Paul Gibson, senior partner at Active Chartered Financial Planners, on why the firm’s vision and values are key to its culture…
The German poet Hanz Magnus Enzensberger once said, “Culture is like dropping an Alka-Seltzer into a glass of water – you don’t see it, but somehow it does something”.
Here at Active, we have invested heavily over many years to ensure our culture can be defined not only as “how we do things” but “why we do things” also.
We have a clear company vision and set of company values that are embedded and understood by our entire team, no matter what role they play.
Striving to reach the highest possible standards, our coveted Chartered Financial Planner firm status by the CII (Chartered Insurance Institute) shows commitment towards ethical behaviours, higher levels of expertise and being 100 per cent committed to acting in our clients’ best interests at all times.
You may have seen the investment we undertook in 2018 to evolve our brand and culture, creating the ‘Active Spirit’ which helps to underpin the firm we are – transparent with crystal clear advice for all clients.
Our flexible approach to work is built on trust and our team are rewarded largely on their behaviours and commitment to delivering excellence for clients.
We believe that a clear culture drives the right behaviours, which then leads to the fair treatment of our clients.
Active has for a long time been praised for our open culture by Investors in People (IIP) when they awarded us with the prestigious Gold standard initially in 2013, then for the second consecutive time in 2017.
IIP said Active “has a strong focus on building employees’ skills and capabilities”. IIP also identified that the firm’s investment in people development directly correlated with its credibility in the industry and in turn enhanced client confidence.
This was further recognised in 2018 when Active won North East Employer of the Year at the Federation of Small Businesses Awards and most recently in 2019 we were named as one of the Best Financial Advisers to Work For at the national Professional Adviser Awards.
We are also committed to supporting wider initiatives that benefit our local communities as well as develop our own profession.
As a firm, we are proud patrons of Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation (MTPF) and a corporate partner of the High Tide Foundation.
Such is our drive to give back, that several of our team also work with local charities, including managing director Karl Pemberton, who is a trustee for the MTPF, Mark Dobing (independent financial adviser), director for Making Something Happen and myself as trustee for the High Tide Foundation.
Our Liza Pontone (chartered financial planner) was recently appointed ambassador for the CII’s Insuring Women’s Futures programme.
The national programme was established for professionals in the sector to raise awareness on the important subject of financial security for all women and to help close the pensions gender gap.
Andrew Gilmore (chartered financial planners) volunteers his time as an education officer with the Personal Finance Society, working with students to help them understand the importance of financial planning.
So, in an extremely densely populated industry, where on paper we can all technically do the same job, would you want to deal with someone who “just meets the desired standards”, or would you prefer to deal with a firm that goes above and beyond to exceed them?
Would you like to find out more? Contact Active today on 01642 765957
Active adopt the pension transfer gold standard
Active Chartered Financial Planners is one of only a small number of firms in the region to have adopted the Personal Finance Society’s Pension Transfer Gold Standard.
The Gold Standard is a voluntary code of professional standards based on principles of good practice in safeguarded and defined benefit pension transfer advice. It aims to raise consumer confidence in the industry and is designed to encourage firms to be open and transparent when supporting customers who are transferring their pensions.
In Teesside, only around 15 firms have adopted the Gold Standard.
The key principles behind the Gold Standard include helping clients to understand when advice is appropriate, ensuring the client understands and accepts all charges and helping clients to understand the cost of transferring benefits.
Director Paul Gibson said: “At Active, we constantly strive to improve how we deliver our service, whether this is through our gold level Investors in People, the commitment we make to training and developing our staff, including a number of our team now having chartered status, or adopting the Gold Standard principles for pension transfer advice.
“As a firm, Active has advised on almost £28m of pension funds in the last 12 months alone, and it’s essential that our clients feel confident in our advice.
“The code that the Personal Finance Society has set out is purely voluntary, however, we believe that it is important to show our customers that we have chosen to meet the highest standards possible and that we are an ethical and trustworthy firm.
“We won’t rest on our laurels now that we’ve adopted the Gold Standard. We will continue to develop our excellent technical skills to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations.”