In August 2019, we celebrated 25 years in business. It was a time for celebration and we were delighted to welcome many of our clients to an event at a local cider farm. There was plenty of free flowing “apple juice”, a hog roast and live music.
And, as we do every year, there was a team challenge for charity. With my Dad having been diagnosed with heart failure, but thanks to receiving amazing treatment now being back to my Dad again, and on the suggestion of one our clients, our chosen charity was the British Heart Foundation. So, the event was a walk across the beautiful fields of Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire (via a number of carefully selected watering holes) and of course, it being our 25th year, the distance had to be 25 kilometres. We ended up raising over £1,500 for this fabulous cause.
So, 25 years in business, and a time to reflect on how things have changed over that time. Now, I wasn’t here right at the beginning, but, and it’s frightening to say, it has been 20 years. My goodness haven’t things changed!
Thinking back to January 2000, it was the world of commissions, no sign of fees and a very different playing field in terms of regulation. Basic factfinds, fund selections from a network panel and based on performance charts in the back of magazines and dial up internet chugging in the corner to get protection quotes.
It’s safe to say, thankfully, things have moved on. Compliance and regulation is a huge burden, and the amount of research and tools now readily available to us is massive. However, I’m happier that, certainly for clients of Jane Smith Financial Planning, anyway, we are able to provide much more robust services to them.
Of course, increases in technology and regulation has helped, but one of the biggest things in our own business has been truly embracing firstly, back in the early 2000s, cashflow modelling, but then true Financial Planning. Moving away from transactional financial advice services and now offering Financial Planning services, combined with our independent financial adviser status, really does, I think bring the best outcomes for our clients.
I’m confident that we’re beginning to get the message out to the wider public, albeit slowly, about the real difference between advice and planning. In fact, we had a new client last week who said to me that he was now, on reaching retirement, looking for the first time for professional support with his finances. His words, not mine: “having spoken with a financial adviser who just tried to sell a product, I now understand why I need a Financial Planner”. Hurrah – a result for financial planning!
Nicola Watts APFS Chartered Financial Planner, Chartered Wealth Manager, CFPTM Chartered FSCI - director of Jane Smith Financial Planning
After joining the family business in 2000, Nicola qualified to provide advice in 2001, and has been a director of the business since 2006. Since the retirement of her mother (Jane Smith), Nicola bears sole responsibility for the management of the firm, and the advice provided to clients. Nicola is married to David and has two young children, Emily and Olivia, and Poppy the black labrador.