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Top 100 2017: The full list of fantastic firms

See the full New Model Adviser® Top 100.

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 John 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

Cavedish 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

Peter Davies

Create Wealth Management, Cardiff

Directors Peter Davies and Stephen Ng have fought hard to create their own destiny at this chartered firm based in Newport. In 2015, they hired former New Model Adviser® cover star Richard Gough as a financial planning technical specialist. To keep growth on track, they are looking to buy retiring IFAs’ firms. The Create team hold group and individual planning standards. They work with universities to promote financial planning, and sit on a committee for that purpose at Cardiff Metropolitan. Team members have done an impressive 35 bike rides, which, together with other firms, have raised £1 million.

Employees: 5

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
344453

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
178210240

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
757880

Jason McGuigan

Critchleys Financial Planning, Oxford

Critchleys Financial Planning in Oxford is enjoying a stellar year, with turnover exceeding £1 million for the first time . It has also been a landmark period for managing director Jason McGuigan, who became managing director of the whole Critchleys accountancy group. He had previously been managing director of the financial planning arm. With recurring income at 89%, Critchleys will spend 2018 focusing on sharpening its multi-disciplinary service to clients. This revolves around the provision of wealth management, tax planning, financial planning and legal work, all under one roof. The business will also maintain its focus on intergenerational planning.

Employees:

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
100108125

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
343328366

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
828189

Brian Benson

Crown Wealth Management, Shrewsbury

Managing director Brian Benson describes the Crown team as young and indeed it includes two of his own sons. He is looking to the future, delegating work and promoting a paraplanner to director level for example, and this ties into a focus on getting the business to perform better, rather than plot radical growth plans. While it will continue to grow its client bank through professional connections and referrals, as it has been doing, it is appointing more staff to look after those clients. It has also moved most of its clients to the evidence-based investing model.

Employees: 7

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
7788105

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
183151182

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
798385

Mike Godfrey

Cube Financial Planning, Romsey

Director Mike Godfrey has moved up a gear at this chartered, Hampshire-based firm, which started in late 2010. ‘In the second half of 2015, we decided the pace of organic growth on its own was not enough to achieve our business goals,’ he says. ‘We have therefore focused on increasing new client intake by developing our profile in the Lloyd’s Insurance market in the City.’ Godfrey was a member of the Institute of Financial Planning education committee. Since the institute merged with the CISI, he has become a south coast committee member, with an educational mandate.

Employees: 4

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
108126140

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
243339400

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
908393

Andrew Day

Depledge Strategic Wealth Management, Manchester

After three and a half years in business, principal director Andrew Day is set to celebrate an expected 25% increase in turnover for this year. It is aiming to hit £1 million in the next five years. The growth has been 100% organic, says Day, adding that ‘the three people who started the business had seen the good, the bad and the ugly of the IF A sector’ and wanted a firm that made ‘the right decisions’. The firm has hired a trainee with a first-class degree in mathematics and it wants all its junior support staff to get the RO2, RO3 and possibly RO4 qualifications.

Employees: 9

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
80100130

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
10795125

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
868688

Charlie Reading

Efficient Portfolio, Seaton

Rutland-based Efficient Portfolio is one of the fastest growing firms in the top 100 and perhaps the UK. With funds under advice projected to reach £35 million by the end of 2017, from £8 million in 2015, managing director Charlie Reading is building an increasingly successful and profitable business. Efficient Portfolio employs 15 staff, with plans to introduce a graduate training programme. This is likely to bring in another two or three fresh faces, and the firm would lik e develop and inspire the next generation of advisers and paraplanners. To match the growth, Efficient Portfolio will seek new office premises in 2018.

