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Where’s Darren got to?

When I set up our little firm with Lisa back in 2006, I was determined we would not just remain up to date with changes in the financial world – but that we would actually be at the forefront of them.

I quickly realised that I would need to put some miles on the car and throw myself into events that would immerse me in knowledge as well as challenge me.

Over the years, I have attended dozens and dozens of such events. These allow me to meet ‘face to face’ with many of the fund managers who invest our clients’ money. This means that I can put questions to them about their funds and sectors of specialism. I can see if our goals are aligned and dig deeper in terms of some of the investment decisions made.

The events also ‘sharpen’ the information and views I may have about world economics, markets, regulations and ways of doing business. There is no greater way to analyse your business than to talk about it with other people who are doing the same thing.

Last week, I had a relatively local trip to Chepstow where I attended the City Wire Wealth Manager Retreat. These events are often in very pleasant settings and the retreat at the Marriot is no exception. What might surprise people is the intensity of these events.

Arriving fresh faced at 8.30 am on the Thursday morning after 2 ½ hours of battling M4 traffic – I was plunged straight into an informal gathering of well-regarded financial planners and wealth managers from around the South West.  These opportunities to ‘catch up’ are invaluable, as information and ideas are freely shared amongst like-minded people.

A main stage speaker was introduced shortly after 9.00 am and the day begun in earnest with a fascinating one-hour presentation on robots replacing human workers as well as ethical investing (a subject close to our hearts). We then went through what I can only describe as ‘speed dating’. These are 30 minute mini-sessions to meet with fund managers and listen to presentations on their funds.

Lunch was taken over further conversation with fund managers and then another main stage speaker started the afternoon off. Speed dating continued until 5.30 pm.

A quick check into my room, shower, catch up on work emails and then back to the main gathering for 7.00 pm where more ideas and questions were shared (we were allowed wine!). I got a fairly early night and bounced straight back into another main stage speaker first thing on the Friday morning – followed by more intense fund manager presentations until lunch time.

I attend at least three of these events a year and I tend to find them both exhausting and invigorating. This Wealth Manager event was one of the best I have ever attended. I came away with confidence that we are on the right tracks at Thomas and Thomas. I also came away with some new investment and business ideas.

Next month, Katy and Emma will be attending another event whilst I hold the fort! I believe we must continue to challenge ourselves. These events help us to fulfill the Continued Professional Development (CPD) we must do to remain licensed as professional financial advisers. They complement our exam learning, reading and study.

We live in a ridiculously fast changing world, sitting in the office gathering dust is just not an option for us!


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