Oakham based Independent Financial Planners, Efficient Portfolio, have won New Model Adviser’s Firm of the Year for the Midlands for 2020, beating all other firms in our area.
There are nine awards up for grabs: eight regional categories and a national title. The regions are: London, Scotland a& Northern Ireland, Wales, East of England, The Midlands, The North, The South East and the South West.
For a second year the shortlists were drawn up using submissions to the same questionnaire that generated their Top 100.
Charlie’s Acceptance Speech
“I am delighted and honoured to be given this award because it is testament to the culture we have built at Efficient Portfolio. Since I founded the company in 2006 we’ve tried to remain truly independent and deliver the best financial planning possible with the mindset of constant and never-ending improvement, so to be recognized as the best financial planning firm in the midlands is incredible, and shows that effort has paid off. A huge thank you to the incredible team EP, our clients and all of you at NMA for recognising our hard work.
“We say at EP we want to create a better future through inspirational financial planning. By that we mean a better future for our clients, our team and our industry. Hopefully by striving to constantly do things better we are achieving this aim. Thank you again NMA for this fantastic award.”
Key Statistics on Our Application
- Client numbers have shown consistent growth of approximately 150 each year for the last 3 years. Our funds under management have also grown in line with these figures;
- Employee numbers have grown by approximately 5% each year for the last 3 years;
- We are undertaking the British Standards certification, which demonstrates adherence to nationally recognised service and compliance standards;
- We are Chartered, placing us in the top 14% of all financial advisory practices in the UK;
- All of our advisers and paraplanners are fully qualified (with the minimum qualification of Dip PFS);
- We have undertaken various business development incentives, including collaborative webinars with local solicitors and accountants, various online tools via our websites; a new book (Entrepreneurial Happiness) and regular client educational and entertainment events;
- Our top priorities have been recruitment, education and development of our team and marketing (with a drive on client referrals, digital marketing and collaborative work with other industry professionals);
- We’ve offer paid GWPs (Graduate Work Placements) and non-paid work experience placements with local universities and schools;
- We’ve supported our local Foodbank by developing and executing a marketing strategy on their behalf. We also raised funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and SPARKS through various client events and sporting challenges. We also gave 1% of profit to charity;
- We offer various ethical investment solutions to our clients.
Why We Won
Each year our company aims to support one national registered charity and provide ad hoc support to an unlimited number of smaller, local causes. We are committed to gifting at least 1% of our profit on an annual basis to charitable causes, and will organise various fundraising activities throughout the year to support our chosen charities and causes. This includes, but is not limited to our Golf Day, Charity Ball, client entertainment events and individual endeavours (such as sports challenges).
When we select the causes we wish to support, we take into consideration any issues that may be affecting our team, clients or supporters. We always aim to help alleviate the problems faced by those in need and help to educate, raise awareness, fund research and provide direct financial support.
Supporting the Community
Our company may initiate and support community investment and educational programmes. For example, we actively welcome work-experience placements, utilise our experience and knowledge to directly assist charities (e.g. creating social media strategy for our local Foodbank) and we can provide support to non-profit organisations or movements to promote cultural and economic development of global and local communities.
As a firm we will actively promote and facilitate ESG investment options to our clients to enable them to invest in line with their own ethical standpoint. We work with Discretionary Fund Managers who are proactive in sourcing and utilising ESG options in their portfolios. We also use ESG options for our own investments, where possible.
Our Approach (Culture and Team Development)
We believe in providing our clients with not only the highest level of qualification and knowledge, but also a fresh, innovative and dynamic approach to financial planning. We have created a culture of constant and never-ending improvement, which is reflected through the ever-evolving training and learning resources we offer our team, by inviting our clients to give us regular face-to-face feedback, and by keeping a keen eye on developments in legislation, technology and opportunities. We are early adapters, so we are able to embrace and deliver change, thus creating a higher level of service to our clients.
Unlike most firms, we don’t just focus on our clients- we also place a huge emphasis on the continual growth of our team. Education, in terms of technical knowledge and overall wellbeing practices, ensure our team are at the top of their game and thrive in the workplace.
Our team are the backbone of our business, so we are continually looking for new and innovative ways to empower them and nurture their development. We operate a learning budget of £500 per person each year to cover exams, external courses and materials, and also offer inhouse weekly coaching sessions with our advisers and leadership team, to help expediate our team’s technical and industry knowledge. In addition, we have a Learning Library and a Learning Hub, which provide free books, webinars, podcasts and guides on a range of subjects such as mindfulness in business, marketing, leadership and financial specific topics.
The best way to deliver exceptional service is to ask our clients what they value and what could be improved. We hold an annual Client Feedback Lunch, where we invite a cross sections of clients to attend and provide their thoughts on the business. We also survey every single client within their first year. An example of our client testimonial is “I'm not sure Efficient Portfolio could have done anything better. When I was offered voluntary redundancy in 2018, they reworked my financial plan in double-quick time to map out the options available.” More examples can be found here: https://www.efficientportfolio.co.uk/testimonials/
We have a culture of taking on enthusiastic individuals who we can train in a truly independent environment. Our structured development programme leads employees through roles such as Client Relationship Manager and Paraplanner and cultivates high levels of knowledge and experience before they become a Financial Planner or Technical Manager. All of our team understand the whole process of offering sound advice and support and are exposed to a wide variety of complex scenarios and client needs. They are also able to learn and attain the right qualifications and experience.
We have a Trusted Team- a collaborative approach we take with solicitors, accountants and tax specialists, which means that our clients’ needs can be met by experts who we know to provide the highest levels of service. We meet regularly over morning workshops, where we share ideas and work to deliver the best possible service for our mutual clients.