Employees: 15

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
91535

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
162125755

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
445566

Gemma Siddle

Eldon Financial Planning, Newton Aycliffe

County Durham-based Eldon Financial Planning conducted an anonymous client survey in May. It met with a 65% response rate, and 99.4% of clients declaring themselves fully satisfied over a range of criteria. Little wonder, perhaps, that funds under advice have grown to £175 million, with total turnover and pre-tax profits growing by more than £200,000 since 2016. Over the past year Eldon has continued to grow organically through referrals, and the firm’s media presence has also spurred the business on. In the meantime, with director Joss Harwood retiring at the end of the year, handing over to director Gemma Siddle, Eldon has been successfully transitioning her clients to new advisers.

Employees: 11

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
130150175

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
441443650

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
919290

Barry Newbury

Epoch Wealth Management, Bath

Epoch Wealth Management belongs to the Bath Percent Club, an initiative where members pledge to give at least 1% of profits to charity each year. This suits the firm well, as its clients are either charities or wealthy families. The former receive a consultancy service, and the latter a holistic financial plan. Since last year’s Top 100 entry, managing partner Barry Newbury and the firm’s three other partners have overseen pre-tax profits growth of £300,000 and funds under advice rise from £370 million to a projected £420 million. Hiring seven new staff members so far this year has helped sustain expansion.

Employees: 30

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
300370420

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
120014001700

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
767377

John Spiers

A2+B Wealth, Aberdeen

EQ Investors is definitely looking towards the future with parts of its advice proposition, according to chief executive John Spiers. Last year the firm built a client portal that shows portfolio and account information in one place. This links with Amazon’s voice-enabled software Alexa, meaning clients can receive information about their savings by simply speaking to their device. The last year has not just been about technology though. EQ Investors has also launched a risk-rated income portfolio range in response to the increase in people entering drawdown following the pension freedoms. All these developments have helped push EQ Investors’ assets under advice to £750 million.

Employees: 62

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
470600750

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
10301000600

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
858585

Colin Lawson

Equilibrium, Wilmslow

Equilibrium has increased turnover by 20%, added more than £100 million in assets, 90 new clients and expanded the team to 65 staff in the past 12 months. If that was not enough, it has also restructured its client manager team to offer more personalised services to clients and revised its portfolio reporting to clients. According to partner Colin Lawson, the firm is aiming next year to launch a sister company, Equilibrium Investment Management and the IFSL Equilibrium portfolio funds, followed by fee separation of Equilibrium Asset Management and Equilibrium Investment Management. It has also set its sights on winning a further £100 million of new assets.

Employees: 63

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
472595700

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
88510551767

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
979695

Stephen Evans

Evans Hart, London

Managing director Stephen Evans is 66 years old and has a succession plan in place for his firm which has grown chiefly by acquisition over the past 20 years, with vendors joining for short periods. Over the next year he will retain a significant shareholding, he says, to ensure a handover of the firm’s ethos to its new managers, while he creates equity partners from the staff, who will continue to manage the business. As well as a board of directors and management team, he will also introduce a share option scheme to incentivise and retain staff. He will later look to divest a significant minority stake.

Employees: 20

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
250350500

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
8109401470

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
909087

Anthony Villis

First Wealth, London

In 2016 First Wealth embarked on a project to identify legacy clients who produced very little fee income for the firm. It implemented a minimum £1,500 annual fee and wrote to all clients below this level offering them three choices: make up any shortfall via annual invoice, invest more capital, or seek an alternative adviser. The firm has successfully disengaged with around 70 clients this way over the last six months.

It hopes this segmentation exercise will free up time for the two partners to purely focus on client acquisition. Recently managing partner Anthony Villis was named one of the Personal Finance Society’s 12 strong financial planning panel.

Employees: 14

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
200218254

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
760771880

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
656672

Shane Mullins

Fiscal Engineers, Nottingham

Fiscal Engineers has added £96 million to assets since 2015, £81 million of which has been added in the past year. The firm, which deals with high-net-worth clients, added a fifth adviser in 2016 and additional support staff to help maintain client service. It is using the expertise of an external business consultant to review and redesign processes and is investing in bespoke technology. With an eye on the future, executive chairman Shane Mullins has realigned its management structure to accommodate a succession plan, bringing internal candidates into the management group, to ensure its future leaders are already at the business.

