Posted on 28th March, 2023

Episode 3: Talking St. James’s Place Wealth Management (SJP) with Mike Holmes

In This Episode…

This is the third episode of the Visibility Agency Business and Marketing Podcast.

In this episode, we speak with Mike Holmes, Financial Planner at Ryley Wealth Management which is part of St. James’s Place Wealth Management (SJP). We talk about his career journey so far and about how he became gripped on his mission to make a difference to people’s lives by enabling them to make better financial decisions.

He’ll reveal how a financial planning company such as Ryley Wealth Management operates in reality and he gives his take on how people should invest for the future.

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In today’s episode, I speak to Mike Holmes, financial planner at Riley Wealth Management, which is a managing partner practice of St. James’ Place. They are located in Nottingham and have been in operation since 1999. We talk about his career journey so far and about how he became gripped on his mission to make a difference to people’s lives by enabling them to make better financial decisions. We discuss the financial sector as a whole and how he’s able to manage the portfolios of his clients in a world that seems to be ever changing. In our conversation, he’ll reveal how a financial planning company such as Riley Wealth Management operates in reality, and he gives his take on how people should invest for the future. All of that coming up. Welcome to the Visibility Agency Business and Marketing Podcast. Hello and welcome to episode 3 of the Visibility Business and Marketing Podcast. I’m joined today with Mike. Please introduce yourself, Mike.

Hi guys, I’m Mike Holmes and I’m a financial planner at Riley Wealth Management. Awesome, thanks so much. So yeah, Mike’s joined us today and he’s going to talk a little bit about what he does, his journey in his career. Just for the audience, you know, me and Mike go a long way back. We met at school together, didn’t we? We’ve known each other a long time, but it’s been a while since we’ve spoken. Yeah, it’s been too long to be honest, George. Absolutely. Yeah, I agree. But we’ve had a catch up recently and I thought it would be good to get you involved because I know you’ve got a lot of good things to say and a lot of value that you can bring to our audience. So yeah, it’ll be interesting to hear about your journey and everything. So thanks for taking the time. So Mike, firstly, please introduce yourself a little bit and tell us about what you do day to day and what you do outside work. Yeah, so I’m a financial planner at Raleigh Wealth Management. I’ve been in the industry for around about a decade now. I know a few clients that I’ve just paper round, but you know, just good skin, that’s all it is. In terms of the day-to-day job, I meet with existing clients, we review their circumstances to ensure that what they’ve got with us remains suitable and that it remains in line with exactly what it is that they want to do with it and with their goals. Obviously, you know, client circumstances, they change year to year, day to day, some clients. So it’s important that we do review them to make sure that it remains in line with everything pretty much. I obviously meet with new clients as well. You know, as the days go by, I’d probably say probably 80% of new clients have done a bit of background or at least some kind of self-investing and that’s fantastic because it elicits new conversations and different conversations client to client. Each client has their own thoughts, their own preferences. So it keeps me on my toes and keeps me fresh, which is great. And that’s why you’re looking so young. So tell us a little bit about what you do outside of work and then we’ll get into Riley Wealth Management in a bit more detail. So yeah, maybe let’s touch on this. Yeah, so I’m sure as you’re very aware, I’m a very keen Chelsea fan, lifelong Chelsea fan. My dad brought me up well. I try and watch them as much as possible. But I’m a big lover of sports. It’s a huge passion of mine. So I’ve got into American football over the last five or six years. A couple of late nights, that one. But I try and keep up to date with it as much as possible. And we’ve got a little dog as well. We’ve got a rescue dog. She’s a whip here. She’s called Clover. She takes up quite a lot of my time when I’m at home and not seeing clients. And sometimes she does make herself heard in meetings and interviews and over podcasts such as this. So if you do hear from her, I apologize, George, but there’s not much I can do about it.

No problem. Nice. Yeah. I mean, it’s unfortunate you’re a Chelsea fan, but, you know, we invite you on anyway. That’s fine. We have to keep an even hand, let’s say. So, okay, tell me a little bit about the company that you work for, Riley Wealth Management. Tell me kind of a little bit about what they do, like specifically who they help, what’s kind of your, the main kind of core people that you help and how you help them. That would be interesting.

