Top 100: Sneak a peek at the final 25 firms
Penney, Ruddy & Winter, London
London-based Penney, Ruddy & Winter was launched in 2013 by chartered trio David Penney, Peter Ruddy and Jeff Winter.
The three advisers have a combined 80 years’ experience in financial services but vary in age and experience. Ruddy started out his career at General Accident, Penney at the Financial Services Authority and Winter at Prudential.
The firm has grown organically over the last two and half years as a result of investing in its staff and technology, and it now advises over £125 million in client assets.
Perceptive Planning, London
Financial planning fundamentalists Shannon Currie and Phil Billingham have taken life planning to another level by securing 80% of their clients’ children as new clients.
The husband-and-wife-led firm focused on reaching out to the next generation of clients last year and will be launching a new website and brand to stand out as ‘a family firm for families’.
The two consultants launched Perspective Planning in 2009 after Currie studied with life planning guru George Kinder. Billingham, a former director at support services group Threesixty, has continued to consult independent financial planning firms independently.
Petrus Financial Services, Reading
Berkshire-based Petrus Financial Services is aiming to hit £500,000 in profit in 2015 by focusing on the two Rs: referrals and retention.
The firm has reaped the benefits of developing partnerships with solicitors and accountants, which has led managing director Philip Dendy and his team to spend the last 12 months ensuring client retention.
Gaining over £20 million in assets under advice in the last two years to manage £155 million has also helped the firm secure strategic alliances with platform and investment partners to offer clients more competitive pricing.
Philip J Milton & Company, Barnstaple
Thirty years ago, Philip Milton opened the second regulated financial advice firm in North Devon. It is now the longest established independent business in the area.
Philip J Milton & Company is celebrating its 30-year milestone by moving to a larger office and rebranding specialist segments of its business.
The firm has a discretionary investment management service and has recently launched a low-cost white label discretionary managed pension offering, which has £18 million under management.
It has partnered with UK Christian relief and development agency Tearfund, supporting and publicising its East African micro loans.
Plutus Wealth Management, London
While many firms are ramping up their efforts to focus on those clients approaching or in retirement, Plutus Wealth Management continues to pursue the young and up-and-coming.
The firm added a new adviser, Sebastian Hurst, one of the youngest Personal Financial Society fellows, to its ranks at the start of the year and aims to train up a few more in the next 12 months.
As well as working towards a 17% increase in turnover for this year, from £850,000 to £1 million, Plutus has been doing its bits to bring new blood into the profession.
Prest Financial Planning, Stockport
Managing director Graham Prest is ensuring his father Jim Prest’s Stockport-based advice firm continues to thrive after 54 years in business.
Now his daughter, and paraplanner, Hayley Prest, represents the third generation at the firm.
The chartered firm with a team of 20 has grown steadily thanks to a series of acquisitions, and assets under advice currently stand at £320 million.
Prest, who started out as a tax collector at 16, has ambitious plans to keep acquiring over the next year and to increase turnover 20% from £1.9 million in 2014 to £2.3 million.
Provisio Chartered Financial Planners, Letchworth
Letchworth-based Provisio was one of the first firms in the UK to offer exchange-traded fund-based model portfolios to retail investors after managing director Andrew Whiteley became disillusioned with the charges and underperformance of active funds and fund managers.
It has also launched a passive-led investment consultancy service for other advisers, called Assetfirst.
The firm has increased assets under advice by £10 million for the last two years, currently overseeing £130 million.
Over the next 12 months the firm is looking to maintain profitability and maximise funds under management from existing clients.
The firm is giving its social media presence a boost through regular blogs and marketing activity.
Prydis Wealth, Exeter
Exeter-based Prydis Wealth has spent the better part of the past few years broadening its services to offer clients multi-professional support.
From 2013 to 2014, its turnover jumped 41.5% from £622,000 to £880,000. As its new direct-to-consumer platform Strawberry Invest continues to grow, the firm expects to reach £1.1 billion in turnover for 2015.
The 14-strong chartered firm has also been on the hunt for business acquisitions as the right opportunities arise. Prydis has its own accountancy practice and legal firm under an alternative business structure.
QED Wealth Management, Weston-super-Mare
Managing director Darren Baker set up Weston-super-Mare-based QED Wealth Management in 1998 and has since written a financial management book for sports professionals, Your Financial Coach, based on his experience of advising elite athletes.
