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Top 100 2017: Check out the third batch from our list

Here is the third batch of advice firms that made it onto this year's New Model Adviser® Top 100.

Kevin Scott

Herbert Scott, Lewes

Self-confessed member of the mid-life crisis club, director Kevin Scott bought a Harley-Davidson and joined punk band the Kondoms. He has also shifted attention towards improving relationships in the firm, ‘with each other, clients, our professional network and our community,’ he says. ‘This has made it more profitable and fun to work in.’ All advisers have also attended a George Kinder financial life planning course to enable better conversations with clients about their money, he says. The chartered firm sponsors the annual local Proms in The Paddock and children’s Moving On Parade, and supports children’s hospice Chestnut Tree House.

Employees: 11

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
597085

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
165200250

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
788083

Chris Jordan

Heron House Financial Management, Newport

Recurring income has continued to rise at Heron House in recent years. In 2015 83% of revenues were recurring, rising to 90% in 2016 and 92% this year. Turnover has also increased over the same period, from £1 million in 2015 to £1.5 million this year. This growth has been supported by a change in team approach, says director Chris Jordan, which has ensured every client has a lead financial planner, supported by a technical support team who can look after the client’s affairs on a daily basis. Heron House is also looking to the future with a graduate scheme and a simpler financial planning proposition for clients’ family members.

Employees: 15

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
222232250

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
310472700

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
839092

Mark Dodd

Holden & Partners, London

Since it began in 2003, London-based Holden & Partners has been promoting the awareness of environmental, sustainable and thematic investing. As well as having a positive impact on society and the planet, the chartered firm is on a mission to develop its team, supporting all advisers to become STEP affiliates. Partner Mark Dodd hopes to further grow staff numbers by hiring an adviser and an operations manager. Holden and Partners will achieve over £1 million in pre-tax profits this year and has added £50 million funds under advice since 2015. Next year the firm will work towards achieving a discretionary investment management offering.

Employees: 23

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
430449480

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
10009801050

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
807575

Ed Holder

Holder & Combes, London

Directors Ed Holder and Nick Combes complement each other perfectly with their respective chartered and certified qualifications. They both ran the London Marathon in 2016, and will be climbing Mont Blanc this year, raising £10,000 so far for this latest adventure, says Holder. It typifies the pair’s go-getting attitude that has seen them amass £80 million under advice and a healthy profit.

Their plan for the next 12 months is to take assets over £100 million through continued focus on professional connections, client referrals, search engine optimisation, and targeted Google advertising. The firm, which is chartered, supports three charities.

Employees: 12

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
426580

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
283320542

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
313238

Jim Aitkenhead

Hunter Aitkenhead & Walker, Leicester

Genial managing director and keen hiker Jim Aitkenhead has maintained a steady pace of growth, moving from £50 million to £70 million in funds under advice in the last three years. The chartered firm has developed its defined benefit transfer advice process to become a key element of business growth. It has invested heavily in marketing, with a focus on promoting social responsibility and client education. Chartered financial planner Alasdair Walker sits on the local Chartered Insurance Institute council and helps organise events. Aitkenhead has undertaken annual charity challenges for many years. The firm donates 1% of revenue to charity annually, and says it will always contribute to client fund-raising requests.

Employees: 7

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
506070

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
194218300

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
808080

Ian Poysden

IEP Financial, Hove

Through clever integration of strategy, processes and marketing, Ian Poysden, advice business chairman (and small holding owner) has cultivated rapid growth at this Hove-based firm. Opening a second office in Eastbourne and increasing adviser numbers from four to nine this year, have also helped it to top £200 million under advice. Among other marketing and philanthropic activities in 2017, the firm has supported Sussex County Cricket Club, Martlets Hospice, Brighton Dome, St Wilfrid’s Hospice, and various arts projects. It has also supported Sussex Cricket Foundation, raising more than £20,000 and helped organise the Martlets Halloween Charity Ball for two successive years, raising more than £35,000 each year.

