A tale of two advisers starting their business in 2020


The upheaval of last year presented unique challenges to all firms in the advice sector, but none more so than the newest amongst the ranks. 

As meetings were forced online and advisers found themselves reassuring clients amid unprecedented market drops, 2020 served as a baptism of fire for those new to the industry. 

On this week's podcast two advisers who navigated their first year of business in 2020 share their highs and lows of their firm's entrance to the market. 

Kat Tymon launched her mortgage advice firm Mansfield Money to the market towards the end of 2019 and said the move to remote meetings had initially been cause for concern. 

She said: "The face-to-face element is massive for clients, particularly first-time-buyers who are purchasing their first home or perhaps someone with an extensive portfolio they will normally want to come and see you in person.

"So that was a massive disappointment to me and I have had to learn to adapt. I now do a lot more phone appointments and virtually such as Zoom.

"I haven't had much opposition from clients, they are generally understanding of the whole situation." 

In fact, Ms Tymon said the move to virtual meetings had offered a flexibility preferred by some clients. 

She added: "My business model includes a lot of evening appointments, as I have my own family, and actually an evening Zoom tends to suit a lot of clients looking to buy a property." 

Moving online also had its benefits for Alister Gaines, who also set up his firm Akrivis Wealth towards the end of 2019. 

He said: "What I have seen more recently is the professional networking side of things has been much easier because it has all been online. 

"Traditionally at these networking events we go off to the coffee stand and bump into someone we know, or the first person we see, whereas online networking allows you to meet a much broader cross-section of people and in a much more efficient way. So that has been a positive over the last 12 months." 

Mr Gaines said his clients had also adapted well to the remote nature of advice in the last year, which he said had helped geographical reach and the efficiency of his business. 

Also speaking on this week's FTAdviser podcast Heather Hopkins, managing director of NextWealth, pointed to clients taking longer to make decisions surrounding advice last year as a significant hurdle for the newest businesses.

Ms Hopkins said: "One of the things we heard from advisers a lot of the last year is that from the first meeting with a client until the advice is implemented that time has extended significantly, because people are taking a little bit longer to make a decision.

"And for a small business that is just starting out that can have a really big impact because it slows down the pace at which you can bring in clients and makes it hard to plan for the future."