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Top 100 2017: See the first 25 firms on our list

The New Model Adviser® Top 100 is back! See the first 25 firms on the list.  

Simon Glazier

AAB Wealth, Aberdeen

‘A constant stream of client referrals and new enquiries from web directories has provided us with significant growth,’ says director Simon Glazier. This has resulted in a 20% increase in client numbers and a rise in assets under advice from £160 million last year to £250 million so far this year. To support this growth, AAB Wealth has a University Student Placement Programme and has recruited from Robert Gordon University. Its second graduate started in August this year and two more are lined up over the next two years. ‘We will continue to grow our service team to meet client demand,’ Glazier says.

Employees: 14

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
140160250

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
300360450

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
909090

Sandy Robertson

Acumen Financial Planning, Aberdeen

Acumen Financial Planning took on seven staff members in 2017, as client numbers continued to grow. The firm now has £451 million of assets under advice, compared with £296 million in 2015 and £372 million in 2016. Acumen Financial Planning broadly splits clients into two segments: those approaching retirement and those who have retired, or are about to retire. This means it can easily focus on meeting the often complex planning needs of those who have retired. Over the next year growth plans are centred on building professional connections in the oil & gas and medical sectors, as well as setting up a student placement scheme with Napier University.

Employees: 39

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
296372451

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
5427041000

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
858689

Anna Sofat

Addidi Wealth, London

Education plays a significant role in Addidi Wealth’s relationship with its clients, says managing director Anna Sofat, and it fulfils this in many ways. Presentations around risk, investing and financial planning, one-to-one reviews, a bi-monthly newsletter and sponsoring educational seminars which clients are invited to, are just a few. A key indicator for Addidi’s growth over the past few years is its funds under management. The firm has grown from £85 million to £130 million over the past two years and boasts 93% recurring income for 2017.

It has also invested significantly in people, processes and the brand over the past 12 months with 21% of its revenue spent on IT, staff and refreshing the brand.

Employees: 11

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
85115130

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
159179270

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
899293

Jonathan Hill

Albert Goodman Chartered Financial Planners, Taunton

Albert Goodman has taken pride in it financial planning victories this year, notably helping two separate clients to retire early, five and three years ahead of target respectively. What is more, says consultant Jonathan Hill, the clients were left with the confidence to upgrade to business class on long-haul holidays to celebrate. The firm is also blazing its way in the recruitment of the next generation and has been taking on graduates or staff of a similar age totalling 20 within the core firm.

There has been a reshuffle internally too with a change in key staff and directors, and an in-house trained adviser is now partner of the core accountancy firm.

Employees: 28

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
200210279

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
310310457

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
596056

Caroline Anstee

Anstee & Co, Kettering

Energetic managing director Caroline Anstee has been in financial services for more than 40 years. Having started her own Kettering-based business only five years ago, she has built it quickly, increasing funds under advice from £80 million to £130 million since 2015. She will continue focusing on the at-retirement and long-term care markets, and ensuring the business has its own longevity. It has continued to recruit younger people with a graduate apprentice joining this year who is going through ‘accelerated training’ with the Chartered Insurance Institute. The firm hired an adviser this year too and has two more due to join soon.

Employees: 19

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
80101130

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
12713174

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
202935

Arthur Childs

Arch Financial Planning, Cranleigh

This 26-year-old New Model Adviser® award-winning firm has turned a corner, following poor profit margins in recent years and what director Arthur Childs describes as an unsuccessful attempt to sell to hedge fund Olympic Wealth. Childs expects to have a new owner, IFA group Flying Colours, within weeks. After making a £21,000 loss in 2015, the chartered firm made a £148,000 profit on its £210 million funds this year. It expects income to top £1 million without costs ramping up. Arch plans to recruit two more advisers; move to larger premises in Godalming; introduce an alternative discretionary fund manager service and robo-advice service for clients investing less than £100,000.

