Set up in 2015, in a town called Arundel, Sam Jennings launched Jennings & Co Financial Planning with the aim of giving face to face financial advice to businesses, individuals and people within the media advice on financial planning focusing on money, tax, retirement planning etc. Made up of a team of 4, Jennings & Co are determined to making sure the clients create long-term wealth.
How long have you been in the financial planning business for?
For 10 years, I started in 2008 and I was originally employed by a firm in Canary Wharf. I trained as a stockbroker and at the same time I took my financial advising qualifications, so I had both roles within the company.
What made you want to launch your own financial planning company?
I have always been interested in finance, and it got to a point after I had been employed for about 7 years where I felt I was going around in circles, always the same clients and at the beckon call of the employer. I felt if I could go off on my own, then I would be able to give a better service over what I hope to be a 30 year period, taking me up to retirement. Also, it would mean I could give a much more rounded service and have more control over the type of clients I was seeing.
You offer a range of services for both individuals and companies. Describe the services you offer?
We sit down with clients (individuals and businesses), to discuss their needs and what they want to achieve. We talk to them about investment planning, so moving money and trying to get a better return for it. We talk to them about their long term plans and objectives and when they should retire, what their retirement could look like and try to get them to have a certain income in retirement based on what they’ve got now. From here, we can try and grow their money. We also do a lot of tax planning. We work alongside accountants and their solicitor to make sure that they have the right things in place in order to grow their wealth.
What makes Jennings & Co different from other companies?
I would say the personable approach. We are always contactable; we always try to do face to face reviews. Often we will go into a client’s home and do the meeting there rather than the office, we feel the clients open up a lot more in their own home, and they are a lot more comfortable. We never know how the meeting is going to go, what they will want to talk about and quite often they have all of the documents they need at home, which always helps. We feel we are a very approachable company that tries to include the client at all times. Depending on the client and their needs we will have regular reviews but on top of that we will have regular events. For example, we might have a summer party or a Christmas party, we will invite all the clients along and have dinner and drinks and it is a really good way for them to see us outside of a normal working environment and equally for them to meet other clients of ours, it tends to work really well.
I think that’s a really good idea because people hide behind emails nowadays with all of this technology.
Yes, it definitely has to be personal. You have big companies, as good as they may be but they are quite similar in terms of their approach of once a year review and lots of emails. We do try and see the clients as often as possible. It’s not always possible when you have a number of clients that you obviously can’t see all of the time but by having client events you have many clients in the room at the same time and it’s a good touch point throughout the year.
As an individual, what would you say are your key strengths that make you the person to go to for financial advice?
I’ve always found that, I don’t judge anybody in terms of their financial situation or how they got there. The door is always open, quite literally. We don’t have a minimum or maximum investment amount, we just talk to people and welcome anybody as a client. First and foremost, we listen to the client and try to build a plan and a solution to their needs rather than just trying to fire some products at them that might fit, we try and make sure that we listen to what their objectives are for the long term, what it is they are really trying to achieve from the money that they have coming in. We feel this is a good approach and we do see a lot of referrals from clients to other clients such as family members, friends or colleagues. I think that is a good indication of us doing the right thing.
Yes, that definitely is a good sign. Why is financial planning very important for both individuals and businesses?
Any type of planning is important. I think in life, if you don’t make any type of plans, day to day, year by year, then quite often there isn’t really an end result and financial planning is no different. It’s important that whether its a 12 month plan, 5 year plan or a 20 year plan we talk to a client and make sure that going forward they are always on track. If you don’t make it, then later on in life, it might lead to a difficult retirement.
What would you say is key to running your own successful business?
As the years have gone by and we have employed more staff we believe organization is key. Regular meetings with the staff to know we are all on track and know what our own individual jobs are. I think good delegation works.
Your business is extremely client focused, what is the secret to keeping clients happy and building a strong, business relationship with them?
I think a lot of it goes back to the regular contact and again the home visits, making sure you are personable. It is key that we are there as and when their circumstances change and that could be any type of circumstance. It could be a change of job, a change of income or maybe they have had some unfortunate news in which a parent has passed away, which has meant they’ve inherited money and it’s a vulnerable time for them. We aren’t just there to talk about the figures, we are there to talk about how we can assist them at that time. The client events that we do, again going back to them, really help with keeping the clients happy. They then feel a part of the company as opposed to a number. It is also key I think to not be afraid to spend money on the business. If you are happy to put money back into the business and help grow the business, grow the staff, the client can feel the service they are receiving. If it was just me, there is no way that it could be such a good service because I don’t have all of the hours in the day. It’s important from my perspective that I put money back into the business for it to grow.
What advice would you offer to those who have never really thought of how financial planning could benefit them?
We are in that type of industry where it’s not luxury goods. We give a service where until a client sits down and listens to me and listens to the different areas that I give advice in and how I can look at their situation and what is important to them moving forward. Only then does a potential see the benefit of using a financial advisor.
A lot of TV stars and Celebrities may not feel comfortable discussing financial planning. How would you make it exciting for that clientele?
I think the most important thing for the client is that on the face of it, financial planning may not be exciting, I completely get that but it is incredibly important. Things can move at a very fast pace, especially for individuals in the media coming from an unknown place into the spotlight in a very short space of time. It’s very easy when their earnings start to increase, financial planning can be overlooked in the short term, there is no doubt about that, they’re excited and they’re doing their own thing and get caught up doing a lot of things. However, if they take the time to talk to someone and are ready to invest part of that money wisely, they get sound financial advice then what that means going forward is it increases the chances of creating long term wealth.
Where would you like to see Jennings & Co in 5 years time?
We have done really well over the past 4 years. We are a company that welcomes anybody as a client, it doesn’t matter what their position is but we do have a number of media personalities and sports professionals. Our vision, is that we would like to be seen as the company that is first thought of when the agent or the celebrity starts thinking about financial planning for their clients. If their client approaches them asking where to go for financial advice or indeed if the celebrity themselves thinks I have all this money I want to make sure it lasts as long as possible. We want to be the company where someone says to them “Have you spoken to Jennings & Co? They’ve got a good reputation”. That’s how i visualize our company in 5 years. There is not really somebody out there at the moment that specializes in giving advice to media personalities in particular. There are lots of accountants, talent agencies, and we would like to be seen as the go to company in this line of work.
Jennings & Co sponsor the Best Business Show category at the 8th annual National Reality Television Awards 2018. To vote, go here; NRTA
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