Employees: 25

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
121141200

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
550660750

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
334347

Martin Bamford

Informed Choice, Cranleigh

Informed Choice will be a familiar name to most within financial advice and planning, owing largely to the prolific media presence of managing director Martin Bamford. Bamford’s podcast, focusing on personal finance, has been downloaded more than 100,000 times.

Underlying business is healthy, with Informed Choice on track to record more than £1 million in turnover for the first time this year. Funds under advice should sit close to £200 million by the end of the year, and the firm continues to grow its staff and client bank. Bamford plans to progress two paraplanners to financial planner status, to meet the increased demand.

Employees: 12

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
127165197

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
158191172

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
647384

Kevin Ferriby

Informed Financial Planning, Hull

Informed Financial Planning has grown exponentially with an increase of £61 million in assets under advice in the last year alone. It has achieved this by concentrating on improving the flow of referrals from existing clients. This has resulted in new business growing significantly during the last 12 months, more than doubling the previous year. A strong management team, led by managing director Kevin Ferriby, has been assembled over the past year too, including a practice manager, company accountant, compliance officer and an executive personal assistant. The year has also seen two graduate trainees flourish as advisers, including Joe Sanders, awarded the Hull CII’s outstanding young achiever award.

Employees: 28

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
120139200

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
8628001200

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
606244

Ivan Lyons

Investment Solutions Wealth Management, Worthing

Ambitious targets are a key part of Investment Solutions Wealth Management. Managing director Ivan Lyons wants to run 52 marathons this year to raise money for the conservation charity Tusk. His business plans are similarly ambitious. The firm has recorded strong growth over the last two years. In 2015 the firm had assets under advice of £220 million. A year later this was at £254 million and is now £320 million. Profits have also increased over the last three years, so that in 2017 Invest Solutions Wealth Management expects to make a pre-tax profit of more than £1 million.

Employees: 16

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
222254320

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
8258501181

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
666875

Nicola Watts

Jane Smith Financial Planning, Olney

Jane Smith director Nicola Watts says the firm has increasingly focused on a higher net worth client bank, only offering one level of service to newer clients. The strategy has paid off with an increase in turnover and Watts says although initial fees have been higher as a result, recurring income has not suffered.

Getting her ducks in a row, Watts also hired a freelance marketing consultant to help communicate its message that the firm wanted a small number of clients to which it would work closely with and provide a quality service. Initiatives include sponsorship, e-newsletters and social media. This year’s loss is due to the purchase of a new premises.

Employees: 5

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
364044

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
86144-40

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
645763

Derek Evans

Juno Wealth Management, Bolney

The picturesque village of Bolney, West Sussex, plays home to Juno Wealth Management, a firm that has been working hard towards its goal of growing the business organically at 10%-15% year on year. Under the aegis of operations director Derek Evans, it has successfully transitioned to a fully-fledged financial planning practice over the past year. It has also taken on its fifth employee, who wants to become an adviser, and has secured a place on the Personal Finance Society’s Aspire Financial Adviser Apprenticeship Programme. The small team has been managing the growth of funds under advice year on year, finishing on £41 million under advice for 2017, up £8 million from 2016.

Employees: 5

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
283341

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
77120202

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
699096

Colin Low

Kingsfleet Wealth, Ipswich

Kingsfleet says its expertise is starting to be better known locally and this has resulted in more high-quality referrals. Last year the firm used retained profit from previous years to launch a discretionary fund management firm as a joint venture with fellow adviser Jonathan Crisp, director of Henson Crisp, of Peterborough. The firm is called RXI Wealth and creates model portfolios for clients based on their attitude to risk. The name was tak en from where the pair plotted the venture, The Royal Exchange in London. According to financial planning director Colin L ow, Kingsfleet is also seeking to boost the value of the business by offering services to the family members of its top clients within its existing fee arrangements.

