The saying ‘all good things must come to an end’ is very true. In 2001 I joined a small financial planning and administration firm and 19 years later I have moved on to setup with three friends in financial services. For 19 years I enjoyed helping my employer grow. Initially bringing my administration skills (I was one of a few who could work Excel in 2001), organically building a client book of over 250, training the newly qualified advisors, to being the ‘go to’ advisor for colleague questions.
From joining as employee number 40 (I think) their head count is now in excess of 600 and growing strong. A successful run I was very proud to be part of and until recently, I never really wanted it to end.
So why did I leave? A mix of things really. I had achieved my goals. The company had to change over those 19 years with the pace of change greater in the last few and I increasingly felt a change in culture.
Offhand I always make the comment that the only problems we have in life are the ones we create ourselves. I never worried about the client phone call 8am Monday morning or 6pm Friday evening when I knew something had gone wrong in their planning. I knew my role and that of my colleagues inside out so it was always something I could repair quickly. In truth I had a fantastic team and the speed bump was nearly always a piece of technical knowledge the team had yet to learn.
What I could not live with was the lack of recognition for a job well done. To have to tell my own colleagues that that new thing they love about the company that new service, that new way of working was my project, sucked.
What followed next was a conquering of fears. I had the fear of leaving my role that I had pride in. In leaving the company I had loved for so long. Fear that I would be unhappier in leaving. But fear is an illusion. It is never really there. We spend more time in life worrying about things that never happen.
In breaking away and creating a financial planning and investment management firm with three friends, I have rediscovered my passion. Working with your friends is good but creating something from the ground up is a fantastic feeling. Whilst initially daunting, it is now delightful. I wake earlier in the mornings than I ever did. My mood is lifted even during the most mundane tasks. Solving a problem for the company is now met with happy emojis from all.
Interestingly, I have made more contacts in rival firms in the past 6 months than I have made in 19 years. The financial advisor community is vibrant and happy with each other. We are not rivals to be feared. We are here to help each other along the way. The willingness to talk about how we each deliver our services has allowed us to shape our firms to deliver financial planning and investment management on our own terms.
I am genuinely excited to begin. To anyone reading who has a passion for financial services and would like to talk, please do. To discover the joy of telling a competitor exactly how you deliver your services to clients is almost as good as delivering that service itself.
Our ambition is to create financial freedom for our clients and ourselves.
Thanks for reading and