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The NMA top 100: 22 advisers in London you should know
Our search for the UK's top 100 financial planners ends in the capital, where 22 names standout in a highly competitive market.
NLP Financial Management
Adam Katten cites growing NLP Financial Management from two people in 2005 to 20 as his greatest business achievement. He has now set his sights on expanding the firm’s discretionary offering to more than £500 million.
Adam Young was the second adviser in the UK to become Kinder qualified and says he is employing ‘a flavour and undertone of life planning’ in his development of a family office proposition. Young is working hard to change the face of financial planning and advice. He is developing a charity-funded scheme that aims to give one-to-one life planning sessions to consumers who could otherwise not afford it.
This venture is born of his collaboration with Project Eve and is designed to work like legal aid.
Adrian Ware balances a successful career in financial planning with playing guitar for his punk rock band 14 Carat Grapefruit. He set up his firm nearly 10 years ago, having previously been director of financial advisory services at Kleinwort Benson Private Bank. He is ambitious, aiming to double his assets under advice over the next three years, but he regards his greatest achievement as playing on the same stage as Ian Dury and the Blockheads (although unfortunately not at the same time).
Evolve Financial Planning
Anthony Williams is chartered and certified, a fellow of the PFS and has more than 18 years’ experience in financial planning. He founded Evolve in 2004 with the aim of making it one of the UK’s leading financial planning firms; and says he acts as coach, mentor and consultant to help clients build their own financial plans. A skilled communicator, Williams appears regularly in national press and on television.
Capital Asset Management
An early adopter of the new model, Alan Smith has often been outspoken in the New Model Adviser® community. He has created a forward-thinking firm and believes that business metrics must progress, post-RDR, to go beyond using assets under management as a key indicator. As well as having a solid proposition centred on a passive investment strategy, Smith looks at the ‘critical non-essentials’ in his business. These include a drinks menu and events for clients. He is a member of the Aurora Group and believes the boutique approach is successful. ‘It’s owner managed, so it’s a better way than a private bank,’ he says.
Addidi Wealth Management
Addidi Wealth Management stands out from the crowd by primarily serving female clients with an all-female staff. ‘I am motivated by being female focused,’ says Anna Sofat. ‘I want to serve women in my business and to engage more women in business in general.’ She has launched several ventures, including Addidi Business Angels, to help aspiring business women, particularly female fashion entrepreneurs, and the Addidi Inspiration Awards, which give recognition to outstanding women in history and modern society.
Bruce Wilson is one of the UK’s most vocal advocates for life planning and is a cofounder of Project Eve, which seeks to take life planning to the lower net-worth public. Wilson has had an illustrious career in financial services, and started Helm Godfrey after a stint away from the sector. He has been the vice president of the IFP, and is a certified planner and registered life planner. Wilson is author of The 7 Secrets of Money. ‘I have personally evolved through understanding, learning and by having my own life plan,’ he says.
John Lamb Partnership
Campbell Edgar has long been a pillar in the IFA community and his roles have included president of the IFP from 2002-2004 and chief examiner of the CII Portfolio Investment Management examination from 1997-2000. He is also a fellow of the IFP and PFS. He and fellow director, Paula Steele, run a graduate training scheme. ‘Education and training is incredibly important to the continuation of the development of the profession,’ says Edgar.
Caroline Banks & Associates
Caroline Banks has had distinguished involvement with many professional bodies over the years, including the LIA, PFS from inception and now the MDRT. She was the first woman outside North America and Canada to join the executive committee of the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) and will become its president in 2014. ‘This can never be to the detriment of my firm,’ she says, ‘but it is good to share with peers.’
Banks is looking to the future of financial advice by tutoring interns in financial advice, and by travelling the globe to promote the value of good advice and financial planning.
Dhan Sharma was the inaugural chairman for the PFS Kent region and has helped to build the financial community in the area. ‘Ten years ago, people were a bit secretive about what they did but now everyone is open to sharing best practice,’ says Sharma, who is also now helping the IFP to set up a new Kent branch. He is a perfectionist when it comes to client service and, as an avid foodie, has developed what he calls a ‘Michelin starred’ proposition.
Yellowtail Financial Planning
Dennis Hall is a leader in the field of life planning and one of only a handful of registered Kinder Institute accredited life planners in the UK. Hall has chaired the London branch of the IFP for the past four years, where he says he has helped ‘develop a vibrant and healthy community of progressive and forward thinking financial planners.’ He now hopes to be able to ‘do more at a national level’ but hopefully he will still have time to build on his already extensive art collection, which includes works by Damien Hirst and Julian Opie.
Plutus Wealth Management
Georgina Partridge is leading the new generation into financial planning. ‘We want to distinguish ourselves from other IFAs by being multi-disciplined and through our youthfulness!’ she says. ‘My goal is to restore people’s faith in financial services and bring new people, in terms of clients and professionals, into financial planning.’ She is working closely with Loughborough University, as part of its alumni business council, to promote financial advice as a career option. ‘It’s great for the community and for Plutus as we are developing internships and graduate schemes,’ she says.
