Tag Archives: financial planning

‘Big Sister’ mentoring role for Clarion Wealth Planning’s Ella Davies

A chartered financial planner at Clarion Wealth Planning has begun a mentoring role as a ‘Big Sister’ to a teenage girl in a programme run by the award-winning social enterprise Girls Out Loud.

After undergoing training earlier in the summer, Ella Davies has teamed up with a Year Eight pupil for the year-long programme to help boost the youngster’s self-confidence and aspirations in a series of one-to-one sessions.

The programme was launched at the Co-op Academy Manchester, where Ella was introduced to her ‘Little Sister’.

Ella said: “I’m proud, excited and thrilled to be involved in the programme and to act as a role model to my ‘Little Sister’. It’s a privilege, and I am looking forward very much to spending time with her.

“She wants to be part of the programme to have someone to talk to, to be there just for her and someone to trust.

“It’s a big responsibility, but it is a great way of giving back and hopefully making a positive difference.

“She is super active and very bright but feels frustrated in school. She hopes to be a forensic scientist, so we spoke about how she can harness her energy and learn to enjoy her lessons, which will help her to meet her career aspirations.”

Ella added: “At Clarion we are committed to changing lives for the better through supporting our local communities and good causes in a variety of different ways, and this is another illustration of that commitment.”

Girls Out Loud, founded by Jane Kenyon, is dedicated to helping teenage girls to achieve their goals by boosting their confidence, emotional resilience, self-assurance and self-esteem.

The Big Sister programme sees role models from diverse backgrounds mentoring girls to embed a more empowering mindset in them.

Jane said: “Our teen girls are navigating a challenging landscape today and having someone to listen and talk to and can help them with a myriad of decisions and options they face on a daily basis.

“Our Big Sisters are smart female role models committed to being that guide. They create a very special relationship with no judgement or agenda, and become a young girl’s champion, encouraging and guiding her to find her voice, her self-belief, her gumption and her aspiration.

“Interestingly, after over a decade of leading this programme, I also see many of our Big Sisters go on the same journey of discovery, as the process of mentoring a teen girl is a self-reflective one and creates learning and development opportunities for both mentor and mentee.”

Clarion, which is based in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, provides lifelong financial planning to business owners and families across the north west and beyond.

Young golfers receive boost from Clarion Wealth Planning

A financial planning firm is investing in Cheshire’s top young golfers with a three-year sponsorship of a professional junior coaching programme.

Clarion Wealth Planning is supporting the Cheshire Union of Golf Clubs as it looks to develop the county’s next generation of golfing aces.

Cheshire is the fourth largest golfing county in England and nearly 100 clubs are affiliated to the Union.

Clarion’s sponsorship means that the most promising 11-13-year-olds drawn from affiliated clubs will be offered regular coaching lessons with a professional. The programme starts this month and will be run by Mark Johnson, PGA professional at Styal Golf Club.

Sessions will take place at Styal, Marton Meadows, Mottram Hall and Formby Hall and will provide practical coaching in putting, pitching and wedge shots, trajectory and distance control, as well as areas including match preparation and the importance of nutrition and hydration.

Putting coaching will be provided by a representative from Phil Kenyon Putting Academy. Phil is renowned as a top putting coach and his team has worked with some of the world’s best golfers, including Rory McIlroy.

David Horsey, the north west golfer who plays on the European Tour, will also attend a number of coaching sessions during the programme cycle.

David Durling, chairman of CUGC, said: “Thanks to the sponsorship provided by Clarion, there are many young golfers who will have the opportunity to go through this programme.

“Previously, we have focused on the 14-18s age bracket, but we recognise by that time they need to be better if we are to compete against other counties and produce future world-class stars.

“By offering this opportunity to 11-13-year-olds, they will be on the right track working with some top coaches from an earlier age.

“Few young players make it to Tour, but learning to play golf well gives lifelong value. It teaches self-discipline, concentration, connections, social skills, and a love of fresh air.

“It is a great leveller; I can enjoy a great game with a decent county player – even at my age – with the handicap system.”

Clarion chairman Keith Thompson said: “Investing as early as possible in young players will give them the springboard to the best possible future. Clarion is committed to the concept of supporting young people early on in life so they can reap the rewards of their hard work as they progress.”

Clarion, which is based in Alderley Edge, provides lifelong financial planning to business owners and families across the north west and beyond.

Clarion Wealth Planning scoops national award

Clarion Wealth Planning is celebrating after its paraplanning team won a national accolade.

