder to trusted partners. Get your proposition and your marketing correct, then get out of bed early and work until late at night.’ Reid is married with four children and spends his spare time supporting Motherwell and playing golf – badly, he says.
Create and Prosper Financial Services
Director Graeme Inglis formed Create and Prosper in 2010 with the upcoming RDR in mind. The Kirkcaldy-based firm quickly built a strong local and national presence and has since expanded. Football fan Inglis says: ‘This is an exciting time to be leading a chartered financial planner firm. We are focusing on several projects over the next year including building on our partnerships with football clubs and honing the way we deliver corporate pension advice.’ Create and Prosper has corporate chartered status, and Inglis is chartered and holds the Investment Management Certificate (IMC).
Critchleys Financial Planning
Oxford-based accountancy practice Critchleys is one of the top 60 UK accountancy firms. Director Jason McGuigan joined to set up its financial planning arm in 1997. More recently, Critchleys merged its financial planning and accountancy businesses under one private client proposition headed by McGuigan. He is a strong believer in educating the next generation of financial planners to ensure a sound future for the profession.
Crown Wealth Management
Crown was set up by Brian Benson in 2006 and has grown steadily through building relations with the Shropshire business community. The firm now has four advisers with £40 million assets under management and is seeking to expand further by acquisition. Crown has also concentrated on developing professional connections and in 2008 partnered with accountancy firm Turner Peachey. Benson is chartered, certified, a fellow of the PFS and accredited by Solla. Crown plans to gain IFP accredited status this year and Benson was recently confirmed as the new IFP branch chairman for the Birmingham region.
Cube Financial Planning
Directors Mike Godfrey (pictured) and Neil Emburey have worked together for 20 years. Their latest venture, Cube FP, is a young, chartered firm based in Hampshire and established around the principles of RDR and so has no legacy issues. Emburey says: ‘The team endeavours to build strong individual relationships in helping clients to meet their life goals. It develops their “financial strategies for life” based on Cube’s six-stage financial planning process and six golden rules for investing.’ Godfrey has sat on the board of directors for the Financial Services Skills Council commission for education and continues his work of encouraging the younger generation to join financial services – his two sons, Leigh and Jonny, also work at Cube and are shareholders.
Donald Assett Management
This is a second generation, family-run business based in a leafy Sutton Coldfield suburb. Clients are mainly individuals and families with upwards of £500,000 in liquid assets to invest. According to managing director Jamie Donald, who recently took over the reins from his father Ian, continuity and decades of experience bring a personal commitment to clients’ financial wellbeing. As a sign of this commitment, the firm offers clients a service guarantee. ‘If they are not happy with our service, they can decide how much they are prepared to pay for the previous quarter,’ says Donald.
Eldon Chartered Financial Planners
Athlete Joss Harwood glides over real and metaphorical hurdles with ease. She founded County Durham-based Eldon Financial Planning in 2002 with co-directors Tony Conner and Owen Temple. They were in the first wave of both individual and corporate chartered financial planners. Though a small firm, Eldon has always been high profile and involved in the advancement of financial planning as a profession, especially promoting the chartered and certified qualifications. Eldon was named the North’s New Model Adviser® of the Year in 2008 and Chartered Financial Planners of the Year in 2011. Harwood says: ‘Our latest anonymous client survey had a very good response rate. The most highly valued aspects being our personalised service and mutual trust.’
Equilibrium Asset Management
Managing partner Colin Lawson likes ‘scary goals’ - which is why this Wilmslow-based firm is in the early stages of a 10-year plan to increase its £300 million plus assets under management to £2 billion. The firm has a simple strategy for expansion. It moves into new areas, split by postcodes, starts to build a presence with seminars on subjects such as retirement, then opens a regional office. Lawson has a highly qualified team behind him including investment manager Mike Deverell, who was recently made a partner in the business.
Since launching in 1997, Kent-based Everett MacLeod has been strongly influenced by the IFP – in particular Paul Etheridge, Barry Horner and Brett Davidson – and was an early adopter of the ‘values based financial planning’ ethos promoted by Bill Bachrach. The principle behind this is helping clients live their ‘ideal lives’ while the advisers deal with the ‘financial stuff’. Energetic managing director Mike MacLeod says this means they can ‘be more direct as we understand the benefits to a client of helping them trust us. We do not work with clients who do not delegate.’ To continually improve, Everett MacLeod is investing more than 10% of its turnover in development of staff training.
