The second in our series looking back at the careers of some members of the Chancellor team
Dave is now our Business Development Manager, having previously been a member of our advisory team. We take a brief look at how he joined the financial services industry back in 1979.
After completing my A Levels,which included Business Studies, at sixth form college I had no firm ideas as to the career path that I wanted to follow. I had been through a few interviews with different companies, but in the late 1970s it wasn’t particularly easy to get a job. I wasn’t really interested in going away to University and not that many of my schoolmates wanted to go either (but bizarrely, three of them eventually became University Professors!).
One afternoon, my Mum was scanning the jobs pages of the Manchester Evening News and showed me an advert from an Insurance Company in Manchester. I had completed a project about life assurance as part of my “O Level” in Commerce and thought it sounded OK. What really lit up the page was the huge salary – just over £2600 a year – and they provided free lunches in their canteen! So along with around 140 other people, I applied and was fortunate to be offered an interview and thankfully hit it off immediately off with the branch manager who eventually offered me the role.
The job was a Life and Pensions Clerk which sounds a bit dry, but I knew immediately I was in the right place. Within minutes of stepping into the office I asked why a bank of desks over to the left were empty and Linda who was assigned to looking after me in the first few days, told me they were where the “reps” sat but they spent a lot of time out of the office seeing people and they got a company car!
I spent the next three years working my tail off, going to night school to courses run by the Chartered Insurance Institute and generally soaking up knowledge and getting to know the brokers who rang up for quotes on an almost daily basis. I’m still in contact with some of them over 40 years later! I was delighted to be given the role of a “trainee broker consultant” with a view to me going “out on the road” on my 21st birthday. Seriously that would never happen now, partly because I was, with hindsight, so wet behind the ears and the insurance companies (of which there are now a fraction of those that were around in 1979) don’t train kids up any longer.
On my 21st birthday I was presented with my first company car – a mustard coloured Morris Marina that used to let rain in all the time, but at least it was free!
I trod the streets of deepest darkest Lancashire and Greater Manchester for 6 years and got to know some people very well. It was very tough at times, but I soldiered on. In about 1983 I met a “broker” (as we called them) in Stockport called John Smallridge and was very lucky to get to meet him at all, as the staff there always said that he was too busy to see “reps”. John and his colleague, Cyd Morgan, then started to do quite a bit of business with our company, National Employers Life, so I got to know them both quite well, especially after they moved to Horwich, near Bolton. One day they asked if I could go in for a chat which I thought was a bit odd because they didn’t specify what they wanted to chat about, so I said to my (now) wife Diane “I’m sure they are going to offer me a job”. At NEL, I had a large territory to cover and called on lots of advisory firms – but I always said that there were only three of them that I would consider working for and that John and Cyd’s company, New Mansion, was one of them. They just seemed to be a few notches above everyone else in the way they did things. I was correct, and this set the scene for the rest of my working life and I worked with John for almost 28 years until he sadly passed away in 2015.
When New Mansion was merged with Fairmount in 1995, our parent company Legal and General also bought the two other firms I would have been happy to work for – so I effectively ended up working with all three of them at the same time!
Fairmount merged with a subsidiary of a European Private Bank and John, Grant, Posy and I all resigned around the same time. I had three great options on a plate in front of me and decided to join SBJ who had acquired all the large group pension schemes I had set up over the years. Saying that, those schemes were now being looked after by other people, so after eighteen and a half years continuous service with my previous employer, I effectively started from scratch with a clean sheet which was a real challenge. I asked what they wanted me to do and they (unbelievably in some ways) said “be inventive”. So, I learned on my feet and had three great years there developing the business in their Stockport office, but as with many successful firms, they were subject to a takeover – this time by a large international French based insurer. They wanted me to stay on there, but it really wasn’t for me, so after a quick call to Grant at Chancellor in the morning, we met in the afternoon and I was asked when I wanted to start. This was the start of the past eleven years of my working life. I combined advising Chancellor’s clients with “being inventive” (otherwise known as Business Development). I decided some years ago that once I had been working for 40 years, I would concentrate on purely Business Development which I really enjoy – and just work part time. Which is exactly what happened!
Even though I didn’t want to go to University when I left college, to my family’s pride, I eventually donned my cap and gown in the City of London in 2015 when I became a Chartered Financial Planner, so I got my Degree eventually in my 50s and was then awarded Fellowship of our professional body a couple of years later. As a fresh faced teenage in the late 70s I could never have imagined how things would turn out and that I would have a 41-year long career ahead of me. It has had its interesting challenges at times, but overall, it has been brilliant.