Chief Executive’s blog February 2019

Prest's primary core value: Family

Graham Prest, Chief Executive, Prest Financial PlanningOur primary and most important value as a company is our strong family ethos.

Prest Financial Planning was founded in 1961 by my father Jim and was run from the family home until I joined him in the 1980s. I am proud, too, that my daughter Hayley has represented the third generation of our family to have become part of the firm.

My co-director Mark Livesey joined Jim and myself back in 1986 as our first employee. His wife Lisa joined us in 2010 and currently heads our financial planning administration department.

Also, our longstanding colleague, financial planner Ian Drew, followed in his father John’s footsteps when he joined Prest back in 1992 (complete with his pointed shoes and mullet haircut!).

“Family” means far more to Prest, though, than having groups of relatives with a long history of working together in the business. It is an ethos that applies equally to every member of staff, and everyone we work with, regardless of their surname.

In practice this means a commitment to staff that goes deeper than the terms of their employment contracts. We believe, for instance, in supporting all our employees to reach their full potential, which benefits the firm as a whole because they are then able to apply their enhanced knowledge to the benefit of our clients.

Recent examples of this include Zoe Cullen’s achievement of her Diploma in Financial Planning, and her continuing studies in pursuit of Chartered status, and Ashley Baker’s move from paraplanning into an advising role while he, too, pursues personal Chartered status.

This commitment to staff training and development was identified last year by the influential industry magazine, New Model Adviser, when it once again ranked us among the Top 100 financial advice firms in the UK.

But why should our family culture matter to clients? The answer to this is simple: we treat everyone with whom we work as we would a member of our own families.

Our clients are very important to us and very much regarded as members of the extended Prest family.

Financial advice is, of course, subject to strict regulatory scrutiny. However, we set ourselves a far higher hurdle: would we recommend the same course of action if the client were a member of our own family? We call this the “Mum/Dad test”.

We believe our clients understand and appreciate this, and the best compliment we can ever be paid is when they recommend that their own friends, colleagues or relatives should trust us to look after their financial affairs. We appreciate this hugely and it is the principal way in which our business has grown and become so successful over the years.

Being part of a firm with such a strong family ethos is fantastically rewarding, and the only way of operating a business that we have ever known. It is also, I believe, the reason we have thrived, and grown consistently, for almost six decades.

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