Fiducia Wealth Management
Managing director John Millican highlights technology and training as two areas where he believes his Essex-based firm has an edge. It was an early adopter of platform technology in 2003 and allies this with own bespoke software. On the investment side, Fiducia’s team now has an eight-year track record with its range of risk-rated portfolios. Millican is a supporter of his local university and encourages graduates to join financial services. ‘We employed our first graduate in the mid-1990s, in a paraplanner role, and that has been a key part of our culture ever since,’ he says. The firm also supports various charities and the work of Round Table and Rotary.
First Wealth provides integrated solutions to entrepreneurs and professionals, covering tax planning, financial advice and investment management. Its strategy is to engage with partners at accountancy practices and add private clients through those sources. Partner Anthony Villis says that the London-based firm’s expertise in tax planning builds confidence with accountancy partners and this also leads to referrals. Villis is an avid user of cashflow modelling tools. He has also designed and implemented a discretionary management proposition - Quantum Investment Portfolio - with risk control at the core of portfolio construction.
Fiscal Engineers provides a multi-disciplinary approach to wealth management through its family office solution. Under the leadership of Shane Mullins, the firm won the IFP’s David Norton ‘Building Excellence’ award in 2011. Last year, a thorough operational review helped ensure effective corporate governance was in place for RDR and beyond. The firm has specific frameworks around culture, financial controls and risk management. Fiscal Engineers has been running modelling scenarios for years and adopted risk maps to ensure risk management is embedded into its business. It also overhauled its investment operations to ensure the firm’s independence, which it protects fiercely.
Friar Gate Independent Financial Services
Friar Gate’s office has a grand view of Derby County’s Pride Park stadium. Its clients have included many football stars, such as Nigel Clough; Ole Gunnar Solskjær; and Kasper and Peter Schmeichel. Principal financial planner David Rouse concentrates on keeping his own performance levels high by continually reviewing and improving standards, and has achieved the ISO 22222 accreditation. While it is good to have famous clients, Rouse also likes working with the firm’s other main niche of small business owners. Friar Gate has pioneered a support network that provides free mentoring, coaching and counselling for startup businesses. Rouse says: ‘We hope some of those will become the financial planning clients of the future.’
Future Life Wealth Management
This small firm, situated in a beautiful country house stable conversion near Sheffield, benefits from Jillian Thomas’ drive, charisma and high level contacts. She and the firm have won several awards. Thomas is a speaker on both financial planning and wider economic subjects and sits on the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce council. She says: ‘Future Life Wealth Management was established in 2009 to be different. Being passionate about what we do generates fun and enthusiasm throughout the business. This is infectious, resulting in strong referrals from clients and professional connections.’
GS Financial Services
Kelman Chambers has overseen big changes at GS Financial Services since he became director in 2010. He has pulled a fragmented firm into a more consistent and process-driven model, and put ambitious growth plans in place. The changes have helped to increase recurring income and build the firm’s reputation. Chambers has picked a team of experienced advisers, with different areas of specialism, to enable the firm to offer a holistic service to clients. The Perth-based firm has recently expanded, opening an office on the Dundee waterfront. It has also achieved corporate chartered status, which Chambers hopes will help forge relationships with professionals.
HC Wealth Management
Director Ian Shipway formed his own advisory business in 1990 and built it into a leading firm before selling to Thinc, now Bluefin, in 2003. He eventually became managing director of Bluefin Wealth Management before leaving in 2009. Shipway is a past president of the IFP, has served on the international council of the Financial Planning Standards Board and has lectured on financial planning in Japan, Australia and the US. He says: ‘We take technical competence and qualifications for granted, and believe interpersonal skills are the key to cementing a lasting relationship. By engaging with clients that we like, we can be more profitable and life is more pleasant.’
Henwood Court Financial Planning
Directors Nick and Victoria Platt have achieved high recurring income of around 80% at this Sutton Coldfield-based firm. They offer full financial life planning and a ‘lighter’ version. The firm runs regular client satisfaction surveys, and its client database is at the heart of everything it does, bringing together everything from portfolio valuations through to how clients take their coffee. Victoria has a degree in business studies while Nick is chartered, certified and a registered life planner. They both enjoy a wide range of hobbies including open water swimming.
Heron House Financial Management
Managing director Saran Allott-Davey has more than 20 years’ experience, during which she has served as chair of the South Wales branch for the IFP and received many awards. Heron House also has IFP accredited status. Allott-Davey is an avid philanthropist who supports local charities through the firm. Heron House has a family-first policy, which reflects her experience of raising children while developing the business. Practicing what they preach on work-life balance helps retain a freshness of ideas and approach.
