August 2018 marks a milestone for me. This month, I have been at Progeny for 10 years. Occasions like this are always a good opportunity to take stock, but particularly if you had the sort of baptism of fire that I had when I became a member of the team.
I began my Progeny career amidst the worst global economic conditions in nearly a century. In August 2008, we were mere weeks from the collapse of Lehman Brothers, an iconic moment which seemed to confirm the severity of the financial crisis in the hearts and minds of the general public. It was like a year-zero and I remember thinking that if we as financial planners and investors could make it through this then we could make it through anything.
Of course, I had clients who were worried, and a big part of my role was to reassure them. It’s human instinct in times of such great volatility to panic and try to limit any further damage by withdrawing from the market. Some clients would question why they should be investing when markets were tumbling, and many people were getting out.
A Lifelong Fan of the Long-Term Plan
It was important as a financial planner to remind people that one of the reasons they invested money in the first place was to ride out times like this. I have always been an advocate of long-term investing, but the events of 2008 proved to me the value of this ethos. In circumstances like the ones we were faced with that year, on paper the situation can look alarming for investors, but if you don’t need to access those funds immediately then it’s an academic problem. For the investors who sat tight and stuck with their long-term plan, they saw some good growth in the two or three years after the crash which helped to settle twitchy nerves. It’s at times like these that financial advice is essential, and where having a financial planner by your side can help you and your investment plans come through these spells of market turbulence.
When we sit down with our clients and get to know their aspirations, we discuss with them a whole range of issues that then inform the financial plans we draw up for them. What level of return do they need to see? Can they commit to investing these funds for the long term? How comfortable are they with risk? And most importantly, what do they actually want to do with their wealth? It’s our job to take all these factors into account while also being mindful of the natural volatility of the markets over the timescale of their investment. Since the crash of 2008, we have seen other blips – instability in the European Union, several Greek tragedies, the unsettling and unknown impact of Brexit, and continued global and domestic political upheaval. None of these were as bad, but they still impacted on market conditions. However, they are all relatively short-term concerns in the timescale of investing.
As in the broader economic environment, investors can also encounter changes in their own lives that have an impact on their financial planning. For example, they might decide that they want to retire sooner or help their children with a house deposit – changes to life plans that might require tweaking their investment plans too. This is why we review their plan regularly to make sure it matches their lives. While we believe in the power of long-term investing, and we wouldn’t tinker with a plan for the sake of it, it’s vital that we’re able to help clients adapt to the shifting demands of their lives.
The industry has constantly evolved too. The Retail Distribution Review, pension freedoms and MiFID II, to name but a few, have all had an effect on how we plan for our clients’ financial futures.
Alongside the help and guidance that we have given our clients over the last decade, Progeny has continued to develop as a business. It was our ambition to create a unique framework of coordinated advice and insight, providing integrated financial planning, legal and asset management solutions for private clients, businesses, family offices and charities. We provide the high-quality service and bespoke structuring to help clients realise their ambitions.
The growth and success of Progeny is proof that this approach is meeting and exceeding our clients’ demands. We continue to grow our team, bringing staff and businesses onboard that will make a meaningful contribution, and helping and encouraging existing staff to progress and improve.
If I can be immodest for a second, this is certainly an approach I have benefitted from myself. Ten years ago, I joined as an adviser and over the past decade I have been given the support and opportunities to become a Director of Progeny Wealth. I’m also pleased to add that I will soon be appointed to the Progeny Group Executive Board, which oversees the strategy and operations of Progeny as a whole.
A decade on, I’m as excited as I ever have been about the future of Progeny and my part in the business. I look forward to the next ten years of helping clients to plan for tomorrow and assisting them in achieving their lifelong ambitions. If you would like some advice in planning for your financial future, please get in touch.
This article does not constitute financial advice. Individuals must not rely on this information to make a financial or investment decision. Before making any decision, we recommend you consult your financial planner to take into account your particular investment objectives, financial situation and individual needs.