Sure, so I joined Riley’s startup last year, January 2022, and the practice was founded in 1999, so quite a way back, by our CEO, David Riley. Since we were first founded, we’ve obviously grown, and now we offer quite a comprehensive range of services, so in all manner of different people. So that can be business owners, retail clients, professional clients, sportsmen, et cetera. The team at Rileys is made up of financial planners like myself, our planners who do a lot of the research and all the technical work behind the scenes and writing the reports. They also deal with compliance. There’s managers obviously and administrators as well. And everyone pulls together to do an absolutely fantastic job. At the heart of everything is obviously our clients, at the forefront of everything that we do. And in total, in terms of staff, there’s just over 40 of us at the moment, but there’s a few others that have recently joined, so that number is growing. Okay so we’re going to come back to the company a little bit later on with a bit more detail in terms of challenges and things but let’s talk about you Mike. So about your career, maybe you’d like to touch on a little bit of like where you’ve come from in terms of your career and how did you get to the position you’re in. So because a lot of people listening you know they they kind of potentially might want to get into the financial industry, they might want to learn a bit more about what it takes to get there. But it’s also interesting for business owners as well, just to learn about your journey. So tell them a little bit about that. Sure. So when I left school, I essentially had a choice to go one of two ways. It was either business and finance, because I enjoyed the business side of schooling, or it was sport. And as I’ve already mentioned, sport is a huge passion of mine. And when I spoke to family members at the time, they said, follow your passion. Do what you want to do as a young kid. So I did. Went to university. Did a degree in sports science. Got borderline 2-1 first at the University of Bedfordshire, and absolutely loved it, it was fantastic. Unfortunately when I came out of university I kind of realised it wasn’t the sector that I wanted to go into for numerous reasons, but also a close family member of mine made quite a bad decision with some money and I wanted to know why and what they’d done and learn a little bit more about it. So I kind of went back to my schooling days and thought you know you enjoyed business, you enjoyed finance back in school, so why not kind of tie those two things together and learn a bit about where my family member went wrong. So I did a bit of research into the industry and managed to get a job as a graduate financial advisor. What that meant was that I joined the company, went in there as a lower level power planner in the office, spending a few years learning all about the industry, getting some experience on the map out, doing my qualifications and also going out with advisors to meet clients but not give advice. So it’s more in a passive sense. I just kind of went out into the meetings for the experience. I found that… Yeah, those early years in terms of coming in with kind of limited knowledge, was that just a big learning curve and just listening a lot? Yeah, huge. And I learned at that point very early in my career that every single client is different. You know whilst the solutions for clients can be fairly similar, client to client, whether or not that be an ISA or a pension or whatever it might be, every client is different and it’s important for advisors, our planners, administrators, anyone in the industry to really understand that, you know, really get down to the bottom of what makes that client tick and what keeps them up at night as well. Because if we can match those two things together and stop those worries and meet client goals, then for me, brilliant, you know, it’s fantastic. that role and I worked my way through the business and became a full-time power planner in the role, which was doing all the research, writing reports for all the advisors. I moved from that company and became more of a senior member of the power planning team at a new firm and there built a number of specialisms. I specialized in providing pension advice or helping advisors provide pension advice. And looking at the technical aspect of pensions and investments, because they can become quite technical for certain clients. Whilst I was there, I sat on the investment committee and managed 