Highlighting best practice
Tony Larkins, owner and
managing director
Beacon Wealth Management, founded in 2001, was the first
chartered financial planning company in Cambridgeshire.
With approximately £150 million worth of funds currently
under management through their in-house discretionary
investment team, Beacon have won a number of awards and
earned praise from the community for their range of ethical
investment options. Owner and managing director Tony Larkins
discusses the growth of the young firm and explains how an ethical
and community outlook is an important aspect of their ethos.
At Beacon, we are not only proud to be the first chartered financial planning
company in Cambridgeshire, but also to play an important role in our community
as a local business. We were established in 2001 as a financial advice firm, working
on a commission basis, but we diversified our services in 2010 and became a
wealth management practice, working on pre-agreed fees. Of our management
team of five, four are chartered in their respective fields and all five have been with
the company for over ten years.
Our services
Currently we offer financial planning for pensions and retirement, employee
benefits, savings and investments, long-term care, estate and inheritance planning,
mortgages, separation and divorce and personal and corporate protection. From
our current team of 24, there are only four who work as financial planners. Of this
small group of dedicated professionals, one concentrates on mortgages, one on
employee benefits and two on financial planning. The business has seen continued
growth in fees and income since 2008, while we have also increased the number of
funds managed and staff.
To us, financial planning is about helping our clients identify short, medium and
long-term financial goals. These may be big events such as having a child, getting
married, paying off a mortgage or retirement. For many clients, however, it is simply
about living comfortably or reducing their family’s exposure to inheritance tax.
Our role at Beacon is to help our clients achieve their goals through the creation of
feasible and attainable financial plans. By analysing their current situation, we can make
it clear from the outset which of their objectives are realistic. Once a plan is in place, we
can help track their progress and continue to offer them advice going forward.
Our funds are managed through ten different risk rated portfolios, five of which are
ethical and five of which are whole of market. In 2017, according to FE analytics
data, our moderate-risk whole-of-market portfolio had the best returns – 12.9 per
cent – out of all 140 listed funds in the same category. The same data also revealed
that our more cautious ethical investment portfolio recorded returns of 10.9 per
cent, which was again better than all other comparative funds.
»Owner and managing director:
Tony Larkins
»Established in 2001
»Based in Kimbolton,
»Services: Independent
financial planning and wealth
»No. of employees: 24
Beacon Wealth
Success and recognition
Having gained confidence from
winning “Businessman of the Year”
in 2010, I decided to evolve our
range of services to include the
wealth management service we offer
today. Within three years all financial
planning firms were instructed to be
transparent on fees. The old system
of financial advisers has almost died
and clients have now come to expect a
transparent fee structure.
As the newly formed Beacon Wealth
Management we were quickly
recognised by the National Chamber
of Commerce awards. On the back
of this we received support from the
cross-party initiative, “Why is business
good for Britain?”, which was backed
by David Cameron, Ed Miliband and
Nick Clegg. Beacon were also included
in the promotional work that was
published off the back of the report.
Beacon have had great award success
as a firm, being nominated for
Financial Planners of the Year for the
East of England every year between
2013 and 2017, winning in both 2013
and 2015. We have also been featured
in Citywire’s top 100 Wealth Managers
every year since 2013.
Our role in the community
At Beacon, we consider the role we
play in the community as a vital part
of our business. Having acquired and
redeveloped the locally abandoned
chapel, we decided to use it as our
new office. Since expanding we have
become a major employer in the local
area and we continue to sponsor a
number of clubs, societies, charities
and interest groups.
As a Cambridgeshire-based company
that gains business from many local
clients, we have also recognised the
importance of giving something back
to the community. Not only does the
community that has embraced your
business deserve it, but it has earned
us plenty of clients and support which
is excellent for the brand. In 2017, we
rescued a closed village pub, which
was the last left in the village and was a
month away from being sold as a house.
Our community outlook is also reflected
in our passion for ethical investment.
We always aim to serve our clients’
needs, while we also understand that
the value provided by ethical investing
can be underestimated. There are
fewer ethical funds available, but the
returns are often similar and in some
cases better than those you receive
from whole-of-market funds. Our
clients also have a demand for ethical
investment, which led to us developing
the five ethical portfolios at differing
risk levels.
Growth and the future
Building on our success, we gained
a group of solicitors in 2016 and
in doing so became one of the first
firms to make use of the Alternative
Business Structure legislation. In both
2016 and 2017 our trainee solicitors
were recognised regionally, becoming
the winner and runner-up in the
Trainee Solicitor of the Year awards
in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Since
incorporating as a group, our latest
venture aims to acquire a property
portfolio of 16 units that would be
otherwise destined to be turned from
small business units into housing. This
change would have caused further
damage to the faltering high street
shopping sector.
Since 2001, we have produced a
number of E-brochures aimed at
helping people find answers to
common questions, or to simply create
a greater understanding of financial
issues. We produced issues on topics
such as savings and investments,
workplace pensions, long-term care
and general pension planning.
Beacon Wealth
Management Ltd team
Beacon have
had great award
success as a
firm, being
nominated for
Planners of the
Year for the East
of England every
year between
2013 and 2017,
winning in both
2013 and 2015