When I joined Fairstone, I was over 65 and while I was far off thinking about retirement, I was looking for less exposure to the heavy loading side of the business.
I wanted to concentrate my time on my clients to ensure that I continued to best serve their needs while someone else looked after compliance, IT and the ancillary functions.
I was also keen to realise some of the value in the business too.
I talked to a number of acquirers; some of which were quite small which presented some concerns around long-term security, while other larger firms wanted to push us in a particular direction after acquisition, with too many restrictions.
One of the main considerations post acquisition was to retain our independent status so that I could continue to give my clients the freedom of choice that they were used to. It was also very important that client fees weren’t going to increase either – this had to be a deal that I was happy with, but also one that my clients would be happy with too.
When I first met Fairstone, I was impressed by the proposition; I could see this was a reputable firm achieving the highest standards of advice in the industry and acquiring businesses using an established model.
Their commitment to client excellence and independence was essentially identical to ours which meant that little had to change, apart from having the backing of a larger, professional Chartered firm.
The Fairstone acquisition process exceeded expectations. Very soon after partnering with Fairstone we were invited up to the head office to meet all the senior management which really made us feel part of a bigger team from the start.
The biggest challenge was adapting to the Fairstone system, but this was all done pre-acquisition so by the time we were actually acquired it was very smooth. In fact, I can honestly say that life hardly changed at all for everyone in the team post acquisition – it was a seamless transfer.
Since then we have grown significantly, achieving outperformance in profit terms of well over 20%, revenue has increased by two thirds and profit has grown significantly too. And thanks to Fairstone’s presence in the market and their ability to attract and secure preferential terms, clients are now paying less than they did before acquisition.
My grandson Harry has also joined the business and while I am 75 now, I can honestly say that I am still as enthusiastic as I ever was, with no plans to retire yet – I enjoy what I do too much.