Independent Advisers (Scotland)
Glasgow-based Independent Advisers (Scotland) has grown considerably in the past three years, and now has about 400 clients. Managing director Alistair Creevy is at the helm and his wife and both his daughters also work in the company. Ability to empathise with other family businesses has been a growth generator in itself, he says. IAS launched My Will (Scotland) in 2011 to undertake trust and estate work, and this has become an established complementary service to the main firm. The launch this year of the firm’s retirement options investment programme has also been well received, says Creevy. He has also launched a consultancy practice that aims to improve providers’ understanding of IFA businesses.
Informed Financial Planning
Managing director Kevin Ferriby was one of the first chartered financial planners in the UK and Informed was one of the first companies to achieve corporate chartered status. The firm has a graduate development scheme and professional connections have proved a vital part of its work. Informed sponsors the local Law Society, for example, holds regular continuing professional development (CPD) accredited seminars for professional partners and it has active referral relationships with more than 20 solicitors and accountants. Ferriby says of the Leeds and Hull-based firm: ‘Informed does not look to meet standards. Our approach of process improvement and staff development enables us to anticipate and exceed regulatory requirements and industry best practice.’
The Investment Coach
This firm’s idyllic rural setting near Wellingborough belies its cutting-edge use of technology. For example, it pioneered the use of cloud software for clients and professional partners; and this use of technology is also seen in the investment software employed. Managing director Andrew Reeves was one of the first advisers in the UK to obtain the ISO 22222 standard and is also chartered, certified and a fellow of the PFS. ‘We make it as easy as possible for a client to get a problem off their desk onto ours,’ he says. ‘And from our website they can self-calculate their fee so there are no surprises.’
When he is not boxing or clay pigeon shooting, Investment Quorum chief executive Lee Robertson is a strong voice in the financial planning community, regularly appearing at conferences and on television. The firm places a heavy emphasis on its investment management capabilities and boasts former Cazenove Global Equity fund manager Peter Lowman as its chief investment officer. Robertson has been among the backers of the PFS’s Consumer Confidence Campaign, and Investment Quorum is one of the founder members of wealth management forum Aurora Group.
Investment Solutions Weatlh Management
Director Ivan Lyons says gaining chartered status this year has made a difference with this boutique firm’s clients as they are looking for the highest level of qualifications in the post-RDR era. Sussex-based Investment Solutions is a member of legal services and advice body Sifa. It has an in-house investment committee with bespoke portfolios and works to service charters. All this has contributed to the fact that it is one of the most commended firms in the region on the IFA comparison website VouchedFor, says Lyons. Lyons is a determined long distance runner and aims to finish 100 marathons before he retires.
James Harvey Associates
James Harvey set up this London-based firm in 1998. He has gained inspiration from investment guru Charles Ellis and life planning pioneer George Kinder and now employs a full life planning approach. Harvey says that this helps clients consider and understand what they really want from life. ‘Only when this works can effective financial planning start,’ he says. ‘Asking searching questions of clients is a skill all good advisers have developed. But a life planner takes this a stage further with questions that allow the client to gravitate to important areas, unhindered by peer expectations or negative beliefs.’
John Lamb Partnership
Senior consultant Campbell Edgar has had pivotal roles in the profession including president of the IFP and chief examiner of the CII Portfolio Investment Management paper. Edgar says: ‘Where many advisers have moved to relying on ad valorem fees for funds under management – and so look more like stockbrokers for collective funds – we continue to provide pure advice and charge for the time to provide it.’ This makes the London-based firm suitable for other professionals to refer to as ‘they can continue to hold the key relationship while we provide the financial advice’, he says.
Ambitious managing director David Williams has grown Jones Sheridan with a string of RDR-related acquisitions. The Crewe-based firm has become so experienced at buying IFAs that people now approach him for advice on acquisition strategy, says Williams. ‘We have made some great new friends as well because the purchased IFAs become relationship managers for a period to assist the transition,’ he adds. The Jones Sheridan team are big charity fundraisers and, through various initiatives, have raised more than £20,000 over the past 12 months.
KMD Private Wealth Management
Essex-based KMD has just been awarded the IFP’s David Norton ‘Building Excellence’ award in recognition of its client focus, quality of service and financial planning process. Partner Kevin Deamer’s strategy has been to build the business via a series of tightly-controlled acquisitions and service a small number of high-net-worth clients from each. This approach helped KMD nearly quadruple its income between 2008 and 2012. The firm now has eight staff, including three advisers, and recently took on an investment manager, enabling Deamer and co-owner Liam Sheils to focus on financial, tax and succession planning.
