My career in financial services started in 1978. Over the early years I met a lot of business people. A common theme was that they regarded their business as their means to a financially secure retirement. They had control of their business and believed there was more sense in building business assets for their future rather than making pension contributions to an insurance company.
Although I had mixed views on this I explored ways of aligning the considerable tax advantages that pension legislation offered with an individual business investment, such as investing in commercial property and came up with opportunities for business owners to directly control their pension investment with Small Self Administered Schemes (SSAS).
In 1999 I set out with a clear plan to build a financial planning business aimed specifically for business people. Key to this was being able to offer a financial advice service that was completely independent. This is something I believed to be vital and still do. My service offer and ideas were based on aligning some of their business growth & assets with the tax efficiency of pensions, something they could directly control and individual to themselves and their business.
Armed with my ideas and a considerable amount of enthusiasm I set out to share my opportunities with as many business owners as I could. It occurred to me that the fastest way of doing this was cold calling companies and talking to their owners over the telephone for the first hour of each business day. Mostly this was huge fun but nothing could dampen my enthusiasm and desire to share my ideas. Eventually I became so busy I could no longer continue making these calls. We have grown from introductions ever since and now all of our business is introduced to us and we continue to grow rapidly.
Working purely on the basis of introductions has changed the course of our business, which now provides services for people from all walks as well as continuing to offer our original service to business owners. Owing to the considerable amount of investment capital under our management we are now primarily a Wealth Management business, helping individuals to build, preserve and ultimately pass on their wealth.
Our business development is fully supported by an experienced advisory board, which I created in 2010.
The continued growth of the company was the primary focus of the board, such growth in 2010 being impeded by recruitment of suitable advisers.
To help resolve this we set up a Graduate Trainee Scheme with the aim of employing and training talented youngsters. The goal in 2011 was to recruit five trainees over a period of seven years and mentor each of them to Chartered Adviser qualification.
This has reduced the average age of our advisers & enabled us to achieve a strong succession for the continued success of the business. Our first graduate was Chris Phillips, now a Chartered Fellow and Managing Director of the company. Need I say more!
Over the years I have enjoyed very strong and lasting relationships with many clients and their families, including their children and grandchildren. I am immensely proud of my company, what it stands for and the team of dedicated individuals that support and continue to develop the business.
Owing to the considerable amount of investment capital under our management we are now primarily a Wealth Management business, helping individuals to build, preserve and ultimately pass on their wealth.Stephen Watson