In our 60 second interview series, Citywealth speaks to Christopher Yardley, client director at Strabens Hall and Gold winner of the Financial Advisory/ UHNW Services Individual of the Year at the Future Leaders Awards 2019.
Tell me about your role.
I am a Client Director at Strabens Hall which is a Chartered Financial Planning Firm that was established in 2007. I provide advice on a wide range of matters including, broadly, wealth structuring, investment advice, and of course, financial planning. Practically, this means communicating with current and potential clients to help formulate long-term objectives and then recommending steps to assist in their attainment. My role requires expertise in a number of varied areas including pensions, insurance, investments and tax.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My typical day is organised so that I spend time in the morning answering questions from prospects, clients and other professional advisers over email and telephone. Then, I am likely to review advice reports or engagement letters to be sent to clients.
It is rare that I will go through a typical day without a meeting or conference call with a client or prospect. This can take some time preparing for and working through action points afterwards.
Tell us about interesting client instructions.
It is interesting work helping people who are divorcing that have never had responsibilities or interest in managing their own financial affairs. When they get divorced and receive a settlement, they need to rely on a trusted adviser to help them navigate a new financial landscape.
I do a lot of work with family lawyers providing advice as a ‘Single Joint Expert’ to calculate the most cost-effective way to equalise income or capital at a projected retirement age(s).
Then, when acting as a shadow expert, I advise clients on how to share assets with their ex-spouse; for example, determining how a Pension Credit should be implemented and then invested.
What challenges do your clients face and how are you helping your clients to overcome them?
Uncertainty and changes in personal circumstances.
There are uncertainties in many aspects of our clients’ lives. Such as geopolitical events, pensions legislation, financial regulations and the ever-changing rules around tax. And then, changes in lifestyle, such as retirement, divorce, receiving an inheritance and starting a family.
I help clients overcome these challenges by establishing plans and strategies with a sufficient degree of flexibility so a course of action can be changed in the future should circumstances change to the extent that the original strategy is no longer the most effective.
This demonstrates the importance of developing long-term relationships and keeping matters under review on a regular basis.
What is your proudest professional achievement?
Obtaining the Chartered Wealth Manager (CWM) qualification and Chartered Fellow (FSCI) status via completion of the qcf level 7 Diploma in Wealth Management, which was a time-consuming undertaking.
What do you consider to be the most important attributes for a leader?
Vision, honesty and ambition.
Who do you most admire and why?
In a business context, I admire the CEO and Chairman of JP Morgan, Jamie Dimon.
After graduating and attempting to make my mark on the world of finance, I watched his speech to the Harvard Business School MBA class quite a lot as I found it very inspiring, and he instilled lessons in me about integrity, honesty, accountability, responsibility, work-life balance etc that I still draw on. It is a fantastic speech and I would recommend it to anyone interested in developing their career.
Where was the last place you travelled to for work or pleasure?
Israel for a wedding.
If you weren’t in the wealth management industry, what else might you be doing?
How do you relax after a long day?
Exercise, exercise, exercise. Going for a run, swim or bike ride is how I unwind. I find exercise to be the best stress reliever.