What is your special interest or particular field of expertise in the financial services sector right now?
At the moment I am focusing particular attention on the suitability of a pension transfer from one pension scheme to another. Having obtained my Pension Transfer Specialist qualification, and in combination with the level 4 investment advice qualification; I hold the required certificates to provide advice in this very specialised area of financial planning. I thrive on the technical breakdown of the complex analyses and explaining these to clients in easy to understand terms so that they can better understand their pensions and make informed decisions.
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?
By far the most important aspect of my work with my clients is trust. As a financial advisor I work with the most sensitive of personal information with my clients. In order for them to provide such personal information trust is extremely important. We assist clients through marriages, divorce, the arrival of new family members and the death of others. All of these major life events have an impact on financial planning and we are there to guide our clients through these events. Without trust, the personal relationship which is so important in our industry would not be established and we would not be able to effectively do our work without this relationship.
What’s special/unique/most interesting about the region you work in?
I work both in the European market and the UK market through our various locations within these jurisdictions. What I find interesting is how forward thinking the UK regulator is in regulating the financial services market. Due to the consolidation of various European regulations, there has been a delay in a uniformed approach to regulate financial services in Europe to the same degree as in the UK. It is great to see how Europe is implementing various directives to bring a stricter regulatory framework to the continent.
Whilst working in the Netherlands (where I live), I thoroughly enjoy meeting people from all over the world. My clients range in nationality from Australian to Zimbabwean and learning to work within the different cultural norms is both challenging and rewarding.
Right now, what is your one piece of invaluable information for expats or anyone seeking retirement planning and wealth management advice?
If I could give one piece of advice to any expat seeking financial advice, it would be to only use a financial services firm which is regulated to provide advice in the country in which you reside. Without this in place there is no regulator that would even consider a complaint for improper advice. A regulated company will have robust structures in place to adhere to the regulatory requirements. Considerations such as qualified financial advisors and a suitable professional indemnity insurance to cover financial losses as a result of improper advice. There may be others who provide the service for a lower fee, but this should not be the only consideration one has.
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?
Being a part of the Blacktower team for the past 7 years has been fantastic. To see the company not only grow, but to adjust accordingly to the new regulations, demonstrates the leadership qualities we are proud to embody. I see financial services continuing to be very important in the future. Whilst there are advances in technology which make some aspects easier, part of our profession cannot be replaced by technology.
I foresee Blacktower adopting technological advances and incorporating them in our service offering to clients in the future to enable us to provide the same high-quality advice in an even more effective and efficient manner.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself
I have lived in the Netherlands for the last 15 years with my wife and have two wonderful kids (10 and 7).
I come from South Africa and before commencing my legal studies I was a qualified safari guide. I can tell you the gestation period of the African elephant, the medicinal uses of the Marula tree (Malaria) and the distinct call of the African Ground Hornbill!
I am also a qualified rugby coach (World Rugby), and an avid Springbok supporter (did I mention that we beat England in the last world cup final?)!
I thoroughly enjoy reading, braaiing (BBQ) and spending time outdoors.