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Another senior departure at PosSol

Positive Solutions head of operations Chris Hull is leaving the firm to join SimplyBiz chairman Ken Davy’s restricted national proposition Sandringham Financial Partners.

Hull will join Sandringham in November and will work under Sandringham operations director John Hayden.

Hull has been head of operations at PosSol since April 2003 and currently reports to operations and transformation director Billy Jack.

In May, Money Marketing revealed Davy was launching a restricted proposition, with SimplyBiz investing around £2m in the business.

A Sandringham spokeswoman confirmed Hull is joining but declined to comment on the move.

A PosSol spokesman says: “Chris has been a hard-working and popular member of staff at Positive Solutions for over nine years and we wish him well with his new challenge.”

Last month, PosSol head of propositions Andrew Waldron and business development manager Jonathan Morley quit the Aegon-owned firm.

Jim Reeve stepped down as chief-executive in February and has since set up his own consultancy business. He was replaced by PosSol commercial director and former Burns-Anderson director Peter Coleman (pictured).

In May, risk and compliance director James McCourt announced he was leaving the firm to join Royal London as head of regulatory risk and compliance.

PosSol head of strategic partnerships Lee McGrath left in July and was replaced by former Honister Capital head of strategic partnerships Alex Ridsdale, who took up the new role of head of customer experience.

Fomer Honister Capital chief executive Richard Pearson joined Positive Solutions as chief operating officer in June.


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There are 48 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. how is this news? Do you actually get paid to write this? I tell you what, PS got a new coffee machine a few months ago, but we didn’t see that in the news did we? This will arguably have less of an effect.

    This is getting silly.

  2. Not positive anymore 4th October 2012 at 5:15 pm

    I think that this is news.

    Chris has been at PS for a long time and I think that his departure will be keenly felt – he did help run the entire head office team after all.

    PS’ loss is Simply Biz’s gain.

  3. It’s common for management teams to change when new CEO’s come in. Get over it.

  4. @not positive anymore- Are you Chris Hill in disguise?

    I can’t believe this is what Money Marketing are paying people to write, it’s ridiculous, vapid, non-news, and it’s being reported for no good reason.

    There’s no way anyone in the industry should be in the slightest bit interested in this, other than PS staff, who will no doubt miss Chris’s presence in the office.

    I cannot think of a single other person in the industry who will be affected by this.

    Sadly, it feels a bit like gossip mongering and the way it has been contextualised against the other PS departures recently is hugely misleadling and totaly overstates the issue.

  5. I couldn’t disagree more. How often does news of a middle manager leaving an IFA firm make the press?

    Positive Solutions must be wondering who’ve they’ve upset? There does seem to be an agenda at the moment

  6. 9 and a half years in this industry is unusual to stay at the same place, especially for a ‘Head of’. I think Chris just got offered a promotion and thought it was time. I agree with the first post – this is not news at all.

  7. Glass Half Full 4th October 2012 at 5:47 pm

    This is not news! A member of a head office leaves.

    People move on all of the time, its a fact of business life…move on and report on something more interesting and of use to the wider IFA population.

  8. While I don’t think moves at this level are of interest I don’t think the first comment was very fair.
    I know Chris, he’s a great guy and he’s worked hard for pos sol, but he’s been there nine years he’s been offered a new role and he’s moving on because he has a good opportunity to further his career.

    He’s happy, Pos Sol are happy to see him getting that opportunity and that’s about the extent of it.

    If the trade press start covering all the moves at this level it’s not going to be very exciting reading.

    (I’m also at this level)

  9. Not positive anymore 4th October 2012 at 6:08 pm

    I think you’re all missing the point here and/or being far too defensive.

    Whilst the recent departures at director level could be explained by ‘call me Pete’ as him bringing in his own management team, the departure of someone who effectively ‘runs the shop floor’ could be quite significant for PS.

    Chris was someone was knew PS inside out – both at adviser level and about how to ensure head office knew how to give a service to their advisers. When someone like that decides that enough is enough it raises two questions:

    1) Does Chris know something we don’t know about what PS is up to
    2) How will PS replace someone with 10 years experience – bearing in mind they work in quite a unique way up there in Newcastle

    To me, when a ‘proper’ PS man decides its time to seek pastures new then partners should be worried.

    This is actually more of a news story than someone like Andrew Waldron leaving who was at PS for 2 minutes and was just in it for the money.

