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A visit to Providus Financial.
My latest visit was to Providus, a financial planning firm situated in the heart of Highams Park. The founder-owner Antony Smith and I retired to a local café where he talked me through what he does, and importantly, why.
What do you do?
We always start by getting to know a client. It’s important to hear where they want to end up in the future, what they want to achieve in life, and what’s important to them. We see where they are now and where they want to go. Good financial planning will help them to get from A to B. We always start with the future, what they want financial planning to do for them, and work out a package to help them to get what they want.
Who are your customers?
We work with a lot of professional families, those looking ahead to retirement or similar change in working circumstances, and business owners. A lot of our business is with self-employed business owners who don’t have the safety net of employer schemes and benefits.
We work in-depth with them to plan how to use their business as a tool to leverage what they need financially, and to show them how to include financial planning as part of their overall approach and business plan.
What makes a good financial planner?
It’s important to have good client facing skills as well as technical know-how. Personal empathy is essential, you need to relate to people, build rapport and trust, not take things at face value and be able to ask good questions in a sensitive way.
It is essential to understand the challenges which people face and their aspirations for the future. High levels of technical skill are the other side of the coin. I am a Chartered Financial Planner at fellowship level of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). Our staff are technically skilled, and we are supporting team members through qualifications and further development.