Diary of an adviser  

Diary of an adviser: Barry O'Leary

Diary of an adviser: Barry O'Leary

This paraplanner juggles his day job with working as a district councillor, all the while counting his chickens


My morning starts with a lovely surprise – our chickens Mollie, Nuala, Fionuala and Aine have laid no fewer than seven eggs overnight. 

Once at my desk I join our Monday team meeting to talk about the week ahead.

Later I start cash flow modelling for a new client who works for a local business. She is 49 and has asked us to review her financial position and help her understand her wealth.


This morning I am working with one of Old Mill’s longest-established clients who has lots of pensions and investments. She wants to move some money from a high street bank investment that she is not happy with, so I prepare a report for her. 

I then have a call with my ‘buddy’ Paul Palmer – all new starters have one to help them settle in.

I actually worked with Old Mill a few years back, when I was pro-bono director of the Somerset Community Foundation, and was so impressed by the way such a large, successful, high-growth business had not lost that personal approach or its genuine passion for its clients, people and local community. I knew I wanted to be a part of it one day.


This morning, we have our regular catch-up call with the team. Today our compliance director Duncan Parkes speaks to us about balancing a client’s wants and needs.

I am a district councillor and finish early today to prepare for tonight’s virtual full council meeting.

Old Mill is really flexible around working patterns, so I can work on council business during business hours if I need to. 


The hens have not done quite as well today, but four from four is nothing to sniff about.

I then take Alfie, our mischievously happy Welsh springer spaniel, out for a walk. Once back at my desk I start planning the annual review for one of the group pension schemes we run. 

This involves an individual review for each employee, looking at contributions, fund choices as well as any salary sacrifice options available to them. 

Usually, the financial planner and I would meet in their office and go through it in person, but thanks to Covid-19 it will be on Microsoft Teams.


An older high-net-worth couple has been in touch because they want to start passing on some of their wealth to their kids and grandkids, so I am looking at the various allowances and gifts available to them, including educational trusts. They also want to start planning for later life to ensure they do not become a burden on their family.

Later, I head out with Alfie to The Den, a farm shop run by one of our clients, to get supplies for tonight. We have invited our neighbours over for a socially distanced barbecue.