In a bid to help athletes further, Baker has been working with the Professional Footballers’ Association, several Premier League clubs and Uefa on the design and introduction of a financial education programme for professional footballers.
Baker has recently undertaken a complete overhaul of QED's philosophy, ongoing client service and investment process, which he hopes will lead to more organic growth.
Rowley Turton (IFA), Leicester
Leicester-based Rowley Turton has seen a surge of new, high quality clients on the back of financial planner Scott Gallacher’s continued presence in the national press. Giving Gallacher airtime has been the firm’s marketing strategy for the last four years.
The policy has begun to bear fruit through new enquiries to the firm. This increase in enquiries, along with a higher number of referrals from existing clients, has led to a 35% increase in turnover.
The firm hopes to see growth from its auto-enrolment proposition as smaller employers begin the process.
SG Wealth Management, Norwich
Norwich-based SG Wealth Management has maintained its high recurring income of 95% for three years running, coming a long way since it dumped commission to become fee-based from 2000.
Director Neil Shillito has developed the firm in various ways, including setting up a discretionary service and is now focusing on getting the most out of auto-enrolment.
The firm also appointed the boss of a local brewery to head its board in 2014 to help Shillito and his co-owners make the firm’s growth more sustainable.
Skerritt Consultants, Hove
Hove based Skerritt Consultants became the first company to scoop the New Model Adviser® award for the South East five years in a row this January.
Managing director Richard Skerritt credits a chunk of the firm’s success to its efforts in marketing the firm and its services, which include discretionary management and a private banking-style proposition for clients with more than £500,000.
The firm is investing heavily in building up the business through client bank acquisition, back office systems, and by recruiting staff to add to its team of 48.
Smart Financial, Altrincham
Smart Financial chief executive Steve Martin proved his passion for financial planning this past year by launching the SaveOurIFP campaign when the Institute of Financial Planning announced its merger with the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment.
Martin, who launched the firm in 2008, has long been committed to advancing and promoting advisers’ professionalism.
Over the past year Smart, which has £70 million assets under advice, has tapped into two new client niches; sports professionals and critical claimants, which it looks forward to developing.
Smith & Williamson, London
Staff numbers have grown considerably at Smith & Williamson over the past 12 months. The firm, which launched its personal financial planning service in 1984, has increased its numbers from 66 to 78 over the year.
Smith & Williamson is predominantly a DFM and tax advice service, and its advice service has been led by financial services director Mike Fosberry since its inception.
The firm’s hiring spree will help support growing demand from pension and employee benefit clients. Its profits have also been boosted, increasing from £1.7 million to £2.1 million over the year.
Strategic Solutions Chartered Financial Planners, Poole
Chartered firm Strategic Solutions has shown its commitment to the financial advisers of tomorrow by launching an apprenticeship scheme.
The firm took on its first trainee in June and hopes to have up to three join each year.
Principal Kevin Forbes has also toured schools as part of the PFS Discover Fortunes programme to raise awareness of financial planning as a career.
The Poole-based firm is run by partners Forbes, Jefferson Fawcett, Giles Wellington and Allan Cruse and has grown assets under advice from £90 million to £225 million over the past two years.
The Citimark Partnership, Bristol
The firm started out in 1982 as David Trott Financial Services before Mark Incledon, current director, arranged a management buyout and changed the name to Citimark in 1988.
Fellow director Sharon Critchlow, a trained accountant, joined the Bristol-based firm in 1998 and in 2009 the partners started investing money back into the business with the aim of building funds under advice and capital value. The firm is now projecting to manage £350 million in client assets by the end of 2016.
Citimark recently launched a new discretionary fund arm and hopes to attract new quality clients through its corporate offering, targeted at senior executives and high-earners, called Avantgarde.
Darren Lloyd Thomas
Thomas and Thomas Finance, Haverfordwest
Husband and wife team Darren and Lisa Thomas have been welcoming clients to this family firm since 2006.
The Pembrokeshire-based couple have recently been joined by trainee planner Katy Owen, who they aim to hand a client bank to in the coming year. She also built the latest model portfolio to feature in the Thomas and Thomas Ethical proposition.