Cheshire-based Clarion scooped the Paraplanner Team of the Year honour at the Professional Paraplanner Awards 2022, which were held in London.

It was the first time the awards have been held in person since the start of the pandemic. They were judged by experts from across the industry.

Alistair Cartwright, head of advice delivery at Clarion, who leads the paraplanning team, said: “I am so happy and proud of the team for winning this award. I’m delighted that the hard work and care we put in on behalf of our clients has been recognised in the industry.”

Adam Wareing, operations director at Clarion, said: “It’s a fantastic achievement to be named team of the year. We have a brilliant team and this honour is external recognition of the high standards we hold.

“The way in which we operate means our paraplanners couldn’t have achieved this success without the assistance of our entire team contributing and working in harmony, so in this way it reflects the tremendous efforts of everyone at Clarion.”

Paraplanners at Alderley Edge-based Clarion work closely with the firm’s team of financial planners to help build bespoke financial strategies for clients.

Alistair said the firm’s highly-qualified and trusted paraplanners are the vanguard of Clarion’s advice process and use their technical skills to help clients achieve their objectives via lifelong cash flow planning.

“Alongside our financial planners, they build relationships with clients to find out what they really want and help them to achieve their goals,” he said.

“The pandemic has seen a sea change in terms of bringing new financial objectives to the fore, such as selling a business or helping children and grandchildren, and we have been able to help clients adapt their plans to accommodate their desires in a caring and professional way.

“Our team has grown in recent months with new staff and this award demonstrates that Clarion is a great place to be a paraplanner.”

Professional Paraplanner editor Rob Kingsbury said: “The Clarion team impressed the judges with the solidarity of the team, including their shared responsibility and accountability for the service they deliver. It was clear also that the team does not stand still but is always looking at how it can improve on the service it provides.

“What most impressed the judges was the team’s focus on ensuring the end client, the customer of the firm, receives the very best service and outcomes from the advice they are given.”

Clarion Group achieves record year

An influx of new clients as business owners reassess their financial goals as a result of the pandemic has helped wealth planning and investment management firm Clarion Group achieve a record annual performance.

Group turnover in the year to April 30 rose from £3.4m to £3.7m.

Clarion, founded in 1985 by Ron Walker, added five staff during the year in line with its expansion.

The recruits, including chartered financial planner Ella Davies and compliance director Robin Townsend, took staff numbers to 20. Further recruitment is under way to cater for rising demand for Clarion’s services.

Clarion is based in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, and provides lifelong financial planning to business owners and families across the north west and beyond.

The group comprises Clarion Wealth Planning and Clarion Investment Management, which provides discretionary investment management services to clients.

Ron said Clarion had welcomed a record number of new clients during the year to April.

He said: “This growth has been partly driven by referrals from existing clients, which is testament to the excellent service our team provides. We have also worked in collaboration with other professionals such as accountants and solicitors to add further value to clients and achieve the best possible outcomes.

“In addition, the pandemic has undoubtedly led people to reassess their financial position, resulting in more people requiring high-calibre advice in respect of their lifetime goals.

“We have seen more clients looking to exit their businesses, more looking to retire, and some just feeling they require a more in-depth financial planning service.”

Ron said Clarion’s business model ensures a robust process for clients. Each adviser has a dedicated paraplanner and administrator, giving them more time to focus on their clients’ bespoke requirements.

“We get to know our clients intimately, with many having been with us for decades,” he said.

“We aim to include the whole family in our lifelong financial planning process, focusing on the long term with cashflow forecasts running through to the client’s 100th birthday.

“This approach gives them clarity, confidence and certainty that they can enjoy life to the full now as well as long into the future, and that they will have sufficient wealth to ride out bumps in the road and achieve their objectives.”

He added: “We are extremely pleased with our strong group performance but also, and perhaps more importantly, to have achieved excellent outcomes for our clients despite the wider economic picture.

“We have ambitious and significant growth plans for the business and the latest financial year has seen us make good progress in this regard.”

Financial advice firm offers free pensions seminars for teachers

A TEAM of experts is offering their expertise for free to help keyworkers.

Independent financial advice firm Sterling and Law Hampshire is running seminars within schools and colleges across the south coast, offering advice and guidance to staff around pensions.

Pensions expert George Rashbrook is delivering the talks, which will help teaching staff and lecturers gain a better understanding of the Teacher’s Pension Scheme.

