Firing Line: Elizabeth Foran
Elizabeth Foran, the managing director of Berkshire-based Five Star Financial Consultants, talks
Mrs Foran, a mother of two, originally hails from Killarney in the Republic of Ireland. On leaving school she moved to London where she began her financial services career with Midland Bank. She runs Five Star Financial Consultants from an office in Burghfield Common near Reading.
Elizabeth Foran, a mother of two, originally hails from Killarney in the Republic of Ireland. On leaving school she moved to London where she began her financial services career with Midland Bank. She runs Five Star Financial Consultants from an office in Burghfield Common near Reading.
Her first experience of working in the industry came in a time “before computers”, where she worked in the back office of the Midland Bank branch processing payments. She later progressed to a customer-facing role specialising in small business accounts, a job she continued when she moved to the Co-operative Bank in the early 1980s.
When her husband - an engineer, secured a new job in the Saudi Arabian oil and gas industry, Ms Foran and their children also travelled, heralding a 10-year stint which saw the family spend two separate spells living in the Middle East and two spells living in South Africa.
While living in Johannesburg, Ms Foran continued her financial career with a job at the Natal Building Society, where she worked as a mortgage department manager, and by the time the family had returned to the UK in 1992 the banking landscape had changed considerably.
She added: “Like many people I fell into becoming a financial adviser by accident. I didn’t like what the banking sector had become while I had been away from the UK, it was more and more sales orientated and not like how it used to be when you could go into your local branch and speak to a bank manager.
“So I decided to look at other jobs. This was at the height of the provider salesforces, there were lots of jobs for the likes of Allied Dunbar advertised, and I managed to secure a role as a tied adviser with Black Horse Financial Services.
“It was based in a Lloyds branch so I was very familiar with that type of environment. But after two years there I decided to start my own business as an IFA and founded EMF Financial Services.
“I began based within an estate agents but after two years moved out and opened my own office by 1996. My main speciality was initially mortgage advice but this then evolved to include pensions and investments.”
After more than a decade as a sole trader, Ms Foran made the firm a limited company in 2009 and rebranded as Five Star Financial Consultants.
She added: “Having lived overseas for such a long time I had quite a lot of contacts who needed expatriate financial advice and this proved to be an important part of the business for many years.
“This was a small market back in the 1990s but now we have specialist IFA firms that deal with these types of clients. The rules have also changed, so I’ve moved away from this type of advice. Mortgages have also slowed down.