Having launched their financial planning firm Spectrum Wealth Group in the UK despite the nationwide Covid lockdown, Paul McFadyen and Nadeen Watson are now celebrating two years of strong growth. As a result, effective March 8, the company is relocating to larger offices at its current address at Turnberry House, West George Street.
“Paul and I anticipated a rough start when we first opened our doors in March 2021,” says Watson.
“The whole country was gripped by the pandemic and a year later it was clear that the UK would face inflation rates that had not been seen in at least 40 years,” she says.
However, McFadyen and Watson’s determination to help clients stay calm in difficult times, while providing them with sound investment and long-term savings advice, proved a winning approach. The business has grown spectacularly over the past two years and the recent move to a larger office suite will provide much needed space for further growth.
“When we launched the office in March 2021, we had a strong belief that we could make a positive difference for our clients, but we had no idea how quickly the business would grow,” recalls McFadyen. In fact, the firm’s approach resonated well with its clients and the firm quickly grew through word of mouth.
“We invested heavily in making our original space comfortable and welcoming for customers and employees. But two years later, we simply outgrew our office. Our new home will allow us to continue to grow as our team continues to grow,” notes Watson.
The company has now reached the point where Watson and McFadyen are actively seeking a third, experienced financial planner. “This is an absolutely vital step for us to grow the business and service we offer our customers. Nadeen and I have a great working relationship.
“We worked together in our previous roles before founding Spectrum, so we know finding someone who can fit comfortably into our team will be a challenge. However, the high customer demand we are experiencing makes it imperative to grow the business,” he says.
The fact that demand has increased to this point speaks strongly to how McFadyen and Watson have been able to successfully guide the firm’s clients through two years which have been very beneficial for stock markets and investment houses around the world by any measure were difficult.
“What we emphasize to our clients more than anything else is that saving for retirement or a long-term goal is about understanding that you’re investing over a period of years,” says Watson.
The Spectrum Wealth Group team places great importance on learning and understanding their clients’ goals and how to achieve them
“The minimum investment horizon we should consider is five years. However, many of our customers still have a decade or more before they think about retirement. Our advice is always to put aside any doubts and fears that may arise from looking at the morning media headlines.
“In the long term, the fluctuations and smaller price crises will become less important. What’s important is that you stay focused on your long-term goals and know where you stand in relation to those goals,” says Watson.
McFadyen points out that figuring out for yourself what level of income you need to meet your long-term goals can be an enormous challenge. That is why the law firm attaches great importance to really getting to know and understanding the goals and wishes of its clients.
Watson adds that it’s equally important to keep a close eye on any changes that may impact those goals. “Lifetime cash flow modeling is essential to a proper financial plan and a key element of the decision-making process. This is a specialty of our Technical Manager Ryan Rogan who creates and presents cash flow forecasts for each of our clients. It’s not uncommon that people are actually better off than they thought when it comes to thinking about early retirement, for example,” she says.
At the same time, societal expectations of retirement are changing profoundly. The traditional approach to retirement, where you retire on a Friday and leave the world of work behind forever, is gone.
“What is now becoming apparent in discussions with customers is that more and more people are thinking about a kind of semi-retirement. They are very open to the idea of doing less, for example exercising a few days a week rather than every day.
“Employers, too, are much more willing to work on ways to retain the services of valued employees and partners now that the war for talent is heating up. Part-time work options are very much on the table and this can have profound implications for the income levels needed to live comfortably in old age,” comments McFadyen.
Another thing that makes it very difficult for customers to gauge exactly where they are in relation to their long-term goals is that many people actually have multiple annuities.
These are typically acquired over the years as people change jobs throughout their careers. Working out how best to use them and when requires careful planning.
“These agreements can often be an important bridge, bridging the gap between when a customer retires and when they begin their state pension,” says Watson. The statutory retirement age continues to rise and will no doubt rise to 70 and over in the coming years. For anyone looking to retire before the statutory retirement age or to limit their working life, having a suitable plan is crucial.
- An annuity is a long-term investment and value is not guaranteed. Any advice or consideration is personal to each person’s circumstances
Customers can build on a wealth of specialist knowledge
FROM its inception, Spectrum Wealth Group directors have emphasized the importance of building strong, long-term relationships with the firm’s clients.
Half of that is the regular review and planning meetings that Paul McFadyen and Nadeen Watson hold with their clients.
The other half is the support provided to customers by the company’s support team, Angela Vickers and Alisha Wright, along with the company’s CTO, Ryan Rogan.
McFadyen points out that the company is already in the process of training a third relationship manager as part of its expansion.
Spectrum Wealth Group professionals have achieved great success over the past two years
“Claire McGill has been with us for a year as a Business Assistant but has progressed to the point where we are now promoting her to Client Relationship Manager. So we’re also looking for someone to take Claire’s place as our assistant.
Watson adds that the firm is just as passionate about building great relationships with its employees as it is about building long-term client partnerships.
“Our people are absolutely critical to our business.
“We’re a team here and everyone plays a crucial role in providing our customers with exemplary service,” she says.
To help clients get to know the team, McFadyen and Watson in the UK hosted a series of informal cheese and wine nights at their office once lockdown ended.
“It was great for everyone to get to know the whole team. We have evolved to complement these evenings with short formal presentations on hot investment topics,” says Watson.
“This year we are launching a series of in-depth presentations. We invite fund managers from our panel, whose experience and expertise we value, to introduce themselves to our clients.
“The informal meetings went very well and moving to a more formal seminar approach will allow us to provide training and insight into investment decision making and what is actually happening behind the scenes.”
Watson and McFadyen are very proud that Spectrum recently completed an intensive two year business development course which resulted in the company achieving British Standard BS 8577.
“The aim of BS 8577 is to establish standards of excellence for consulting firms involved in financial planning. It requires the organization to have an operational framework that allows for consistency between policies and procedures. This affects everything from risk management to staff recruitment to how the firm treats its clients.
“We’re really proud to be able to demonstrate this validation of excellence,” says Watson.
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