Joint chief executives Mike Holden (right) and Joel Adams (left) may crack the odd joke or two, but they are deeply serious about their ambitions in the world of financial planning. They recently recruited two new advisers, having taken on 600 new clients in group schemes. That took the total to 8,500 clients, 14 chartered advisers and 57 members of staff. The firm has offices in London, Edinburgh and Manchester. Adams, a previous PFS Chartered Financial Planner of the Year winner, says: ‘We strive to keep our proposition at the leading edge.’
Loch Fyne Financial Management
Loch Fyne takes its name from the Scottish west coast region, known for its oyster fishery, where managing director Douglas McIntyre’s family owned a home for more than 50 years. But the firm is based in central Glasgow, in an elegantly restored Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed building overlooking the beautiful Blythswood Square. McIntyre and his team provide comprehensive wealth management to a select number of private clients and their families. Loch Fyne’s dedication was recognised through the New Model Adviser® Young Firm of the Year award in 2012. Loch Fyne also became an IFP accredited firm after only one year in operation. Loch Fyne has developed a propriety WealthProtect process, grounded in academic theory and research; and McIntyre is a member of passive investment group Evidence Based Investment Solutions.
This Galashiels-based adviser focuses on retirement planning for people living in and around the Scottish Borders. Managing director Graeme Mitchell has over 25 years’ financial services experience. He says he understands from first-hand experience many of the challenges facing business owners. ‘We offer three review services so virtually anyone can benefit from our advice,’ says Mitchell. He credits the firm’s use of marketing consultants with helping to improve client communications.
Mackay Stewart & Brown
Managing director John Mackay first built his business by serving members of the British Medical Association. The Edinburgh firm has since grown and widened its net to clients from other professions. Most of Mackay Stewart & Brown’s clients are retired and it has created a range of risk-rated income portfolios to help them top up their pensions – using Edinburgh-based funds where possible. Mackay is a qualified life coach, which he says helps with holistic planning and developing responsible, self-motivated staff. ‘This is opposed to the command-and-control style sometimes encountered in financial services,’ says Mackay. ‘Clients can detect this approach and they like it.’
Director Nick Crabbe is an influential member in the financial planning community. He has worked closely with other members of the IFP and PFS to help advisers refine their propositions. Crabbe was also a founding member of the Advanced Financial Planning Alliance. Leeds-based Crabbe is a no-nonsense character who says the ability to trust is the single most important factor for clients when choosing an adviser. ‘It takes time, education, transparency, and delivering on promises to create this trust and to then maintain it,’ says Crabbe. ‘You will not find “get rich quick” schemes or edgy tax planning solutions at Manse, but you will find client care systems built on human relationships.’
Mark Hughes and Associates
Mark Hughes specialises in advice to small businesses and estate planning, and his Roystonbased firm is enjoying a boost to profitability after a merger with local firm Bluebond last year. Following the merger, gross profits have reached £413,000 for the year to the end of August 2013. Operating profit stands at £92,000, although this figure better reflects staff salaries than in previous years. He says life as an IFA is hard work but ‘absolutely stimulating’. ‘Talking to clients, looking at their life plans, being with them at important parts of their life – it is very enjoyable,’ he says. Hughes is a Spurs fan, who drives a 1962 Dodge Viper.
This chartered Shropshire-based firm increased funds under management and recurring income tenfold in the five years to 2012. Chartered financial planner Robin Melley now wants to repeat the trick with the value of the business and multiply it by 10. He says that moving to fees in 2009 allowed him to switch focus from increasing turnover to building long-term value in the business. Melley adds that, as well as improving knowledge and professionalism, achieving chartered status had a wide range of positive effects such as improving team confidence and attracting likeminded clients and professional connections. Outside work, Melley is a keen salmon fisher.
Mazars Financial Planning
Mazars is a large partnership specialising in integrated audit, accountancy, tax, legal and financial advisory services. Led by partner Ian Pickford, it offers these services to families, business owners, trustees, entrepreneurs, high-net-worth individuals and non-UK domiciliaries. While maintaining focus on maximising referrals from its own accountancy arm, the London-based firm has also acquired workplace consultancy firms to boost its auto-enrolment offering. Chartered financial planner and research and investment analyst Mark Brownridge says: ‘Having a global reach gives Mazars a competitive edge in a crowded marketplace. We are able to provide clients with innovative and tailored financial solutions, whatever their requirements.’