The seminars will be interactive and easy-to-understand, covering topics such as how benefits are built up, what their benefits in retirement might look like and how their families might also benefit from the scheme.  The aim is to remove jargon and explain the technicalities, helping the teachers to understand in real terms how to ensure a financially secure future.

On March 17 they are hosting a session within Fareham College that is open to any teacher at any school which has not signed up to have its own seminar delivered, to allow teachers from across the region to find out more about their pensions.

George decided to introduce the initiative to give something back to people working in the education sector, which has faced many challenges throughout the last two years, with often little recognition.

He said: ‘I’ve seen first-hand the pressure that education workers are under with my wife being in the profession, and they aren’t always as widely acknowledged as other key workers. Covid certainly added extra strains on top of this.’

He has found that during his 17 years’ experience, a large number of people working within the education sector aren’t as knowledgeable about their pension scheme as they would like to be.

‘I’ve worked with lots of teachers in the past, especially those who are approaching retirement, and have found that many don’t know where to turn for credible guidance about their pension benefits and their wider retirement plans. They tend to be aware that they are members of a truly excellent scheme but that brings with it a vast degree of complexity.

‘This is where we come in, as we want to ensure that their hard work is well and truly rewarded, whether they’re a teacher just starting out in their career and starting to save or someone with years of experience who is thinking about retirement.’

George and his team have delivered talks across the Hampshire area as well as further afield in Surrey and Dorset and are open to contact from other schools who may be interested in taking advantage of this free resource either in person or virtually.

On March 17 they are hosting a session within Fareham College that is open to any teacher at any school which has not signed up to have its own seminar delivered.

Hayden Taylor, CEO of Unloc and education director at Shaping Portsmouth believes the initiative will benefit teachers.

He said: ‘Teachers are often under incredible pressure in the workplace, dealing with a significant workload, and a wealth of information from all angles that they need to absorb, process and share with their students. With so much going on, and playing catch-up with the curriculum post-COVID, it’s easy to push things such as pensions and future retirement to the side-lines and focus on the now. The Covid situation over the past two years has only exacerbated this and pushed retirement to the back of a lot of education professional’s minds.

‘This series of talks from Sterling & Law Hampshire will provide a really accessible and easy way for school and college staff to get their heads around their pension and cut through the jargon to get to the core issues of their future retirement. Working within schools and colleges ourselves we recognise just how beneficial and effective these kinds of sessions are, and I encourage anyone working in this field to come along and join in. It really will help.’

For more information email George.rashbrook@sterlingandlaw.com

Sovereign Housing Association choose Simpson Associates to implement their Financial Planning solution

Simpson Associates are delighted to announce that following a tender process they have been selected by Sovereign Housing Association (SHA), one of the UK’s leading and largest housing associations, to deliver a SaaS (cloud based) Financial Planning solution using the platform IBM Planning Analytics.

In order to ensure they remained a robust and resilient organisation, and in line with supporting their growth plans, SHA had a requirement to make sure their planning processes created meaningful, accurate and insightful data, and felt it necessary to invest in the right technology to support the process.

Current planning processes, although highly effective, could be very time consuming. The organisation was aware that a financial planning tool could transform their approach to planning by providing the means to compile financial plans based on key business drivers input by the business, allowing insight into the true shifting patterns of activity across SHA rather than a simple focus on spend. A planning tool would reduce the risk of human error and enhance their ability to better predict activity and its financial impacts on the business in the future.

“We are pleased to be working with Simpson Associates on this project. Their expertise and experience within financial planning solutions and in particular the IBM Planning Analytics technology shone through. We felt assured that this was not only the right technology to implement, but also the right partner to deliver it.”
Ian Pitts, Head of Financial Planning & Analysis, Sovereign Housing Association

“Having worked previously with Sovereign Housing Association on Microsoft technology related projects, we are delighted to have been chosen again to work with Sovereign. This time using our IBM Gold Partner expertise, we are excited to be able to help them implement the financial planning tool they’re requiring to help remain a resilient and robust organisation in their growth period.”
Nick Evans, Business Development Manager, Simpson Associates

Financial planner earns profession’s highest qualification

A Northamptonshire-based financial planner has now achieved the highest global certification available to financial planners in the UK.

Conor O’Sullivan, of O’Sullivan Financial Planning, has achieved the Certified Financial Planner TM certification from The Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI).

To be successful, individuals must meet rigorous competence, ethics and professional practice standards and have completed a challenging examination and case study.

