Julie Lord’s career in financial planning began when she answered a newspaper advert 30 years ago. At the time she was unsure of what she wanted to do and says she fell into her career “by accident”, adding, “I didn’t know what this meant, but had a degree in maths and common sense, so figured I could blag my way in!”
Having previously worked as a teacher, Julie says she found the world of financial planning far more lucrative, and also one where she would “meet some lovely people and play a major part in them achieving their goals and dreams”.
Julie’s career began in June 1986 at a small independent financial advisory firm in Bristol. She describes the period, rather modestly, as being “like the Wild West” because “anyone could get a job”.
By 1991 she had set up her own firm, Cavendish Financial Management, offering two “unusual” things for the industry. “We started charging fees instead of using commission and we used cash flow modelling with all clients. This was a great differentiator back then and we developed a fantastic business on the back of these new ideas.”
Julie says that she feels vindicated that her work from the early days of her career is being widely adopted elsewhere in the industry. “I have been banging on about proper financial planning and using cash flow modelling for over 25 years and am delighted to see that after all this time it is finally gaining some traction.”
After more than 15 years in charge of Cavendish, she sold it to AXA, where it was amalgamated into what is now known as Bluefin. She joined the senior management team to develop the business, which she describes as a “wonderful experience”.
However, by 2013 AXA changed strategy and Bluefin was sold to Towry Financial Planners. Shortly after, she moved onto Broadway Financial Planning, but in September will launch her new company, Magenta Financial Planning, with managing director Gretchen Betts. She says that the people she has met throughout her career have inspired her to put off retirement. “Over the years I have found this to be very fulfilling and a great deal of fun. I can’t think of anything else I would rather do.”
“I have been banging on about proper financial planning and using cash flow modelling for over 25 years and am delighted to see that after all this time it is finally gaining some traction”
The work of a financial planner appears “highly personalised” to clients, according to Julie, but it is also highly efficient “because of the systematised process we have developed over the years.” Ultimately, she adds, it is about helping clients “to build for their future security and happiness”.
“Keeping clients happy is relatively straightforward, although some need proper financial education at the start and a clear idea of what we will and won’t do. [For example] we will do financial planning and we won’t do investment management,” she explains.
Since the Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) merged with the CISI last year, many former IFP members have wondered how they will benefit from their new membership. As a senior board member of the IFP for 15 years and its former president, she is acutely aware of how organisations like the CISI can aid members with their careers. “I can say that my business and I benefited greatly from the association with the IFP. Meeting financial planners in and from other countries is always fascinating and there are always ideas to adopt and adapt. The conferences have been marvellous for networking, learning new ideas and keeping up to date with issues that might make a massive difference to clients.”
At this year’s CISI Financial Planning Conference
at the Celtic Manor in October, Julie will be one of the key speakers, discussing a number of issues facing financial planners. It is an event she says she is “very much looking forward to”. “I will be speaking about how best to establish and define the client-planner relationship, creating empathy and trust and the best ways of collecting client data and information for their lifetime cash flow forecast,” she says. “This will cover the first two stages of the international six step process of financial planning and will, I hope, inspire new and existing planners alike.”
Julie’s achievements over the course of her career are many, but she cites becoming president of the IFP as a particular highlight. Others include “working with the FSA on the practitioner panel; becoming one of the UK’s first Chartered Financial Planners and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals; working with the International Financial Planning Standards Board; [and] chairing the IFP Education Committee”. However, she adds, “helping so many clients who now have happy and comfortable retirements as a direct result of our advice” is also a source of great pride.
Looking ahead, she says that while she feels like she has achieved most of what she wants to do in the client field, she is now looking forward to offering her support at Magenta.
Outside of her career, her interests include playing saxophone, golf and skiing. However, having recently gained her rally car license, she says her interest in driving rally cars “really fast may prove to be an expensive new diversion too!”
About the Conference
The CISI Financial Planning Conference will take place on 3–5 October at the Celtic Manor Resort Hotel, Newport, Wales. This is a 'must attend' event for many CISI financial planning members and Accredited Financial Planning FirmsTM. It provides opportunities for personal and business development, quality structured CPD, the sharing of best practice, catching up with friends and making new connections.
To view the full programme and speaker line-up, visit cisi.org/fp16 where you can book your place, along with any specific sessions that you would like to attend.
Book before 20 August 2016 to take advantage of the early bird discount.
We look forward to welcoming our new members from the financial planning community to the conference, as well as our existing members from wealth management functions and firms.