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Connecting an ethical advisory firm to new clients
Unbiased has helped TPO build relationships with clients all across the UK and make progress towards its ambitious growth goals.
Published 30 March 2022
• Established in 2008 to offer personalised, independent wealth management
• Locations in Leeds, London and Bath to bring service to more clients across the UK
• In the 6% of firms to have achieved Corporate Chartered Status by the Chartered Insurance Institute
In 2008, The Private Office (TPO) was set up – a financial advisory firm that has pledged 25% of its future profits to environmental charities. Currently, TPO’s 210-strong team manage around £2 billion on behalf of its clients and the firm has enjoyed a period of sustained growth over the last three to four years.
Marketing Director John Grimbaldeston, who brought 30 years of financial services and marketing experience to the team, was one of the new faces tasked with accelerating TPO’s growth. Part of this involved joining the Unbiased network.
“We’ve kept a dialogue going with Unbiased about what we’re trying to achieve as a business so that we can keep developing our relationship. Unbiased shares the same ambitious outlook as us and uses relevant data to help guide our approach.”
To reach its ambitious growth goals, TPO set up an in-demand, cost-effective academy for early-career professionals. Twice a year, it welcomes six to eight trainees and produces around 12 graduates every year. Not everyone is well suited to the advisory route, but some move across into other areas, such as the paraplanning academy, instead.
John Grimbaldeston is TPO's Marketing Director
A fresh approach
TPO considers itself an early adopter of tech. When the pandemic hit, its cloud-based and digital systems were well suited to remote work and its younger client base were very receptive to working together digitally. The firm’s flexibility helped it grow by 30% in 2021 alone and it is now embracing a hybrid approach for the foreseeable future.
“We used tech to do the heavy lifting, helping us filter things like appetite for risk and broad financial goals, before bringing in an adviser to have a human conversation before starting any work.”
But TPO doesn’t just rely on technology to maintain its relationships.
Making the financial advisory world simpler
The world of financial services can be notoriously complex and John believes that a lack of knowledge and trust are limiting people’s financial options.
“There is so much jargon and complexity that people don’t know what they want or need. Often, they will opt for a solution that isn’t best suited to their goals and situation simply because it’s familiar. Some firms are also using a fee structure that is not the most transparent or cost-effective for the client.”
TPO is trying to do things differently.
“We're only interested in building a relationship that commercially benefits both sides. If our client gets to save money or progress towards their investment goals, and we can charge a fair fee that is economically viable, everyone wins.”
Overcoming financial services’ biggest challenges
“Technology is an enabler to helping people to access financial assistance. This generation feels confident using online platforms and accessing help through them in an immediate way.”
Building a younger, more gender-balanced pool of professionals is also helping TPO take a different approach to its advisory services. The average age of financial advisers in the UK is 58 and just 5% are women. TPO’s advisers have an average age of 38 and 38% are female, allowing them to bring a different perspective to client conversations.
In John’s experience, financial advice firms have trailed behind other sub-sectors of finance, like insurance and credit, in adopting and utilising new technology. Traditional businesses are failing to adopt modern tools such as data and to understand changing customer demands, representing a wider problem with change.