Employees: 26

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
284300381

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
385379566

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
969798

Margaret Abrahams

Fogwill & Jones Asset Management, Sheffield

While Colin Fogwill owns 100% of the firm, the recruitment of three advisers over the past few years has laid the basis for succession. The extra IFAs, along with two parplanners and a full-time compliance manager has allowed the firm to provide a better service for existing clients and also spend more time on obtaining referrals.

The recruitment does not stop there. Under the watchful eye of managing director Margaret Abrahams, the firm has also invested in an external online marketing company to work on its website and social media presence. This has already born fruit with more leads and engagement.

Employees: 13

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
686786

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
37185488

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
939788

Mark White

Fortitude Financial Planning, Towcester

Qualified cricket coach and Northampton Saints rugby team supporter Mark White has continued to help drum up growth since his appearance in last year’s Top 100. The director says this year the firm has recruited it first graduate paraplanner, worked with an external business consultant and established a client advisory board. Although Fortitude has a relatively small number of clients, its assets under advice rose from £76 million last year to a projected £100 million at the end of this year. However, recurring income has fallen from 75% to 70%.

Employees: 10

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
6376100

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
346305630

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
737570

Ian Mackie

Fraser Wealth Management, Liverpool

Fraser has experienced a surge in new business, roughly double that of 2016, according to managing director Iain Mackie. While this has partly been due to people coming for help with defined benefit transfer advice, he says a ‘significant’ number of non-pension-related investment clients has been the real driving force.

The business is also involved with the NextGen Planner group, a collective of mainly young IFAs working to promote access to the profession and best practice to existing advisers looking to progress. It also offers clients ‘younger generation advice’. Clients can send their children (aged 18-25) in and the firm will help them with budgeting and cashflow.

Employees: 13

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
165180210

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
340352477

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
888987

David Rouse

Friar Gate IFS, Derby

This chartered firm’s office is next to Derby County’s Pride Park stadium and it has counted many football and rugby stars among its clients, including former Manchester United stars Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Peter Schmeichel; and Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel. Like them, principal financial planner David Rouse aspires to the highest levels of professionalism, including retaining the ISO22222 individual standard for personal financial planning since 2009 and BS8577 practice standard since 2015. Friar Gate also carries out pro bono work and its latest charity of the year is the neo-natal intensive care unit at Royal Derby Hospital.

Employees: 4

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
506872

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
160172195

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
506065

David Wingar

Future Asset Management, Bridgend

Managing Partner and keen walker and golfer David Wingar featured as a New Model Adviser® cover star back in 2008; and the former photographer and graphic designer, has mapped a steady course ever since at this IFP-accredited firm. The Wales-based company supports many charitable events and has presented to graduates to help them understand the financial planning profession. It has also worked with local schools to assist pupils with interview preparation and business understanding. Wingar is planning for retirement in 2019, when his son, partner Graham Wingar, and the rest of the team will take over.

Employees: 4

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
263138

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
173219260

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
445358

Jillian Thomas

Future Life Wealth Management, Sheffield

Influential managing director Jillian Thomas is a regular financial commentator on radio and television; and this year represented the finance industry in a parliamentary review aimed at raising standards. Clients are offered an upmarket experience at this IFP-accredited firm. This, together with carefully chosen professional connections, has helped turnover increased by more than 20% every year since launch in 2009, and turnover will be £850,000 this year. Thomas has also run workshops for university students on financial issues and the firm has created a partnership with a local homecare company to offer advice to people with early-stage dementia.