Managing director Dhan Sharma drew inspiration from a wide range of sources in building this firm - from his dentist’s service level to Masterchef’s branding. After solving some early teething problems, the firm is now quickly moving ahead - a significant upward revision has meant that new business is expected to hit £350,000 this year. Maze recently achieved IFP accreditation to go with its corporate chartered status. The focus is on goals-based planning and engaging with a variety of client segments, says Sharma. ‘Our simple philosophy of "doing the best we can every day" has placed us in a strong strategic and financial position,’ he says.
Under the leadership of Paul Taylor, this firm aims to provide a one-stop shop for wealth management, tax advice and trust work. It is also developing a discretionary investment service. The Worcester-based firm expects to accrue more than £120 million in funds under advice by the end of this year and is open to any companies looking to merge with it. Director Philip Haden adds: ‘We are keen to promote the positive aspects of financial services by voluntarily working with companies and schools to improve basic levels of financial education.’
At the age of sweet 16, Surrey-based MDM is growing up and the past few years have been about increasing staff qualifications - it now has four chartered advisers. Charismatic managing director Lisanne Mealing is now focusing on services for the next generation of advisers and their clients. Use of presentation site prezi.com, iPads and other modern communication methods top the agenda. MDM will shortly launch its own app. It also plans to deliver investment advice and education for employees of corporate schemes. Mealing says: ‘The firm is constantly looking to innovate and hopes in 2014 to be using the best customer relationship management systems to improve the client experience and ease service delivery.’
MPA Financial Management
Solihull-based MPA has a long history of working with senior civil service clients. It is a chartered financial planning firm and adviser to a number of professional organisations including law and accountancy practices. Managing director Phil McGovern says: ‘We aim to inform, educate and inspire our clients. We do the same with our staff with defined career paths and encouragement to pass exams. We have three chartered financial planners and two PFS fellows, with others striving for this level. We are proud to be independent and our extensive research programme will ensure we keep it that way.’
Navigator Financial Planning
Belfast-based Navigator was last year’s New Model Adviser® of the Year for Scotland and Northern Ireland. It focuses on the niche areas of personal injury victims and local business owners. Navigator is one of only two IFP-accredited firms in Northern Ireland. Partner David Crozier was the first certified financial planner in the country – a qualification he thinks will be an important differentiator in the RDR world. Crozier runs a bespoke back office and cashflow system. He works closely with adviser-led think tank Evidence-Based Investment Solutions. Crozier doesn’t let the Irish Sea stop him from regularly meeting his peers in the UK financial planning community and he is also a much followed tweeter.
Principal Carole Nicholls has over 30 years’ experience and she and her team have been giving retirement advice to corporate and individual clients for more than 25. Nicholls is a strong proponent of raising standards in the profession. She is chartered, certified and a fellow of the PFS and the CII. She has sat on the board of the PFS and was president in 2006-07.
The Bristol-based adviser has written books on pensions and financial planning, spoken at national conferences, and runs a financial services training company. She has a keen interest in demystifying finance and has been hailed as a ‘champion of fairer finance’.
NLP Financial Management
NLP was set up in London by Lee Pittal and Adam Katten (pictured), both chartered accountants, in 2005. Their goal was to attract people away from private banks by offering a service those institutions would reserve only for their wealthiest clients. It has clearly worked and this approach helped them amass £340 million of funds under advice since launching. The firm offers a discretionary management service which they say most clients prefer. Five model portfolios are available in addition to bespoke offerings.
OCM Wealth Managment
Chief executive Jason Stather-Lodge is qualified to chartered, certified and IMC level. He has built a firm that he says is one of only a handful in the UK to be a genuine family office. Under Stather-Lodge’s intense scrutiny, the Northampton firm’s aim is to combine the skills of a financial advisory practice with those of a discretionary manager. Its investment expertise allows it to marry a client’s defined outcome to a solution, which involves dynamic, conviction-led portfolio asset management with a firm emphasis on wealth preservation.
Old Mill Financial Planning
Old Mill is an integrated professional services business that employs financial planners, accountants, tax advisers and auditors. Associate director Duncan Parkes says the joined-up approach taken by these separate parts allows the group to meet the majority of a client’s professional advice needs under one roof. Headed by Paula Hodge, the financial planning wing operates from offices in Dorchester, Exeter, Melksham, Shepton Mallet and Yeovil.
This family-run business has been through an extraordinary transition since its days as an old model tied agent. The Bury St Edmunds-based firm has become an IFP accredited firm and the directors, Richard Page and his sons Tim and Stephen, have a slew of accolades and qualifications including the IFP’s David Norton award. Tim is a self-confessed ‘financial planning practice geek’ and his enthusiasm for learning has helped the firm stay at the forefront of developments, such as advanced professional qualifications; independence; transparent charging; holistic financial planning; asset class investing; wrap platforms; risk tolerance profiling; and collaborative planning software.
