Born: December 25, 1959, in Purley, South London.
Lives: Hove, East Sussex, with his three children.
Education: BEd honours, Brighton Polytechnic.
Career: 1982/85 physical education teacher; 1985/90 financial adviser, Guardian Royal Exchange; 1990-present partner, Simpsons of Brighton.
Life ambition: “To get to number one with World Cup single Better Than U, earn enough to retire and go horse racing and watch football whenever I want, much as I do now, and take care of my family.”
Career ambition: “To franchise Simpsons all around the country. First, Britain and then the world.”
Likes: Any sport, particularly football as an avid Crystal Palace fan, horse racing, pubs, people who like going to pubs and beaches.
Dislikes: Brighton & Hove Albion, period drama, false people that pretend to be something they are not, hypocrisy and anything that ends in “ocrisy”.
Car: “A red one, a Vauxhall something Vectra, I think.”
Peers say: “Super guy, straight talking, dead honest and always gives good advice.”
Simpsons of Brighton partner Andrew Merricks is a man with modest ambitions – that is, if you discount his dream of reaching number one in the pop charts and his plans for world domination through a Simpsons franchise. He says his main goal in life is merely to earn enough money to look after his family, retire and watch sport.
Some might say it is odd for an IFA to aspire to top the UK singles chart but perhaps this musical streak could have something to do with him being born above a piano shop in Purley. Success in this ambition could soon be realised, however, as Merricks is one of a trio who have co-written a World Cup anthem to mark England's appearance in this year's tourn-ament in Japan and Korea.
The song, Better Than U, has been produced by DJ duo Phats and Small and Jimmy Gomez, who are famous for producing songs for pop acts such as Annie Lennox, Savage Garden and Lighthouse Family.
Although the record deal arranged has now fallen through, the CD has been made and Merricks is offering would-be backers a percentage of sales in his eagerness to strike another deal.
Merricks describes the song as a comic celebration of: “What it's like being English. We can't run our trains or our National Health Service but we are still better than you.”
He captures what he believes is this quintessential naffness about English society in the first verse of the song, which extols how: “The trains don't work, We go berserk, When there's leaves upon the line. If you get the flu, It's down to you, 'Cos the doctor's got no time.” Hardly Lennon and McCartney but not bad for a first effort.
He says he always wanted to write a song and thought the World Cup could provide him with the ideal opportunity as it combines this aspiration with his passion for football.
Quizzed over what the song actually sounds like, Merricks admits it is probably more Fat Les, who brought us the lager-fuelled surge of patriotism that was Vindaloo during the last World Cup, than Baddiel and Skinner's perennial favourite, Three Lions.
However, he claims it is slightly more sophisticated than these offerings, owing more to the Sex Pistols' Anarchy in the UK, Mike & the Mechanics and the Welsh hymn Bread of Heaven. If that is not enough, it copies the same theme of denial as Shaggy's top seller of last year, It Wasn't Me.
Merricks says the song is also written with “one eye on the corporate and political market”, suggesting companies may want to use it for adverts or politicians for election campaigns, although it is not clear whether this is tongue in cheek.
This could be the case as those who know Merricks would probably describe him as a cheeky chappy with a ready wit and a bundle of jokes, most of which we could not possibly print here.
Merricks' other major ambition, which seems rather at odds with his happy-go-lucky nature, is to develop a nationwide franchise network, most probably consisting of fee-based IFAs.
“I have often wondered if there was a niche in the market for a network of fee-based advisers and I rather think the name Simpsons lends itself to franchisees in other towns,” he says, suggesting that franchisees could replace the “of Brighton” with their own locality.
But Merricks admits that such plans have been somewhat derailed by the FSA's CP121 proposals. He says: “It seems someone is determined to make things as tough as possible for us. It seems they do not like the notion of independent advice. The rules are being made by people who do not need advice because they have a final-salary pension scheme and all the other benefits of their positions. But they are making rules for those not in such privileged positions, many of whom do not want to pay for advice.”
However, Merricks remains unconvinced that such a radical shake-up of the advice market as proposed by the regulator will get rid of the bad advisers. “There are still advisers who view their clients as a meal ticket and it will always be the same, even with these changes,” he says.
In an unusual break from his good-natured exterior,Merricks is scathing of fund managers such as Aberdeen and Gartmore, which he believes are responsible for the split-cap crisis. He also feels that certain directors of these trusts should be put under the microscope and held accountable for turning a good investment into a nightmare for investors.
But it is not long before he cracks another joke and is back to his happy self, talking up his single's chances and urging everyone to visit the song's website, www.betterthanu.co.uk/guest, to push it up the hit parade.
We should all give him our support. After all, the other World Cup anthem is from Ant and Dec, so even Better Than U must be better than that.