The NMA Top 100: 15 South East advisers you should know
Wingate Financial Planning
If you follow Alistair Cunningham on Twitter, you will not only be kept up to date with his views on the latest financial services developments, but also gain an insight into some of his extra-curricular passions, such as photography. Caterham-based Cunningham is a physics graduate and self-proclaimed techno-geek, who is embracing the use of technology in financial planning. Although he is one of the younger advisers on this list, Cunningham has chartered status and is a fellow of the PFS.
Anthony Harding & Partners
Anthony Harding says his moment of financial planning inspiration came when he met Tony Shepherd, then president of the IFP at PIMS. ‘I was attracted to the ideology and philosophy that he presented,’ says Harding. In 1994, Harding was appointed a director of the IFP and served for 12 years. He has been deputy chairman of the Investment Funds Association and is a member of Tax Incentivised Savings Association (Tisa). ‘I benefited from Tony Shepherd and the nice thing about our industry is that we’re keen to do the right thing and share best practice,’ says Winchester-based Harding. ‘I want to be able to help others. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, but we take what we do seriously.’
Arch Financial Planning
Arthur Childs is a chartered and certified financial planner as well as holding fellowships of the CII, PFS and Pensions Management Institute. A New Model Adviser® award winner in 2010, Cranleigh-based Childs said this accolade was among his greatest achievements. ‘I was proudest of my New Model Adviser® award, because I have always been so impressed with the other firms who are shortlisted,’ he says. Arch has come a long way since it was founded 20 years ago. ‘It is very hard for an old-style company such as ours to turn around and become a new model adviser,’ says Childs. He now hopes that, with business processes established, he will be able to spend more time advising clients.
Clarendon Financial Planning
Sir Frederick Hervey-Bathurst works hard to combine tradition and technology at his offices based at the family seat; Somborne Park in Hampshire. He comes from financially savvy lineage – his father was a merchant banker and his great grandfather wrote a book about investment planning in 1896. Hervey-Bathurst counts many close friends among his clients and he often takes them fly fishing on the River Test. He instils the value of integrity in his firm and employees: ‘Doing your best in an honest fashion is all you can do. By being consistently honest, you can do well in life.’
HC Wealth Management
Ian Shipway started his career in the Royal Navy as a hydrographic surveyor – not the usual route into financial services. After leaving the Navy, he moved into financial services, targeting accountants and solicitors as potential clients. He launched his firm, HC Wealth Management, in the early 1990s. Derriford-based Shipway is a past president of the IFP. He has served on the international council of the Financial Planning Standards Board and is now part of Tisa’s Wrap Advisory Council.
Karen Vidler has been advising for more than 20 years and specialises in care fees, trusts and income planning. She also works very closely with a number of lawyers in Tunbridge Wells and London in divorce cases. Tunbridge Wells-based Vidler says charity work is a strong passion. ‘Raising money in creative ways for a number of charities is something that I find enormously satisfying. I have also started regular visits to a local Barchester care home with one of my dogs, Finn, who has recently qualified as a Pets As Therapy dog,’ she says.
Lisanne Mealing joined her husband, Chris, at MDM in 1996 and, after two years, became a director. The firm achieved chartered status recently and has £300 million under management. Ripley-based Mealing received an MBA from the University of Surrey School of Management in 2004 and has achieved associate status with the PFS.
She is a specialist in providing women with financial advice, particularly surrounding pensions and divorce.
Nick Bamford & Martin Bamford
Nick Bamford is a keen fisherman and English history whizz. He counts his greatest achievement as chairing of the Society of Financial Advisers (Sofa), where he oversaw the development of chartered status and the merger with the Life Insurance Association to form the PFS. Bamford is actively involved in his local Cranleigh community and is a trustee of children’s charity Facing the World. He encouraged his firm to take part in a 33-mile sponsored walk to raise funds for the charity earlier in the year. Looking beyond the RDR, he hopes to ‘leave the business in the capable hands of the younger board members’, who include his son Martin, Lizanne Doyle and Andrew Neligan.