According to Which, only 22 per cent of candidates pass the exam and only eight per cent are like Conor and pass the case study first time. The qualification is so challenging that fewer than 1,000 of the UK’s tens of thousands of financial advisers have qualified as Certified Financial Planner professionals.

Conor said: “It was the most detailed and challenging qualification I’ve ever completed, and I have a huge amount of respect for the small group of people in the UK who have achieved it.

“To be a Certified Financial Planner practitioner means I’m in the upper echelon of my profession in terms of my knowledge and experience.

“When people first become financial advisers, the qualifications are very heavily product focussed, ensuring you’re matching the right products with client needs.

“Lifestyle financial planning is very different. The product is almost irrelevant because you’re much more focused on the client and their ambitions and goals for the future. They may have half a dozen conflicting dreams and you need to use your expertise to work out how to use their resources to help them achieve their goals.

“The best analogy I can give is the difference between going to see a builder or an architect.  A builder will give you exactly what you ask for. An architect will take time to listen to you, understand what you’re trying to achieve and work with you to design an optimum solution prior to laying the first brick.”

Through the CISI’s only accredited training partner for the case study, Conor is also now training to run the Certified Financial Planner training courses to pass on his knowledge and experience to future candidates.

All this comes at a time when his business is growing dramatically.

Conor explained: “Much of the work I do now is with business owners. A lot of their wealth tends to be tied up in their organisations and I help them to ensure that their business generates wealth for them and their families, and they become independently wealthy. As a result, my services are in high demand.

“Our business has grown a lot during the past year and we’re busier now than we have ever been, so we’ll be looking to grow our team further during 2022.”

For further information about O’Sullivan Financial Planning visit www.osullivanfp.co.uk

Saltford  financial  adviser  achieves chartered status 

The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) has awarded the prestigious ‘Chartered Financial Planner’ title to Graham Sneddon of Sneddon Financial Planning Partnership, who simultaneously became fellow of the Personal Finance Society.

Chartered Status is the profession’s gold standard for financial planners and is only awarded to individuals that meet rigorous criteria relating to professionalism and capability. All Chartered Financial Planners commit to the CII’s Code of Ethics, reinforcing the highest standards of professional practice in their business dealings.

To date, just over 5,000 individuals have achieved Chartered status, showing that this is a highly exclusive award reserved for the leading individuals within the financial advice market.

Graham Sneddon offers clients a face to face Wealth Management service, dealing with all aspects of their financial planning.

Graham Sneddon, says: “I am extremely grateful to have received such prestigious external recognition of my professionalism. I have always been committed to providing high-quality service and receiving chartered status is a big personal milestone.”

Aegon personalised pension video summaries scoop award for innovation

Aegon’s unique video summaries were recently recognised in this year’s Financial Services Forum Product and Service Innovation Awards, securing the company the top spot in the Marketing and Communication category.

The animated video pension summaries have transformed the average pension communication for members of Aegon’s workplace pensions, featuring real time pension information such as fund values and contributions levels in a 3 minute video summary which provide members with a timely picture of their retirement savings position.

An example video can be found here: http://www.aegon.co.uk/content/dam/ukpaw/hidden/Workplace/video-summary-30-45.mp4

Members can access the videos online at any time – but videos are also delivered by email ahead of the paper statement that is linked to a member’s renewal date. Developed using a matrix of data and gamification techniques, the videos also feature the latest behavioural science insights to shape the design, language, sounds and features, ensuring members are fully engaged.

Videos contain 10 sections that are completely personal to the member and references lifestyle targets rather than setting retirement goals. These include age, value and investment status, with more than 3 million unique script and scene variations.

Digital pension summaries are just one of many ways in which Aegon is adapting its proposition and communication to meet and exceed customer expectations.

This most recent award follows recognition in a report by NextWealth that showed Aegon as one of the leading providers in the adoption of digital processes and the use of esignatures.

The analysis by NextWealth looked at 85 processes across 20 platforms to benchmark adoption of digital processes and the use of esignatures.

Mark Till, Managing Director, Digital Solutions at Aegon, comments:

“Digital communications are creating opportunities to engage people in ways few would have thought possible just a few years ago. Through clever use of customer data, we have been able to personalise communications in a way that really cuts through and which spells out how people can make the most of their finances.

“Video summaries are a great example of the type of innovation we are deploying across our business seeking to work in partnership with employers and advisers to transform the customer experience. We are at the beginning of this journey and have a number of exciting developments planned which we believe will transform the financial wellbeing of the UK.