  10. Lot’s of Anonymous jumping to PoS defence here today.

    With the number of departurtes recently, it looks like senior people know something they should be telling the partners. Rats, ships etc. How long can PoS go on losing experienced staff. and why do they see no future in staying ? There is a story here.

  11. Oh dear Money Marketing. You seem to have misjudged this one. No disrespect to Chris intended, but this is a non story and easy pickings for an obviously lazy reporter. And there was me thinking Money Marketing was a quality news outlet. This is just spectacular dross.Time to reassess where I get my “industry news”. By bye.

  12. If this is not news why are so many so keen to comment? Bizarre in the extreme me thinks…

  13. Peter Maxwell-Lyte 4th October 2012 at 7:04 pm

    I am very pleased that this has been reported. Chris Hull called me last week because of a dire problem with a PS client where only I as the ex partner could help sort out the problem. I am reporting this because it demonstrates what a sensible man he is. He was the backbone of Operations in Newcastle. The reason I suspect that this is reported is because it is interesting news to all of us leavers and all the others who have started the final 90 days and are counting the days to getting away. Thank you for reporting this – I just hope that the remaining partners there are finally getting the message ….. get out ASAP!

  14. To the last anonymous poster – I’m sure you are pleased this has been reported, as I suspect anyone with an axe to grind with PS is too. Do you really think this is being reported because it’s interesting news to PS leavers? Really, do you seriously have such delusions of grandure that you think a journalist has written a story just for you? Laughable. Maybe Mr Macdonald would care to let us all know who he wrote this story for?

    And to the negative anonymous poster two before (who rather amusingly had a go at positive anonymous comments), I fully suspect that people at PS who are sick fed up with the truly appallingly negative way this and other trade titles are reporting on their National, want to get in on the blogs first before the animals do.

  15. @not positive anymore- let’s get one or two things straight:-

    Chris decided ‘enough is enough’? where in the story does it say that? Because what i read is someone who is good at thier job got an oppourtunity to advance on that interested him. That happens every day. If MM reported on it every time thet’d not report on anything else.

    ‘Does chris know something we don’t’- Another attempt to infer something from the story that’s not there. Subtle.

    I actually agree on the Andrew Waldron point. That wasn’t news either.

    and anonymous@ 4/10/12 6:12- there are a lot of people jumping to PoS defence. There’s lots of anonymous people jumping to stick the knife in too, for reasons I’m sure are not entirely selfless. It’s all getting rather tedious.

    For the record, I’m sure Mr. Hull does a sterling job, and will be difficult to replace, but i fail to see how this will have any significant effect on the service PoS provides.

    Show me an article on middle management leaving any other company on this site. I havn’t looked, but I’m sure you’d struggle to find one.

  16. I’ve never felt as low since Newcastle sold Andy Cole to Manchester United in 1995.

    I’m absolutely devastated.

  17. I have to confess I’m surprised by this article.

    Knowing Chris I think he’d be genuinely suprised by the coverage. It does seem an odd story to write and with the best will in the world, whilst Chris is a great guy, a few of the comments on this thread are rather desperately trying to stretch the importance of his position.

    He’s got a great new job offer, couldn’t people just congratulate him rather than taint the moment for their own purposes?

  18. Reading this from an outsider’s perspective; it is in my opinion that there seems to be a few ex PosSol individuals commenting in a negative way.

    FACT – When a new CEO starts a business, there will, without question, be a number of individuals who won’t agree with new plans, feel uncomfortable with the possibility of change.

    FACT – The grass is not always greener

    FACT – Talking about the past in a negative light, is wasted time you will never get back in your life.

    Maybe PosSol needs a management change. The industry is changing, and it’s not a bad thing to have new people with fresh ideas, and new energy in helping a business move forward.

  19. Not positive anymore 5th October 2012 at 9:04 am

    Dear Anonymous @ 8.17am

    With respect, I think you’re missing the point.

    1. The ‘enough is enough’ comment comes from actually understanding what is happening in Newcastle right now and not from simply swallowing any stories Coleman may give you.

    Why would Chris leave a role that was 5 minutes away from his family home, paid him a good salary and allowed him to work for (according to Pete) the best positioned IFA firm. Instead he has replaced this for the uncertainty of a new role, for a new company and will now need to commute to Huddersfield.

