Hi I’m Carl and I’ve been working in financial services for over 12 years helping people really live their life by achieving financial freedom. If you don’t know what financial freedom means it’s never having to work for money again. You earn an income from your savings, investments, pensions and business that keeps paying you forever……even while you sleep!
It’s a job I’ve always loved but I’ve always worked for a boss. Recently I’ve felt the time was right to build my own financial planning company and make it the best ever. This is the story of how RTS Financial Planning was built.
Before even starting the company there were a number of things that needed to be in place:
- Money – every company working in financial services has to be profitable and financially secure. Therefore the financial services regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), impose strict rules around capital adequacy. This basically means a financial planning firm needs to maintain at least £20,000 in it’s company bank account at all times.
- Qualifications and experience – in order to provide financial advice to clients you must be registered and approved by the FCA. This is effectively a license. They won’t even consider you without being level 4 qualified which is effectively the same level as A Levels. Luckily I have spent years studying and passing exams to become one of the most qualified advisers in the country. I’m level 6 Chartered Financial Planner which is equivalent to degree standard. I also have a law degree but I’ll never stop until I am the most qualified in the country!
- Business plan – For any new business to survive you need a good idea, clients and a well thought out plan.
Once all of the above was sorted I proudly registered RTS Financial Planning Ltd with Companies House on valentine’s day 2017. What a present for my wife eh! The service provider I used to register with Companies House were promoting a free business banking offer with Barclays so I made an appointment with Barclays to set this up.
This was the first frustration, dealing with banks! What should have taken a few days to set up took a few weeks. I had to go for an interview with the bank manager which was more like an interrogation and because my business was dealing with finance I had to go through all sorts of money laundering checks. They wanted all sorts of proof as to where my capital adequacy funding was coming from which meant lots of printing of bank statements and ID checks. Eventually it was sorted and step one done.
The next step was making sure I was able to get professional indemnity insurance. This means that should my firm ever get into financial difficulties and be unable to payout on a potential claim that clients would be covered. This is really important insurance and offers great protection for clients. I’m pleased to say this was a fairly simple process and I was able to get cover in place for up to £1.7 million. However this comes at a significant cost to the business and only increases in price the more clients we take on.
Then it was time for the biggy, the FCA application. The application that would determine whether the firm could actually become authorised to give advice. Wow! I have never seen so many separate application forms, templates to complete and questions to answer. A lot of the rules seemed like they were written in a foreign language.
I spent weeks on this when I could whilst still working full time and helping my wife look after our newborn baby girl as I knew the importance of getting it right first time. The FCA charge you a nonrefundable fee of £1,500 just to submit the application and tell you whether it is complete or not. If it is complete they are then allowed to take up to 6 months to review it. My family and I had to go through criminal record checks, credit checks and financial competency checks. Luckily, because the application was so complete I was approved within a few weeks after submitting and the company name now proudly sits on the FCA register under firm reference number 772054.
So I’m ready to go, the website is live and I can’t wait to show off my proposition and become the best ever financial planning firm.
If you are looking for financial advice or already use a financial planner/adviser why not ask them their story, check their insurance cover and make sure they are FCA regulated. If not they could be breaking the law! We are currently supporting the Personal Finance Society to help get rid of scammers so please let us know if you come across a company you don’t think is quite right and we’ll make sure the relevant authorities look at them. To help, independent advisory directory Unbiased have created an ‘Adviser Checklist’ which you can use to help ask the right questions of any adviser you see.
You can download the list here: https://www.unbiased.co.uk/valueofadvice/adviserchecklist . If you want to try it on us, you are more than welcome!
Stock market linked investments and any income from them, can fall as well as rise and is not guaranteed. Any figures quoted are for illustrative purposes and should not be taken as a forecast or guarantee. Past performance should not be seen as an indication of future returns and clients may get back less than they have invested.