23 million pounds in client assets directly with fund managers. That for me was absolutely brilliant experience. Absolutely fantastic because in my, stressful, yeah, very stressful. But it was fun, you know, I enjoyed it. I enjoy numbers. I enjoyed that side of the industry as well. So, you know, to have that experience in my belt of going out with advisors and seeing clients and that personal side, but then also getting, you know, what was probably two years experience sat in an investment committee, managing client funds directly with the fund managers and meeting fund managers and seeing what they do day-to-day built phenomenal experience for me, absolutely phenomenal it was. I specialized on the investment committee in fixed interest or bonds and probably heard in the news very recently about bonds, Bank of England and the Quartain budget. But yeah, that kind of side of things really, really drove me and really helped me become the advisor that I know. John, John. And when you’ve got that background and that standing and you’ve learned from other people, you know, in our industry, for example, when we’re speaking to clients, the more knowledge we have, the more clients we work with, the more we’re able to provide a better service. So I imagine that some of that applies in the financial sector too. Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. You know, you know, we’ve all seen what’s happened since COVID. There’s been quite a lot of market movements since COVID. And some clients that really worries them. And it’s my job to really hit home with those clients and explain to them in a completely normal way, jargon free, what’s happened, why it’s happened and what the impact is. And most clients aren’t too bothered about why it’s happened. All they want to know is what’s happened and what’s the impact to me. And if you can tie those two things up and explain to a client that it’s always, it always comes down to good planning, which is what we aim to do, and taking that long-term approach. And then obviously, at the start of last year, I’ve not looked back. Now, meeting clients day to day, hearing clients’ thoughts, dealing with client queries, it’s absolutely brilliant. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, when you help people, you get this good feeling. And I imagine that’s one of the reasons you like working with clients, I certainly wouldn’t change that. So in terms of, and you’ve kind of briefly touched on this, but in terms of the industry in general, what kind of would you say is the most interesting and unique part of the industry? Probably how vast it is, to be honest. The industry of financial services is monumental. It’s huge. You’ve got credit services, you’ve got mortgages, investing, pensions. You could probably bring citizens advice into that with guidance. You’ve got state pensions as well. You’ve got commercial lending, commercial investing, business side of finances with turnover. And of course, you’ve got protection with life insurance group, life insurance, critical illness. It’s huge and it’s vast. And often, you know, you’ll find an advisor that specializes in one of those things, maybe two of those things, because it’s incredibly hard to keep all of that knowledge in your head at one time with all those services and all those things we can provide. So you know, you’ll often find that advisors will have that niche, and that could be investing, that could be pensions, it could be inheritance tax planning. But one of the good things about being part of St. James’ Place is that they have fantastic technical support. So if I, you know, I like to think I’ve got incredibly good knowledge around most areas in financial services, but if a client asks me a question that I’m not too sure of or it’s not on the top of my head, I’ll be very, very upfront. And I’ll say, if I’m honest, I’m not too upfront. I’m not too afraid with that. But what I will do, and what I’m able to do, is go away, ring technical at St. James’s Place, who can often pick up the phone straight away. They give you an incredibly complex and comprehensive answer. And then you’re able to deliver that back to the client, almost the same day. So it’s something that the client understands and that’s why your relationship comes in. Exactly that. So it’s absolutely fantastic that the industry is so big, but it’s also really important that you’ve got that support network behind you as an advisor to be able to continue to provide such a brilliant service to clients.

