A midsummer’s dawn swim


One is a Standard Life Wealth case for two clients who I have known for nearly 20 years. I have finally managed to persuade them after all this time that their pension funds deserve something a little more sophisticated than I can offer, especially as the values are now significant by any measure.

The other case involves lots of technical issues for a client with five different pension pots that need consolidating to create an income for him. It involves a section 32, and four ‘normal pots’ with three different providers. It is fiendishly complicated, but luckily our Axa consultant is a thoroughly clever chap so we begin to nail down the issues.

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Into the office for 7.30am to get ready for a day of meetings with my co-director and our Axa Wealth professional wealth business consultant. Thameside has taken the decision to run with two wrap providers, Standard Life and Axa. We felt most confident they would offer us the support we needed, based on the excellent relationships we have had for many years (and lots of due diligence and ‘beauty parades’).

We have recognised for a long time now that we need to up our game in order to thrive. The retail distribution review aside, we have been investing in our back-office systems and the final phase is our wrap proposition. Wraps are central to our plans, and we feel ready to start the move over to that way of thinking. The timing is good for us as we have undertaken extensive work on our investment proposition as well, so RDR cannot come soon enough, although it has been a painful process.


The alarm goes off at 5.15am for my midweek blast at the pool – it invigorates me generally, keeps me sane and I can enjoy food with a clear conscience. I am also training for the Henley Classic – a midsummer dawn swim up the regatta course, which is my main competitive focus this year. It is the first year that I qualify as an age-grouper (veteran), so actually I have a realistic chance of winning something. A morning in the office is followed by a long session after lunch with the client and his five pots. I need to get away on time today as I have an evening meeting with colleagues from another business interest of mine. That takes longer than I had hoped and my 5.15am start begins to tell. I get crabby but manage to hide it from my colleagues (I hope).


A lie in for me today as it is my turn to do the nursery run with my little girl before a dash to North Wales to see one of my best clients. If I am honest, I really enjoy this annual road trip. He is demanding but a splendid character and I thoroughly enjoy my day ‘alone’. This is why I still do this job. We have been looking after him for 20 years and as a result he enjoys a decent and flexible income that works for him and his complicated tax affairs. The scenery is stunning and the sky is blue – it is all good.