    You may see it as him seeking an opportunity; I (and others) see it as Chris having seen enough to become worried enough to get out whilst he still can.

    2. The ‘does Chris know something we don’t’ comment was not intended to be subtle. Instead, it is meant to illustrate the fact that, as Head of Operations, Chris leads from the coalface every day and will be the one seeing first hand all of the issues being caused.

    He will also be dealing with the large numbers of departures (see comment above from a leaver). Combined with this, he will have seen turnover decrease on a monthly basis.

    So he will know better than most what is happening there right now. Certainly more so than you and I.

    3. I’m glad you agree on the Andrew Waldron point, but I think you’re being a little obtuse here. My point was that this is a big story and has some considerable ramifications – for all the reasons I’ve already mentioned.

    4. Best not have a dig at anonymous posters and then post anonymously yourself. Yes, I know that I’m posting from a pseudonym – but this is because I’m an ex-PS Partner and don’t dare further jeopardise my reserve account and Relax commissions.

    And before I’m accused of being a recruiter (I’m not), I’ll give a counterview – look at the amount of anon posters who immediately stuck up for PS. A cynic would say that this is PS staff members doing something they’ve been ordered to do – my view is that freespeech and debate should be welcomed at all times.

    Finally, if you wonder why there is such interest in stories like this its because PS is a hot topic right now. No matter what you and some others may say, PS have treated a lot of people disgracefully in the past few months.

    They have changed the contract without warning and are penalising leavers in an unfair fashion (see past articles and comments over the last couple of weeks).

    If you dare question this you are censored (via their messageboards) and are left with no option but to speak out using comments like this one.

    If you do decide to leave, you are branded ‘disloyal’ by Coleman, something which I think smacks of being a bad loser and, in my opinion, is poor form. The other irony with the disloyal comment is that ‘call me Pete’ may be describing people who have been part of PS for many more years than him and helped make the company the success it was. A CEO should be more statesman like in my opinion.

    This is really my long-winded way of saying that ‘what goes around comes around’ – if Pete and his gang had been a bit more transparent and humble in their recent dealings there wouldn’t be the huge current ill feeling.

  20. Why did Keegan sell Andy Cole? Madness.

  21. RegulatorSaurusRex 5th October 2012 at 9:42 am

    More free publicity for “Sandringham”, Ken says thank you.

    PS is doomed.

    You don’t need to wait 90 days, go NOW. Dual authorisation is just fine by the FSA.

  22. To a lot of advisers Chris was Mr. P.S.
    I am not a P.S. adviser but I know many who are.
    This is no ordinary guy that is why its newsworthy.
    If he is going something is up at mill.

  23. @not positive anymore

    Ahhh, you’re a former partner. I thought there was a danger you were impartial for a second. That’s OK then.

    Maybe I am missing the point, but as your arguement is based on made up opinions presented as facts, and an underlying bitterness and resentment towards PS, i’ll probably continue just to miss the point if that’s ok with you.

    1/Have you spoken to Chris to understand his reasons for leaving? Because regardless of what you (and unamed, unreferenced others) see it as, unless they have spoken to him, it’s all just ill informed talk.

    2/ I’m sure you and Chris have shared many hours discussing what he sees and doesn’t see in his day to day role, and what his feelings are on that, but then again, maybe you’re just making stuff up.

    3/ And for the reasons I’ve stated already, it’s not.

    4/ at the risk of sounding horribly condesending, I think you’re missing the point. I wasn’t having a go at anyone for being anonymous. I was arguing that almost everyone on here is anonymous, so to say lots of the defense of PS is anonymous is misleading, and disregards that most of the attacks on PS are anonymous too.

    lastly, the cynic who might say PS HO staff are being asked to comment on PS message boards, is a cynic who likes to make complete fabrications up in the interest of generating negative publicity without having to back it up with anything as worrying as facts.

    This is my long winded way of saying most of what you have said is made up opinion at best.

  24. @stu & Joe

    Lets just clarify something, this is much worse than Andy Cole going to Man U. From what I’ve heard, SimplyBiz have not even offered Positive Solutions Keith Gillespie to soften the blow.

  25. This is controversial, but I think Andy Cole was overrated.

    Lesley Ferdinand!

  26. That is controversial, but seeminlgy Joe Hart is the “best golakeeper” in the world these days so maybe I just don’t know what I’m talking about.

    Sir Les and Gillespie were awesome together in my dream team.

