As always, time seems to travel at varying speeds, depending on what it is you are relating it to and for Ukrainians and others impacted by the Russian invasion, the last month must have seemed like a lifetime. What a courageous fight they have put up and I just hope that some of the stories that are starting to circulate have some gravitas in that the war in Ukraine, could in fact lead to the downfall of President Putin. Whatever and whenever the outcome, the possible complacency that had been allowed to creep in to Western thinking in the post-Cold War era has been challenged and lessons need to be learnt if we are to see stability return to Europe.
Consider also the last 2 years, it has been that long that we have been dealing with the severe impact of Covid and markets have largely come to terms with the post Covid implications and market recovery and economic growth were well on the way. Whilst the Ukrainian concerns have caused markets to stutter once more, they are again showing signs of stabilising as they evolve with sea changes that are taking place. As I have often commented, markets are cyclical by nature and time and timing are important features.
My last comment about timing is that it was August last year when we put our request to the Regulator in the UK to restructure our business, and 7 months later, (it seemed so much longer!) I am pleased to be able to say that their consent has now been given and so I will dedicate the rest of this newsletter to the upcoming changes that this will bring. (I appreciate I will be covering ground that some will be familiar with so please forgive any repetition.)
Our business year end is 31st March and we are trying to conclude the restructuring to take place at the start of next month – New Year = New Structure.
In broad terms, we are merging with Bates Campbell Ltd into a new group structure. Martyn Bates and Lynne Campbell used to work for me in in my previous business and when I moved on from that structure, they took the opportunity to set up their own business which has traded very successfully for the last 12+ years. To offer some background, a brief bio from our new website for each is as follows:
MARTYN BATES had many successful years in the computer software world before turning his attention to financial planning 20+ years ago. Martyn is renowned for his experience and patience and providing customer care to individual and corporate clients.
LYNNE CAMPBELL has built her experience advising with industry leading independent specialists for 25+ years. Her professional approach, combined with considerable capability are the foundation of her acknowledged success.
With them comes a team of 9 support and administration staff and they are in the final stages of recruiting another adviser who we hope will be joining in April. Add this to the RAFP team of 4 and we will have a combined force of 16, including 5 advisers. Most staff will be working from the offices in Forest Row, which are on the edge of the Ashdown Forest in East Sussex, but some staff will continue to work remotely as they do at present.
The increase in numbers and the diversity of skills and experience that they bring, will enable us to offer a broader service and to ensure continuity for clients and staff in the longer term.
We will win no prizes for imagination when I tell you that the name of the new group will be Alexander Bates Campbell and although in due course we will issue everyone with new Terms of Business, these are not immediately needed as our service levels and standards will continue.
We have a new logo, which will form the basis of our branding going forwards. I would just hasten to reassure you that none of these changes will impact on charges to you, they will remain at their current level.
I am also taking the opportunity of formalising the on-going services for our clients, who are resident in the European Union countries and with them in mind, I personally have become an Appointed Representative of a firm called Beacon Global Wealth Management (BGWM), who have regulatory permissions throughout all EU countries, which enables me to maintain those relationships and I have already been in contact with everyone who is affected by this.
I can also confirm that Lesley will be continuing to provide support services for clients via BGWM going forwards.
One consequence will see me reduce the number of hours that I work with UK and other overseas clients outside the EU, and once the merger has settled, I plan to work 3 days per week, in all probability, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and with this in mind, I will be introducing Nigel to those clients who haven’t yet met him. Once again, this will ensure continuity, but rest assured, I remain available to you for the foreseeable future.
Business restructuring can be disruptive, but our aim is to ensure that any disruption is minimal and will not affect clients, but please bear with us while we come to grips with our new structure. Hopefully, you will not notice any change in service standards, it will simply be the logo on the e-mail that changes.
If you have any questions at this stage, please do let me know and in any event, we will be in touch again shortly.
Above all else, take care and stay safe.
Best wishes from all at RAFP