Having picked up the Best Client Engagement Award at the Professional Adviser Awards 2021, Chris Broome, Director and Chartered Financial Planner, describes his pride at winning the award and the continued success of the Silverstone Park practice.
Introduce Longhurst to those that don’t already know the firm
Longhurst is a multi-award-winning, flat-fee financial planning practice which combines inspirational lifestyle planning with expert independent financial advice and wealth management.
We collaborate with our clients on a deeply personal life narrative that excites and inspires them, and where we help them to focus on leading a happier life, not just a wealthier one.
We do this in part by solving first world money problems. Becoming tired of your current job role and want to explore financial options? Or have you always dreamed of owning that holiday home in the south of France?
We help people to visualise, then maximise, every possible life opportunity, with us always reciting the mantra – Life’s not a rehearsal, so let’s get planning!
Congratulations on your most recent award. Tell us more about it?
Thank you and of course we can! Professional Adviser are one of the UK’s leading publication houses within regulated financial advice and wealth management.
Each year they host an annual awards evening, which showcases the UK’s best financial adviser businesses – firms who boasts an outstanding, client-focused and repeatable advice process, alongside their knowledge, skills, and commitment to client care.
For their 2021 virtual awards, in total, more than 200 advisers, firms and providers were under consideration.
Our business was nominated for the Best Client Engagement Award and Website of the Year, and we could not be prouder to confirm that we won the Best Client Engagement category.
What were the judges looking for and why do you think you won?
The panel of independent judges reviewed what we do here at Longhurst, why we do it, the ways we communicate with our clients, the ways we help them, what we focus on, and how we respond.
Our award entry included the information below, which covers some (but not all) of our client engagement approach:
- Our digital onboarding process and documentation.
- Personalised annual client meetings.
- Ad hoc ‘Hello Calls’ into each household,
- ‘Social lunches’ held at our expense.
- Birthday brownies and anniversary flowers.
- Free downloadable guides.
- Monthly newsletters and client postcards.
- Our MyLonghurst Mobile App.
- Longhurst Model Portfolio Service.
- ‘Enterprise’ – new employee financial wellbeing service.
- Giving every client access to their own complementary adventure/travel planner.
- Executive and life transitional coaching.
- Good giving planning service.
And in response to COVID we set up weekly videos that were sent to clients and connections; ‘Investment Lifeboat Drills’ postcards; ‘Thinking of You’ postcards; Zoom meetings for all annual reviews and meetings and a complementary 12-month Headspace meditation memberships.
We also distributed over 100 ‘The Happy Path’ and over 20 adult ‘Gratitude’ journals; we launched a weekly quiz, which is still going and we hosted a virtual springtime picnic party in aid of the NHS.
The judges commented that our approach to supporting our clients, especially during 2020, was clearly a natural extension of everything we already do here at Longhurst.
When we launched Longhurst we wanted to ensure that we built something that was provably different from your typical High Street IFA or wealth manager, not just in the way we charge (which is predominantly flat-fee based) but also in how we approached supporting our clients.
The Professional Adviser Award judges clearly agreed and as such awarded us the best firm in the UK to deal with from a client engagement perspective. It is truly humbling to say that out loud.
That is a great achievement but it’s not the only award you’ve recently been given. What else have you been up to?
Accreditations and awards are incredibly important to the Longhurst team. They not only provide us internal acknowledgement that we are on the right path as a business, but they also signal the same to the outside world.
If you spend any time looking at financial advisers’ websites, you will start to see a quite common theme in the narrative that they use, namely, that they are ‘refreshingly different’ and that ‘client outcomes sit at the very core’ of their business.
The question any investor should then be asking is – are they really that different and how can I be 100% sure that my household’s interests are really that important to them?
At Longhurst we choose to put our money where our mouth is and prove to those looking at our business that client outcomes do truly sit at our spiritual core as financial planners.
We did this by submitting our business (and myself) to a rigorous 12-month independent internal assessment, the outcome of which was the ISO 22222 certification.
ISO 22222 is an internationally agreed benchmark that assesses and awards financial planners who can demonstrate that they have the knowledge, skills, experience and ethical values to deliver a first-class service to their clients.
We are one of only a handful of UK financial planners to have ISO 22222. This was also the first time our business had been through this process, with the assessor privately revealing that Longhurst (and I as the financial planner under assessment) already sit in the top 10% of firms he’s ever assessed.
What does this award mean?
It means that we practice what we preach. And that when we say we put clients first, we can independently prove it.