Business insight: Chamberlain, Stean & West
Mike Williams, partner at Chamberlain, Stean & West, talks to Adviser Business Review about the firm’s client acquisition target, the benefits of having a long term care qualification and why the FSCS levy needs a drastic re-think
Adviser Business Review: What kind of client does Chamberlain, Stean & West target?
Mike Williams: We help a wide spectrum of clients who require advice at different life stages, from wealth management and investments, retirement and later life planning through to estate and IHT planning, Most of our clients are 45 plus and have investable assets from £150,000 upwards. No two clients are the same and we’re very much about providing a personal service.
ABR: How have you grown your client base?
MW: We have developed long term relationships with both clients and professional partners, which is how the majority of new clients are introduced to us. Our partnerships with local firms of solicitors and accountants are essential to the growth of our business, and we pride ourselves in providing clients with a comprehensive, collaborative service, which is mutually beneficial for all concerned.
We have also engaged a marketing consultant to help us establish a marketing strategy and plan to raise awareness and drive client acquisition and retention.
ABR: You run seminars, how important are they to your business?
MW: Seminars help us stay in touch with our professional partners, providing them with opportunities to network and enabling them to keep up to date on things that affect them and their clients.
ABR: What is your business plan over the next five years?
MW: The next five years is primarily about client acquisition, building long-term relationships with clients and professionals. We want to take the business from strength to strength by ensuring that we stay true to keeping clients at the centre of what we do. We’re not about flogging products or jumping on the latest fad, we are in it for the long term.
We employ a paraplanner and an office administrator. It’s a big responsibility employing people and we will only take on more support staff when we are comfortable that the business can sustain this. I find this job extremely rewarding knowing that you can make a real difference to people’s lives. It is also the first job I’ve had where having grey hair, wrinkles and a twinkle in your eye are an asset rather than a liability!
ABR: What made you decide to apply for a long term care qualification?
MW: This is an area that is likely to affect more and more people as life expectancies continue to rise, so providing this as part of our service is key to providing clients with the specialist support they and their families need.
ABR: What is the biggest challenge facing firms like Chamberlain, Stean & West?
MW: I think going forward the biggest challenge facing us as an industry is the burden of increasing regulations and levies. I read about one firm who has seen their premiums shoot up by 400% in just 12 months for just doing the same business they did the previous year. How on earth can that be justified? It’s unfair that the good guys are forced to pay for the rogues, but ours is still a cottage industry and without a collective voice it will be almost impossible to change the way things are.
Visit the Chamberlain, Stean & West website