Tell us about your role at Carbon and why you wanted to work for the business?
I’m a financial planner with Carbon Financial Partners. I’ve worked with the business since 2012 and look after a portfolio of clients as well as supporting other members of the team in their career development. I wanted to work with Carbon as their approach was very much aligned to my own values of putting the client first and building great relationships with people.
Talk us through your career to date
I’ve worked in the financial advice sector for over 30 years and have been fortunate enough to gather experience in a few different roles before carving my niche within financial planning.
As part of my degree I spent a year as a trainee accountant; it was a very traditional firm and I quickly came to the realisation that I wanted to work in a more modern and forward-thinking environment!
After graduating, my first job was with Standard Life, which gave me some great training. Soon, however, I wanted to be able to provide wider advice and headed to London to advise on investment portfolios, which was a fantastic experience.
These roles eventually led to me to work with EY, in Glasgow, advising the UK partners in EY on their personal finances, and that was where I finally recognised what I had been searching for, which was financial planning – the wider conversations, coaching, advising and generally helping people achieve what they really want to achieve.
I went on to run my own business with some former EY colleagues before joining the Carbon team in 2012.
What is it about your role that excites and inspires you?
The most rewarding part of my role is helping people. I primarily work with two types of clients. The first is busy individuals or families who are looking ahead to retirement. For these clients, I want to help them look at life beyond work and help them understand when they are likely to have the option to leave the stressful, high-responsibility role and focus on enjoying their lives with friends and family. Often the time they can walk away from work is sooner than they thought, and that’s a great message to give, to see the shoulders relax as they realise they are not ‘stuck’ in the demanding job forever!
The second client type is women who are going through separation or divorce in Scotland. A lot of the time these clients are unsure what lifestyle they will be able to lead in the future and often those clients have not dealt with finances before and are nervous around them. I work with those clients to help them build confidence and see there is a light at the end of the tunnel, as well as planning to ensure they can maintain a suitable standard of living with their new financial situation.
From your perspective, what are the key financial issues to be aware of over the next few years?
Keep on top of your pensions. The legislation around pensions is ever evolving with regular changes and updates, so it’s a challenge to keep up to date. For those individuals who want help with that, having an ongoing relationship with a financial planner can be a really good option.
What is the most important piece of advice you give to your clients?
This may seem simple but spend less than you earn. It is important to ensure that you are building wealth when you are fit, healthy and able to do so, so you can enjoy a comfortable life when you no longer work.
What do you love most about working for Carbon?
We have a fresh approach to financial planning that differs from more traditional firms. We treat our clients as people we have close relationships with and not as numbers on spreadsheets. The individual is our client not their money, so while there may be intellectual challenges working through the numbers and considering investments, our first priority is ensuring the client feels understood and supported as an individual.
What would you like to achieve next in your career with Carbon?
Continuing to work with interesting clients and helping them write their life story. The job is rewarding and the feeling that I have had a positive impact to some degree by using my skills to coach and help people is one of the main drivers in my career.
If you would like to discuss your financial situation with Richard directly, please contact him here.
We have offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Perth and London. You can contact us at any of our offices, or by email.
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