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The Plymouth Financial Adviser helping individuals to make their money work for them

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The Plymouth Financial Adviser helping individuals to make their money work for them

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The most disconcerting thing for most of us when it comes to finance is that we aren’t aware of what we don’t know. From the inheritance tax we don’t fully understand, to the financial planning that could make the difference between retiring early or not at all, it can all be a bit overwhelming. West Financial Management seeks to strip away the worry and make your money work for you. It has been supporting individuals to do just that for almost 15 years and as it looks forward to celebrating its anniversary, founder and Director, Helen, explains who they are and what they do.

What’s the background to the business?

I’ve been in financial services for 30 years and my business is going to be 15 years old next year, so for half of my career I have had my own company. I never really planned to start my own business and was happy working as a financial adviser, however it came to a point where I was either going to become a Director, with a 49% stake, or leave. I decided to leave as it seemed that if I wanted to be in control of my own destiny then I needed to have my own company that was directly regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority).

What exactly do you do?

We are a specialist firm of Independent Financial Advisers working with a variety of clients, from small businesses to individuals, to shape their financial and investment futures.

People are often anxious about their finances and often don’t think that a financial adviser is relevant to them or is an unnecessary cost. As a result, we offer free discovery meetings to discuss where you are now and where you want to be, and we see it as our job to help you figure that out in those meetings.

If it turns out that you need support in an area we don’t cover, we will direct you to the right person. Either way, that discovery meeting hasn’t cost you anything.

Once you become a client you can choose between an initial service, ongoing service or both. Which one is relevant to you will depend on your requirements and that’s something we can discuss with you to make sure you’re getting the most cost-effective solution.

Who’s in the team?

I’m the Director and I take care of financial planning, which includes savings, investments and inheritance tax planning. Sometimes that spills over into areas such as care costs. I think of it more as wealth succession and how to plan from one generation to the next. In many cases people think that something like inheritance tax doesn’t apply to them and then get a shock when they realise how much things like houses add up to. I am here to help make all of that easier to manage and understand.

Chris is our pensions specialist. You generally have your initial discovery meeting with me, but if pensions are the area you need help with, he’s your man! We are both qualified and focus on our individual areas of expertise, which works really well.

I have a fantastic office manager, Tina Blagdon, who was with HSBC for 26 years and how I ran my business for eight years without her I will never know. She keeps everything wonderful, including me!

Also, Sue Wilson, who has worked for me for years and years is my compliance specialist. When we write technical reports she makes sure they are as they should be. Moira Porter does my audio typing and helps to reconcile the accounts. We are looking to recruit another team member to help with our Client Care Service and deliver on the promises made.

Is there anything people are surprised about when they talk to you?

I think people are relieved when they realise they don’t have to know exactly what they need when they come to us, we will help them to discover that. I also think they are surprised by our approach; we see our job as not just helping you to plan successfully, but also to take away some of the worry that finances can bring.

We look after £65 million of clients’ money, ensuring it remains in line with their attitude to risk and capacity for loss. People worry about money: Do I have enough to live on? What if I have to go into care?

We aim to stop the cycle of worry and help you take control. We can look at where you are now and where you would like to be. If there’s an amount you want to save or a particular age at which you want to retire, we can show whether you’re on track to get there or if there’s a gap. We are also here to keep on top of changing financial rules and news. For example, the changes to the State Pension age for women has caused a lot of upset. It’s our job to know about changes so that you don’t have to worry.

The result is huge job satisfaction. When you see someone retire successfully after a period of time working together, it’s wonderful.

Who do you work for?

We’re here for all individuals and families - people in lots of different circumstances, so it’s very much a tailored and personal service. It’s about getting to know people and what’s important to them and protecting that.

What are your plans for the coming months?

As the business will be 15 years old, we’re going to have many celebrations. Naturally
we have to be prudent, but I love to show my appreciation for my team and enjoy the success that we have built together. I am hoping to take my family on a cruise to Asia next year, as it’s also my 60th birthday!

I am also looking forward to a few industry events. For the last three years I have qualified for the Top of the Table (the top 5% of members) of the Million Dollar Round Table. They hold an annual conference where leading financial services professionals meet to discuss industry ethics, standards and professionalism. Last year it was in Hawaii and this year it’s in Texas.

Moving forward is about continuing to develop the company. I love my work and don’t want to retire - I still have a 10 year business plan I wish to action! So that’s the plan - doing more, helping more people and continuing to have a lovely time while we do it!



The Plymouth Financial Adviser helping individuals to make their money work for them

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