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‘Lots going on under the radar’: Advisers rally for Ukrainian refugees

‘Lots going on under the radar’: Advisers rally for Ukrainian refugees
[L to R] Perceptive Planning managing director Phil Billingham, Refugee Support Europe co-founder Paul Hutchings and volunteer Jonathan Barker, Navigator Financial Planning managing director David Crozier, and Perceptive Planning managing director Shannon Currie

Advisers are working hard behind the scenes on their own local efforts to help Ukrainian refugees, as they help prop up an industry-wide initiative led by three financial planners.

This year, the Personal Finance Society chose Refugee Support Europe, an organisation ran by Paul Hutchings and which works in tandem with Moldova for Peace, as its charity of choice at its conference this year in Birmingham.

Many Ukrainian refugees have relocated temporarily in Moldova, a country which houses a population of 2.5mn and shares a 759-mile-long border with Ukraine.

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Perceptive Planning managing director Phil Billingham told FTAdviser they were on track to raise around £2,000 from advisers at the conference.

Asset managers have also expressed an interest in supporting Refugee Support Europe. Such partnerships would give the charity a more sustainable source of income to tackle the winter ahead and help fund longer term projects.

With temperatures soon set to plummet, volunteers will soon be inundated again with a fresh wave of refugees. Food supplies are also down, seeing the charities have to cut down the contents of the packages.

“We’re not sure what we’re going to provide for the next few months,” said representative from Moldova for Peace, Steliana Rudco, who works alongside fellow representative Steliana Rudco.

Billingham said advisers are full of respect for the centres the charities run for refugees and their business model.

“A lot of advisers are business owners themselves. They recognise a proper business model. There is a genuine respect and understanding for this.”

Moldova for Peace

To date, Moldova for Peace has issued 80,000 food packages weighing approximately 15 kilos each to refugees, and processed some 70,000 refugee requests with the help of its operators - who are five Ukrainian women.

They have helped refugees from start to finish, right from counselling at the border to providing classes in an effort to introduce some normality back into refugees’ lives.

“Conversations are just as important,” said Billingham. He said advisers have shared their stories this week on their own local efforts to help Ukrainian refugees.

“It’s mainly advisers coming to the stand. They have a great deal of concern about Ukraine. A lot of people are telling their stories, of how they’re organising football clubs and charity fundraisers,” said Billingham.

“Advisers are supporting Ukrainian refugees in other ways, particularly locally. There’s a lot of work going on below the radar. It’s not something they boast about. It’s really heartwarming.”

Earlier this year, Perceptive Planning managing directors Billingham and Shannon Currie, alongside Navigator Financial Planning managing director David Crozier, rallied support from the adviser community and raised thousands for a charity called Moldova for Peace.

Yesterday (November 1), a van load of mobility equipment turned up at Crozier’s house. “Our task now is organising getting it over to Moldova. The war’s not going away and we aren’t either,” said Billingham.