Sedulo Wealth: ‘We’ve all the ingredients to make the best success story’
In 2013, Manchester-based Sedulo Group launched Sedulo Wealth Management to complete its offering as a holistic business adviser. Director Paul Lindfield talks to Adviser Business Review about growing the business from scratch, the challenges they face as a young company, how they are embracing new ways of working and what the future holds
Adviser Business Review: What were the aims when you set up Sedulo Wealth Management?
Paul Lindfield: Sedulo Group had grown into an established accountancy firm and it made sense for the company to branch out into the wealth management sector. We think of Sedulo Wealth Management as the final piece of the jigsaw in offering holistic business advice.
When we set up in 2013, our initial aim was simply to get the business off the ground and become profitable, which we were fortunate enough to achieve in the first year. We advise both existing clients of Sedulo Group who require a financial plan, as well as new clients.
When I set up the business, I was very clear that I didn’t want complex solutions to justify our fees. We try to keep it really simple and focus on core financial planning – ensuring our clients have the right tax wrapper, etc. Too many advisers feel the need to tinker and deliver ‘outstanding performance’, but there are too many hidden grenades in the more risky, esoteric investments.
We currently have around 170 clients, of which 100 are active, and the average wealth is between £250,000 – 500,000.
ABR: How would you describe your client base? Do you have a minimum asset level for clients?
PL: At the start we said we would never turn anyone away, but we’ve recently set a bottom limit of £50,000 simply because the cost of advice would mitigate any gains the client would make if the pot were below that level.
We have a lot of clients who have wealth of between £250,000 and £500,000, which is a decent investable pot, and we also have clients who have in excess of £1 million. However, we try not to categorise our ‘ideal client’ by wealth but rather by occupation. Ideally, we would like to work with business owners/decision makers. Their business is their wealth vehicle and they want to do all they can to ensure it stays afloat and is passed on to their families, which opens up opportunities for us.
ABR: How do you attract new clients?
PL: We get a number of referrals from professional connections – we have specialists we work with, such as mortgage brokers and private medical insurers. This ensures our clients receive expert advice across all areas. Vouchedfor has been really helpful too – if you get a good review it can be great for bringing in new clients.
We’ve also noticed an increase in the number of enquiries we have received off the back of the new pension freedoms; there’s much more focus on pensions and people understanding the need to seek advice.
ABR: What marketing do you undertake?
PL: We decided last year to look into raising the profile of the business. Building reputation and being approachable is so important in the advice market and from the outset, we have always said we would look to market the business.
We have a PR firm we use but, to be honest, I have done a lot of the work myself. We registered on Unbiased, and also put ourselves on Vouchedfor as it’s important to have an online profile.
We have also invested time and effort into our website to create something a bit different in the market. There are various segments to the company and we wanted our website to reflect everything we do. We incorporated a live chat section on the website, which is run by our marketing guy, and has proved really effective in conversing with prospective clients.
ABR: What challenges have you faced in being a young business?
PL: There are definite growing pains as a young business. You have to appreciate you can’t cover everything. I’ve always said we have all the ingredients to make the best success story, but it’s all about how you put those together. I won’t lie, it’s been a bumpy road at times and you have to be prepared to put the hours and work in, but it’s worth it in the end.
Compliance is also an issue that new businesses have to bear in mind. We outsource to threesixtyservices, which allows us to be totally independent but backs us up with great research and help.
ABR: What is your growth strategy going forwards?
PL: We are looking to ramp up the business, which means hiring. It’s a difficult market at the moment so if you find the right person, I really believe you have to go for them. Providing they have the right ethos and character, the rest you can teach them.
That said, I’m not aiming for us to be the company with the highest number of RIs. I’d rather Sedulo be known as the trusted adviser, the ‘go to’ firm that people feel really comfortable approaching for advice on their financial planning.