Altorfer Financial Management Ltd Independent Financial Advisers
HistoryLife for Altorfer began in late 1990 on the corner of a borrowed desk in a sympathetic accountant's office. Our authorisations to trade arrived the same morning. Altorfer's founder and Managing Director, Roger Taylor, was soon joined by several staff (notably his P.A. Sue Gadenne) from the company of which he was previously Managing Director, a couple more desks were acquired, and we were in business! Since then we have increased assets under management at an average rate of almost £150,000 per week, every single week, since December 1990. Not a bad achievement for such a small company.
Within nine months we had moved into our current courtyard offices, set on three floors. In 1998 the Freehold was purchased, giving us total security of tenure. Meanwhile the number of employees was gradually expanding. Daniel Wackett joined us from Lloyds Bank in 1996. In 1998 Mark Chaplin, a chartered accountant who had been a long-standing client of the company, joined us as Finance Director. Daniel, Mark and Roger, after intensive study, were all awarded the Investment Management Certificate from the Institute of Investment Management and Research.
In October 1998 the then regulator, the Personal Investment Authority, authorised Altorfer to undertake discretionary portfolio management. Our funds under direct discretionary management now stand at £115 million.
At the end of 2000, we were joined by Christina Georgiou, previously a Branch Manager and Financial Adviser with Woolwich plc, and Lynn Webb, who had many years' financial experience with Abbey National plc and the Bank of England.
In 2004 Sue Gadenne retired, after sixteen years as Roger's P.A. and Head of Administration. Her role was taken over by Lynn.
Meanwhile our client base was, as usual, growing inexorably, putting increasing pressure on the advisory staff in particular. We therefore appointed Helen Batchelor, now Helen Wake, who had studied Law at the University of Hertfordshire, and was also a qualified Financial Adviser, to assist with our advisory function.
Such has been the relentless increase in workload, Gill Lovelace joined the Advisory team in April 2006. Gill returned to financial services after a six year break to have a family. She previously worked for 12 years at Legal & General. Her experience has proved to be invaluable in her role with us.
In August 2007, Katy Calcaterra, now Katy Massey, joined the administrative team, having worked for a number of years in financial services.
We believe that knowledge and expertise is fundamental to delivering sound financial advice. Roger and Daniel, who both already held the Advanced Financial Planning Certificate, continued their studies to achieve Certified Financial Planner status. At that time, there were only several hundred advisers in the UK who held this qualification.
The summer of 2010 saw Christina poached to join a City adviser, and this enabled a reorganisation of the advisor support team. By September Rohan Patel, a former adviser with Halifax, had joined as a trainee paraplanner.
In May 2011, Daniel Wackett was appointed to the board, as Associate Director. Daniel, who has been with the company for sixteen years, will continue in his position as Senior Adviser, whilst taking on further responsibilities and the inevitable training obligations which this promotion involves.
In June 2011, as a result of increased regulatory workload and the continual flow of additional clients, we appointed another paraplanner to our adviser support team - Louisa Bracey. Louisa brings seven years financial services experience, and is also studying towards the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning.
The start of 2013 saw huge regulatory change in the financial advice sector, with the introduction of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR). With the banning of sales-based commissions, many advisory firms were forced to re-engineer their business model completely. Fortunately, Altorfer started adapting to this so-called New Model in the mid-90ís. For many years our principal revenue has been from fund management fees. From that perspective the transition to the new regime was painless.
2013 was also a year of staff changes at Altorfer. Rohan left us to go travelling the world and was replaced by Rita Zanella. We also strengthened the advisory staff, with the appointment of David Ashley, and the administrative team, with the appointment of Sabrina Williams. David has taken on some of the clients no longer being looked after by Roger, following his withdrawal from actively providing advice.
Sonia Rivas joined us in February 2015 as a paraplanner. In May 2015, Roger became Non-Executive Chairman, Daniel assumed the role of Managing Director, Helen joined the board as Compliance Officer and Money Laundering Officer and Louisa was appointed Head Paraplanner overseeing the team providing support to the advisers.
In December 2016, Sabrina moved to our paraplanning team and Gemma Smith joined us as trainee administrator. We are looking for another adviser to join the team later in 2017, as Daniel and Helen begin to assume Markís executive responsibilities - all part of our succession planning for when Mark and Lynn retire.
In terms of the levels of qualifications required, all advisory staff at Altorfer meet the standards, and all hold the now mandatory Statement of Professional Standing (SPS). This requires ongoing Continuous Professional Development of at least 35 hours each year before the SPS is renewed.
With such an experienced and well qualified team the company is well placed for the demands of the next decade. We have ensured we comply with the 4th Money Laundering Directive and are already planning for MiFID II which is expected to come into force at the beginning of 2018. As part of our longer term planning, nine employees now own shares in the company and the remainder will have the opportunity to do so when the next Option Scheme matures in 2022. We see this as a way of rewarding staff for their loyalty.