Employees: 8

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
456182

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
133200222

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
525562

Julia Parsons

Kreston Reeves Financial Planning, Canterbury

Following its merger with Spofforths Financial Planning in June 2016, Kreston Reeves Financial Planning has gone from strength to strength. The merger added four offices to the firm, which now has £450 million in assets under advice and pre-tax profits of £1.6 million. Looking forwards, partner Julia Parsons says Kreston Reeves aims to provide an improved client portal, and will likely hire an additional adviser in its Sussex office. The recent New Model Adviser® cover star company also wants to boost its media presence. Beyond this, Kreston Reeves will continue promoting financial planning, by attending educational school events and university careers days.

Employees: 27

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
290315450

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
94412001600

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
606671

Warren Shute

Lexington Wealth Management, Lydiard-Millicent

New projects are in full swing for Lydiard Millicent-based Lexington Wealth Management. This year saw the launch of Lexo.co.uk, an online direct-to-consumer investment proposition which the firm plans to develop into a full financial planning site. Managing director Warren Shute’s aim to provide financial education to the public is also well underway with a series of YouTube videos, a financial education website, warrenshute. com, and soon-to-be published self-written book. Business figures are strong and stable, with assets under advice increasing by £10 million and pre-tax profits up by £65,000 since 2015. Certified and chartered planner Shute plans to continue bridging the advice gap by developing his financial education tools.

Employees: 5

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
344044

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
275300340

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
707575

Ian Lowes

Lowes Financial Management

Lowes Financial Management is celebrating an increase of assets under advice by £64 million since appearing in the Top 100 last year. The firm has grown consistently over the past few years. The acquisition of new clients has come from the continued marketing efforts of educational seminar campaigns, development of professional connection relationships, topical campaigns such as its pension e-book promotions and a significant influx of referrals from existing clients. It has also increased the number of client-facing consultants as well as support staff in order to provide the best possible service to the expanding and existing client bank, says managing director Ian Lowes.

Employees: 72

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
680750814

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
108110211500

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
505450

Gretchen Betts

Magenta Financial Planning, Bridgend

Financial planning luminary Julie Lord, a former president of the Institute of Financial Planning (IFP), joined next-generation planner Gretchen Betts in setting up this IFP-accredited firm last year, with a vibrant colour scheme to match the name. Magenta has already received an employer award recognising its efforts in creating a flexible workplace with equal opportunities. Managing director Betts is on the CISI Wales branch committee and chief executive Lord is on its national forum for financial planning. Magenta also sponsors local groups and events, including the Chepstow Community Big Band and a rally car.

Employees: 6

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
607181

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
326419680

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
807585

Paul Everett

Manse Capital, Leeds

Northern IFA Manse Capital is growing quickly, with plans to reach an annual turnover of £3.5 million by March 2022. Since 2015 the firm has significantly grown its team, and is on track to have boosted assets under advice by £50 million. Culture and ethos are also central to the growth plans, and Manse Capital claims it is challenging typical financial service stereotypes by pioneering a business that promotes the health and wellbeing of employees. In line with this, managing director Paul Everett is also encouraging a more diversified workforce, and said there were great opportunities for women to pursue a career in finance.

Employees: 27

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
130150180

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
788575800

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
808080

Robin Melley

Matrix Capital, Monkhopton

Matrix Capital had £30 million in funds under advice in 2015, and is projected to double that by the end of this year. Managing director Robin Melley describes the growth as ’staggering’, with annual turnover set to exceed £700,000. Melley attributes Matrix’s success to ‘organic growth and a lot of effort,’ and is encouraged by the renewal of its exclusive contract with National Savings & Investments to provide advice to £1 million premium bonds jackpot winners. Many winners have become long-term clients. In 2018 Matrix will review and develop its core processes and capabilities, in order to further improve its advice offering.

Employees: 8

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
304860

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
125243300

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
656570

Matthew Pescott-Frost

Matthew Douglas, Colchester

This IFP-accredited firm has exactly doubled funds under advice in the last three years to £170 million. This is mainly by targeting high-net-worth clients through corporate hospitality, educational seminars and a solicitor joint venture. Chief executive and rugby coach Matthew Pescott-Frost has passed the CII’s senior management and supervision exam to ensure he does not drop the ball in promoting a positive and ethical culture. This led to a formal programme of social responsibility and charitable engagement, including a 1% profit-giving policy. The firm has recently invested 20% of revenue in training, a back-office software upgrade, website enhancements, and more use of compliance consultants.

