It’s now public knowledge that I've agreed a deal to sell Jones Hill to Perspective, with the deal completing in September last year.
Quite unusually for these kinds of deals, Perspective will initially be keeping the business intact, from the office in Bradford on Avon and the staff to our fixed fee charging structure.
It’s been great to get this deal signed, particularly given the challenges of lockdown, and I’m now in the process of deregistering as a financial adviser.
In terms of what next, I've got a couple of things up my sleeve. I've got my PhD to start, following on from completing my Master’s (MSc) last year in Communication, Credibility and Behaviour analysis.
But there are some other things in the pipeline as well.
These will still be within or alongside the financial advice sector, given this profession is where I have all my contacts, expertise and knowledge. It'd be foolish to waste that and just go and do something else completely different.
I'm 51 years old now, and while I don't imagine I will ever retire, I want to take the next five years to do something else.
After that I might want to do something different again. Rather than thinking of this as the end of an era, I like to call it a plot twist!
Regulation and the advice profession
Like many firms, I see regulation as the biggest challenge for our sector, and a regulator causing issues based on the lowest common denominator.
There are many advisers that do a brilliant job every single time they give advice, but they’re just wrapped up in red tape.
You only need look at the process for renewing professional indemnity insurance and the ridiculous bills for the Financial Services Compensation Scheme to see the stress of running an advice firm.
In the meantime, the FCA doesn’t have its finger on the pulse, letting horrible scandals like London Capital & Finance happen on its watch.
Looking ahead, I would expect that the minimum qualification level may come up to chartered status in due course, helping to make the advice sector much more of a profession today than it was when I first joined 15 years ago. That is thanks to the FCA in many respects.
Yet the other side of the coin is that a lot of the issues we currently face are also down to the regulator.
One of the reasons I've decided to get out now is because I've had enough of that. Life's too short, and it’s not a rehearsal. I have a great opportunity to go and try other things now.
Looking back, I've met a lot of wonderful people, clients and colleagues who have helped me on my journey.
I would like to think we've brought some joy and comfort to our clients' lives in helping them and the importance we’ve placed in being their trusted adviser.
It's the relationships we find and develop which are super important. Qualifications and letters after your name are fine, but what I'll take away are some extraordinary memories and relationships.