Financial Management Bureau was one of just 12 companies to make the grade in PA's 2018 'Best Financial Advisers To Work For' survey. Here the Cumbria-based firm offers an insight into how it did so and what the accolade means
Briefly, how would you describe the service you offer?
FMB Financial Planning is a family firm based on the edge of the Cumbrian Lake District. We have been in business for 30 years and now look after around 2,000 clients with around £180m of assets under management. Our service is different from other financial advise firms in our area as we offer a full financial planning service with cashflow modelling software to plan for the future and coaching techniques to get to the heart of what people want to achieve in life - not just sell them an ISA. The fact we offer an ethical client-focused service is integral to our culture and enables employees to feel proud of what they do, knowing clients receive a meaningful experience that is of real benefit and makes a difference to long-term financial health.
What might staff pick out as three things the company does for them that they love?
The annual company conference, where all employees hear about successes and challenges as well as take part in fun team-building activities. Rewards and recognition, such as ‘Employee of the Year' with its prize of a weekend experience and designated parking space. Everybody has an impact on the business regardless of role via our focus groups centred on culture, processes, compliance and investment process.
To register your interest in the 2019 Best Financial Advisers to Work for programme, please click here
What other unique or creative employee benefits or programmes does the company offer?
Outdoor challenges, such as Yorkshire Dales Three Peaks, Snowdon and Ullswater Way 24-mile challenge and Keswick2Barrow 42-mile walk. ‘Freebie Friday' - small treats drawn out of a bag on the last Friday of the month, such as a fish-and-chip lunch, an extra hour flexitime or a bottle of wine. Peer nominations for going the extra mile, rewarded by vouchers for their favourite shop.
Does your organisation run activities to relieve workday stress and promote fun?
Celebrations and lunches out are common and there is a good social scene. When someone new starts, we have a ‘get to know you' lunch and there are also leaving, retirement and milestone birthdays. Office-hours fundraising is encouraged a few times a year and we have had some great days washing cars and bag packing, for example, as well as dressing up for a range of local and national charities. We encourage staff to pursue their own charities as well. Each member of staff is allowed to take their birthday as an additional holiday if it falls on a workday while cakes for birthdays and holiday sweets are traditional.
What did you think of the survey and awards process?
To have a rigorous process where the rewards are meaningful, there has to be a certain amount of hard work involved. Nevertheless, the ‘Best Adviser to Work for' process is straightforward and completely online so it is really convenient. It is great the input did not just come from one person - it was a whole team effort, which is certainly unique in the awards we have entered up to now.
What positives do you expect or have already come from winning the award?
We currently have a couple of positions we are recruiting for so it is great to be able to use the logo and highlight our success as an employer. It has also contributed to team spirit and given everyone a boost.
In terms of our reputation, it cements our position in the community and enhances our brand. As we also have a Silver ‘Investors in People' award, the two complement each other and really make people stop and think, wow that is a great company!
Would you recommend the survey and awards to other adviser firms?
Yes. Most awards focus on technical skill or customer service and of course those are important. Yet they are also underpinned by creating a great workplace where people are encouraged to be the best they can be and their talents are recognised. The ‘Best Adviser to Work for' staff survey is a really useful tool and is just good practice - so why would you not want to do it?!
What made financial headlines over the weekend?
Pensions neglect to be criminal offence
All-day event on 24 April
Consequences could be more severe than in stress tests
AFH has six segregated mandate funds