The firm continues to maintain a high level of recurring income while steadily increasing its assets under advice, which currently stand at £34 million.
Darren has built up a media presence and is always seeking new and creative ways to inform clients, evidenced in his latest video series Buried Treasure.
Timothy James & Partners, London
London-based Timothy James & Partners’s client bank includes a few celebrity names such as horse racing pundit John McCririck, former EastEnders actor Patsy Palmer and former England rugby captain Lawrence Dallaglio.
Managing director Tim Whiting launched the firm in 1995 and has overseen a rise in assets under advice to £650 million.
An increase in new business due to recent pension reforms has led a number of its advisers to increase their pension knowledge and qualifications to better meet clients’ needs. The firm is hoping to bolster its investment proposition by hiring an internal investment team in the near future.
David Otway and Martin Hill
TWP Wealth, Alderley Edge
Sports fans David Otway and Martin Hill initially hit if off while sharing offices in 2004. Two years later, the two merged their separate advice businesses to form what is now TWP Weatlh.
Otway plays cricket and is a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club and both he and Hill are closely involved in nearby Wilmslow Rugby Club.
Along with their love of sport, the two share a vision to grow their firm, which is expected to turn over £1.3 million in 2015. The firm is on the hunt for acquisitions as it beds down a recently launched joint venture with a local solicitor and a new auto-enrolment focused business.
Verus Wealth Chartered Financial Planners, Dundee
Director Paul Lothian went it alone with Verus Wealth in 2014, as former co-director Jonathan Gibson left the firm to lead their accountancy joint-venture business AAB Wealth full time.
Despite the split, the Dundee-based firm is on track to keep growing client assets under management, currently at £65 million, as well as its turnover figures.
Former PFS president Lothian originally had ambitions to become a musician. Before he could be discovered, he followed his parents into the insurance business and his career in financial planning took off instead.
VWM Wealth, Glasgow
Ken Welsh, managing director of chartered VWM Wealth has a focused but favourable strategy.
The Glasgow-based firm focuses on business owners, advises less than 70 HNW clients and boldly states it does not want to dilute its proposition by addressing the needs of mass affluent clients.
The firm believes its selection process allows it more time with clients to fully explain its processes, solutions, rationale and sees education as a vital part in the planning process.
The firm has a good thing going; assets, turnover and profits have steadily grown with the help of its ‘word of mouth referrals only’ marketing move.
Wealth Matters, Luton
Luton-based Wealth Matters has sharpened its focus on its key clients in the past 12 months, selling off a client book that no longer fitted with the business and increasing the average amount of assets per client to £300,000.
Director Julian Gilbert has placed a renewed focus on its staff too, which resulted in four non-advisers, including all of its paraplanners, achieving the level four diploma.
The firm is aiming to grow by 15% in 2016 through increased referrals from top clients.
Wealthflow LLP, Edinburgh
Edinburgh-based Wealthflow’s assets under advice, £120 million, and percentage of recurring income, 100%, may have stayed flat, but this is not a firm standing still.
In 2015 it launched a joint venture company with one of Scotland's oldest law firms, forming DMW Asset Management.
The new business will provide cashflow modelling and independent investment advice to families with specialist care needs.
Wealthflow partner Duncan Glassey is also planning to publish a book called How to be Happy and Rich, which he has co-written with Swedish life coach Moa Diseborn.
Whiting & Partners Wealth Management, Wisbech
David Salmon’s Whiting & Partners Wealth Management has enjoyed a significant increase in profits over the past 12 months, up from £368,000 in 2014 to £404,000 in 2015, thanks to increased client wealth and a strong line of referrals from professional introducers.
The firm has traditionally served a large farming community with a proposition that mixes traditional values with a strong reliance on new technology and qualifications.
In 2016 the firm will recruit a fourth adviser and aims to grow assets under advice above the current £110 million.
Wingate Financial Planning, Caterham
Caterham-based Wingate Financial Planning practices what it preaches. Financial plans are not just for clients, but for the firm too.
The firm is currently in year two of a five-year plan, which has so far seen it improve its client proposition, engagement and service.
Over 2016 it will review all processes in the business to ensure they are as efficient as possible and it will move legacy clients onto one of the firm’s two core propositions.
In 2015 the firm’s pre-tax profits rose to £90,018 and assets under advice increased by £20 million to £200 million.
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