2020 – End of Year Letter
Chris Broome – Chartered Financial Planner
On behalf of myself and all the Longhurst team, we wish you a relaxing festive break, and a happy and healthy New Year.
I thought it appropriate to take the opportunity to provide you with an update on everything that we have achieved as a business during 2020, and what our plans are for 2021.
CHALLENGES AND CHANGES – OUR RESPONSE
March 2020 will certainly go down in the records as a month to remember, and not necessarily for all the right reasons. Global and national lockdowns. Natural human panic. Loo rolls. Face masks. Working from home. A new way of living for the foreseeable future.
For me personally, I saw this moment as an opportunity to step up to the plate and to ensure that both myself and Longhurst remained ever visible to both you (our clients) and our professional connections.
This would see the immediate roll-out of weekly videos being sent to you, to provide reassurance that we were available should you wish to speak to us. I tried my best to distil confidence (in a world now lacking it) that we would all get through this, reciting the mantra that, from an investment perspective, this time is not different, and there is no reason to make any changes to your prudently constructed financial plan.
With a focus on your mental and emotional well-being, we would roll out the offer of a complementary 12-month Headspace meditation membership. Many households and connections took us up on that offer, and I sincerely hope it has provided some relief during those understandable moments of anxiety and stress.
We purchased and distributed over 100 The Happy Path journals, which we mailed out to children and grandchildren. We have some spare journals available at our office, so if you would like one sent out to someone you love please do let us know.
We purchased and distributed over 20 adult Gratitude journals. Sent to those amongst us who wanted to remind themselves that they do have things to be thankful for, and that life will continue beyond COVID. Again, I hope you found huge benefit in the words you wrote.
A weekly pub quiz was also launched, which has continued into December 2020, with a fantastic community being created by those in attendance. I look forward to the moment in 2021 when we can all get together in person and share some hugs and some laughter.
CHARITY & GIVING BACK
You may remember, and indeed may have attended, our Springtime Picnic Party. Hosted by me at home and accompanied by live classical music courtesy of the ‘Premiere String Quartet’, our guests enjoyed over an hour of entertainment. The event was free to attend with us instead raising much needed money for the NHS Northamptonshire Health Charity, with a total of £1,100 being donated.
We also became a certified partner of MoreTrees, a phenomenal new organisation providing us the ability to offset our carbon footprint. You will already have received your Christmas present from us, in the form of a mangrove tree planted on your behalf in Madagascar. We plan to plant many more trees for you over the coming years and encourage you to read up on the good that MoreTrees are doing.
HOW OUR BUSINESS GREW
Longhurst exceeded its annual growth expectations during 2020; expectations set well before we knew of COVID.
I truly believe this is because of our focus on providing a human touch and a premium service to our clients – something that was in especially high demand this year. Our comprehensive business plan incorporates a long-term vision which should not be unduly impacted by short term volatility – exactly like your financial plan. We practice what we preach.
We received close to 100 new client enquiries this year, and continue to grow our client family responsibly. We also provided ad hoc transactional financial advice to other busy families.
We even found time (somehow) to soft-launch a new corporate offering, called Enterprise™. This immediately led to new corporate clients signing up, with their employees already providing positive testimony to the value they feel that they are now getting from the relationship.
With our company accounts being signed off as I write this letter, all in all for the year 2020 it appears profitability is up from 2019. Noting we launched in 2018, we are assured with how our business is growing, with it hopefully reflecting confidence in us, from you, that you have made the right decision to partner with our firm.
GROWING THE LONGHURST TEAM
In November we welcome our newest team member, Steve Hennessy. One of the most qualified financial planners in the UK. A family law and divorce expert. A trust and estate planning expert. Respected by his peers. A modern-day bard and lover of all thing’s literature.
And an all-round top chap.
Steve’s approach to his role is founded on the same principles as my own: professionalism; integrity; and friendship. He is excited to be able to introduce the Longhurst service to his clients over the coming year, and we are both excited about working together to grow the business.
Over the coming 12 months we also expect to add further new family additions, including administration support, and an Operations Director.
Our award nominated Inside Silverstone Podcast hit its 100th episode in December. The tables were turned on me as the host, with 20 of our previous guests sitting on a panel asking me the questions. It was certainly a lot of fun to record, as were the previous 99 episodes (of which 35 were recorded during COVID).
After months of due diligence and fine-tuning we have launched MyLonghurst. MyLonghurst provides you with a clear, uncomplicated view of your finances in one place. On your desktop and as an app on your tablet or smart phone, your finances are beautifully brought together under a single login accessible to you at any time, wherever you are.
In recent weeks we also launched the Longhurst Model Portfolio Service, which is an in-house investment proposition providing access to a specialist range of independently selected and risk-graded investment portfolios, designed to maximise your investment returns by following the practices of leading institutional investors.
AWARDS AND ACCREDITATIONS
During 2020 we were nominated for 10 awards, covering both our financial planning efforts, and our business/SME success.
For financial planning, we won:
- ‘Top Rated Firm 2020’ (one of only 16 firms in the UK).
- ‘Top Rated Adviser 2020’ (following the same award in 2018).
We were also nominated in some of our professions leading awards ceremonies, where our young business was pitted against some of the oldest and very best financial planning firms in the UK.
For business/SME, we are still nominated (due to ceremonies being delayed to early 2021) for:
- Best New Business (x2)
- Businessperson of the Year (x2)
For all award wins and nominations, we take great pride that these all provide positive indicators that we are on the right pathway as a financial planning practice.
It is only when I write these things down that I can truly reflect about how much has been accomplished this year.
Not wanting to rest on our laurels, Longhurst has grown from strength to strength.
Our relationship with you, we hope, has deepened.
We take the responsibility of being your trusted financial steward very seriously. That trust has, we hope, deepened this year in light of the discussions and challenges we have all faced.
Above all, we value the friendship we have with you – a friendship to last a lifetime.
Onwards into 2021 we go, together.