Employees: 11

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
88135195

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
220201250

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
767781

David Carr

Gale & Phillipson, London/York

Since Easby Gale & Phillipson merged with Jonathan Fry London in 2015, this York and London-based firm has grown funds from £700 million to £850 million. Managing director and cyclist David Carr and director of distribution and motorbike rider Phil Morris aim to keep their feet on the pedal with a target of £1 billion of assets under advice by 2018 through continued organic growth and acquisitions. The firm helps spread awareness of financial planning via a Personal Finance Society (PFS) programme in local schools. Training and competence manager Katy Thorne has been chair, president and education officer of the Tyne Tees PFS region.

Employees: 75

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
700750850

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
5005001000

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
808080

Mark Denley

Gibbs Denley Financial Services, Cambridge

Director and photography enthusiast Mark Denley is keeping his goals in sharp focus. This year the firm completed a management buyout costing £5.5 million over five years to ensure independent ownership, purchased another firm and recruited more staff to cover growth at its Bury St Edmunds and Chelmsford branches. It has also sold its insurance arm, rebranded to reflect this change and refocused its marketing to promote the firm’s chartered status. The next target is to launch a new brand offering discretionary investment management to other IFAs. With staff holding 72 professional qualifications between them, £430 million in funds under advice and 93% recurring income, this model looks built to last.

Employees: 30

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
310371430

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
138014001600

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
909293

Lee Glennan

Glennan Wealth Management, Leeds

Glennan Wealth Management does not have grandiose ambitions, but managing director Lee Glennan has been quietly building a solid business with strong local links. In the last year it took on around 12 clients from a retiring IF A friend of Glennan’s and he says he will only need about a dozen more to reach his target of 100 clients. In the meantime, the inherited clients still need to be integrated into the business. Doing so would take the business to £50 million of assets. The firm is an ongoing sponsor of a local hospice and Glennan has attended a number of events throughout the year on its behalf.

Employees: 4

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
273550

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
175198250

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
808590

Andy Gait

Gould Financial Planning, Newport

Managing director Andy Gait recently changed the firm’s name from Kilsby Williams & Gould to Gould Financial Planning. It has chartered and IFP-accredited status and has achieved an organically-grown £150 million under advice, mainly through local introducers and client seminars. In December 2016, Gould FP also achieved the BS8577 standard and ISO 22222 for its advisers. The firm says it has worked hard to reduce fees and this will continue. It also stresses a ‘no glass ceiling’ approach to staff development. Gould FP matches any charity funds raised by staff; and has supported the Nepal Education Foundation.

Employees: 4

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
136146150

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
130121200

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
656870

Phillip Rose

Group IFA, Boulton

Boxer and chief executive Phillip Rose has developed a characteristically punchy strategy by targeting disillusioned advisers working at consolidator firms, recruiting five in the last three months alone. This, among many other initiatives, has helped this chartered, Bolton-based firm top £1 billion under advice this year. ‘To help embed the new advisers, we have reinvested 25% of revenue in infrastructure and centralising controls,’ says Rose. ‘Plus we have a new office in Chester, a new operations director and other new recruits.’ He has also appointed new senior board members to mentor the existing senior team. Also, Group IFA recently supported renovations and upkeep of a local hospice’s gardens.

Employees: 74

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
6928001000

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
160027003100

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
808585

Mandy Dale

Hanbury Wealth Management, Bishop’s Stortford

Hertfordshire-based Hanbury has amassed £130 million under advice by building relationships with accountants, solicitors and general insurance firms. Director Mandy Dale says the readying for the revised markets in financial instruments directive (MIFID II) has driven improvements in the last 12 months as the firm accommodates its requirements before its introduction in January. The service has become significantly more varied and personalised as a result, she says. Hanbury also hired an in-house compliance officer and invested significantly more in training its paraplanning and technical team. The firm has supported charity the Willow Foundation and helped to raise £30,000 for it in the last year.

