What is your special interest or particular field of expertise in the financial services sector right now?
The industry is full of very specific and frankly annoying jargon. We love to use acronyms (QROPS/SIPPS/DTA/PET/LTA, the list is endless) which I like to break down for my clients, to remove the complexity – the smoke and mirrors.
I focus on making sure my customers know where their money goes and how their investments work. Part of my role is ensuring that people can let go of their financial worries and focus on the more fun things in life.
My areas of expertise are high-net-worth clients, pension transfers and Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) based investing.
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?
It’s extremely important to stay up-to-date with current affairs globally – this allows me to develop an informed opinion on how events may affect my clients in the future.
I get most satisfaction from dealing with clients on-to-one. Whether that’s a review meeting with a longstanding client of 10 years, or a potential client exploring their options. It’s my job to listen, educate and inform so that they can make an informed decision that’s right for them and their families.
What’s special/unique/most interesting about the region you work in?
I work remotely and can advise my clients from almost anywhere in the world. This allows me a lot of flexibility and means I work unusual hours in order to be available to my clients. It’s not unusual for me to take a client call at 10 pm or 5am depending on what time zone they live in.
Right now, what is your one piece of invaluable information for expats or anyone seeking retirement planning and wealth management advice?
Actively look for an advisor you can rely on and trust. A financial advisor is, in a best-case scenario, somebody that is with you for a long time – possibly a lifetime. It is a relationship that has to be built on trust and understanding.
Don’t be taken in by seemingly low-cost options on the market; nothing in this world is free, and you will pay for it somewhere along the line. In some cases, you can pay very dearly for accepting ‘free’ advice.
I have many clients that initially decided to go with another advisor because their advice was ‘free’ – only for them to contact me again just a few years later when their advisor had disappeared. Their investments had literally hit a wall and they needed help trying to save whatever was left of their retirement fund or savings. Look at qualifications, client reviews and time spent in the industry!
The advisor you are investing your money with is just as important as the structure your investments go into. Both need to be the right fit for you.
Do not make your finances something you will take care of ‘at some point’, make it a priority now. Pick a quality, regulated advisor and let him take care of your finances for you now and in the future.
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?
We are all striving to be the best versions of ourselves. Having a solid compliance department, clear brand guidelines and a great support network, we all know how best to do our job.
Some competitors go for a quick signup and don’t properly consider the future. At Blacktower we believe in organic growth, sustainable amounts of business and ensuring that we do our job the right way. That’s the reason we’ve been around for 35 years.
It’s our goal to plan for the future as a business, and for that of our clients also. Personally, I work on a management fee basis which is linked to the growth of the investment. That way making investments grow is in both mine and my client’s best interests.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself
I am a passionate cook. I love to learn, evolve and discover new foods – either in foreign countries or my own kitchen. I have even been known to travel abroad just in order to have a lesson with a particular chef.
I love travel in general, which is handy when you have a global client base.
Whatever I take on as a project, I do so passionately. I care about people and about their future! I love to be a guide, yet I’m equally as good at listening. I pour my heart and soul into everything I work on.