  27. My name in lights 5th October 2012 at 11:25 am

    Hi Money Marketing and Mr Macdonald. My name’s Maggie. I’ve been head of catering at the staff canteen of my local IFA network/national for about 10 years. I’m moving on to a new job, as people do from time to time, but I’d really like to see my name in lights – just once. Do you think you could make a story out of this. I’ve been reliably informed you can.

  28. I personally think Andy Cole is overrated

  29. More serious issues, there is no white wine left in the fridge at the Glasgow office, and the beer is running low.

  30. Not positive anymore 5th October 2012 at 11:37 am

    @ Anonymous | 5 Oct 2012 10:20 am

    I’m not sure I’ve ever pretended to be impartial, so I’m unsure about your first comment.

    Its up to you whether you believe what I say is made up or based upon bitterness and resentment.

    As I said in my last post, I’m a believer in free speech and (despite the efforts of PS staff trying to deflect attention by talking about Newcastle) through exercising this choice I’m entitled to say how I see things.

    At no point have I stated anything as fact; I think there have been enough facts in recent circulation (losses in annual reports, management departures, partner departures, underhand contractual dealings) to provide an accurate picture of what is currently happening to PS.

    What I have simply sought to do is provide my own take on the current goings on, which, when backed up with the facts I reference above hardly paints a happy picture.

    If you want to continue to believe what you are being told by PS management then that is your own decision and more power to you.

    I personally think that is a huge mistake; but that is my opinion.

  31. Come gather ’round people
    Wherever you roam
    And admit that the waters
    Around you have grown
    And accept it that soon
    You’ll be drenched to the bone
    If your time to you
    Is worth savin’
    Then you better start swimmin’
    Or you’ll sink like a stone
    For the times they are a-changin’.

    Come writers and critics
    Who prophesize with your pen
    And keep your eyes wide
    The chance won’t come again
    And don’t speak too soon
    For the wheel’s still in spin
    And there’s no tellin’ who
    That it’s namin’
    For the loser now
    Will be later to win
    For the times they are a-changin’.

    Come senators, congressmen
    Please heed the call
    Don’t stand in the doorway
    Don’t block up the hall
    For he that gets hurt
    Will be he who has stalled
    There’s a battle outside
    And it is ragin’
    It’ll soon shake your windows
    And rattle your walls
    For the times they are a-changin’.

    Come mothers and fathers
    Throughout the land
    And don’t criticize
    What you can’t understand
    Your sons and your daughters
    Are beyond your command
    Your old road is
    Rapidly agin’
    Please get out of the new one
    If you can’t lend your hand
    For the times they are a-changin’.

    The line it is drawn
    The curse it is cast
    The slow one now
    Will later be fast
    As the present now
    Will later be past
    The order is
    Rapidly fadin’
    And the first one now
    Will later be last
    For the times they are a-changin’.

  32. This is a story against the backdrop of the slow meltdown at PS – it won’t be a Honsiter style big bang headline (what ever did happen to those Burns Anderson and Hoinsiter Directors ??) – but the Good Ship PS is listing heavily.

    Key individuals leaving in such numbers, failure to recruit a Compliance Director 3 months from RDR and after 6 months of searching, record number of IFA resignations, and little or no recruitment does not look good.

    Add to that the fiasco over the IDD and suitability letter relaunch then retractions and you sort of get a picture of a CEO and Board either asleep at the wheel or simply out of their depth.

    The PS tub thumpers show the seige mentality at PS, some others on here are enjoying PS demise, but the PS IFAs really need to lift their heads up and see what really is going on at PS and realise, after December 2012 it is going to be even harder to unsheckle from this sinking ship

  33. Everyone thought the sale of Andy Carroll was the beginning of the end. I then signed Ba and Cisse and qualified for Europe. Have faith onlookers!

  34. I’ve got my eye on Demba Ba.

    This reminds me of when Woy Cawoll asked to leave.

  35. Faustino Asprilla 5th October 2012 at 1:55 pm

    FACT – I had a better celebration than Andy Cole.

  36. I miss Shearers banter

  37. hasn’t anyone got any work to do?

    Surely some CPD, looking after clients or possibly getting on out there and finding some new ones it’s not like there’s a shortage.

    What an industry and that’s insulting to ‘industry’.

  38. AS a PS partner it is of no relevance to me what changes Aegon/ PS decide to make to their management team. There has been no proper leadership there since David Harrisons days.

