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Top 100 2017: The next 25 firms on our list

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

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

EQ Investors, London

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 David Wingar featured as a New Model Adviser® cover star back in 2008; and the former cartographer 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 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 financial adviser Luke Stanley 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. Gait has chartered and IFP-accredited status and the firm 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: 14

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
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