We aim to optimise the size of our company. Our aim is not to be the biggest financial services company in the UK or even in Yorkshire. That is not because we in any way lack ambition; quite the reverse. Our ambition is to be the best adviser firm of its kind, not the biggest. If we grew too large, we’d risk losing the ‘personal’ element that is a key part of the kind of service we aim to provide. We shall grow beyond our present size, we know, because there is a lot of demand for our services and limiting the firm to too small a size would not be fair either to those who work with us or the community in which we employ people. Growth just for the sake of bigger profits though is not and never has been our objective. Growth to do an ever-better job for clients is what we’re aiming at.
West Riding is family-owned and owner-managed. In large companies, external non-family shareholders who aren’t involved in the day-to-day running of a business only see senior managers and don’t deal with clients at all. They aren’t interested in staff or clients, other than as generators of profit, so, they pressure managers to cut staff costs and increase client fees. Here the owners work alongside other colleagues and have direct relationships with clients, so clients benefit from the low fees and personal service. There’s a general assumption around business that bigger always equals cheaper due to economies of scale, but beyond a certain point in financial services, that is not necessarily true. Having more advisers sooner or later means that you need more managers and compliance costs escalate. We prefer to have a small number of advisers who self-manage and work together. Read more here about the kind of advisers we seek to employ.
You’re Better Off With a Small Family Firm – Harry Says So
Probably the greatest endorsement of small family financial advice businesses was that given by Harry Markopolos, the American former securities industry executive who blew the whistle on Bernie Madoff. In an interview that can be found on YouTube, Mr Markopolos states that he would only ever use a small family adviser firm. Watch both parts, and around the 20-minute mark in part 2 you’ll hear his advice to use small family firms like ours. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfwJ06hc0_8.
Small Independent Financial Adviser businesses like ours work best for clients, because they are well-run by owner-managers whose lives are invested in the business. We know and totally accept that at the end of the day, the buck stops with us.
Neil F Liversidge
Founder and Managing Director