Long Read  

Why the Tilney Smith & Williamson names are disappearing

While the soon-to-be former name is reminiscent of a law firm, the group describes Evelyn as “timeless, contemporary, and easy to remember. Both a surname and a first name, and gender-neutral.” And ‘Partners’ conveys its commitment to building “long-term, valued relationships” with clients.

Taylor adds: “If you are simply letting your audience know that you are or have rebranded, without any clear rationale and deeper insight into the changes, it can sometimes be quite damaging to the perception of that brand.”

Faith Liversedge, founder of FL Storyteller, a financial services marketing agency, says that when comparing the outgoing and future brands, ‘Evelyn Partners’ is everything that ‘Tilney Smith & Williamson’ is not.

She describes the former as gender neutral, easy to remember and approachable, while the latter sounds like “three 50-something white men in suits”.

Rigo also says the group sees Evelyn as a name that has the benefit of being warm and approachable, welcoming to all, and aligned with its inclusive culture.

A former marketing director at Tilney, Ian Beestin, who is now co-founder of Money Alive, recalls: “One of the projects I undertook at Tilney was an analysis of its clients through Experian, and one of the useful discoveries was that the majority of its clients were female.

“I think the ‘Partners’ element of the name is likely to appeal across the board, but particularly with women, as it captures that ethos of working together. All great financial planning relationships should be a team effort.”

Entering a new era

What the rebrand also does is signal externally that the integration is “done and dusted”, with the group now clearly one company, says Rigo.

Liversedge agrees that a rebrand is about much more than just design, look and feel. “It’s a chance for a company to reshape its mission, vision, values and purpose, and to communicate that both internally and externally.”

There will always be an element of sadness and nostalgia when a company changes its brand, says Beestin, but adds that he welcomes the development. “It reflects that Tilney has grown, through strategic acquisitions, into a very different company than the one I worked for.”

Liversedge likewise says that the industry is currently undergoing rapid change. “Wealth management, financial advice and planning are all feeling the pressure from tech disruptors productising their offerings at a much lower cost through DIY, robo solutions.

“This is where a rebrand that manages to communicate the company’s difference, despite its very subtle, invisible and intangible benefits, can be so powerful.”

Chloe Cheung is a features writer at FTAdviser