Employees: 13

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
85100130

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
580495800

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
505060

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

James Roberts

Partners Wealth Management, London

Partners, as the name suggests, sees its strength in personnel, and has been grabbing talent as well as growing its own. 2017 saw the first graduates from the firm’s Adviser Academy: an 18-month programme for paraplanners to learn adviser skills. Managing partner James Roberts says next year the firm will hire four to six advisers, with a ‘soft’ target of at least two being female. Partners has been marketing itself as a centre of influence to barristers, divorce lawyers and international clients returning to the UK, and wants clients to be able to view all their invested assets online with integrated valuations, performance graphs, and asset allocation.

Employees: 56

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
86312121400

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
190022003100

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
808182

Quentin McCormick

Pavis Financial Management, Liverpool

Pavis Financial Management expects to almost double its assets under advice by the end of the year, bringing the total to £190 million. Director Quentin McCormick says the firm has taken on further staff, and increased client numbers and revenue in order to achieve this. The goal for next year is to move to a larger premises and start on the firm’s succession plan, which is to create a new holding company with revised shareholders. ‘We shall then capitalise the value of the retiring shareholders’ equity and buy this from them based on a sliding scale of profits over the next three-five years,’ says McCormick.

Employees: 19

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
130150190

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
374500573

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
828582

Julie Wilson

Pen Life Associates, York

Pen Life has grown from £100 million to £450 million under advice in the last five years, using a wide range of mark eting activities from Facebook campaigns to referral schemes, says director Julie Wilson.

All staff are encouraged to train to the highest levels and in the last 12 months three of its advisers have attained chartered status. Senior employees regularly attend seminars and conferences, including in the US, on business management, leadership, and marketing. Pen Life also holds corporate chartered status and the BS8577 standard; and is a member of Sifa and the Society of Later Life Advisers. The firm recruited three apprentices this year.

Employees: 27

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
250315450

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
392461533

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
697375

Craig Palfrey

Penguin Wealth, Cardiff

Cardiff native and Penguin Wealth managing director Craig Palfrey believes in educating his clients and the public. To this end, he has penned a book for the firm called The Wealth Secret, which sets out eight basic principles for individual wealth management and dispels money management myths. Workshops and seminars make up part of Penguin’s educational output, as well as help market the firm, which hopes to have five times last year’s pre-tax profit by the end of this year. Penguin Wealth‘s ‘Penguin Plan’, featured in the firm’s 2016 New Model Adviser® Top 100 entry, is now a core part of the firm’s operation.

Employees: 12

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
72115145

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
-739200

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
695657

Phil Dendy

Petrus Financial Services, Windsor

Managing director Phil Dendy and his co-directors have steered this chartered firm to £164 million funds under advice and profits of £522,000 by expanding its client base of charities and wealthy families. Last year, the Berkshire-based company also introduced a new client service proposition for retirement planning, which it says has helped increase client numbers, reduce overheads and improve profitability.

Plans for the next 12 months include continuing to offer more technically sophisticated and holistic at-retirement advice; growing IT infrastructure with a focus on linking processes and software tools; and developing a five-year succession plan.

Employees: 10

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
155160164

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
450525522

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
757575

James Priday

Prydis Wealth, Exeter

When Prydis received a Top 100 place last year, director James Priday and the firm were overcoming the recent death of pensions director Scott Harrison. This year, Prydis has gone from strength to strength, having achieved Chartered Insurance Brokers status and increasing its assets under advice from £175 million last year to £210 million projected this year. The authorisation of the firm’s discretionary investment management business, P1 Investment Management, is another one of Prydis’ recent steps forward. Over the next 12 months, the firm will be moving into new headquarters to grow its wealth management, accountancy, legal and property teams.

Employees: 16

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
150175210

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
264312384

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
606565

John Hamilton-Hunt

Punter Southall Financial Management, London

This national chartered firm has achieved a massive £1.85 billion under advice through organic growth and acquisition. Remarkably, for a firm of its size, profits also jumped 42% to £1.7 million this year. This is thanks to investment in IT, including client management system XPlan and other operational streamlining, says managing director John Hamilton-Hunt. This year the firm launched a light-touch service for clients with simpler financial affairs; and has invested 12% of revenue into re-branding and Xplan enhancements. It also plans to launch an apprenticeship programme in 2018. PSFM has a charity committee and supports many causes by matching funds raised by staff.