Employees: 10

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
85120170

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
350400650

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
656566

Ian Pickford

Mazars Financial Planning, London

Mazars Financial Planning has placed recruitment at the centre of its business. This year the London-based firm saw the number of applicants to its training scheme double, and it took on seven graduates alongside two placement students from this crop. The firm is willing to promote talented individuals too: this year Mazars appointed two new directors who originally joined as graduates. A strong training scheme is not all that Mazars offers, says head of private client services Ian Pickford. Tax experts and advisers work together to help clients with tax, trusts and estates. As part of an accountancy business, Mazars also offers clients corporate services.

Employees: 72

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
405514730

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
146917792340

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
526067

Paul Taylor

McCarthy Taylor, Worcester

McCarthy Taylor has just opened a new office in Cheltenham, enabling it to widen its geographical reach and grow organically within the past 12 months with the added help of the acquisition of new business through referrals.

The firm has grown, with new members of staff joining both the investment and support teams, as well as the new office.

The firm’s advisers hold an impressive clutch of qualifications: all are chartered financial planners and all but one are fellows of the Personal Finance Society.

According to chief executive Paul Taylor, the paraplanners do not fall short either, all hold a diploma qualification as a minimum.

Employees: 29

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
145162167

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
48125125

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
908581

Phil McGovern

MPA Financial Management, Solihull

MPA lays on a private client lunch twice a year for its largest clients and invites industry speakers. Topics in the last year have included death benefits on pensions, long-term care and strategic asset allocation, though apparently the talk on electric carmaker Tesla went down best. Along with newsletters, the lunches are part of a wider attempt to develop what MPA calls a private client brand.

Managing director Phil McGovern is also on the brink of completing a book. It will cover hot pension topics of the day such as flexi-access drawdown and defined benefit transfers and seeks to give readers ‘chapter and verse’ on these issues.

Employees: 32

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
280345550

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
281300900

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
858582

David Crozier

Navigator Financial Planning, Newry

Navigator Financial Planning’s pre-tax profits have soared from £62,000 in 2015, to £150,000 in 2017, after its first full year with a new director and operations manager as well as new office premises. Funds under advice have steadily increased by £26 million in the last two years. This year the firm has marketed its online robo-advice proposition, Destination Financial Planning, aimed at young professionals. Navigator has also advanced the automation of its client dashboard, says senior financial planner David Crozier. The focus on the future theme also runs through the Navigator team, with a young recruit on board through collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast.

Employees: 10

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
446070

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
6285150

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
959595

Carole Nicholls

Nicholls Stevens (Financial Services), Bristol

Nicholls Stevens has always had a focus on pensions, and has enhanced this recently by targeting workplace pensions in the IT industry. The result was an increase in schemes from 40 to more than 100. Managing director Carole Nicholls is still involved with the PFS, having previously been a board member and national president; and is a member of the international cross-border committee for the Financial Planning Association. Nicholls is trustee of a children’s charity called Jessie May. ‘Our latest fund raising event was an evening for clients and friends with the “Knicker Lady” – very innocent I assure you,’ she says. ‘We raised £1,600 and had great fun.’

Employees: 14

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
115139152

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
164165175

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
858788

Barry Horner

Paradigm Norton Financial Planning, Bristol

Paradigm Norton chief executive Barry Horner says the last 12 months have been the ‘most significant’ so far in the history of the 16-year-old business. As well as adding £110 million of assets under advice and increasing pre-tax profits to £1.5 million, the firm built its first graduate programme.

Over the next year Paradigm Norton wants to improve the business in other ways: hiring a marketing manager and increasing the team happiness score to more than nine out of 10.

Social investing is a key part of the proposition and the business has given more than £175,000 to good causes through the Paradigm Norton Trust.

Employees: 55

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
520640750

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
67011001500

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
949393
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