“If you can’t influence or control something then don’t worry about it” – Mr Mullet (English teacher) Copleston Secondary School 1970.
I joined Williams Farrall Woodward in 2012 as a senior financial Advisor. Previous to that I had been a financial advisor for 18 years either employed or as a sole trader.
Having grown up in Ipswich I am a Suffolk boy through and though. I started my working life in taxation and then moved into management accountancy. In 1995 I was approached by an acquaintance who worked for the Cooperative Insurance Society to ask if I was interested in a career change to insurance adviser – I was! And therefore accepted. The skills I had learnt in accountancy, for example; asset valuation, and risk assessment, translated well into the world of insurance and I quickly realised that financial planning was not only well suited to me, but far more enjoyable. In due course it became clear that I could serve my clients better by leaving the restricted advice offered by the Cooperative society to become an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA), which I did in 2003.
Since the days of ‘knocking on doors’ I have been passionate about helping people, and as I was a rather shy and introverted young person I think that these years were incredibly helpful to me by developing my confidence and communication skills. I can clearly remember a day when, an elderly individual answered his door but seemed very low spirited. From our conversation I established he was worried because he needed more income but was very concerned he might lose his capital if he tried to move it.
I do not think the man ever thought that this ‘lad’ knocking on his door would be able to describe and offer a safe and sound solution. And I did not previously think I would ever be in the position to help someone in a way that would easily increase their personal freedom. He invited me, and even now, many years later, I still act for him.
Over the years I have witnessed many changes within the Insurance industry. Most notable have been numerous and almost annual changes to regulation and taxation.
These changes have had a considerable impact on investments and the net returns available.
As an advisor I know that it is my duty to provide clarity to all my clients. I think one of my keys skills is being able to unravel complex client problems in order to get them to prioritise what is important, and then educating my clients so they understand their position and their options.
What I like most about my job is solving people’s predicaments, the satisfaction that comes with making someone else’s life easier and simpler.
I think that the Covid pandemic will have a big effect on our industry. The rise in unemployment, inflation and interest rates will most likely see more people seeking advice. A lot of people will be affected by job insecurity and volatile earnings so this undoubtably will have a knock-on effect regarding their priorities and tough times could be ahead. I imagine many people who would not normally seek advice will now find it important to do so.
At the weekends I like to spend my time in the garden or on my allotment. I am passionate about growing fruit and veg, and many of my friends and colleagues benefit from the fruits of my labours (quite literally). I enjoy DIY and making things and there is always something in the house that needs mending or fixing.
I am a community person and have a been town councillor for many years. I enjoy travel and I am always looking forward to my next trip. This year (covid permitting) I intend to visit Austria. I also enjoy Ballroom and Latin dancing (all be it a bit rusty these days although you never entirely forget the steps).
I am happiest when I am out and about discovering the charms of my county, it fascinates me that after all this time my beautiful Suffolk still has so much to offer.
Over the next year I will be moving on to my own retirement, I am confident that all the clients I have worked with earlier in my career and at Williams Farrall Woodward will continue to be valued and well looked after by our younger advisers and our support staff.