Yeah, absolutely. In terms of when we have, you know, digital marketing is a huge place too. And when we don’t know the answers to things, we have to take the same approach. But with you, you’ve got that support. With us, we have to do our own research, which can take time. But, you know, we get the answer eventually. But that’s good that you can provide that level of service and get that answer as, you know, fairly quickly to them so then they can make those decisions. Because I suppose, you know, we’re not going to be able to do that. But we do have a lot of people who are, you know, we’re not going to be able to do that. And I think that’s a big part of the reason why we’re doing this. And I think that’s a big part of the reason why we’re doing this.

And I think that’s a big part of the reason why we’re doing this.

And I think that’s a big part of the reason why we’re doing this. And I think that’s a big part of the reason why we’re doing this. And I think that’s a big part of the reason why we’re doing this. And I think that’s a big part of the reason why we’re doing this.

And I think that’s a big part of the reason why we’re doing this. And I think that’s a big part of the reason why we’re doing this.

And I think that’s a big part of the reason why we’re doing this.

And I think that’s a big part of the reason why we’re doing this. And I think that’s a big part of the reason why we’re doing this. And I think that’s a big part of the reason why we’re doing this. that answer as you know fairly quickly to them so then they can make those decisions because I suppose time is probably time is money as they say so it’s important to be able to make those decisions maybe quickly but with the full knowledge behind that it’s the right decision I suppose. Exactly that, exactly that and you know you can I could have I could have six, seven, eight, nine, ten queries from clients. And if each of those is taking me a day or two to find out the answer by doing my own research, well that’s not providing a very good service as far as I’m concerned. Whereas if I can find the answer out in a 15-minute phone call with Technical, because of the support that they provide, then that service then knocks on to the clients and I’m able to provide that much higher level service because of that. That’s great, that’s great. In terms of then the big biggest challenges that you face kind of in your career in general and potentially in your role at the moment, what would you say those kind of challenges are or maybe the biggest, you’ve got to pick one actually, sorry. Yeah so it’s difficult to pick one. There’s been a lot of challenges over the last 10 years. But for me right now, the biggest challenge is probably something that none of us can control, and that’s investment markets. We’ve seen, not only in this country, but globally, worldwide, investment markets struggled following COVID. OK? And there’s kind of a double-edged sword, really. We always talk about spreading risk and diversification when it comes to managing client money. But when you go through the period that we’ve had in the last two to three years, it’s incredibly hard to provide growth, ongoing growth, in those kinds of circumstances. A lot of clients found that in 2020, the year of COVID, that that portfolio has pretty much remained stable and they saw no growth, which was fine because we all knew what we were going through in 2020 and nowhere was open and we were unable to spend money apart from going online, doing some online shopping. And then 2021, we’d obviously all saved a lot of money and we’re able to go out and spend it and enjoy ourselves following that. But this last year, I keep saying this year, we’re 2022, last year, last year, last year was incredibly difficult for markets. You know, we still, you know, we had the unfortunate, incredibly unfortunate invasion of Ukraine and multiple things that happened in this country. And then also other things that happened around the world with inflation, gas oil prices, and of course, China have only recently opened up following COVID. So when you tie all those things together, diversification is a piece kind of gets hit. Okay, and it’s incredibly hard to find that growth, but what things, what past performance tells us and past performance is absolutely no indication of future performance, that over the long term, if you’re invested well, you should benefit from growth. But of course, with falls comes rises and with rises comes falls. And it’s just all about that, whatever you’re comfortable with is where you should be invested. And nothing is guaranteed when it comes to performance. Yeah a lot of factors combined together over the recent years with COVID and Brexit and all those other things you mentioned. Yeah I mean we saw that with a number of clients in terms of you know e-commerce we can very easily see the statistics on that and you know in 2021 we’ll have the money to spend with the furlough relief for example and therefore consumer spending was quite high and into 2022 which is last year although I keep saying, but it’s still busy. We saw across the board that that was down and that’s just a trend. It’s about how you can navigate people and your clients through that and it’s the same with our clients. We have to navigate that, we have to adapt to the changes and do the best job we can and think about long term with everything. It’s the same as with digital marketing. Long term tends to be the way to go. Although clients always want returns as quickly as possible. Yeah, you know, it’s only natural for us. You know, if we’re spending money or investing money, we often want something back from that. And we’re impatient creatures. And that’s kind of where I come in, in that, you know, if anyone does make any kind of investment with us or their existing clients, they have that service, that ongoing service, where they can contact us at any time and we can have a chat through what any concerns are and hopefully alleviate those concerns. Okay, so let’s move on. In terms of the best part of your job, what would you say that is? Yeah, this is a really easy one. So going back to when I first came into the industry, because the family made a mistake with their money. Okay, so the thing that gets me out of bed in the morning is stopping people making mistakes with their money. So, and that really is the crux of what I do. If I can stop people from making very easy mistakes with their money, whether or not that be poor decisions on investing, poor tax strategies, or talking about opening a pension, for example. A lot of people haven’t even done that, especially our age group and our kind of generation. If I can stop people making mistakes with their money, then as far as I’m concerned, that job’s done. And it goes back to the idea of helping people and feeling good. Exactly. If you’ve had issues in the past that you feel like you want to help people with, then that’s a really good thing. In terms of people getting into the financial planning industry, what would you say is some advice you would give for the next generation? Is there something that you would have done differently to kind of get to where you are sooner? What kind of advice would you give to the next generation? Because I know if I look back at the younger me, I would have done a lot of different things sooner than I’ve since learned.

So I’m sure you’ve got some.

