A financial services business in Battle is riding high following a massive increase in business over the last four years. Here, Sussex Business Times gets the low down
From their modern office complex in the heart of 1066 country, Spectrum Independent Financial Advice has tripled in size in just four years, with 21 people now working with large businesses, entrepreneurs, families and individuals.
Terry Weston, Managing Director of Spectrum Independent Financial Advice, is absolutely delighted that his vision for the company is being realised. He said: “When I opened the Battle office my overriding objective was to create and develop a fresh approach to financial advice that would not only resonate with our long standing professional contacts, businesses and high net worth clients, but also with people on more modest incomes looking to move house, efficiently invest savings or start a pension.
“I think that objective has been achieved, not just by securing the outcomes our clients want, but also by investing our time in the added value elements of the relationship, such as great service at all times and also being unflinchingly transparent with people.”
One of the areas within Spectrum that has seen consistently strong activity in recent years is the Auto Enrolment department. Auto Enrolment is the government initiative to give all employees access to a workplace pension.
Geoff Fillery, Corporate Services Director, said: “We work with around 100 SMEs throughout Sussex, Kent and London. As well as advising the employer we make an extra effort to provide ‘jargon free’ information to employees and members, many of whom are now being enrolled in to a pension for the very first time.
“We also work closely with a number of payroll agencies that can provide the required Auto Enrolment process, but not the softer employee communications which many of our schemes have benefited from.”
Spectrum has seen growth across the business, not least in pension enquiries. Ever since the previous chancellor, now Evening Standard editor, George Osborne, fired the starting gun on historic freedoms in how you can put money in and take money out of a pension pot, the team has been busy helping clients make the most of the new opportunities.
Graham Peters, Director, said: “In addition to advice on the seismic changes in pension arrangements, we are also helping investors, often private businesses, with commercial property purchases using pensions.”
Another complex and critically important area of advice that has rocketed in demand in recent times is later life care.
The subject is always very topical, especially after politicians during the election campaign pitched into how care fees will be financed in the future. The furore followed a sudden U-turn in the Conservative manifesto.
Jeremy Over, Director of Later Life Services at Spectrum and one of a very small number of fully accredited Society of Later Life Advisers, also said: “Typically, clients are looking to understand the care system and what is provided and by whom. The majority have to fund their own care and need advice in protecting as many of their assets as possible, whilst still covering their fees. The recent political statements regarding social care have worried people and complicated an already complex area. Most politicians don’t appear to have any idea of the care system and how people struggle to meet the costs.”
The Spectrum property finance experts are also reporting a substantial increase in activity.
Steve Opie, Director, said: “In addition to surges in re-mortgages and house purchases, we have received unprecedented enquiries for bridging finance, commercial mortgages, secured loans, and equity release for the elderly.”
Terry added: “One of the most rewarding aspects of our success is the number of rising stars we’ve recruited. They make me feel a little old, but the young people working for us have got great careers ahead of them because they are incredibly talented, and that’s also good news for all our clients.”