Well, this month has flown by! We started back on 2 January, so although getting out of bed on that morning was a little more challenging than normal, I feel like we’ve had a cracking start to the year.
After spending the weekend planting bluebell bulbs in the back garden with my daughter, I’m already looking forward to the spring!
As is now customary, we hold the First Wealth Why day on the third week of January each year. The day allows us to refocus on the reasons why we’re in business, our plans to improve the service we offer to our clients and our company goals for the year.
I’m often told off at home and at work for constantly looking to the future, looking at the next challenge and never reflecting on what we’ve achieved and what’s gone well. I know for sure that this drives Petra, Claire and Kerry mad (sorry guys, it’s just the way I think!)
2017, a great year!
— Anthony Villis, Managing Partner
So, a moment of reflection.
It’s amazing when you stop and think about what we did actually achieve (yes, I know!). Last year we introduced the new client journey, the annual forward planning meeting format and we completed annual tax packs for all our clients in the month of July (no mean feat!). Behind the scenes we also prepared the business for the reporting and compliance challenges of the latest set of European legislation, MiFID2.
- Kerry started a year ago as office manager and has transformed the operations side of the business. I’m not sure how we coped without her!
- Humaira, Urte, Kacie and Jess have all been brilliant additions to the team, helping us develop and refine the client service experience.
- Zoe’s return from maternity leave has been hugely welcome and her experience and detailed knowledge of Rob’s client’s is so incredibly valuable.
- Agnieszka is now in charge of workflow within the team. That'll keep her busy!
- Joe and Rob Schwarz have both been signed of as trainee advisers under the mentorship of Rob and myself. We count ourselves very lucky that we have two financial planning stars of the future in our team. Well done guys, we’re looking forward to seeing you both flourish in your new roles.
- Claire continues to be the rock of First Wealth, and it’s great to see her excelling in her role as a full-time adviser; having the courage to follow her on own life plan in terms of career development.
- Jamie has turned into our in-house George Kinder, imparting financial wisdom wherever he goes. I’m lucky to see first-hand the positive impact that Claire and Jamie’s advice have on our clients lives, and the terrific feedback they receive. It makes me feel very proud.
- Finally, to Rob, my business partner and friend, who has morphed into a financial planning superhero. His energy, positivity and drive for what we’re doing is remarkable. His superpower is the ability to pick me up if things aren’t quite working exactly as I want them too, or if I lose focus on what we’re trying to build (far more useful than wings of steel, or x-ray vision in my opinion).
Thank you to all the team, your hard work and dedication are inspiring.
It would be fair to say that our vision for the business has grown.
We want to make sure that First Wealth has a positive impact on our clients lives and on the wider financial planning profession. We’ve observed a quiet revolution of financial planning excellence emerging in the UK, and we want to be at the forefront of that development. We plan to use First Wealth as a vehicle for social impact and doing something we can all be incredibly proud of.
We’ve set ourselves three big picture corporate objectives for the longer term.
- To build an education programme to help both adults and schoolchildren with their knowledge of finance, enabling them to make more informed decisions.
- To make great financial planning more accessible to those that need it. Constant regulation changes have restricted the accessibility of financial planning, often to those who need it most. Our aim is to help close the gap.
- We want to support the development of the financial planning profession by employing, training and mentoring the financial planners of the future. Again, regulation changes have created significant barriers to entry to becoming a new financial planner. It’s great to see both Joe and Rob coming through this programme, and we want to build on this success as we grow.
Claire has a particular passion for the education piece of our plans and we’ve been thinking about how to encourage youngsters into the great profession of lifestyle financial planning.
In early December, Claire went along to Caterham High School, Ilford as part of the Chartered Insurance Institute initiative to go into schools to highlight the fantastic careers and opportunities available to young people.
“It’s been a very long time since I was in a school, but apart from the fact you can’t just wander in unannounced any longer and a few more exciting A Level subjects, not a lot else seems to have changed. I found myself in front of 30 or so sixth form students saying briefly who I was, what I did and how I came to be a lifestyle financial planner. Luckily for the pupils, they only had to listen to me for 5 minutes.
After a brief overview of the profession and entry points from the CII’s Education Officer, there was a game for them to play in teams which was designed to make them think about people’s needs in areas such as protection, pensions and investments based on their circumstances ranging from a successful young DJ to a right-on older couple who had retired.
This went down well and I was pleased to hear some really mature conversations and even heard pupils relating things back to themselves and their parents”.
— Claire Phillips, Partner
We’ve had some terrific feedback on the behavioural series we put together with Professor Kahr in 2017. Building further on the educationary piece, we’re working with Oxford Risk to build a behavioural tool, which will help our clients identify (and hopefully illuminate) the particular biases that may affect their decision-making process. We’ll introduce this in our next Forward Planning meeting.
We’d love to hear your feedback. If you’d like to be involved, please get in contact.
This article does not constitute advice. Anyone considering any form of financial planning should seek independent financial advice. First Wealth LLP is an appointed representative of Best Practice which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). You should note that the FCA does not regulate tax advice.
Past performance is not indicative of future results. The value of your investment may go down as well as up.
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