My business: Financial planning, not financial selling

Quentin McCormick CFP™ Chartered FCSI, managing director at Pavis Financial Management, on the value of long-term financial planning and the importance of using the right tools
by Jane Playdon

Quentin McCormick CFP™ Chartered FCSI
Quentin has been with Pavis since 2013. He took over as managing director in May 2018. He has been advising for over 20 years and was the regional chair for the Institute of Financial Planning’s Chester and North Wales Branch immediately prior to its merger with CISI. He is currently chair of the CISI Accredited Firms Steering Group.
When did you become an accredited firm? What has happened since?We became an accredited firm in 2014 and have continued ever since. We still feel strongly that there are some excellent financial planning firms in the UK who would do themselves a huge favour by going down this route. What better way is there to stand out from other firms?

What has accredited firm status brought to your firm and why should others seek to become accredited?We became an accredited firm as a ‘differentiator’. There were no other accredited firms in the Liverpool area in 2014, and nothing has changed. We’re still the only CISI Accredited Financial Planning Firm™ in Merseyside, and enjoy being able to say this to clients. It is important for us to show our clients, staff and professional connections that we adhere to the highest possible standards in financial planning. Becoming an accredited firm says that you take this business seriously. It’s not an easy process but it’s well worth the journey.

What accolades and awards has the firm picked up in recent times?We have been included in Citywire’s Top 100 for the past five years. We have not previously entered the various advice awards but we are now thinking of doing so. We feel this should be for a team/company award so were thinking of applying for Accredited Financial Planning Firm of the Year.

What sort of business is it and what services does it offer? What’s your USP? First and foremost, we are a holistic financial planning business. As I often like to say, “we are in the financial planning business, not the financial selling business”. We recognise that cost is a key consideration in long-term planning and our client proposition reflects this. We believe it represents outstanding value for money.

How did you get into financial planning? I started as a trainee broker consultant at Scottish Mutual in 1991. I had a great time there, and amongst others I met Lawrence Gilgallon who is now business development manager at CISI. I stayed there till 1996 when I was approached by the financial advice arm of an accountancy practice in Chester. I then moved to a larger independent firm in 2002. In 2005 I joined the Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) and was introduced to true financial planning. I achieved my CFP certification in 2007.

I had first met the previous managing director of Pavis, Bob Newton, in the early 1990s while I was a broker consultant with Scottish Mutual – we met through a mutual friend, an independent financial adviser called Ray Edwards. In 2012 I re-connected with Bob and we discussed the longer term succession issues with Pavis. They already had a great team in place but were looking for someone who could take over the running of the business when Bob retired. I became shareholder and director of Pavis in 2013, and managing director in 2018. Suffice to say the past six years have been so much fun that he still hasn’t retired.

What’s the best thing about being at a financial planning firm?Making a difference to people’s lives and seeing the positive impact this has on them and their families. What we do can be truly life-changing for clients and there are few professions that can say that.

What do you like about the CISI?It is the only organisation that is truly trying to represent both the financial planning and investment professions in a coherent manner. We are currently seeing more investment professionals looking to advance their financial planning skills so they can best cater for their clients’ needs. I feel there is a lot of momentum gathering and over the next three to five years we will see the CISI become the default choice.

Were you involved in Financial Planning Week 2018? If so, what did you do? Will you be involved in this year’s Financial Planning Week?We promoted Financial Planning Week on social media and around our local area. This generated a number of enquiries which has led to some high-value new clients. We aim to repeat this in 2019 and to promote the event more actively. We might look to use both press and radio as a way of communicating what we’re doing.

What are your key tips for other planners?Having streamlined systems and procedures in place makes it easier to deal with more clients. You can’t deal with hundreds of clients if you use lots of different cashflow software, platforms, investment propositions and so on. The advice needs to be bespoke but the tools for delivering this need to be consistent. We use Voyant for cashflow, Finametrica for assessing investment risk and I have used Transact for 16 years. We hear a lot about client segmentation and service. We prefer to have one core client offering which is ideally suited to clients with at least £250,000 of investable assets. Depending on the size and complexity, we then agree yearly, half yearly or quarterly reviews. Where possible, we try to steer clients away from quarterly reviews as it invariably leads to too much focus on short-term investment performance.

This article was originally published in the July 2019 print edition of The Review. All members, excluding student members, are eligible to receive the quarterly print edition of the magazine. Members can opt in to receive the print edition by logging in to MyCISI, clicking on My account, then clicking the Communications tab and selecting ‘Yes’.
Published: 02 Sep 2019
  • Financial Planning
  • CFP
  • Accredited Financial Planning Firm
  • Financial Planning Week

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