The BlueSKY bulletin: Here’s all the news from the BlueSKY team

The BlueSKY team enjoying afternoon tea on an Oxford riverbank

Welcome to the first edition of the BlueSKY bulletin.

In your new quarterly roundup, you’ll read about everything that’s been happening with the BlueSKY team over the last three months.

In this edition, you can read about exam success, wish a happy retirement to our longest-standing employee, and discover many other stories from the BlueSKY team.

Professional Standards – exam success

As part of a highly regulated profession, we take our responsibility for continuous improvement and training for our staff very seriously.

All staff undertake monthly training with topics ranging from money laundering to spotting fraud and anti-bribery measures. In addition to this, our advisers and paraplanners undertake technical training and knowledge tests around financial topics such as pensions, ethics, and estate planning.

As a Chartered financial planning firm, we believe that exam study represents a significant commitment to our profession, and we support staff in studying for professional qualifications. We have had some major achievements over the past few months:

  • Natasha has passed her Pension Diploma (RO4) exam with a superb pass mark of 84%.
  • Nick has passed his first coursework assignment for his advanced diploma level Senior Management and Supervision (AF6) qualification.
  • Neil has passed his Certificate in Financial Services (LP2) exam (aimed at administrators and office personnel).

Well done all! Neil is very pleased with himself since it’s an exam that Rob (who is both a Chartered and Certified financial planner) has not passed!

Jack has now passed all his diploma-level financial planning exams and has achieved a pass in the advanced diploma pension exam (AF8). After completing a rigorous internal training and competency programme, he is now officially a qualified financial planner.

Jack is now studying for the remaining three exams that he needs to pass to become a Chartered financial planner.

It is a continuing aim of BlueSKY to have 100% of our advisers at Chartered level, which we see as the pinnacle of our profession.

Pictured: Neil, Jack, Nick, and Natasha with their Certificates of Achievement

Farewell Lesley – wishing you a well-deserved retirement

In July, we were all very sorry to see our longest-serving employee, Lesley Hawker, retire from her role as senior paraplanner at BlueSKY.

Lesley was the first employee taken on by BlueSKY and worked for us for more than 20 years. As a paraplanner, her attention to detail was exemplary and her report-writing skills will be sorely missed.

To say goodbye and “happy retirement” we organised an afternoon of punting in Oxford where, after much physical exertion was expended on the upstream journey, sandwiches and cream teas were consumed on the banks of the River Cherwell.

In the mid-summer sunshine, the team had a fantastic day and most importantly gave Lesley the send-off that her hard work and dedication richly deserved. We wish Lesley a happy retirement.

Here are some photos of the afternoon.

The BlueSKY Team enjoying afternoon tea by the river.

Not all plain sailing – Neil in the bushes!

An evening at Ascot

Many of you will know that, as well as being experts in the financial planning field, BlueSKY has also had a long-standing specialism in the area of divorce and, in particular, helping lawyers split pensions and other assets as part of a divorce settlement. In addition, we help individuals going through divorce to plan for their financial future.

As part of our commitment to this area, Rob is a Resolution Accredited Specialist (there are only 30 of them) and all members of the advisory team are accredited members of the Resolution organisation. Find out more about the Resolution organisation at their website.

Jeremy is a member of the Berks and Bucks Resolution Committee, which organises social and training events for local lawyers and divorce specialists. The committee also raises funds for local divorce-related charities that do valuable work with people going through this difficult time.

In August the committee organised a social event and barbecue at Ascot racecourse to celebrate 40 years of Resolution and to raise money for the charity Cowshed (which we have supported in the past).

While the Great British weather decided not to play ball, more than 80 attendees enjoyed a great evening, raising more than £250 for Cowshed through a charity raffle.

Jeremy with his colleagues on the Berks and Bucks Resolution Committee.

Supporting nature

Some of you will recall that, a couple of years ago, we selected the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) as our charity of the year, raising money to support their conservation work.

Earlier this summer, Liz and Lesley visited Ludgershall Meadows in Oxfordshire to see the results of the conservation work that BlueSKY helped to support.

BBOWT’s successful appeal meant that they could purchase 31 hectares of hay meadow and permanent pasture – colourful, flower-filled meadows and prime hunting ground for barn owls and other birds of prey.

Liz and Lesley enjoyed their afternoon in the summer sunshine and the picture below shows what a beautiful meadow BBOWT has secured for generations to come.

Away from work

Holiday time

Rob and Jeremy do consent to give the staff a few hours (!) of holiday every other year and Mike spent a glorious week in the Netherlands on a barge.  This is one of the views he enjoyed.

Nick took a trip to Portugal and here is the view that he enjoyed from his holiday villa.

Ralph went to the top of Snowdon and found out there’s a reason why it’s so green in Wales……

Slam dunk!

It’s the start of another basketball season for Reading Rockets and Neil will again be assistant coach for the U14 boys conference squad.

After a tough but rewarding first season, it’s always great to receive such a personal gift from the boys to show their appreciation.

The new Ben Ainslie?

Some of you may already be aware that Rob is a very keen and skilled sailor and recently competed in the World Championships for his boat class.

Despite competing against some of the best sailors in the world, Rob came in the top half and was a credit to the Burghfield Sailing Club.

Triathlon man

As a keen triathlete, Jack represents Great Britain in his age group and is heading out to Spain later this month for another event in which he is pulling on the GB vest.

Rock on!

At the Reading Festival, Ralph and Natasha unexpectedly bumped into each other.

Get in touch

If you’d like to find out how our financial planning service can benefit you, please get in touch.

Contact us by email at or call us on 01189 876655.