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'My sustainable focus pushed me to switch firms'

'My sustainable focus pushed me to switch firms'

Chartered financial planner Cleona Lira has left 2plan Wealth Management after seven years, saying she wanted to work in a firm where sustainable investing was a stronger focus.

Lira joined Celtic Financial Planning as an IFA in May after seven years as an appointed representative at 2plan under her Conscious Money brand. 

Speaking to FTAdviser, Lira said: “2plan was great, but if you're bespoke, and what I do is entirely bespoke with sustainable investing, then it can be a little tougher, hence the reason for the move.

“Other than that they're a great firm and I have no complaints. A smaller firm can adjust to you better. The kind of research that I do is very time intensive and so I just needed a firm to understand and to make it easy for me.”

In her new role, she offers sustainable investment advice, referring to herself as a specialist. 

She provides clients with the choice of opting for sustainable investing and said of the clients that go to her, nine out of ten will do so.

“I don’t push anyone into any offering, but sustainable investing, which includes the negative screening of companies and the positive screening of companies, means that you can't just go off and buy the S&P 500 or the FTSE100 tracker, you have to weed out and there's quite a lot of work involved. 

“My clients, I would say on the ethical spectrum, are quite high in terms of their needs. So the research I do is quite intensive."

She explained a large majority of advisers were so “bogged down by the boring things in planning like writing reports”, that they lacked the time to spend on other things.

“Celtic have a team that takes care of that for me so that's why I have this mindspace,” she said. “That's why when I left 2plan, I thought what can I do that can add value to my clients where I'm not just looking after their investments.”

Lira explained while she now operates as an RI under the Celtic brand, she keeps the Conscious Money brand close to her via the Instagram and Youtube page. 

She said 2plan thought it might be better for her to use the Conscious Money name as an AR, but added Celtic preferred her to be an RI. 

“Conscious Money is still my brand, but I operate as Cleona Lira. I want to keep the brand because it means something to me because I think we're very unconscious about money and so that's where Conscious Money comes from.

“It was just a technicality of how a certain company registers me; to the client, it doesn't matter as long as they’re dealing with someone who cares.”

Changing approach

Discussing some of the trends in the ethical and sustainable investing space, she said younger clients were once more aware of what they wanted, but now the picture was beginning to evolve.