Martin Bamford’s social media presence has whisked him into the spotlight of the advisory community. With a strong Twitter following, he has become a popular media commentator. Cranleigh-based Bamford says the site allows him to display the more ‘personal’ side of financial advice.
He runs social media workshops for professional connections and is a published author. As a chartered and certified financial planner, he now looks past the RDR with optimism. ‘IFAs of the future will turn the current fledgling profession into the real deal,’ he says.
Cube Financial Planning
Mike Godfrey built a successful business, FS3, which he sold to Bluefin, then called Thinc. He then left Bluefin to set up Cube Financial Planning, which he runs with co-director Neil Emburey. His two sons, Leigh and Jonny, work at the firm. ‘We’re already working towards achieving chartered and accredited status,’ says Godfrey. ‘I wanted to take all the key things from FS3. Most importantly, I wanted to replicate the fact that our clients are at the heart of our business.’ Romsey-based Godfrey sat on the board of directors for the Financial Services Skills Council commission for education and hopes to continue his work of encouraging the younger generation to join financial services. ‘I believe that, post-RDR, a well-structured and small business will be successful,’ he says.
Nicola Downs runs a tight ship at her Dorking-based firm – ‘we are incredibly process-driven and that brings the need to be decisive,’ she says. Downs insists that these strict processes deliver ‘calmness’ to what can be volatile times in clients’ lives. Strong processes require the support of a strong team. Downs explains: ‘Our team is very good at making and keeping promises.’ In the future, she hopes to establish a free educational programme. ‘This is about free education for students or adults – anyone who struggles to manage their finances and who wants to learn,’ she says.
Spofforths Financial Planning
Philip Wise’s firm, Spofforths Financial Planning, is the advisory arm of 100-year-old accountancy practice Spofforths Chartered Accountants. A team player, Storrington-based Wise says his greatest achievement is ‘helping two of my team to become chartered financial planners and helping other colleagues to develop their abilities.’
Post the RDR, his aims for the firm are performance based, and Wise hopes to see profits double. He is a keen runner and road cyclist and he can often be found out and about on the South Downs.
Richard Skerritt didn’t waste much time in launching his own firm. ‘I gained a degree in business studies from Brighton University, drifted into direct sales, but then left almost immediately and set up Skerritts,’ he says. ‘We now have 35 people on board. We had a bit of luck along the way, but the biggest change for me has been the people that have joined.’
Brighton-based Skerritts is a chartered firm and a New Model Adviser® award winner for its innovation in technology, marketing and client service. ‘I would advise any adviser starting to market their firm, to try anything once and stick with what works,’ says Skerritt.
Ex-Olympian Rod Milne excelled on the athletics field in the 4x400-metre relay at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. He now helps clients realise their financial potential at his Guildford-based firm, HFS Milbourne. He says a lot of his job is about instilling confidence in clients – ‘people usually don’t know how much they can achieve.’ Milne uses his strong knowledge of business processes and systems in his mentoring work with new firms within the Chamber of Commerce.
Post-RDR, Milne is sure that scalability will be the key to success. ‘Companies will only survive if they are able to grow,’ he says.
Antrams Financial Services
Stephen Antram has had a lengthy career in financial services, beginning in 1984 with tax work. ‘Moving from working in accountancy to RDR-compliant financial advice wasn’t a great sea change,’ he says. Brighton-based Antrams is growing through steady acquisitions.
Antram believes IFAs in the post-RDR world will need to work more like partnerships, where advisers specialise in certain areas, and encourage a younger generation. ‘We have a relatively young management team, but we aim to restructure our business to allow younger graduates to come on board as the next wave of employed advisers,’ he says.
For more top advisers from around the country
Keith Churchouse has a strong media presence and says: ‘When it comes to marketing, the more you give, the more you get back.’ He is a published author and one of his many titles, Sign Here, Here and Here, has been translated into Portuguese and published in Brazil. He also features regularly on BBC Southern Counties radio, talking about the economic climate. Chartered and certified, Guildford-based Churchouse was also the fourth adviser in the UK to achieve ISO 22222 certification. Always striving for higher standards, Churchouse says: ‘I am inspired by anyone who can overcome adversity to go the extra mile to achieve something special.’