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IFA: Commission was a ‘busted flush’

Of all the family businesses profiled by FTAdviser, Kim Barrett has been the most open about how he and his son, who is also his colleague, do not always see eye-to-eye.

All in the family

Kim Barrett, managing director of Barretts Financial Solutions which is based in Bishops Stortford near Stansted airport, began in financial services 26 years ago when he took over the financial services arm of an estate agent friend.

Unfortunately, due to a disagreement over the onus of regulation, the pair fell out and Mr Barrett struck out on his own. He took his son Joel into the advice fold several years ago.

Although their paths have diverged with Joel opting to take the investment route, they still manage to chug along and have succeeded in gradually growing a healthy two-man-band operation.

Mr Barrett said: “Sometimes we are known to bicker in client meets and I think the clients love it. Joel is the investment guru, but I put my opinion in. It shows we aren’t working as one but as a team of individuals.

“My son was made redundant in 2006 and I invited him to join the practice because he has the same character as me. The first time I had the conversation with him it was full of expletives and he told me where to go.”

Eventually they worked out a deal whereby Kim would waive the “house-keeping” payments he previously took from Joel for continuing to live in his house, and would also give his son a “bit of pocket money”.

“I told him, ‘you’re no good to me until you get your exams’. He joined in April 2007 and not long after that I thought it would be a good idea to move the business to Stortford. Almost on a whim decided to move.”

Moving house

Bishops Stortford appealed to Kim because he believed it was full of potential clients - affluent individuals ready to take him up on his offering of advice.

“The reverse happened. Stortford is a very clique-y place and because we didn’t know anybody the business went backwards.

“It got to 2008 and we said if it carries on like this we may as well stock shelves at Tesco. It made us kick ourselves up the arse and look at ourselves and make a go of it.

“Joel had passed his exams and I told him he would go off and make himself some money, but he decided to stay and go to the next level. He approached me and said ‘I have made a decision’, saying ‘I don’t want to go down the adviser route, I want to go down the investment route’.”

He has a basic comprehensive school education, but he because a member of CISI and most of them require a degree in economics. He is now chartered by the CISI.

“With the natural competitiveness between us I went off and became chartered and am now a fellow of the CII. The practice itself is also chartered.