Ian Pickford has been an IFA for more than 23 years. He joined Mazars in 1996 as a founding director of Mazars Financial Planning and took over as chief executive in 2010. He is a certified financial planner and works closely with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales’ financial planning arm. Prior to working as an adviser, he spent five years as a PE teacher and has continued his interest in sport as chair of Oxford Cricket Club and vice-chairman of Oxfordshire Sports Partnership.
Bloomsbury Financial Planning
Jason Butler has built Bloomsbury into a leading wealth management boutique, centred on a passive investment offering. He is creating space for trainee roles in his firm and is working closely with universities to be able to attract graduates. Post-RDR, Butler hopes to write a second book on wealth management and hopes that the public image of financial planning will move away from that of an industry towards a profession.
James Harvey Associates
James Harvey says the importance of financial advice is in ‘enabling clients to be able to make priorities about what is important and what they want to do with their lives’. He says life planning focuses the firm on understanding what clients really want from life, with emphasis on goals rather than finances. Harvey and his wife run a charitable trust and have annual family discussions on how to distribute the funds. Harvey regularly plays the organ at his local church in Ealing.
Lee Robertson is a champion of the boutique wealth management firm and strongly believes in in-house investment management. His passion for all-encompassing wealth management has been recognised by many industry awards, and he speaks regularly at industry events and on national television to share his business knowledge and professional insight. ‘It’s so important to share best practice,’ he says. ‘We have to learn from each other.’ Robertson was a founder member of the Aurora Group for like-minded, investment-orientated advisers to discuss ideas and solutions.
Collectively, the members of the group have almost £1 billion under management.
Altorfer Financial Management
Roger Taylor is both a talented musician (he holds a BMus) and a keen single-handed sailor. His blog, The Simple Sailor, documents his travels and was the basis of his three books about his boat, Mingming. When he’s not sailing to the Arctic and back, or speaking about his travels at conferences in multiple languages, Taylor runs an award-winning financial planning firm, servicing many NHS healthcare officials.
He began his financial services career in the 1980s and has worked towards becoming an IFP member, certified and gaining the IMC and investment management asset allocation qualifications.
Syndaxi Financial Planning
Robert Reid joined Sun Life in 1978. From there, he began his journey as a champion of improving standards in the profession. News spread to London that there was a young and enthusiastic young man working for the greater good and Reid was invited to the CII. ‘From there I helped set up Sofa,’ says Reid. He went on to develop and secure the chartered qualification. Subsequently he has developed his consultancy practice, The Ideas Lab. Next he wants to work with the general public to increase financial awareness. ‘We’ve all got to park our egos and work for the future,’ says Reid.
Sheriar Bradbury is almost unrivalled in terms of the number of successful and integrated buyouts. He has been in financial services since 1993 and has completed 41 acquisitions in 19 years of running Bradbury Hamilton. Bradbury believes that he has learnt the ‘value of fairness in business, which leads to long-term business relationships.’ Bradbury is aware that he has big ambitions and knows that he might not reach his own targets, but he thinks it is important to work towards goals.
Arthur Davies is both chartered and certified and is a fellow of the IFP. He founded Baigrie Davies with Tom Baigrie in 1987. By 1996, they had realised that ‘to stand still in an age of rapid change and increasingly expensive red tape was a route to failure’. They grew the business rapidly from then on. The firm won New Model Adviser® awards for the London region in 2008 and 2010, though Davies and Baigrie claim the model is not new, saying it is just that they were ‘right all along’. Davies says his ambition is ‘to leave the business and clients in robust financial health and wise to the world of planning’.
Evans Hart Wealth Management
‘We are at cruising altitude at the moment,’ says Stephen Evans. ‘We’ve reached a great size and we’ve spent the time amalgamating our clients.’ Evans has grown his business steadily through measured acquisitions and through adopting a passive investment strategy eight years ago. ‘Financial advice gives an individual freedom to do what they want to do,’ he says. ‘Financial planning is simply a question of reconciling aims and objectives with their finances. There’s no magic to it really.’
Evans is a member of the Aurora group and finds it engaging to share investment practice with peers. He is also a member of the IFP and PFS, and carries out pro bono work for the public with the latter.
Timothy James & Partners
Timothy Whiting has carved out a niche in serving the stars of stage, screen and page. From models to musicians, he has helped them plan for a financially secure future. His office is decorated with portraits of his clients adorned with kind messages of thanks to Whiting and his team. Whiting has been running Timothy James & Partners (TJP) for almost 20 years. He views the RDR deadline as a time to grow. ‘There is no contest for TJP in the high-net-worth media client space,’ he says. ‘We’re able to grow by nurturing younger staff and by bringing in key new roles’. Whiting says his aim is to ‘be the best in London’.