Employees: 52

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
160017001850

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
90112001700

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
808585

Hayley North

Rose & North, London

Managing director Hayley North says she has had a crazy year at her blossoming Primrose Hill-based practice. As well as increasing funds by nearly 50% to £30 million, she ran her first Tube train adverts and started a Facebook page. North, who has a Cambridge University master’s and a marketing diploma is also about to start a degree in social psychology. She is a Chartered Champion, and is helping to launch a series of events called Capital Personal Finance Society for the society’s members.

She is also working on an Insurance Institute of London committee on gender and inclusion to launch later this year. North is recruiting for a second office in Norwich.

Employees: 3

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
152130

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
805076

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
405664

Anthony O'Connor

RPG Wealth, Manchester

This year RPG Wealth has grown client numbers, hitting £110 million of assets under advice in the process. This growth has been supported by a number of initiatives, including the launch of a corporate financial planning department and a trainee adviser position, says chartered financial planner Anthony O’Connor. Three staff have also begun the path to reaching the coveted diploma qualification. Next on the firm’s agenda is a plan to host investment forums with clients, which will support existing newsletters and seminars offered by RPG Wealth. Most clients come through parent company Royce Peeling Green Accountants, so a corporate focus runs through a lot of the firm’s work.

Employees: 15

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
95101110

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
295388400

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
727575

Ian Browne

Russell Ulyatt Financial Services, Nottingham

Russell Ulyatt is rapidly becoming a big hitter having increased funds from £296 million to £453 million in the last two years. Among other developments, the chartered firm has implemented a skills development programme for advisers; and filled paraplanner and IT roles. The firm has been coding its new back-office system, a bespoke version of Iress Xplan, to meet its growing infrastructure needs. The firm says it is dedicated to charitable work, and provides financial education through engagement with local schools. Ian Browne is the firm’s head of advice, but it is owned by Kevin Jow and managing director Andy Dyke.

Employees: 47

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
296394453

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
512654832

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
828487

Tim Long

Scrutton Bland Financial Services, Ipswich

The last year has been pivotal for east of England business Scrutton Bland as it has expanded the number of partners on its leadership team from nine to 15. Alongside this the firm opened a new office in Cambridge, and gave technical staff greater autonomy and professional development training to help improve defined benefit pension transfer advice.

According to partner Tim Long, over the next 12 months Scrutton Bland plans to expand further by launching a robo-advice proposition that will point to full, face-to-face advice if the client has more complicated needs. This will be marketed through social media as well as through existing clients, says partner Tim Long.

Employees: 33

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
269285352

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
537472481

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
787073

Matthew Clark

Seabrook Clark, Exeter

Seabrook Clark has grown turnover more than 50% over the last 12 months. This growth is a result of taking on two new advisers, in late 2016, with mature client books. This year managing director Matthew Clark expects business growth to resume its normal path of 10%-15%, which it considers a sensible and controlled rate. The firm has also added a second director and business development manager and given part-time work to two university students to work on the back-office system. With its business strategy consultant also a professor at Exeter University, it is clear plenty of thought has gone into its plans.

Employees: 12

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
334075

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
87177260

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
677580

Richard Skerritt

Skerritt Consultants, Hove

Skerritt Consultants continues to grow at an impressive rate. The firm is nearing £1 billion in assets under advice, and managing director Richard Skerritt expects turnover to hit £6.2 million this year. Despite its growth, Skerritts still manages to record recurring revenue of 96%. Looking to the future, Skerritts plans to launch five funds within the next year. These will be available to clients the firm feels do not fit into model portfolios, as well as other advisers’ clients through a range of platforms. Alongside the new funds, the firm has grown recently by taking on five chartered advisers, as well as an in-house pension transfer specialist.

