2015 Review: the Past, Present and Future in Financial Planning
As we approach the end of the calendar year, gpfm co-directors Scott Atkinson and Simon Frost reflect on a busy twelve months in the financial planning industry and look ahead to a business that aims to expand in 2016.
Shaking Things up
2015 has been a big year of change for the team here at gpfm. We began by shaking up the administrative team, structuring things so that each of our financial planners and their clients has optimum support. Ultimately, this has helped us manage our clients more evenly and provide a seamless service, built on the support of our back-office teams.
To help bolster this approach, perhaps one of the more sizeable changes has been the acquisition, integration and use of a new back-office system called ‘Enable’. This has transformed our operations and is allowing us to scale with ease – the results so far have been excellent. We’re now beginning to automate some manual tasks, creating more time to focus on the client.
For some context, in 2009, when we took over the business, turnover was £200k and it’s now £1.3M. As a result, we needed to adopt new technologies to enable us to manage growth and reach the next stage in our journey.
Welcoming New Members of the Family
As well as expanding our processes and systems, we’ve begun the steady expansion of our team. We were delighted to bring on an apprentice, Louise Hurrell in May who will grow to become an integral part of the administrative team on completion of her apprenticeship.
In addition, we have started the process of recruiting two new advisers into the business. Put simply, this is due to the demand for advice – particularly pension advice – from our clients and new connections. This isn’t surprising, bearing in mind the constant raft of legislative changes that affect the financial advice world.
Speaking of new family members, we’re excited for Michelle Good, a member of our paraplanners team, who has taken maternity leave and had a son called Harrison. Congratulations!
Keeping up the Buzz
To keep the above wheels in motion, we do our best to take the team out from time to time. We had two meetings this year in London, where much of our work is focussed. We often visit investment companies, giving our team a chance to enjoy the fruits of their labours, reach out into new surroundings and to benefit from presentations from various providers.
They also get to listen to us (Scott and Simon) discuss the business and our plans so it becomes a process of learning and team bonding. We finish every meeting with a team quiz – bringing out the tenacious competitive tendencies in our employees.
Looking ahead to 2016
At this late stage in 2015, the investment market remains volatile with a significant fall in equity values in the second part of 2015. That said, economic factors look positive so a period of some stability followed by some consistent economic and stock market growth will be welcome.
These days, clients are financially savvy and cost-conscious. However, they still have an appetite to pay for good quality advice.
We have always practiced lifestyle financial planning which is the art of establishing client goals and joining up all of their assets to see if they are achievable. We don’t see this changing and it is this part that clients are willing to pay for as it gives them the vision to see their financial future and the confidence to start making life-changing decisions.
All of this wouldn’t be possible in 2015/16 without our website. We’re happy to reveal that we’ll be redeveloping our site in the early part of 2016 to ensure that our audience has an optimal, information-rich visit. More on that soon.
We’d like to wrap-up by praising our excellent – and growing – team. Every individual has really delivered a strong year. We look forward to continued growth in 2016, all facilitated by our discerning loyal clients, our dedicated team and our brand new technology.