My career has spanned service in HM Forces through two university degrees, a long period in financial services as well as other projects.
My involvement in financial services began in 1984 when I joined a private client portfolio management company in London that later merged with a unit trust management company.
After a break to read for an MBA, I became a consultant with an appointed representative of a major life company in 1991. My first client was a Director of a FTSE 100 company. Realising immediately that product based sales were inappropriate in this case I started to develop a financial planning service, using a detailed written report and review system, to address the varied needs of this and subsequent clients, most of whom were MBAs in City institutions.
In 1994 I joined a City IFA firm in the process of restructuring, and started to take the company onto a fee based, comprehensive financial planning model, using computer based financial planning and asset allocation systems. I was also appointed Director with responsibility for marketing, compliance, training and competence, completely overhauling the compliance of the company and instituting formal training and competence programmes and assessments.
Returning to Yorkshire
In September 1996 changing family circumstances necessitated a not unwelcome return to Yorkshire, where I set up my own financial planning company, and although corporate structures changed, by 2005 the service had developed into Planning for Life, the UK’s first dedicated life and financial planning firm incorporating life planning, risk analysis, financial strategy development, pensions (I qualified as a pension transfer specialist) and much improved methods of investment administration.
By 2015 I had begun to realise that, although successfully helping individual clients, there were many more people in the country, often of limited means, who wanted to understand and benefit from my financial life planning approach. Being also by that time heartily fed up of the constricting regulatory environment in which finnancial advisers have to operate, I handed over my business to Serenity Financial Planning, with whom I still maintain a close relationship and established Project Sophia (Living Money) to bring the art and science of financial life planning to a much wider audience.
Living Money is a publishing and events business specializing in life and personal financial planning. We use my unique six-step financial life planning process to help middle-income entrepreneurial families with no plan, no performance and no lifestyle to sleep at night and flourish by day.
We do not advise on financial products; rather, we aim to give clients the tools and skills to make their own correct decisions about which financial products to buy starting from a life first, money second perspective.
The underlying theme to my approach is to help clients achieve their personal goals by formulating and quantifying their deepest values, interests and ambitions, then helping them develop a strategy to achieve these by making best use of their resources.
I have been involved in the development of the financial planning profession, As a member of the Board of the Institute of Financial Planning from 2006 to 2012 I helped guide the profession through the implementation of the Retail Distribution Review. I have also served as a member of the Kinder Institute Advisory Board in Boston.
I am heavily involved in the Apleforth Society, and was honoured to be appointed Managing Trustee of the Society in October, charged with making the Society larger, more inclusive and connected and more influential.
I am married with one teenage son (now at Bristol University studying maths and Philosophy) and live and work in the beautiful Rye Valley in North Yorkshire.