Employees: 57

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
610750950

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
142015001500

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
969696

Kevin Forbes

Strategic Solutions Financial Services, Poole

Long-haired lover of dogs Kevin Forbes and his fellow partners are breeding a business of rare pedigree with funds under advice rising to £425 million, and profits to more than £1 million. Forbes says the apprentice academy is increasingly important in helping fill a pipeline of talent at the business and supporting further growth. The academy has had two participants already and one is now close to chartered status. But it aims to take on four new recruits this year. The chartered firm is also finalising a client app to further improve service and has a strong association with AFC Bournemouth.

Employees: 16

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
255265425

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
6498041031

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
656570

Ruth Sturkey

The Red House, London

Financial planning firm The Red House has enjoyed sustained growth in recent years, increasing funds under management by £34 million since 2015. This year has seen the firm grow by another 10%, with 10 new clients joining the fold, but managing director Ruth Sturkey still describes it as a year of consolidation. Moving forward, the firm will focus on marketing strategies, launching an interactive website, enhancing its social media policy and throwing a 10th anniversary party with clients. The last year also saw a 10% revenue investment into building its marketing war chest for 2017/18 as well as recruiting a graduate trainee and investing into the PFS Aspire Programme.

Employees: 8

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
92108126

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
354268250

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
858585

Darren Lloyd Thomas

Thomas and Thomas, Pembrokeshire

New Model Adviser® cover star and kick boxing enthusiast Darren Lloyd Thomas describes his best financial plan this year as working with a client’s solicitor to remodel inheritable ISAs into one ethical portfolio . Ethical portfolios are key to Thomas and Thomas this year, with the development of Thomas and Thomas Ethical Investments. ‘Our Pro-Ethical solution has gained real traction with more than £6 million of funds coming across to these ethical portfolios so far in 2017,’ Thomas says. The firm recently hired two graduates, contributing to the firm’s growth, which Thomas hopes will help take the firm past £40 million over the next year.

Employees: 4

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
313237

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
188200260

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
919192

Steve Straw

Thompson & Richardson (Financial Services), Lincoln

This Institute of Financial Planning-accredited firm celebrated its 30th anniversary this year with a rebrand and a fresh look at the future. Under the aegis of director Steve Straw, it is promoting its simplified, restricted advice system to attract the next generation of young clients. It is also starting a long-term programme designed to develop future business owners. As part of this, the firm aims to become 100% independent of its current owners, by passing on client relationships and through coaching and support of its younger staff. Community and charity work includes sponsorship of Lincoln City FC Youth Academy.

Employees: 13

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
7482105

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
206125180

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
454850

George Critchley

True Bearing Chartered Financial Planners, Chorley

Chairman George Critchley and his team have been incredibly busy with the firm reaching £340 million under advice. Recently, it increased its pre-retirement workshops to 100 per year; launched a new website; purchased a client bank; re-qualified for the Investors in P eople Gold accreditation; won several awards; and agreed to provide a financial assistance package to a potential 40,000 Employee Assistance Programme participants. True Bearing has a rolling corporate social responsibility programme, helping many charities and causes; and provides financial education workshops. The firm also runs and finances the Lancashire ‘Last Choir Singing’ competition. Over 2,000 children took part this year.

Employees: 27

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
241307340

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
489145

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
525356

Paul Lothian

Verus Wealth Chartered Financial Planners, Dundee

Verus Wealth has been growing consistently over the past few years. Funds under advice aside, the firm took on both a newly qualified adviser and a second administrator in 2016 followed by a second paraplanner in 2017. Director Paul Lothian is now looking to recruit and train another graduate with the aim of them becoming a diploma-qualified adviser, adding to its graduate recruit from the University of Abertay Dundee. The firm also took part in a ‘virtual walk’ last autumn, from Land’s End to John o’ Groats for the Archie Foundation, a local children’s medical charity. This involved each member of the firm walking 12,000 steps every day during September 2016.

