West Country Financial consists of a large team of independent Financial Advisors, including a specialist corporate section. Their combined wealth of knowledge means that they are one of the largest financial organisations in the South West.
Principal – Mike James, has worked in the financial industry for over 40 years. Mike initially made the leap of faith to start his own business, because he wanted to build a team of advisors and essentially offer a ‘one stop shop’ for financial advice.
“When I was younger I worked in men’s outfitting. I made the move to the financial industry to better my career. I loved dealing with people, and I liked the idea of trying to advise something that you couldn’t physically touch – an intangible so to speak”.
The challenge of advising on something that could potentially make people’s lives better such as a pension plan or an investment opportunity appealed to Mike, so at the age of 22 he started his journey that would eventually lead to him working for two major insurance companies, as a Senior Consultant across the South West.
Wanting to create a more client focused business, Mike left the company he was working for at the time and West Country Financial was established in December 1998.
“The hardest part was the fact I had no track record on running my own business, so proving to people that you are someone to rely on was a challenge, but I had my previous experience to back me up”.
West Country Financial quickly grew from strength to strength, adding half a dozen new staff members in its first year of operation. Fast forward to today, the business now consists of over 15 staff members who can confidently and professionally deliver valuable advice on a vast range of subjects.
Offering advice to both existing and potential clients, West Country Financial have qualified advisors that deal with pensions, investment, equity release, mortgages, tax planning and healthcare to name a few.
John Stanbrook, Westcountry Financials’ longest standing Independent Financial Advisor – explains that the majority of their services are tailored to most demographic groups, and their target market is best described as ‘from the cradle to the grave’.
Our services are not just for the wealthy. You can take out a pension from 1 year old and many grandparents like to set this up as a gift for their families, for example. The majority of our clients come from word of mouth or referrals from professional connections.
Elaborating on the importance of pensions in today’s society- John and fellow IFA Vicki Swann, who is one of the most qualified lady advisers in the area, tell us that most people have a need for financial advice, they just don’t realise it.
“People need financial protection. Once you’ve explained to somebody how vulnerable they are regarding life cover or critical illness cover for example- there is going to be a shortfall should something go wrong. This then becomes a need, and people don’t identify that until they come and speak to us” explains Vicki.
Vicki Swann specialises in Financial Tax Planning and Final Salary Transfers- a specialist pension service. Vicki is a Chartered Financial Planner and a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society- which gives her clients the reassurance they are being advised by someone who has a proven commitment to the ethical standards set by the industry.
“The government has stepped up to what is fast becoming a crisis for the country in terms of funding retirement” Says Vicki. “The Auto Enrolment Schemes which are effectively forcing people to pay into a retirement fund can only be a good thing, but what happens when you are self employed, or in a situation where you can’t be auto enrolled?”
Vicki and John explain that the team at West Country Financial have access to a range of personal pension products, tailored to suit your individual needs.
Using a holistic approach to your finances, West Country Financial are able to see the bigger picture when it comes to future planning; offering an overview of the different options you have and the best way to enjoy your retirement with peace of mind.
We can help the client plan how much they need to sensibly save to arrive at the amount of income needed to retire. West Country financial can help you plan for the future, to not only hope to live comfortably at retirement- but to be confident knowing it will happen.
There are two types of advisors in the industry – Restricted and Independent. The team at West Country Financial and of course, any other independent advisory service are completely unbiased and impartial in the advice they give you.
West Country Financial offer a free no obligation initial consultation to anyone who feels they need the team’s professional advice. They are happy to visit you at your own home or office space, or alternatively you can visit them at their office in Tavistock. The office access is disability friendly and all the staff have been trained to be “Dementia Aware”.
The Financial Industry isn’t without its challenges – as Mike and the team explain. “Perhaps the most challenging aspect is keeping up with ongoing changes with Compliance and new products. “At West Country Financial we overcome this by working closely with the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority)”. Mike and the Team also have their own in house Compliance Manager, to ensure they are up to date at all times.
Looking to the future, Mike explains that he is definitely looking to expand the team, with the focus being on the younger generation. “The average age of an advisor is currently 57 years old. There is a real issue in the industry when it comes to employing young people, so the focus going forward would be to ‘grow our own”.
“The main attributes we look for in a potential employee is to be trustworthy and have quality knowledge. Perseverance in a sometimes challenging training process shows character and that would be the kind of person that would fit in well here” explains Mike.
If you would like to book a free no obligation initial consultation with an Advisor at West Country Financial, or would be interested in working with the team – get in touch today on the contact details below.