The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Robertson Baxter Limited is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.
Robertson Baxter Limited
Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
16 | ROBERTSON BAXTER
Stephen Baxter, joint
Greg Robertson and Stephen Baxter first worked together
at HSBC in financial services 15 years ago. After gaining
experience elsewhere, they subsequently launched
Robertson Baxter Limited in 2007 as joint managing directors.
Based in Huddersfield and employing 15 staff, they serve
individuals, families, trustees and charities of high or ultra-
high net worth in Yorkshire. The client is at the very heart of
their business, and within the current legislative and regulatory
environment they provide clients with their best efforts at all
times. Rather than trying to change matters that cannot be
changed, they instead focus their energy and resources into
growing the business and advising clients; Stephen explains how
they like to conduct business.
We are a financial planning firm; instead of offering limited advice to clients, we
provide a holistic service. This covers pensions, investments, protection and, where
appropriate, tax planning. We act as a family office service, looking at all of the
pieces of the jigsaw before putting them together in the right order.
We endeavour to find the best solution for any given situation, which includes
introducing professionals in disciplines such as the legal, accountancy, insurance
and investment management sectors. We call this our “full circle approach”, where
our client relationships are built on integrity, trust and professionalism.
An unrelenting focus on client outcomes
For the last year, we’ve been working hard to enhance our team culture and values.
We have undertaken this through a series of events on-site, off-site and socially
to better understand our team. We now have a defined system of values that not
only concentrate heavily on client outcomes, but also how we work together.
This is monitored monthly, and the results of our “culture index” are valuable for
management to assess how we’re doing as a business.
In everything that we do, the client is always at the centre. We define that as often
undertaking tasks that aren’t as profitable because it’s the right outcome for the
client; this philosophy helps to maintain long-term trust with our clients.
Our business has grown significantly ahead of the expectations that Greg and I had
back in 2007. We had a plan; for the first two years it was just to survive, then,
grow sustainably and organically. We had bags of entrepreneurial naiveté, and that
served us well, exploring every opportunity that the economic climate provided
us during 2007 and 2008 as a new, dynamic firm. We were keen to disrupt the
regional financial advisory market.
We now advise on a substantial amount of assets on behalf of high and ultra-
high net worth families, institutions and charities, actively helping on their financial
AT A GLANCE
»Joint managing directors:
Stephen Baxter and Greg
»Established in 2007
»Based in Yorkshire
»Services: Independent financial
»No. of employees: 15
»Average client funds under
management £1.8 million
17ROBERTSON BAXTER |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2018
planning journey. Wordof mouth from
satisfied influential individuals is our
best source of clients, and we view
channels such as social media as an
extension of this, allowing us to reach
a larger audience.
The message we communicate is that
we are a family office with Yorkshire
roots, traditions and values, which
include honesty, integrity, transparency
and value for money. It is this message
that our influential clients take to their
peers, who may not be served as well
by the institutions or individuals that
currently look after their affairs.
We have evolved significantly in the
last 12 months, the rate of change
over that period being faster than at
any other point. The reputation we
have earned means that we’re able
to negotiate harder, resulting in better
solutions for our clients at even more
competitive rates. We focus on value
rather than price. Our responsibility to
clients is to be at the forefront of new
solutions, technology and investment
management and to bring these to
them during our regular reviews.
We are delighted to have purchased
our own offices this year, more than
doubling the amount of space that
we had previously. This, after a two-
month refurbishment, has provided
a modern, professional environment
for clients and colleagues alike. The
investment put back into the firm, and
the consultation with the team on how
this should look emphasises the role
they have to play in our future.
Recruitment and regulation
Some firms identify areas of legislation
as challenges; we recognise them as
opportunities. If all financial legislation
stayed the same forever, our sector
would look very different. Pension and
tax legislation, along with the ever-
changing political and economic climate,
provide us with the opportunity to open
further dialogue with our clients.
One particular challenge that we have
faced in our 11 years would be the
attraction and retention of top talent
within the industry. Finding individuals
who fit and are able to maintain the
Robertson Baxter culture is not easy.
We are demanding of our team; just
good enough is not good enough,
and we seek excellence in everything
that we do because that is what our
clients deserve. No one is perfect, and
we accept that, but our team must be
willing to learn, implement and evolve.
The average age of an independent
financial adviser is 58 – within Robertson
Baxter it is 43. We would like to see this
reduced further with progression from
our existing young team. We run two
internal programmes: our IFA Academy
and IFA Excellence Programme, both of
which are designed to equip our future
and existing advisers with the range of
skills that they will require to effectively
look after the needs of our diverse
range of clients.
A professional, controlled future
While we consistently operate at the
level of our clients’ other professional
advisers, our industry is still not viewed
with the same respect as the legal or
accountancy sectors. As a firm, we’ve
worked hard to change the perception
of financial advice, creating a really
positive reputation along the way. Once
the profession more generally begins to
receive the same acclaim, it will start to
appeal more to a younger generation.
For us, the future is controlled organic
growth. The more clients we provide
with a high level of service, the more
benefit we will receive from word
of mouth. A number of our clients
are very influential in their fields and
their recommendations carry weight.
Social media allows us to extend the
reach of our word of mouth, but
what we want is to stop being one of
Yorkshire’s best-kept secrets, and raise
our profile on both the regional and
We are a family
and value for
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review
This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.
In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.
We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.
With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.
And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.
As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.