Employees: 15

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
158185210

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
-2118148

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
657580

Diane Weitz

Ashlea Financial Planning, Cheltenham

Visitors to this Cheltenham-based company are greeted by the Official Welcoming Committee in the form of Coco the cat, a vocal member of the team who likes to get involved. Coco lives with director Diane Weitz, who has increased funds under advice from £49 million to £70 million since 2015. She says certified financial planner Nik Marsh’s side of the business has taken off in the last 12 months, fuelling more rapid growth. The firm regularly entertains clients with events such as literary lunches. Weitz has been president of the CISI Cotswold branch for two years, and the firm donates to several charities.

Employees: 8

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
496170

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
95112120

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
808080

Andy McLaughlin

Astute Wealth Management, Preston

Astute Wealth Management is poised to continue its upward trajectory, with funds under advice likely to have grown by £100 million this year. This has coincided with rising turnover and profits, with recurring income moving from 70% to 74%. To boost awareness of careers within financial services, Astute frequently engages with the University of Central Lancashire, says managing director Andy McLaughlin. It has recruited from the university, and also brought on graduates from L ancaster University and Manchester Metropolitan. Astute’s sister company, Astute Pensions, has offered CII exam training for more than 250 advisers in the past two years through its adviser academy.

Employees: 12

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
300400500

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
150219245

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
697074

Richard Lord

Bartholomew Hawkins, Cardiff

Rather than targeting spectacular growth in a short space of time, Bartholomew Hawkins has focused on consolidating its business in the south of Wales. This approach saw assets under advice grow from £150 million in 2016 to £200 million this year according to managing director Richard Lord. Next year the firm wants to open an office in Cheltenham. However, Bartholomew Hawkins is not just interested in growing in size. The firm is engaged with the local community, most noticeably when the closure of the Tata Steel plant in Port Talbot saw many people in the region lose their livelihoods. Bartholomew Hawkins offered help-surgeries and reduced its charges to ensure as many people as possible received financial advice.

Employees: 37

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
85150200

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
300500700

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
607577

Tony Larkins

Beacon Wealth Management, Kimbolton

Managing director Tony Larkins is vice-chairman of the Stamford Regional Personal Finance Society and is a chartered champion. He has been shining a light on good financial planning practice since starting this Cambridgeshire-based firm in 2010. The firm has won many awards including New Model Adviser® East of England Award in 2013 and 2015. In 2015, the firm bought a solicitor practice and is starting to reap cross-referrals. Beacon also recruited a business development manager this year to work with a broad range of professional connections.

It is involved with many local events and this year famously bought a majority stake in a local pub to save it for the community.

Employees: 23

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
110120140

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
500500650

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
636875

Andrew Bennett

Beaufort Group (Financial Planning), Redhil

Beaufort Group has some characteristics of a network but so far we have not recorded it in the same vein as the more traditional, well-known network models. Nevertheless, in the last 12 months it added another firm to its regional collective and it is not that small either, with £880 million of funds under advice and a mission to hit £2.5 billion by 2022.

Employees: 27

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
550710880

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
162137150

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
807575

Ian White

Beckett Investment Management Group, Bury St Edmunds

Managing director Ian White says he wants Becketts to be regarded as ‘best in class’ for what it does and it is adopting a number of initiatives to further that aim. For example, it has developed educational animations to explain financial issues in an entertaining and engaging way to its business-owner clients, their staff and the general public.

Becketts set up a ‘Best Practice Club ’ which meets every three months where staff are encouraged to ‘stick their heads above the parapet’ and to go through examples of good work as well as areas needing improvement. After client requests, it launched an ethical portfolio, which now contains 2% of client assets.

Employees: 56

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
470522625

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
400500825

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
929290

Carolyn Gowen

Bloomsbury Wealth Management, London

There are no theatrics in how ex-stage manager and theatre enthusiast Carolyn Gowen has helped increase profits, funds under advice and recurring income at Bloomsbury Wealth. Over the past 12 months, the branch principal, along with co-owner Robert Lockie, have rolled out a simpler, lower-cost version of their service for children of existing clients, and been accepted as a provisional member of the Global Association of Independent Advisers. As a precursor to the firm’s succession plan, Bloomsbury’s wealth planning manager and business manager have become members of the management team, which determines the firm’s budget and strategy, in order to gain experience.

