Malcolm Coury hates it when advisers are referred to as distributors. He finds it demeaning and incomplete.
His comments are well-timed considering that just last week, while dubbing the Retail Distribution Review a “disaster”, think-tank fellow Michael Johnson argued that advisers are really only that, dubbing them “first and foremost distributors and not advisers”.
If you are looking for a firm that breaks that mould, Mr Coury’s Bath-based Money Wise IFA is a pretty good example.
If what he says is true, Mr Coury’s Money Wise IFAs are about as far from the product-hucking commission-hungry animals the RDR sought to wipe out as you can get.
On top of selling products - which is pretty hard to get away from as an adviser - Money Wise also works with solicitor firms and accountants to make sure their clients get everything they need financially and legally.
“We aren’t a product distribution business, we are a professional financial advice business.
“I hate the term distributor because the product manufacturers refer to our sector as distribution and it’s a term I absolutely loathe. We aren’t a distributor of your products and services, we provide financial advice.”
Mr Coury founded Money Wise in 1997 in Bath, where it is still based.
He started small: at first it was just him and his wife. A year later a couple of ex-colleagues joined the firm.
The company has expanded since then and now has offices in London, Bournemouth and Cambridge, with 14 total advisers and boasting revenues of more than £3m a year.
Although the Bath business still accounts for around half of the company’s total revenues, Mr Coury is hoping to expand the London and Bournemouth over the next 18 months or so. This includes taking on a few more “top quality advisers”.
“We aren’t likely to acquire businesses. We are looking for top talent; people who are producing north of £200,000 a year in fee income and typically chartered. Maybe their existing firm isn’t as RDR ready as we are...”
Considering Mr Coury was one of the founding members and former board member of the Ascentric wrap platform it comes as no surprise most of his firm’s assets are held there, with only just over 10 per cent being held on other platforms.
Expansion into the cities is not the only avenue of growth for Money Wise IFA, which has recently launched two specialist propositions and is in the process of launching another.
The two existing offerings are for workplace pensions and personal injury, and the new joint venture being launched in partnership with Stone King Solicitors does what it says on the tin: Care Planning Services.