Paradigm Norton Financial Planning
Some see Paradigm Norton as the model to follow within the wider financial planning profession. By design it only acts for a small number of clients, which allows the team to deliver exceptional levels of client service to each. The Bristol-based firm was established in 2001. Since then, chief executive Barry Horner has assembled a team of more than 40 highly-qualified staff, who have won numerous professional awards along the way. Earlier this year, Horner joined forces with another ex-IFP president when Jane Wheeler’s Direction Financial Planning became an appointed representative of Paradigm Norton.
Pearson Jones was one of the first firms to be awarded corporate chartered status in 2007. It was also named the North’s New Model Adviser® of the Year in 2011. The Leeds-based company is one of the largest IFA firms in the north, providing an ongoing service to 3,300 high-net-worth clients. Deputy managing director and investment director Peter Heckingbottom says: ‘Well before the Financial Services Authority conceived the RDR, the firm was committed to ensuring that all its advisers were at advanced diploma level. It now employs 13 chartered financial planners as advisers.’
Owner Craig Palfrey has been candid about the tough situations he has faced in former roles. But his fortunes have picked up impressively at Penguin, which he founded in 2010. The firm secured accredited status from the IFP and Palfrey has achieved ISO 22222 accreditation. Penguin has also notched up the British Standards 8577 professional quality standard certificate. This year the firm launched a free information website increaseyourpension.co.uk. Palfrey says: ‘There are many great firms in the New Model Adviser® community, helping promote the message of financial planning. We are doing our fair share.’
London-based Perceptive Planning is one of the select advisers that have both chartered and IFP-accredited financial planning firm status. It was set up by director Shannon Currie in 2010 after she sold her consultancy practice, Perception Support, to support services provider Threesixty. In the wake of the sale and after studying with life planning guru George Kinder, Currie realised she wanted to work with clients again and set up Perceptive Planning. The firm tends to look after whole families. ‘We often deal with two or three generations,’ says Currie. ‘We watch the bigger picture. We even have fun now and then.’
Petrus Financial Services
Managing director Philip Dendy believes he has found the key to sustainability and long-term value in his firm, by developing a family office proposition for wealthy families, trusts and charities. Such clients are easier to engage with through the generations than high-net-worth individuals or those in later life, he says. To do this, the Berkshire-based company has been developing strategic relationships with a number of professional firms. The new family office proposition includes the creation of ‘advice pods’ in which the advising directors co-ordinate a team of specialists to deliver complex tax advice, long-term planning through the generations, as well as philanthropic advice and access to liquidity.
Plutus Wealth Management
Georgina Partridge is a premier league netball player, co-founder of Plutus and a pivotal part of its dynamic, energetic and multi-disciplinary team. She says: ‘We are aiming high. We are working hard with our service levels, client offering, education and branding to help consumers understand the value of advice and know where to get it.’ The London-based firm helped to spearhead IFA comparison website Unbiased’s Value of Advice campaign, launched last year. ‘We support the philosophy that advice is valuable, worthwhile and should be accessible to normal people,’ says Partridge.
Prest Financial Services
Prest Financial Services has been running for 52 years but it constantly reacts to changing markets. In the past few years, it has been an enthusiastic acquirer, taking advantage of the opportunities thrown up by the RDR and ambitiously aiming to fill all the space its vast modern office in Stockport affords. Managing director and football fan Graham Prest keeps his eye on the ball when it comes to niche investments, and has identified some interesting propositions for his clients over the years. He also takes a keen interest
Managing director Andrew Whiteley is an expert in passive investments and was one of the first advisers in the UK to offer exchange traded fund-based model portfolios to retail investors. Whiteley says Letchworth-based Provisio had to make little or no changes to its fee schedule, investment solution or client service proposition as a result of the retail distribution review (RDR). ‘We recognised the need for transparency in our fee structure - and a cost effective, risk-graded, multi-asset investment proposition hosted on a platform - when we designed and introduced these features in March 2008,’ he says. Another important achievement of Whiteley’s has been setting up the charity Tom’s Trust in memory of his son, who died from a brain tumour.
