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Diary of an Adviser: Harriet MacKenzie-Williams

Diary of an Adviser: Harriet MacKenzie-Williams


As the managing director of a small national firm of advisers, running since 2009 with 16 advisers all over the UK, my days are spent running the business and doing whatever is required to ensure the advisers and their administrators can get on with the job they are best at – advising their clients.

First a training session with our new administrator, Petroc. He is finding out the hard way that no providers send their income statements the same way. I am loving being able to take something off my desk and put it on someone else’s. What a treat. After eight years I am finally brave enough to share the workload.

I find a lot of my day involves receiving calls from advisers who just need to bounce something around. It can be a lonely profession being in different parts of the country, but one of the great things about our team is that we speak to each other regularly, share our thoughts and discuss cases all the time.

Now to check the compliance files that all the advisers have sent through over the weekend – that is my evening sorted then.


I start by talking to a new adviser who is having problems getting the old network to sign the novation forms it promised. Moving the goal posts seems to be a daily hurdle with this. I wish our regulator would come up with a standard process that everyone just has to follow. The industry has one, of course, with the Origo Forms, but networks do like a way out. This should be about creating a smooth transition for clients, most of whom have been with their advisers for years and do not really care who they are an appointed representative of.

Later I have a long telephone call with Dave, our adviser development officer, to discuss our review process and improvements that need to be made to that to ensure clients know exactly what they can expect, when and what value the ongoing service provides.  


I am arranging the one-to-one dates with the advisers. That is easier said than done when there are 16 of them in locations from Edinburgh to Southampton. It is a bit like herding cats trying to get them all to agree on dates. Still, I get to tour our beautiful country every three months, so I view it as a treat of sorts.  

After this I find myself trying to condense a 240-page document from the regulator into something digestible. It turns out I can pretty much cover what it is trying to say in less than two pages.


Today I get to go out and meet various speakers for our next CPD meeting to discuss the subjects they intend to cover and ascertain what value their contributions will add to the advisers’ armoury. It is a difficult balance between them wanting to state their business proposition and my need to ensure they educate the advisers, but it normally works well.

Back in the office, I find a supply of files for checking. I enjoy doing this. Does that make me sad?