What is your special interest or particular field of expertise in the financial services sector right now?
That’s a difficult question to answer. The majority of my clients are based in the Netherlands and you never know what aspects of financial planning they may wish to discuss. I work with people just starting out in their careers, retirees and everything in between – this is partly why I enjoy my job so much, as it is always varied. I think to be successful in this role, you have to engage in ‘continued personal development’ so that you are always up to speed with what’s available to clients and not just limit yourself to one particular aspect of the job.
What is the most important aspect of your work, in relation to clients, or the part of your day-to-day role which gives you the most satisfaction?
Trust and transparency with clients are absolutely fundamental in my opinion. Anyone that has ever sat in a meeting with me will tell you that these are the core values that I adhere to and I ensure that potential clients understand that this is how I work from the very first meeting. Ultimately, you could be dealing with someone’s life savings, their pensions, their children’s inheritance, and this is not something I take lightly. You should never be in a position where you avoid or feel uncomfortable in discussing certain situations, scenarios or outcomes with your clients, because that suggests you don’t have the right relationship with them.
I take great pride and satisfaction from knowing that I have great ongoing relationships with all my clients, and as a result we can all sleep soundly in the knowledge that there is nothing hidden from them – I’m here to help them achieve their goals.
What’s special/unique/most interesting about the region you work in?
I live in the Netherlands so it certainly isn’t the good weather – although the beaches here are very impressive which not many people realise. I think the diversity here is one of the most unique things about the Netherlands compared with most other countries that I’ve spent time in. With all the international schools and organisations here, you meet people from different cultures and backgrounds which is certainly something I would miss anywhere else.
Right now, what is your one piece of invaluable information for expats or anyone seeking retirement planning and wealth management advice?
I’ll give you three and in no particular order. Do your research and speak to different companies to see how their advice may differ – at the end of the day, it’s not just about price but also the personality of the individual that may be looking after your finances for many years to come. Also, as an expat working in the EU, I would have the expectation that you are going to get ‘cold called’ from some non-EU regulated brokerages offering their services at some point in time. Although I’m not saying that all these companies are bad, you should definitely speak to someone who works in your geographical area. That way you have the benefit of being able to meet them whenever you need, and they are licensed and insured to operate in your location.
Blacktower already has a long and successful history in the sector, how will you and your colleagues continue to offer value to clients in the next 20 years and beyond?
Fortunately for us, our MD is the Chairman of FEIFA (Federation of European Independent Financial Advisors) and we have an exceptional board of directors and senior management team, who are always on the forefront of industry and regulation changes. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that the Blacktower Group will continue to flourish where many other companies in our industry will ultimately fall by the wayside. Regulation, fee transparency and even preparation post Brexit are just a couple of reasons why Blacktower are one step ahead a lot of our competitors.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself
I was the mascot for Sheffield Wednesday away at Tottenham when I was younger – I’m very good at my job!