Redbourne Wealth Management
Over 95% of clients are referred by professional introducers at Redbourne, which is part owned by three accountancy firms and its own staff. The Bromsgrove-based firm was formed in 2008 and advises high net worth individuals, professionals, family businesses and larger estates. Redbourne prides itself on the use of technology such as iPhone apps and a virtual wrap, which it runs through its own IT system. Managing director Gordon Hay says: ‘We have always operated a transparent charging structure and have been able to bring significant savings to our clients’ portfolios with the use of low-cost, specialist platforms and passive-based portfolios.’
Directors Greg Robertson and Stephen Baxter (pictured) have big ambitions for this firm, which advises high end private clients, trustees and leading charities across Yorkshire. These two passionate and intense characters are engaged in a battle with fund managers over control of pricing and the client relationship. To prevail, they need economies of scale. They are already using their £100 million under advice as an effective bargaining tool, but they are confident they can amass £500 million over the next decade.
Scotia Wealth Management
Scotia Wealth Management is a small, Edinburgh-based IFA dedicated to the provision of holistic financial planning. Managing director Bill Smith has more than 20 years’ experience. He advises on all aspects of financial planning, but is known by some as ‘Mr Pension’, due to his passion for that specialism. ‘I advise other IFAs’ clients about pensions and even about some about their own pensions, because of their complex nature,’ he says. ‘We aim to make financial services interesting so that the advice becomes a two-way process. This allows clients to make informed decisions.’ Outside work, Smith is an officer with the Royal Naval Reserve, based with HMS Scotia in Rosyth.
SG Wealth Management
One of the top new model firms in the east, this Norwich-based firm appointed a new wealth manager and an administrator to help service its growing client bank this year. It is an important move for managing director Neil Shillito (pictured left). He makes sure SG’s advisers look after no more than 40 or 50 clients each to maintain a high level of service. The firm achieves a recurring income of 90% consistently and Shillito says his greatest achievement so far was having the vision in 2000 to see what would happen with the RDR 12 years later.
Skerrits Chartered Financial Planners
This year Brighton-based Skerritts was named New Model Adviser® of the Year for the South East for the third year in a row. Managing director Richard Skerritt says: ‘It comes down to the team. If you have the right staff, in the right place, it just kind of happens.’ Client communication is a crucial ingredient, he says: ‘You can do the best investment and advice job in the world, but if the client is not aware of this and reminded on a regular basis, this can leave them feeling uncomfortable. Technology enables us to cost-effectively provide clients with regular communication and information to suit them.’ The chartered firm has grown by acquisition, snapping up eight firms in the past seven years.
Smart Financial Planning
Managing director Steve Martin is expanding his business rapidly and hopes to attract 40 new high-net-worth clients next year and take turnover from £650,000 to £1 million. Smart now has offices in Altrincham, Leeds, Glasgow and London – but Martin himself has moved to Spain and commutes to the UK one week per month. This won’t stop him from the completing the journey from his ‘lifestyle business’ to a ‘fully fledged business’, he says. Smart has recently launched an exit planning consultancy to help its SME owner clients sell their businesses. ‘To maximise the reach of this service we have recruited a full-time marketing manager,’ says Smart. ‘Navel gazing is over, getting the message out and growing the business is our complete focus.’
Smythe & Walter
In 2010, food lovers Lee Smythe (pictured) and Ben Walters started this firm in a Central London office situated close to the swanky restaurants of Charlotte Street. They have good reason to toast their success as the initial client bank of 80 rose to more than 200 in the first two years. Growth is based on existing client referrals, professional connections and a joint venture with a mortgage company. Being based in the West End, many clients are finance professionals, actors and musicians. Managing director Smythe is a chartered champion in Kent, where he lives, and believes the designation is an important differentiator post-RDR.
Certified financial planner Louise Oliver is a publicity ace. She has been a regular on BBC radio programmes and featured in a Panorama documentary critiquing the advice given by high street banks. This high profile has helped Chesterfield-based Taylor Oliver receive a large increase in enquiries from potential clients seeking a new adviser post-RDR. Despite its success to date, Taylor Oliver increased its fees in January this year, setting a minimum annual charge of £1,500. Oliver says this was to ensure that the increased costs of compliance with RDR did not erode profits. ‘Our team is like a family and our clients feel as though they are part of that,’ she says.
Thomas and Thomas Finance
Director Darren Lloyd Thomas started this business in Haverfordwest with his wife Lisa Thomas in 2006. It has grown rapidly, helping the couple achieve a great lifestyle based around their smallholding and involvement with the local choir. Lloyd Thomas says: ‘Our diligence, customer service, ethics and dynamic investment management has led to accrediting bodies and peers recognising us as being among the best in the business. We are constantly developing new ways to communicate with and educate our clients in financial matters.’
