Niche IFA Ltd (Newport)

Origins

Director and Chartered Financial Planner Ray Adams entered the financial profession in 1996 at a time when the 'industry' was still reeling from the pension mis-selling scandals of the late 1980s. The number of regulated financial advisers was dropping dramatically due to new regulations and tighter controls. With the average age of an adviser at the time in the mid 50s, Ray was determined to develop the next generation of financial advisers and planners who were young, fresh-thinking and tech savvy, and who wanted to be part of an industry evolving into a profession. To do that, he set up Niche in 2005, and had soon made it his objective to recruit young and ambitious individuals to help mould a company with a unique, sustainable and ethical approach to its work practices. With a small and close-knit team behind him, Ray began advising with just one paraplanner as support. This grew organically in the following three years to a small but effective team of six. Today, Ray has a team more than four times that size. The challenge throughout was keeping up with demand, working to full capacity and continuing to train and develop the next generation. Needless to say, that infrastructure allowed the company to grow in to its position today as one of South Wales' leading financial advice firms.

Success Factor

The key to Niche's sustainable yet rapid growth has been the recruitment of staff as part of the Niche Next Generation Training Scheme. Today, 84% of the company's staff are millennials and share a long-term vision to grow client numbers and work as efficiently and effectively as possible in order to foster their own career progression. Not only this, but the Training Scheme has helped develop ties with the University of South Wales, Cardiff University and other community groups, growing its presence considerably throughout the area. Alongside the drive to meet the needs of a new generation, Niche has been at the forefront of developing new technology to serve the financial advice profession launching CashCalc Ltd- the leading provider of cashflow planning software in the UK today- with more than 9,000 registered users. Finally, its marketing and client relation strategies have played a big role in increasing its presence in the local community, which in turn helps drive client numbers.

The Future

The primary objective for Niche over the coming five years is to sustain the current growth trend it is currently enjoying and continue to develop new initiatives, while still providing the highest levels of service possible to clients. It is the aim of the company to double the size of the team to 50 within five years and alongside this will be the continued growth of the client base. In order to achieve that, the business will continue to develop its technological solutions as the client base continues to become more technologically savvy. It will continue to build and improve CashCalc, as well as develop our other ongoing projects such as AdviserBook- the online directory of regulated financial advisers in the UK. The site aims to help stop scams by only listing regulated advisers, help the public find the most appropriate adviser for them and help advisers gain further exposure.