CompaniesMar 14 2014

‘Don’t call us distributors, we’re so much more’

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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.

“It’s very broad-based, it isn’t just about legal and financial services. It’s almost like a on stop shop for needing help to plan for later life care, it’s very much service orientated.

“We work a lot with solicitors in the sense that we like to work with other professional advisers to take a more joined-up approach. We do a lot of work with solicitors and they refer work to us.

Keep it local

The firm has just taken on a new paraplanner in Bath, which helps emphasise Mr Coury’s belief that the best service comes from local support teams.

He says he is looking to take on two or three highly qualified advisers in each of the London and Cambridge offices over the next 18 months and build a support team around them.

“We believe in providing local paraplanning support. A lot of companies set up centralised paraplanning and we don’t think that works. An adviser needs local support. It’s more expensive but it’s about delivering quality of service.

“An over-riding theme in our business is to review everything we do and see how we can do it better.

“I know [centralised paraplanning] doesn’t work. It’s the most common complaint you get when I meet other advisers. They aren’t getting the local paraplanning support and admin they need, they have to go to a centralised [team] and it takes weeks to go through and that inhibits their ability to provide a prompt service.”

Once bitten...

The importance Mr Coury places on doing things right and constantly improving is not without cause.

Following a visit from former regulator the Financial Services Authority in 2009, Money Wise was fined just under £20,000 for not having robust enough training arrangements for advisers and for not ensuring suitability reports were clear and not misleading.

As reported in FTAdviser at the time, it found Moneywise recommended platform-based investment to 519 customers but failed to ensure its advisers explained their rationale clearly to investors.

At the time the regulator admitted no clients had been harmed.

But Mr Coury has taken it on the chin and moved on.

“It was a long time ago and following a period of growth in the firm, and as the FSA said themselves... our compliance hadn’t kept up with the growth of the business and they acknowledged the fact that we cooperated and made significant structural changes so our compliance is now very strong.”