There is a declining number of IFAs in North Wales so it’s important that people can access advice easily
Kevin White talks to Glyn Berwyn Jones, owner of North Wales-based Vale Financial Services, about a career spanning 40 years and a business model based on bilingual financial advice.
Glyn Berwyn Jones, who is known to his customers as Glyn Vale, started his career in financial services in 1968. Since then he has seen regulators come and go and huge changes to the industry, but one constant for him has been the need to give financial advice in both the English and Welsh languages.
His business, in one incarnation or another, has been based in the busy market town of Denbigh since 1978, and he advises a wide range of customers, from farmers to individuals and business owners.
Mr Jones began his career with the long-defunct Merseyside-based Martins Bank, which was bought out by Barclays Bank in 1969. He said: “I started out handling cheques in the Llandudno branch before moving on to the counter for general banking duties.
“I’d also be moved around the bank’s branches, from Mold in northeast Wales to Penygroes, near Caernarfon in the Welsh-speaking heartland of Gwynedd. As a Welsh speaker, the ability to speak to clients in the language they are most comfortable with can be very useful.
“After 10 years at Barclays I set up Vale Insurance Brokers with my former partner, offering insurance products and financial services advice. During that time we faced a lot of changes in regulation, from the voluntary Insurance Brokers Registration Council to the General Insurance Standards Council, and we also saw the rise of the direct sales forces at companies such as Allied Dunbar.”
Mr Jones’s company also handled client cash for investments and experienced an upsurge in business during the mid-1980s when many state-owned enterprises were privatised.
He said: “I’ve seen many different financial climates. In the mid-1980s everyone seemed to be buying shares from the big privatisations. In 1994 my partner decided to leave the firm, I continued on my own and eventually sold my insurance broking business to Swinton in 2002. I set up my current company, Vale Financial Services, the same year.
“Ever since then I’ve been a whole of market financial adviser. Some of my clients have been with me for more than 30 years, and it’s important in this kind of rural community to try and accommodate everyone. I’m not a specialist in any particular field. I want to be able to give advice to anyone in any walk of life and regardless of their investment pot. Some people in North Wales do have a lot of money and need advice on all manner of investments, but the majority just need clear and understandable financial advice.
“Clients can come to see me in my office and I try and help them as much as possible. There is a declining number of IFAs in North Wales so it’s important that people can access advice easily.”
Mr Jones intends to continue trading after the retail distribution review and is waiting for his final exam results. On RDR, he said: “It’s a huge change for the industry. I understand the FSA felt something needed to be done, but I believe that something much simpler would have been to put a cap on commission.