Profile: Working with business owners and taking on trainee advisers
Mark Evans, founder of Shropshire-based Beaumont Financial talks to Adviser Business Review about looking after business owners, why he only employs salaried advisers and the importance of firms taking on trainees
Adviser Business Review: What led you to set up Beaumont Financial?
Mark Evans: I come from a banking background and I wanted to do something completely different. In all honesty, I wanted to do the job properly and ensure that clients were well serviced and looked after through the years, with regular reviews and the comfort they can call on us if they have any questions.
I had previously tried to become self-employed and it went disastrously but thankfully this time around it fared much better! If I have to sum it up, I would say I’m a round peg in a round hole so I’ve been very lucky.
ABR: You list your mission and values on the website, how important is having a firm set of company values?
ME: What we were trying to do is create a financial advice service that people would trust and they could be confident in knowing what they were getting. Every client receives the same level of service and it’s vital that we build long-lasting, trusting and respectful relationships with our clients. Integrity is so important to us and it is the foundation on which we build everything that we do. We employ salaried staff, so there isn’t a ‘commission-hungry’ approach and clients can be sure the advice they receive is in their best interest, not simply to boost product sales or income.
ABR: Who is your typical client?
ME: Our average client is somewhere in their 50s and owns their own business. I would say around 85% of our clients are business owners. I focused on that segment of the market because it’s interesting to me; I’m a business owner so I understand their concerns and needs. I think as an adviser it helps if you’re in a similar position to your clients. I started the business with about four clients and I now have 400 so I’m glad I followed that approach. We’ve done bits and pieces of marketing over the years but none of it was that great; the biggest driver of new business for us has been word of mouth and referrals from existing clients.
ABR: What are the opportunities and challenges for advising business owners?
ME: I think there are huge opportunities for everyone at the moment and for those advisers doing it properly there’s a huge amount to be done. It’s never been a more interesting time to be a financial adviser. I find the investment side of matters the most exciting as it’s far superior to what was available 10 years ago. As an industry, on the whole it’s difficult to see many challenges. I think RDR has worked brilliantly and helped the profession a great deal. Likewise, the changes in legislation to provide greater freedom and choice for investors has also presented fantastic opportunities.
ABR: You currently have two trainee advisers, will you take on more advisers in the near future?
ME: Yes, our two trainee advisers will be fully qualified within the next couple of months so certainly in the next year we will look to take on further trainees. I think training staff is very important, we offer training to our administrators too and providing staff with that opportunity helps both them and the business grow.
As an industry, there’s a tendency to shy away from training programmes and apprenticeships as it’s seen as a big and sometimes risky investment, but I firmly believe that if you treat your staff right they shouldn’t have any desire to leave. From a business longevity perspective, it’s important to bring younger advisers into the fold as you need someone to carry on your clients after you leave. I like having a mix of ages in the office as it brings a different perspective and livens things up a little!
Founded: July 2000
Staff: 7 staff – 1 adviser, two trainee advisers, paraplanner, office manager, admin assistant, accounts manager
AUM: £65 million
Visit the Beaumont Financial website