On Tuesday evening, I travelled back up to London for the massive Annual UK Platform Awards, hosted by Kate Silverton in the glitzy Park Lane Hilton Hotel. These Awards draw many of the big household financial names and seek to celebrate those firms who are ahead of their peers in terms of client experience, innovation, value for money and future sustainability.
We actually started entering these Awards back in 2014. It made me smile on Tuesday evening when I still received blank looks from the hundreds of big business company directors, consultants and gurus who were all networking at the event. They hadn’t a clue what a small IFA practice from deepest West Wales was doing – throwing their name into the hat for such kudos.
These Awards are tough! Be under no illusion, they take some serious stamina! Firstly, we had to send in a full written submission for marking. I was then invited up to London for a ‘Dragons Den’ style interview with six judges in the sweltering heat of the city at the start of this month.
Travelling back up to the Awards Ceremony this week, I wondered why on earth I still continue to put myself through the mill! The answer to this is twofold:
Firstly, I believe in accountability. I actually find that these Awards keep us sharp as a small business – helping us to actually question why we do things and what we could do differently for the benefit of our much treasured clients.
Secondly, I believe that we are genuinely the best in the UK today. Size doesn’t actually matter when it comes to delivering a first class financial planning service.
I waited nervously on the edge of my seat as the category finalist names were called out from a huge stage. We know just how hard it is to win these things and have tasted disappointment far more often than we have tasted success. Your mind plays incredible tricks on you as you consider the table you have been sat on, the inference on your name as it is read out, even the music that has been chosen – ever seeking some clue as to your fate.
When Thomas and Thomas were announced as this years’ winners, I must confess to a most ungentlemanly roar of uncontained excitement! My table of various guests all looked agog at this crazy man from Wales as he leaped up and down and then ran gleefully to engulf poor Kate Silverton in a man-hug of pure joy.
The years come and go for our little firm in West Wales – but one thing remains constant – my determination to see each and every client that we care for given the VERY best service.
Winning the silverware certainly was a poignant reminder in these slightly leaner times – that good things happen when we keep the faith. My humble thanks as ever to our wonderful Clients and Team – it is a genuine joy to travel this journey with you.