Full disclosure (about me)

As my disclaimer states, I am not a regulated financial adviser, so cannot provide specific financial or investment advice.

Moreover, since there are no universally-recognised qualifications for financial coaches, there is no piece of paper I can wave to demonstrate my credentials. Instead I publish widely and coach exclusively by recommendation. If you have navigated to this page, it is more than likely that you either know me personally, have been recommended by a friend or have been directed from our radio show or financial columns.

I have worked in finance for over thirty five years and began my career in pensions administration. I write a regular column on Wealth for Bloomberg and my wife and I present a personal finance radio show called Money, Money, Money on Switch Radio [link]. In addition I sit on numerous pension, audit and finance committees, principally in the education and finance sectors.

Despite my experience, I have no desire to be a financial adviser. The administrative and regulatory burden is significant and growing. The Port Talbot pension scandal [link] and opaque charging structures meanwhile show that there is still much soul-searching to be done by advisers and regulators alike.

In any case financial advice is not an option for many who might benefit most. In 2019 Canada Life found that only 16% of advisers would take on a client with assets of less than £100,000. As recently as 2014 that figure was 50%. This “advice gap” is getting bigger not smaller, not helped by the number of advisers out there shrinking every year since at least 2016.

Yet the need for help has never been greater. The closure of most final salary pension schemes and the devastating impact of low interest rates on annuity incomes mean that people bear all the risk and responsibility of providing for their retirements. It is a daunting prospect, especially if there’s nobody out there that you feel you can turn to for help.

Personal financial education is a passion of mine and whilst money can’t buy you love, financial literacy can make an enormous difference to your life. I am very grateful for that and wish more people to gain the confidence to engage with their own finances. If you explain to people how things work and allow them to ask all the questions they like, most of the time it becomes pretty clear what they should do, without the need for expensive advice.

A vital first step in engaging with your finances is trust and being open and honest is the best way I know of building that trust. This is why I want to make sure that you understand precisely who and what I am and what I can and cannot do.

Most importantly though, I firmly believe that personal finance doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated and it certainly doesn’t have to be intimidating. Most of the time people just need a little help!