Bishop's Stortford financial planners GQ Wealth Management move to bigger premises due to growth
Helping its clients based in the UK, Europe and beyond get the most out of their money has seen Bishop's Stortford-based GQ Wealth Management enjoy a rapid growth spurt.
The financial planners moved to new premises at Ducketts Wharf last month having outgrown its office in The Causeway.
It has grown from having approximately five members of staff a year ago to now being a 12-strong team dedicated to giving clients high-quality personal advice on many aspects of wealth management. It is also celebrating its 10th anniversary under the name GQ Wealth Management.
The company's financial director Philip Mitchelmore and four others originally formed Gilmour Quinn in 1993. They combined their love of Pink Floyd – David Gilmour found fame as the band's guitarist and vocalist – and the fact there were five of them in the company to come up with the name.
It operated successfully for 10 years in London's Chancery Lane before the partners went their separate ways and Mitchelmore set up as GQ Independent in Sawbridgeworth, where he has lived for 30 years.
Having moved the business to Bishop's Stortford in 2008, Mitchelmore became an Appointed Representative of City-based
St. James's Place Wealth Management in 2009. A mutual contact then put him in touch with Leigh Barnett, who had also recently become an Appointed Representative of St. James's Place, which is a FTSE 100 company, having worked in bancassurance and run a successful practice as a stockbroker and financial adviser, and they decided to partner up as GQ Wealth Management.
And the business has grown thanks not only to their success but also due to acquiring other financial planners and subsequently needing more support staff in order to maintain their high level of service.
"We're a team of 12 and we're growing, so we bring all different skill sets and experience," said managing director Barnett, who achieved chartered financial planner status in 2016.
"We have all the fantastic resources and training courses at St. James's Place as well, and we really encourage our team to go on all of those to enhance their knowledge. It's all about development.
"St. James's Place totally excels at its quality of documentation and so does GQ. That's a big foundation for what we do."
St. James's Place guarantees the suitability of the advice given by members of the St. James's Place Partnership when recommending any of the wealth management products and services available from companies in the Group, more details of which are available at www.sjp.co.uk/products.
GQ Wealth Management, which was initially based at Kenburgh Court when first in Stortford, has a wide range of clients.
And its growth has also been down to wanting to help people get the advice they need following the financial crisis of 2008.
"The financial crisis is over 10 years ago now, but straight afterwards the bancassurance and financial institutions stopped having a lot of their financial advisers in house and in branches," said Barnett, 42, who is married with two children and lives in Buntingford.
"That left a lot of people not knowing where to go for advice having always trusted their bank. They'd go into the branch and there'd be nobody to see, but they'd still have their investments and wealth.
"There was an opportunity for us to help them and we're more client-centric. We're about building long-term relationships and holistic solutions.
"We've got a really diverse range of clients, hence bringing in more advisers and support staff.
"We can be dealing with retired individuals and couples who have built their wealth and want to know their money will outlive them, and we can be dealing with businesses and their MD, CEO and directors and also their employees."
Being part of the community and giving something back is also important to GQ Wealth Management.
Having supported the likes of Grove Cottage in the past, the company is currently fundraising for Archie's Journey to help three-year-old Archie Wilks, who was named Child of Courage at last month's Indies Awards, receive specialist treatment for a rare childhood cancer called neuroblastoma.
Mitchelmore, 58, is also a member of Bishop's Stortford Golf Club – he competes on the UK Seniors Golf Association scratch tour – and the married grandfather's three sons went to Leventhorpe School.
"Bishop's Stortford is a great fit for us," said Barnett. "It's a growing town with a lot of good businesses and different demographics, and we can be in the City within 36 minutes.
"We're also close to the M11 and the M25, and all of our team work here and are locally based. It ticks all the boxes."
As well as supporting charities and being keen to ensure all of their staff take advantage of development opportunities, GQ Wealth Management wants to help potential future clients start out on the right path. By going into schools to give talks on financial planning, it wants to ensure the next generation make sensible choices went it comes to money.
"I wasn't very good with my money in my university days and remember getting a real ticking off from my mum for spending my student loan in the first term," said Barnett.
"We know the state pension is getting further away in age, there aren't the final salary pensions within companies and, the way the UK workforce is now, employees don't have one job for life. Moving more frequently seems to be the new trend.
"By going into schools to talk to the pupils and give them some key points hopefully will help them learn the importance of looking after their money and planning for the future.
"We want them to understand the importance of starting to plan now so they're not having to play catch-up in the future or be in a lot of trouble in later years when their children are less financially dependent and they've only got a little time to build up their wealth."
* The value of an investment with St. James's Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds selected and may fall as well as rise. You may get back less than the amount invested.
* GQ Wealth Management Ltd is an Appointed Representative of and represents only St. James's Place Wealth Management plc (which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority) for the purpose of advising solely on the Group's wealth management products and services, more details of which are set out on the Group's website www.sjp.co.uk/products. The title 'Partner Practice' is the marketing term used to describe St. James's Place representatives.