Yeah. The big one for me, OK, is within this industry, you can do your qualifications and you can jump into advising. You could go away, spend however long it takes to do your qualifications and you could become a financial planner. The best piece of advice I can give to anyone that’s new coming into into the industry is to take your time and to learn your craft. To go back to how I started in the industry with, you know, I was fortunate enough to go out in meetings with advisors and, you know, they were able to, you know, give me that experience was incredibly valuable. And then moving on to a more specialist area of the power planning and technical research side of things, the knowledge that I built up in those years was fantastic. And then also having the opportunity to sit on the investment committee as well. Now, all this experience has made me into the planner that I am today. And if I hadn’t have taken my time, and if I hadn’t have learned my craft, then I would never have had that experience and I’d never have been the advisor that I am today. And some people can jump straight in. But it’s important that sometimes you do sit back and you do take a look at yourself and have a look in the mirror. And you think to yourself, what’s going to work best for me? How can I, over the next 20, 30, 40 years of my career, be the best planner that I can be? What’s the best way I can give the best service to clients? And for me, it was taking my time, and it was learning my craft. And in terms of that side of things, I wouldn’t change anything. So, I mean, learning off other people is really important, and clearly that’s helped you to get where you are. In terms of the new generation, a lot of people want remote jobs. Like, I have my views on remote working and, you know, the younger generation in terms of being able to learn these core skills. How do you see it in terms of that?

Because it’s a completely different landscape these days.

Yes. So our industry could go one of three ways as far as I’m concerned. planners or advisors prior to COVID it was a very very on the road face-to-face job. Okay now if you’ve got to travel two hours to go and see somebody and then two hours home that’s six hours out of your day and when you get home you could have 20 emails from different clients that all want you to do x y and z which is absolutely fine it’s great but that travel time affects the impact on other clients, okay, and it affects the service that you can give to other clients. So for me it comes down to what the clients prefer, okay, so some clients, often business owners that I deal with, often aren’t too bothered about meeting me face to face and they’re quite happy to do it over Teams or Zoom or Google Meet or whatever it might be. Some clients that have been existing clients for a number of years, they just want to have a telephone chat. It could be a telephone chat, and then if they need anything, then they’ll get in contact with us and ask me to come over, which is absolutely fine as well. And then, of course, you’ve got some clients which want to meet you face to face. They want to see who you are. They want to shake your hand. They want to have that personal touch, which again is brilliant. For me, I love meeting people. I love getting out and I love meeting people. But it is that fine balance. It is always that fine balance between providing the best service and providing that personal touch with going out and seeing people. But But it is great to walk into someone’s house and see what life they lead. Nice. But a nice hybrid approach, I think, is kind of a good approach too, in terms of being able to support everyone like you say and still provide a good service. Okay, so we’re getting close to the end now. In terms of your final message to listeners and viewers on YouTube. What would you say is maybe a bit of advice you could give or you know just final words in terms of you know their wealth and you know Alex you do this. Sure so obviously prices are rising at the moment aren’t they? You know we’re seeing it in this Inflation is at 10.5% for December. And pretty much everyone’s feeling the pinch. Okay, no matter who you are, you know, the cost of a basket of food is rising, cost of a tank of petrol currently falling, but given 12 months ago, it’s rising. You know, pints of milk is rising. But for me, it’d be just to take stock and maybe just take an hour out every month just to find out and just figure out where you are with your spending and with your saving. Because it’s a fine balance. And in the current situation, in the current markets of where we are at the moment, not everybody can save. Not everyone is fortunate enough to save. And if you’re able to save what could be, I don’t know, six quid instead of going to the deliverer, go and pick your takeaway up, that’s six quid in three months time, could be 18, could be 36, depending on how many takeaways you have. Those kinds of savings, they make the difference. They make the real difference when it comes down to it. And it’s more around that as well as picking, doing a bit of research and picking out what could be the best offer out there, whether or not it comes down to current accounts, saving account, that kind of thing. But probably the best advice I can take is not let your money get away from you. Now, if you can avoid those overdrafts, if you can avoid those loans, fantastic, do it. And just take that hour, it might be even on a Sunday when the road’s in, just take that hour to just figure out where you are, what you spend and what you can spend and just go from there. Awesome, okay, thank you for that. In terms of if somebody wants to get in touch with

you Mike, how would they be able to do that, what’s the best way?

Yes, so you can go on our website, I’m also on LinkedIn as well, so you can find me on there as well. But absolutely, it’d be great. We’ll add your content details into the show notes, so people can go and visit the description and click through to the website and get in touch with you, Mike. Thank you very much, Mike, for taking the time today and for talking to me and yeah all the best with your career and all the best through this Thank you very much, Mike, for taking the time today and for talking to me and yeah all the best with your career and all the best through this period and support your class. Cheers George, thanks for having me on. Cheers.

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