Timothy James & Partners
Timothy James & Partners specialises in advising creative and media professionals, including many famous names, and the firm boasts similarly impressive premises, having recently moved to 1 Horse Guards Avenue, London. Managing director Tim Whiting says his clients like the firm’s highly personalised approach, which is reflected in high retention rates and referrals from existing customers or professional contacts. The firm has 5,000 active clients and £450 million under advice, but the potential is still huge, he thinks.
Co-director Paul Lothian originally thought he was going to be a pop star. Instead, he gained a degree in financial services; became president of the PFS in 2008; and together with Jonathan Gibson helped to build this respected Dundee-based company that now has corporate chartered status. Lothian has also contributed to the profession as a chartered champion for north Scotland, and in mentoring other advisers through this high level qualification. ‘Chartered status represents an outward expression and confirmation of our firm’s inner values, ethics and culture,’ he says.
Ward Goodman Financial Services
Ward Goodman offers an outsourced solution for accountants or solicitors to help them run their own financial services company. It also offers a ‘joint professional services’ office for smaller practices - the first pilot of this is launching in October 2013. Director Simon Willcox also wants to help unadvised, lower-net-worth clients. He and his team have developed a discovery document that helps clients choose whether they need independent or restricted advice, a whole financial plan or focused advice. To encourage client interaction, it offers more than 30 free online guides on financial matters as well as 22 fact sheets helping clients make financial decisions. Willcox is keen on climbing and reaching the summit of the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc are his greatest achievements, he says.
Wealth Matters provides specialist financial planning advice to the freelancer and contractor community. The firm is affiliated with the Professional Contractors Group and writes a detailed guide to pensions every year for the body. Wealth Matters is also affiliated with five accountants and two mortgage brokers that specialise in this client niche. The Luton-based firm uses its Wealth Matters risk-assessed performance system (Wraps) to manage more than £100 million of clients’ investments. Director Julian Gilbert says: ‘While other firms may run similar systems, the level of information on Wraps and how we communicate with clients stand out.’
Wealthflow must be doing something right as it has received over 100 client-supported endorsements on LinkedIn in the past 12 months. Founding partner Duncan Glassey is a chartered financial planner, fellow of the PFS and Wealthflow is a chartered financial planning firm. Glassey champions the role of life coaching in financial advice and helps to train IFAs to integrate life coaching into their businesses. Wealthflow works closely with professional connections. It has become recognised within legal circles as an adviser to high value medical negligence and catastrophic injury settlements awarded by the Scottish courts. The firm sponsors children’s football in the Edinburgh area, and plans to back a world peace-building programme called Chess for Peace.
Web Financial Services
Confident and straight talking managing director Ross Butters wants to take this firm’s funds under advice to £500 million in the next five to seven years. The Surrey-based firm has had a complicated history but the current direction started to take shape in 2005 when it was among the first firms to sign up to the Standard Life wrap. Another important change came when it launched its own model portfolios in 2009 – the success of this active investment proposition has helped to bolster the firm’s recent growth. However, cricket-loving Butters now plans to change the game by targeting younger clientele in London with a passive investment offering as well.
Whiting & Partners Wealth Management
Located in Cambridgeshire and serving a large farming community, chartered firm Whiting & Partners aims to deliver a service with traditional values at the core, but with a strong reliance on new technology and enhancing qualifications. ‘Our clients are often second or third generation family businesses and we hope to work with them for generations to come,’ says managing director David Salmon. Whiting & Partners is also developing new niches and is designing an auto-enrolment offering to plug into its accountancy sister firm’s payroll services. ‘It is as much a human resources as a pension issue,’ says Salmon.
Yellowtail Financial Planning
Managing director Dennis Hall is a pioneer in Kinder-inspired life planning and has been developing a niche in advising widows. Hall is also an author and his first book, Who Will It Hurt When I Die?, is aimed at helping couples avoid the financial problems of bereavement. When he’s not writing, he collects the work of contemporary artists, including Tracey Emin and Antony Gormley.
Yvonne Goodwin Wealth Management
Thirty years’ experience in the business did not deter managing director Yvonne Goodwin from recently taking a financial services degree at Manchester Metropolitan University – and she was delighted to achieve a first. After six years of building her firm, Goodwin says: ‘We do the work we enjoy and outsource the rest. We are not looking to grow. We do not want to be bought or to acquire other firms.’ Goodwin is now a regular financial commentator for BBC TV and radio, and says she is happy to appear on air at all hours of the day and night in exchange for work and expertise of the Beeb’s hair and make-up technicians, and its industrial strength coffee.