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Wealth Manager: Neil Shillito - financial planning separates asset from wealth managers
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by David Campbell on Jun 02, 2011 at 00:01
‘It is hard work,’ says Neil Shillito, co-founder of SG Wealth Management, describing a working day that extends to answering client calls and emails up to lights out at around 11pm. ‘But then we do get paid bloody well for it.’
The directness – and, it has to be said, the language – are characteristic, as is the attitude. While far from unusual in his native Yorkshire or among the cruise ship sailors who were his colleagues for the first 13 years of his working life, in the buttoned-down world of wealth management it is both a little unusual and refreshing.
Shillito has managed the company alongside co-founder Stephen Girling for almost exactly 10 years but it is fair to say he has the higher profile of the two. He has enthusiastically become the public face of the business: blogging, contributing to the press and cheerfully sparing his time to journalists: the yang to Girling’s yin.
‘I always knew I would be suited to marketing,’ he says. ‘If you throw me into a room full of people, I can always find a way to engage with them. It’s part of working on ships. In a regular job, you might not like your colleagues, but you know you are going home at 5pm. On board, though, you are going to be with them all the time.’
If 25 years have not mellowed his sometimes salty language, he otherwise appears to have relaxed into his role, wearing an informal check shirt open at the neck, chinos and deck shoes on a sunny day in his now home of Norwich.
A decade into its existence, he says that the company is only just beginning to gear into its potential, however. After four previous attempts since 2006, the company is within weeks of signing off on its first regional acquisition that will near double its assets under management to almost £200 million.
The purchase will add a group pension division to the company’s traditional financial planning and asset management services and provide a platform for further growth. This on top of a separate brokerage partnership that the business is developing with a City partner.
‘I’m not going to say right now that it will be the first of many – we just don’t know – but when it is known and in the press, we hope that it will spark some further interest.’
The company has been steadily and quietly growing profits and turnover for each of the past six years, with the upward trend only dipping in 2009. That year, both profit and revenue took a major hit, first from the outright purchase of new, modern office space and secondly from the credit crunch.