Employees: 11

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
142170190

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
179354527

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
979798

Sheriar Bradbury

Bradbury Hamilton, London

This chartered, City-based company has expanded through the acquisition of 49 IFA client banks over nearly 24 years. Managing director Sheriar Bradbury, whose main inspiration in life is Richard Branson, has also promoted the firm consistently through the trade press and social media over the years, helping the client bank grow substantially.

Recently Bradbury has emphasised cost control and service improvement, which he says has helped the firm achieve a pre-tax profit of £900,000. Bradbury Hamilton has reinvested 20% of those profits in improving technology, data and other ways to maximise service levels.

Employees: 25

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
150160190

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
823676900

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
656666

David Saunderson

Cantab Asset Management, Cambridge

Cantab Asset Management has enjoyed another good year, building funds under advice to £560 million, with pre-tax profits just shy of £500,000. Impressive investment performance has been a major factor behind this progress. The firm, under the aegis of chief executive David Saunderson, plans to progress three more employees to chartered financial planner status in the next 12 months. Internal staff promotion is a key target for Cantab, and it intends to improve staff training. Cantab is also looking to prioritise and grow its charity advice service and this year held its inaugural Cantab charity conference. It is still pursuing a target of £750 million of assets under advice.

Employees: 25

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
360450560

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
364364480

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
858585

Mike Hodges

Carrington Investment Consultants, London

Having increased assets under advice by 36% in the last 12 months, London-based Carrington Investment Consultants has enjoyed a 17% increase in revenue, and a 15% increase in pre-tax profits in the firm’s last financial year. Carrington’s two graduate trainees, taken on two years ago, have progressed to junior advisers, with more next-generation hires on the cards. According to managing director Mike Hodges the firm is integrating software to enable clients to view investments and adjust personal scenarios. It is also launching The Carrington Club magazine to profile staff and clients, and has applied for discretionary investment management permissions.

Employees: 10

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
99118150

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
259288389

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
808187

Tim Ames

Cathedral Financial Management, Exeter

One of last year’s New Model Adviser® Top 100 firms, Cathedral Financial Management has continued to grow and is planning on expanding to a second Exeter office over the next 12 months. Director Tim Ames says the firm’s marketing strategies include client networking, annual golf days and sponsorship of local and international charities. One of these charities is The Great Big Rhino Project at Paignton Zoo (a display of rhino sculptures across Exeter), in which the firm invested 2% of its revenue over the past year. Some 15% of revenue went to purchasing the new property, and 5% to staff training.

Employees: 26

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
271285350

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
9329091396

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
819092

Greg Reid

Cavendish Ware, London

Predicted to break the £2 million total turnover mark this year, London-based Cavendish Ware is experiencing growth all round. This year it will add seven new members of staff, reach 90% recurring income and see a pre-tax profits increase of £320,000 since last year. The firm has a new look after completing a full brand and website redesign, along with the roll out of a business-to-business marketing strategy to raise brand awareness in the local area. According to director Greg Reid, team development and longevity is at the fore, with four next generation employees in the team and a succession plan which involves staff progression into management positions.

Employees: 20

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
118154260

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
205230550

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
708590

Ian Smith

Central Wealth Planning, Solihull

This IFP-accredited firm likes to keep it boutique, with £30 million under advice and £59,000 profit. But it still invests 25% of revenue into training and education and plays a significant role in the profession. The team has been involved in CISI projects such as Financial Planning week. Director Ian Smith is on the CISI financial planning steering committee and is working on a PhD in financial services. The firm has donated to the Amber Foundation, which helps disadvantaged young people. The team also volunteers to help people with pension problems via The Pension Advisory Service.

