When did you become an accredited firm? What has happened since?
Jonathan Gibson CFPTM Chartered MCSI
Jonathan is managing director of Wells Gibson, an independent, family owned business based in Dundee, Scotland.
Wells Gibson was founded in 2016 and represents Jonathan’s career goal to own, manage and lead a business which delivers ‘proper wealth planning’ and ‘sensible investing’.
Prior to establishing Wells Gibson, Jonathan was co-founder and co-director of Verus Wealth, Dundee (est. 2005) and AAB Wealth, Aberdeen (est. 2011), two successful and national award-winning businesses established in conjunction with two leading firms of accountants.
Jonathan’s career in financial services started with Royal Bank of Scotland in 1988, before moving to Aberdeen in 1991 to work with Britannic Assurance. He has 25+ years’ experience as an adviser to private clients and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional, and Chartered Wealth Manager.
Jonathan lives in Dundee with his wife Claire, a primary music teacher and three daughters, Christina, Hannah and Katie.
Wells Gibson launched in April 2016 and was awarded Accredited Financial Planning FirmTM
status in the summer of 2016. We launched with 28 client families and this has grown to 45. In our first year of trading, we operated from home and relied heavily on outsourcing, especially administration and paraplanning. In April 2017, we moved into Prospect House, a traditional stone built, former mansion house which provides Wells Gibson with serviced office facilities, staffed reception area and client meeting rooms. Also, in the past year we recruited Josh Smith as an associate (trainee financial planner, above left) and Rachel Morrison (above right) in client services.
Our priority in the first three years is to focus on client relationship management; defining workflows and processes; implementing a robust investment process; and developing centres of influence and professional connections.
What has accredited firm status brought to your firm and why should others seek to become accredited?
The application process provides a valuable health check for a financial planning firm. We are now very clear about whom we best serve, what we do; and how and why we do it. Wells Gibson is the only accredited financial planning firm in Dundee, which is an important differentiator in the marketplace. Furthermore, as an accredited firm, it’s great to be part of a community of like-minded businesses and financial planners, always prepared to share ideas, give support and provide guidance on a range of issues.
What sort of business is it and what services does it offer? What’s your USP?
Our vision is to see lives changed, one client, one family at a time and our mission is to bring clarity, contentment and certainty to the financial lives of our clients. We care about their financial future and believe real wealth is about much more than money and possessions. We focus on what is important to our clients; answer their big questions, make it easier for them to visualise and achieve the life they want; and create a plan which gives them the greatest chance of a successful investment outcome and best life possible from the money they have.
Our proposition is guided by a consultative model which defines a world-class wealth management business as incorporating investment consulting, advanced planning and relationship management – we refer to it as proper wealth planning and sensible investing.
We will soon be launching a secure web-based client portal and mobile app in partnership with moneyinfo, which will give our clients the opportunity to see their entire financial life in one place. They will have access to their banking, property, pensions, savings and investments, mortgage, credit cards and insurances. They will also see their total net worth and spending via interactive and animated graphs. The app will provide a document store for their paperwork. This will provide even greater transparency in clients’ dealings with us.
We are delighted to be one of the first advisory firms in Scotland and the first in East Scotland to launch the portal and app.
How did you get into financial planning?
I was introduced to it by [ex IFP CEO] Nick Cann in 2002 and this was followed by a presentation around 2004 by the late David Norton. Both men inspired me to see a profession was emerging and I wanted to be part of it.
What’s the best thing about being at a financial planning firm?
I love meeting and listening to people and hearing about their lives. It's a great privilege to advise and serve fantastic clients and I thrive on the responsibility entrusted to us.
What do you like about the CISI?
The annual UK and Scottish financial planning conferences are the perfect environment to meet others who have a strong financial planning ethos and similar client service propositions and it's always a real encouragement to meet other professionals who have similar challenges, goals and values.
Being affiliated with the CISI gives Wells Gibson kudos as it’s the largest professional body representing investment professionals. This is important as ultimately we are seeking to grow our business with client families who are typically near, at or in retirement and require ongoing wealth planning.
Were you involved in Financial Planning Week 2017? If so, what did you do?
As we develop, we hope to become more involved with Financial Planning Week. However, in 2017 we were able to offer advice clinics/sessions without obligation and at no charge.
What does a typical day look like?
As a young business with a real desire for growth and to see more lives changed, one client, one family at a time, it's fair to say no day is typical!
What are your key tips for other planners?
- Commit to lifelong learning and don't be afraid to ask for help.
- Stick to doing what you're best at and delegate and outsource the rest. It's not easy though!
- Working in a niche sector – 40% of our clients are dentists, mostly private – means you can become the go-to person for that area. This takes time and requires centres of influence and doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t advise and serve other clients, but it does give you a focus.
- We need to embrace technology if we want our businesses to become more efficient and attractive and I’m convinced the winning businesses will embrace dynamic client relationship management with integrated workflow features; engaging financial planning software; intuitive, online investment experience platforms; and interactive client portals.
This article was originally published in the Q3 2018 print edition of The Review. The print edition is available to all members who opt in to receive it, except student members. All eligible members who would like to receive future editions in the post should log in to MyCISI, click on My Account/Communications and set their preference to 'Yes'.