John Westwood

BLACKTOWER VIEW - Tips from the Top

John Westwood, Blacktower Financial Management's Managing Director, founded the firm in 1986 after previously forging a career with Schroder Financial Management that saw him develop a reputation as one of the leading financial advisers in London.

In 1999, John founded Blacktower's first European office, in Portugal's Algarve region, and since then he has been instrumental in ensuring that the Blacktower group moves from strength to strength. However, despite his ongoing commitment to innovation, he continues to operate at the "coal face", providing advice to many high-net-worth clients within the European and international markets.

In this week's Blacktower View article, John reflects on the thirty-plus years he has spent working as a wealth manager and financial adviser, while also offering some useful advice for investors and business people alike that he would now give his younger self.

The future is always unpredictable

When starting out, John couldn't possibly have imagined that Blacktower would grow into the international wealth management giant it has become today. But, as he says, the future is always unpredictable, for instance "who could have predicted Brexit?" And, for that matter, coronavirus; which is undoubtedly taking its toll economically across the globe.

Stay open to change

"Little in life isn't transient," John says. "The best laid plans continue to evolve or sometimes, disappear entirely. Often, focusing too resolutely on your original strategy can be a blinkered approach, blocking out sight of the bigger picture and future goals."

John's recommendation is to "stay open to change, adapt and be ready to take a sharp turn now and then".

Be patient, be disciplined

John believes that success means very little outside of the long-view. "Going backwards doesn't necessarily prevent you from moving forwards," he says.

"Some achieve success at 21 before declaring bankruptcy at 30. Some reach their goals at
60, 70 or even 80. Keep chipping away at your vision, and stay determined."

Of course, being patient, also requires you to be disciplined. "Never give up on your long-term goals and aspirations, hard work will set you on course to your achievements no matter the challenges you may face," says John.

Fine tune your advice filter

Everywhere we go, we will hear and be offered conflicting financial advice. John says that "whatever junction or decision you arrive at in life, people are always ready to give you their ten pence worth. When you're starting a business, that ten pence snowballs into hefty ten-pound notes' worth of advice; some of value and some decidedly less so."

John believes that "getting feedback is one of the most important things in business, and in life, to facilitate growth and improvement".

"But," John says, "always consider the experience and motive behind any counsel. It is absolutely imperative that you surround yourself with the right people, and to sustain this, you must keep trusting both yourself, and others. If someone lets you down, it should not impair your ability to trust someone else; show caution, diligence and know when to put your pride to one side."

Blacktower – for post-Brexit financial advice

On the morning of February 1, 2020, British nationals woke to a new reality – the United Kingdom IS leaving the European Union. However, the sun still rose and aside from last-minute panic from those who failed to prepare, life remained essentially the same.

Whatever your feelings about Brexit, everyone must now look to the future. For expats, this will involve reviewing your strategies to ensure your finances, retirement planning and inheritance plans align with new cross-border realities.

Fortunately, Blacktower Financial Management (International) can help you do this so that you can feel confident in achieving your ultimate aims. For more information, contact us today – we have branches across Europe and beyond and can be on hand to offer you country and region specific guidance for business clients and individuals.

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