Employees: 3

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
242730

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
229959

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
919287

David Robinson

Centurion Chartered Financial Planners, Bristol

The two wings of west of England Centurion united this year, following the merger of Centurion Wealth Care and Centurion Wealth Management. The merger coincides with another successful business year, in which turnover has grown to £1.1 million, pre-tax profits have stepped up by £50,000, and recurring income has risen by 10%. Centurion boasts chartered status, four chartered financial planners, and three Society of Later Life Advisers-accredited pension specialists. Over the next 12 months, director Dave Robinson has plans to switch Centurion’s fees to a true hourly rate basis. He is also in talks with several local solicitors regarding potential joint ventures.

Employees: 16

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
120140160

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
350400450

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
506070

Richard Ross

Chadwicks, Norwich

Director Richard Ross says the firm’s close academic ties and location on the University of East Anglia campus are important to its ‘intelligent choice’ brand. This is reinforced by its graduate trainee scheme, which hires mostly economists with either a first-class degree or a master’s distinction. Chadwicks is also funding, with the help of the apprenticeship levy, a management degree for three non-graduate employees. The firm runs accredited continuing professional development masterclasses for solicitors with around 400 attendees during the last 12 months. These account for more than half of new business, helping funds grow from £39 million to £91 million since 2015.

Employees: 12

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
395291

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
115153180

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
808085

Mark Pendarves

Chetwood Wealth Management, Wellington

Managing director Mark Pendarves and compliance director Richard Hansell are keen fishermen and have been testing new waters with the recent launch of their Chetwood Private Wealth brand. Hansell says they were surprised by how little service some clients receive from their current private wealth offerings. ‘Most are labelled bespoke but are actually off-the-peg,’ he says. Hansell says the new brand will boost these figures significantly, having attracted £45 million of assets in just six months. Chetwood has also recruited a firm to train staff on company culture and plans to relaunch a direct offering, based on the success of its existing inter-generational planning service.

Employees: 33

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
250275320

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
4015981000

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
777878

Anthony Carty

Clifton Wealth, Bristol

Clifton Wealth has achieved £137 million under advice, mainly by advising the corporate funding clients of its wider group Clifton Asset Management, made up of a pension-led funding business, a professional trustee company and the advice business. To boost standards in the last year, the wealth arm has completed the Investor in Customers certification and created a continuous improvement focus group, according to director Anthony Carty. The directors and staff speak regularly at local and financial services events to raise awareness of financial planning. Clifton runs an employee giving-back day, for volunteering or charity activities, as well as its own fund-raising events.

Employees: 13

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
97125137

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
9429461280

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
526162

Stephen Jones

Cooper Parry Wealth, Donnington

Cooper Parry Wealth is part of bigger business PKF Cooper Parry, which has 35 partners and 450 staff. The wealth arm has a seven strong leadership team led by chief executive Stephen Jones. With the average age of the team, and the firm as a whole, being just 39, it can boast youth along with size. Continuity for the business and its clients seems secure. It is a big firm that is still growing fast, with the average client weighing in at a hefty £2 million of assets. It added £170 million to the business last year, a whopping 70% increase. That has been helped by the opening of a new office in Birmingham. Its ‘quirky’ design includes a race-track for Segways, trampolines and a well-being marquee.

Employees: 27

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
205349519

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
67010452153

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
757572

Graeme Inglis

Create and Prosper, Kirkcaldy

Kirkcaldy-based Create and Prosper, a former New Model Adviser® Top 100 firm, is predicting a bumper year, with funds under advice expected to hit the £100 million mark, an increase of £15 million over last year. Pre-tax profits are back on the rise, after falling in 2016 following the expense of an office move to accommodate the growing team. With the future in mind, Create and Prosper has a next-generation employee on board, and director Graeme Inglis is raising awareness of financial planning through his tutoring at the Edinburgh University Law School and delivery of presentations to trainee solicitors.

Employees: 9

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
8085100

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
280200230

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
656869
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