Want to know what makes the AFWM Ltd team tick? Find out more about our Richmond based Independent Financial Adviser Blaise Radford.

What did you do before joining AFWM?

I was working in executive search for commodity traders and asset managers in London, but I really didn’t feel fulfilled. During the pandemic, I went to stay with George Galbraith (another of AFWM’s financial advisers), who’s an old school friend. We were working from home and George could see how I felt about my job, so he suggested training as a financial adviser with AFWM. I applied, got the job and moved home to Devon.

And you’re now moving back to London to work in our new Richmond office?

Yes. I was born and raised in Honiton, East Devon, and most of my family live here, but I really love London. My old commute took me through Blackfriars, where you can see St Paul’s and the city, and I’d think, “This is it; I’ve made it. This is exactly what I’ve been working towards.” But I left that behind to start a career that I could really be passionate about and enjoy.

When I joined AFWM in 2021, I explained that I wanted to move back to the South East at some point. I wasn’t expecting to move anytime soon, but AFWM really supports the growth and ambitions of its team. One thing led to another, and my plans were fast forwarded. I’ve recently qualified in discretionary investment management and am now working towards chartered status. That can take a few years to achieve, but I want to provide my clients with an unparalleled service and further study will help me to do that.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I like helping people with their problems and advising them how to hit their goals. To be a good financial adviser, you need to be able to take a holistic approach. If I only focused on pensions, for example, I could miss so many elements that are crucial for a client’s financial security, such as life insurance and inheritance tax planning. Each client has a financial puzzle to solve; I love figuring out where each puzzle piece goes.

A lot of people who come to us have either accepted that they’re going to have a large tax bill or don’t realise the extent of the bill they or their family are facing. However, a few tweaks can end up saving them huge chunks of money.

It’s always a pleasure helping clients retire earlier than they thought was possible. Sometimes, all it takes is mapping out their finances and explaining how different financial products can work for them. Pensions, for example, are complicated. There’s been lots of regulatory changes over the years, and there are many different types of pension. A lot of people may not be fully aware of the features and benefits of their pensions, and so assume they have to wait until their State Pension kicks in before they can retire.

I find investment strategy and fund management fascinating. I’ve got a degree in Economics, so these areas really play into my strengths. I actually like all the technical stuff that other people find boring – graphs, analytics, ratios and so on. I’m a bit of a nerd – I love a good spreadsheet!

Do you have any restaurant recommendations?

The Holt in Honiton is really good, particularly the tapas. Al Farid in Exeter is fantastic. Their tzatziki, hummus and other mezze dishes are out of this world. I’m looking forward to finding new places to eat in London. My girlfriend is vegetarian, so we went to Mildreds in Covent Garden recently; I was pleasantly surprised as someone who is relatively carnivorous.

What’s been your best holiday and why?

I went to Pompeii last year, which was amazing. I’m interested in ancient history and enjoy exploring ruins, so that’s been on my bucket list for a while. Next on the list is Petra, in Jordan, and I’d love to visit Machu Picchu in Peru.

What are your top financial tips?

Figure out realistic goals with your financial adviser. It’s much easier to map out a sound financial plan when you’re crystal clear about your objectives. We have access to all sorts of tools, but sometimes, all it takes to reach your goal is better budgeting.

“Pay yourself first” is a good mantra to live by. It means paying into your savings and investments as soon as you get paid, so that all your money doesn’t get frittered away on day- to-day things. It’s important to include joyful expenditure in your budget though. That way, you’re planning for the future and working towards your goals, while still enjoying today.

Blaise Radford – Independent Financial Adviser