It’s been five years since we launched Depledge from an empty office in Carrington Business Park. The journey from that starting point to where we are today has been challenging at times, but certainly very rewarding and successful.
Back in 2014 there was just the three of us; Andrew, Andrea, and Mike. We’re all still here, but the team now boasts an additional seven members to help support our clients.
From a standing start, we welcomed a number of clients in 2014. These initial clients came from our time as an advisory team embedded within HSBC Actuaries and Consultants Limited and then, for a short period, with a chartered firm in Altrincham.
By the end of the first year we were entrusted with looking after £50 million of assets for a range of long-standing clients. Today, we are trusted with over £130 million of funds under advice for around 300 family groups comprising of 850 people.
Our growth has been organic, concentrating on establishing long-term relationships with clients new and old. With a positive outlook, we’re in a position to keep pushing forward with our ambition to be considered a leading firm in our region. Our growth plans retain the strong ethics and client focus that we’ve strived to build the business around.
Since we launched, there’s been several changes in the world of financial services. From welcomed regulatory change, such as MiFID II which delivers greater protection for you and has improved transparency, to GDPR updating privacy and data protection laws. It’s meant a few updates for the way our back-office team operates but, ultimately, they’ve helped underpin our proposition, culture and core values:
- Being open about the way we carry out business and how we are remunerated
- Welcoming client feedback on a regular basis
- Encouraging all members of staff to continue their professional development
- Putting clients at the centre of our business
When it comes to investments, our philosophy, an eye on long-term financial planning, has helped steer client portfolios over the last five years. Managing investments in a changing environment can be challenging, but it’s a critical part of how we deliver value to clients.
Securing a spot in New Model Adviser’s Top 100 firms
Since the launch of Depledge, one of our biggest achievements has been securing a coveted spot on New Model Adviser’s Top 100 firms. It took us just a year to be named on the list of leading practices in the country, a standard we’ve upheld since. In fact, we’ve been among the top 100 for four out of the five years we’ve been operating.
The New Model Adviser award judges a wide range of areas when selecting firms, from contributing to best practices in the financial services industry to demonstrating a clear growth strategy. We were thrilled to first make the list in 2015, and it’s since become one of our benchmarks for success. The awards focus on long-term sustainability, creating a service that will continue to meet client needs for decades to come. An essential part of Depledge, this demonstrates that we’re on the right path.
We have also partnered with VouchedFor over the last five years. The website operates like TripAdvisor for people looking for advice and want to engage with financial advisers that have a good reputation. So far, over twenty clients have come to use our ongoing services having made an initial enquiry via this route. We continue to be very highly rated on the site and this is largely down to the excellent testimonials we have received over the last five years.
Next month, both of our advisers (Andrew Day and Adrian Mahon) will be featured in the Times newspaper.
We became a regulated firm on the 22nd January 2014, and on that day the FTSE 100 Index stood at 6826.33 points. It’s had a volatile journey since. At the time of writing, the FTSE 100 Index stands at 6887.33.
Above: Performance of FTSE 100 Index from January 2014 to January 2019.
The ups and downs of the FTSE 100 Index show the importance of the asset allocation work we do with clients. Through tailored strategies that favoured higher allocations to the US where appropriate, we’ve delivered healthy returns to our longer-term investors. A strategy that the performance of the Dow Jones, which measures the stock prices of the largest US companies, supports.
Chart showing the performance of Dow Jones Industrial Average from January 2014 – January 2019
This work will remain critical for the future as the threats and opportunities appear on a weekly basis. It is our role to concentrate on the investment fundamentals to plot a steady course for the future.
We have partnered with several firms over the five-year period and continue to reach out to other professionals and investment specialists to add depth to our work. We continue to buy investment research from a variety of specialists to assist us in compiling and updating our portfolios.
Our main partnership with Sense Network has remained since the outset. It continues to be a strong relationship which is described as providing ‘the rails upon which our business runs’. Sense performs a number of important back office functions for our business, including:
- Running our training and development programme
- Completing many accounting tasks on our behalf
- Reporting to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to meet our regulatory responsibilities
- Sense also spends a lot of time checking the work that we have completed, both before and after implementation, to add that additional reassurance for our business and all the clients using our services
Given that we have no debt in the business, have been able to secure competitive professional indemnity insurance in each year of operation and have kept a high standard of advice and back office systems whilst investing in technology, we have set a strong base for continuity going forward.
With five years under our belt, we’re already looking ahead at the next five as we continue to grow. We plan to become the go-to firm in the Manchester region, offering specialist Chartered Financial Planners to support your wealth management and lifestyle aspirations.
Over the coming years, you can expect our dedicated team to continue expanding. But don’t worry; our ethos and the way work will always remain the same.
Our commitment to offering clients wealth management services of the highest standard is at the core of our business. We’ll continue to work flexibly, ensuring we offer clients tailored and efficient strategies that reflect their wider goals, from exiting a business to planning for retirement.
So, as we celebrate the last five years, we also toast to the next chapter and want to thank you for being part of the journey so far.