Employees: 6

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
85100120

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
189198330

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
959590

Ken Welsh

VWM Wealth, Glasgow

Managing director Ken Welsh has overcome many challenges at this chartered firm based in Glasgow, including losing 80% of staff following a leadership split. But with much determination the firm has rebounded and is running smoothly, for example, almost doubling funds under advice to £162 million in the last three years. Welsh has implemented a range of strategic measures, such as using Strategic Coach techniques to develop a self-managing company and empower staff decision-making. This is supported by staff share ownership and ‘grow your own’ recruitment. VWM supports two charities with an annual minimum of £1,000, and last year Welsh climbed Mount Kilimanjaro raising over £6,000.

Employees: 8

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
86130162

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
381482661

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
828496

Tony Byrne

Wealth and Tax Management, Milton Keynes

Managing director Tony Byrne has invested 80% of the firm’s revenue back into the business in the last 12 months. Much of the re-investment has focused on developing technology, including the launch of a new back-office system and client portal. The firm will continue improving client service over the next year by hiring a business manager and preparing to open a discretionary investment management offering. Byrne has been encouraging the next generation to consider a career in financial planning through his voluntary work presenting in schools, and is developing young recruits at the firm as part of his succession plan.

Employees: 7

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
657075

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
630133250

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
808285

Simon Redhead

Wealth Solutions (U.K.), Birmingham

Managing director and former semi-professional footballer Simon Redhead always has a new goal in sight. He has nearly quadrupled funds since 2015, from £80 million to £300 million, with help from several acquisitions. To support growth, the Edgbaston firm has a graduate programme and has launched an ‘enterprise management incentive scheme’ to boost retention by giving individuals the opportunity to own shares. Redhead says most of the firm’s profits have been reinvested into business development, acquisitions and staff recruitment and retention. His current ambitions include developing a marketing strategy aimed at professional sportspeople, and continuing to look for firms to buy.

Employees: 19

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
80200300

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
250375600

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
626870

Duncan Glassey

Wealthflow, Edinburgh

Wealthflow celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. The chartered and IFP-accredited firm is also celebrating 100% recurring income for the third year running. In the past year the firm has developed a niche, working with high-value medical negligence and catastrophic injury settlements. The goal for the next 12 months is to promote its ‘sudden money’ specialism, with a focus on engaging with Scotland’s and the UK’s legal experts. Wealthflow senior partner, and avid writer, Duncan Glassey is penning a book, due to be completed this year, on the impact of successful settlements to further demonstrate the firm’s expertise in this area.

Employees: 5

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
110110120

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
500550600

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
100100100

Mark Rendall

WFI Financial, Sheffield

This chartered firm has grown funds under advice from £300 million to £450 million in the last three years. Profits have nearly doubled from £1.1 million to £2 million, and recurring income has also jumped significantly from 55% to 85%. WFI joint managing partner Mark Rendall attributes this to successfully attracting referrals from existing clients, accountants and solicitors. The firm, which has five PFS fellows plus three chartered planners, has also recently reinvested 80% of its profits in improving IT, systems and procedures and in paying off all debts. It runs various events throughout the year to help charities including the Sheffield Children’s Hospital and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Employees: 31

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
300350450

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
110019002000

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
556585

Patrick Murphy

Zen Wealth, London

Patrick Murphy, managing director of this self-proclaimed lifestyle business, has developed a strong brand on top of deliberately gentle growth to £25 million under advice . This enables a balanced approach to life and work and allowed Murphy to spread some goodwill with the establishment of the Zen W ealth Charitable Foundation in 2015. This aims to help relieve poverty and hardship wherever it is found in the world, for example , recently supporting a village in Sri L anka. The firm is chartered, and Murphy has an affiliation with STEP, which has helped him develop Zen Legacy, an estate planning business.

Employees: 3

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
182125

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
88112145

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
909090