I STARTED my career working in a local bank when I was 16 and thanks to a firm but fair boss, I was given time and encouragement to attain my professional qualification in banking.
I left banking to pursue accountancy, working for Shell in Aberdeen, and again benefited from time and encouragement to qualify with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).
Always with the ambition to run my own business, I eventually left Shell to set up in partnership with another accountant forming a small but ultimately successful accountancy practice.
One day, while attending an all-day continuing professional development session in Glasgow organised by ACCA, the late David Norton gave an inspiring presentation on financial planning.
Like me, he was an accountant and encouraged me to go to the then tiny Institute of Financial Planning conference in Oxford.
More good fortune, I was seated at dinner next to a gentleman called Ian Shipway and my interest in financial planning was firmly established.
Acumen Financial Planning was established in 2002 in a low key fashion with a small team.
We have a family culture and are fiercely independent, answerable only to our clients, our conscience and to the various professional bodies in which we have qualifications.
We take our work seriously, but do not take ourselves too seriously so fun and laughter is never far away.
Our team delivers a holistic package of bespoke financial guidance that empowers our clients to achieve their full financial promise, though times of success as well as more challenging times.
We work hard to create innovative tools, refine processes, train and develop our team, all of which is designed to provide excellent service for our clients.
Our team are specialists across our main service areas of savings & investments; pensions & retirement planning; tax planning; trusts and estate planning.
We refer to retirement as “life after work” as there are many ambitions for clients in retirement and we provide financial guidance to clients on how they can achieve their ambitions and ultimately never run out of money.
Our clients generally have or have had professional or technical backgrounds, with quite a number in business.
Our client demographic is younger than most firms, with many adding to their portfolios on a regular basis.
Our team is now 35 strong across our offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Elgin and Peterhead and we serve 1,750 clients across the UK with Funds Under Management (FUM) of £400million.
We are one of the few financial planning firms in the UK who have attained Accredited and Chartered status, and in October 2016 we were awarded the prestigious title of Accredited Firm of the Year 2016 by the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment.
We have strong business supported by a loyal and growing client base and a fantastic team.
I am very proud of what we have achieved.