It’s been nearly five years since Ian and I set up Candid Financial Advice from scratch. Whilst at times it feels like the longest five years of our lives, involving an immense amount of hard work along the way, it’s also been a very exciting and (mostly) fun journey.
We’ve just passed a milestone, with the investments we look after for our clients now exceeding £100 million. It’s significant for us, as it proves our low-cost financial advice model works. Despite our financial advice charges being significantly less than most other advisers, we provide very high standards of independent advice and service whilst being profitable.
It’s not rocket science: we just work efficiently, use plenty of IT, keep overheads low (e.g. modest offices) and ensure we look after our clients well so that they stay with us. Plus, we’re not greedy, preferring to focus on growing a great, sustainable, business than getting rich quick.
It’s an interesting time in the world of financial advice. At one end traditional advisers have generally hiked their fees in recent years, with annual charges of at least 1% becoming the norm. And at the other the so-called ‘robo’ advisers are generally pushing down costs but losing lofty sums in the process as they struggle to gain a foothold in the market.
We fit somewhere between the two by offering bespoke financial advice, often remotely, for significantly less than most conventional advisers. And providing a personalised service attracts clients who are seeking low charges but are uncomfortable with the limitations of robo-advice.
The latest industry jargon for our type of service appears to be ‘bionic’ advice (i.e. more advanced than robo) – none of us at Candid are a match for the six-million-dollar man, but we’re quite happy with the label!
Our aim moving forwards is to do more of the same. This means further improving efficiency, more work on our in-house IT systems and recruiting more trainees to ensure we continue to provide the highest standards of advice and service as we grow.
As we've learned over the last five years, starting and running a business is a roller coaster of emotions and challenges. But we wouldn’t change it for the world and are very excited about the outlook for Candid Financial Advice.