10 years as a Chartered firm – what this means for your clients

businessperson and client looking at financial paperwork on desk

Chartered status is the “gold standard” of financial planning. Achieving Corporate Chartered status is a very big deal for a financial planning firm and positions BlueSKY among the UK’s leading practices. 

Chartered firms must:

  • Meet rigorous criteria relating to professional qualifications and competence. We have demonstrated the highest levels of financial and technical knowledge through assessment.
  • Adhere to ethical and best practice codes, following an industry Code of Ethics which is enforced through disciplinary sanctions. It means that our clients’ best interests are at the heart of everything we do.
  • Regularly consolidate and update their knowledge. We are committed to continuous professional development.

As a Chartered firm, we must demonstrate an ongoing commitment to our team and our clients, and we must always adhere to high ethical values and standards. And, once achieved, we must reapply for Chartered status every year.

In November, BlueSKY celebrated 10 years of becoming Chartered. So, to celebrate this achievement, we asked Jeremy to share a look back over the last decade.

Aiming to make BlueSKY the most trusted and professional financial planners in Berkshire

10 years ago, BlueSKY was a business in transition with Mark and Rob at the helm. I joined in 2014.

Our bold plan was to make BlueSKY the most trusted and professional financial planning firm in Berkshire. An obvious way to demonstrate our commitment was to achieve Corporate Chartered status.

We also started working with a business coach who helped us understand what sort of firm we wanted to be and how to achieve this. He referred us to the book Traction by Gino Wickman, which remains the template for how we run BlueSKY.

Back in 2013, we were still a “traditional” IFA, taking on too much work, some of which we didn’t enjoy (for example, mortgages). 

Our coach helped us to focus our activities on high-quality lifestyle financial planning with an emphasis on cashflow modelling. This approach puts clients – not products or investments – at the heart of our business. 

In 2014 we established an Investment Committee and implemented a consistent and proven investment approach. While the foundations remain, we have been able to refine and improve this approach over time as more cost-effective options have become available. 

And, while we’re extremely proud of what we have created, investment management is not the focus of our client relationships.

Recognised experts in our field

During the last 10 years, we have upgraded the business in other ways too.

For example, we have a great website full of interesting and informative blog posts and guides. We also send out monthly newsletters to educate and inform clients, as well as a monthly update to the professionals we work with. 

Internally, we have one-to-one meetings with our staff on a weekly basis, and quarterly “off-site” days for the whole team where we can refine our procedures to make our service even better.

In addition, we work with solicitors, both locally and nationally, and have become acknowledged experts in our field. We write regular blogs for solicitors and run webinar programmes – often attracting hundreds of attendees.

Our dedicated solicitors’ blog contains dozens of useful articles about financial planning, pensions, and divorce, while you’ll also find loads of useful downloads on our website. 

Resting on our laurels is not an option

The last year has seen some big changes, which will serve BlueSKY for many years to come. Our founder, Mark, retired from the business in 2022 and Rob (already a co-owner) and I formally took over the reins. 

During 2023 we also adopted a new client relationship management system, moved our IT to the “cloud”, and recruited new members of staff.

While we are very proud of these achievements, resting on our laurels is not an option. We’re looking forward to what the next 10 years will bring.

Get in touch

If you’d like to find out how a Corporate Chartered business can help your clients to achieve their financial goals, please get in touch.

Email info@BlueSKYifas.co.uk or call us on 01189 876655.