  39. @ not positive anymore

    it is up to me, that’s why i said it. I think it’s pretty clear.

    I’m not sure you pretended to be impartial, I do think by inference your comments can be taken with a pinch of salt if you are admitting to having your view tainted by lack of impartiality.

    lets look at the ‘facts’ you state then:-

    1/ Losses- In comparison to others in the same industry? I think PoS are doing ok. Also, you have conviently ignored the other fact reported at the time (month on month profits for someing like 15-18 months)?

    2/ Management departures- On the whole not news worthy, and those that have been have been for valid reasons, (better oppourtunities, roles no longer required, stregthening etc.).

    Again, this is a fact you can bring out at random, but if you accurately contextualise against what is actually happening in the business, this is a lot less worrying.

    3- Partner losses- How many of these have been those earning less than average? How many have left due to RDR? Another fact you can add to an arguement without providing any context.

    4- Underhand contractual dealings- this is nothing more than your opinion. Peter Coleman has commented on these in the press and could be argued he’s doing nothing more than protecting PS’s interest and enforce the contract in areas that PS have neglected in the past, under less proactive management.

    What you have simply done is make a mountain out of a molehill. You may have valid complaints with PS, you have cosen the wrong issue and forum to raise them.

    Whatever issues you may have are not connected or affected in any way with Chris Hull leaving.

  40. Not positive anymore 5th October 2012 at 4:45 pm

    @ Anon

    Before you get on your high horse and accuse me of being impartial (or not), I think it may be necessary for you to share your own background with us all (as I have done). Can you therefore confirm that:

    1. You are not an employee/director of PS/Aegon
    2. You are not a member of the ‘PS ‘Partners committee’ (and therefore on their payroll)

    The reason I ask is that you seem very confident/arrogant in your replies, yet do not have the gusto to put your name to them.

    With reference to your statements – my own personal view again (and not Petes)

    1. Just because others are losing money doesn’t mean it is acceptable for PS to do so.

    Remember that it wasn’t that long ago that this company was registering profits in excess of £10m a month.

    I also haven’t conveniently forgotten anything else to do with profits from PS and profit – just because Coleman says they are profitable doesn’t mean they are.

    I therefore think I’ll wait for the accounts to come out, thank-you (lets hope they weren’t filed a day late like this year – thereby earning a £1,000 fine – a bit lax for a supposed accountant like Pete).

    2. The entire management team, with the exception of Coleman and Billy Jack have now left.

    From a stability point of view this is worrying, but I’ll pander to the ‘pro PS view’ and say that Pete needs his own team in.

    Lets look at his ‘dream team’:

    New CEO Coleman – Burns Anderson 2002-2008
    New COO Richard Pearson – Money Portal / Honister 2004-2012
    New Non exec – Mike Hughes – Burns Anderson -2002-2008
    New Head of Client Experience Alex Ridsdale – Burns Anderson 2007-2012
    New Head of Monitoring Julie Pearson – Burns Anderson/ Honister – 2001-2011

    Notice anything in common there? Just in case you can’t (blinkers can be a wee bit tricky) you’ll have noticed they all come from the same organisation.

    In case you missed the news earlier this year, this was the same organisation that couldn’t get PI insurance (due to bad business being sold in BA) and registered loss upon loss. Maybe that was just a one off and they’ll all help do a much better job with PS – time will tell.

    Because of these reasons, I think that management upheaval is a news item.

    3. You seem to have accepted Pete’s statement that the only people leaving PS are those pesky low producers.

    However, if you have a little bit of a closer look at the PS contract you’ll know that the lowest earners are some of the most profitable partners for PS to have. Why? Because they have a minimum retention amount that must be paid each year.

    If you then have another look at the PS contract, you’ll notice that the higher earners, because of their low rates, tend to actually cost PS money in the longer term (thus the reason for Jim and Pete getting rid of the 0% rate).

    Next, have a look on the league table on your extranet showing all business writers (or there used to be one). Have a look at the top writers and then have a look at the bottom writers – I guarantee that there will be more of the latter than the former.

    Finally, and just for fun, have a check about how many of the top writers are still at PS (and not in their notice period). You can probably also ask your mate Pete for the same chart from 12 months ago – it may be worth a little bit of a comparison to see who is still there?

    4. To me, changing the terms of the contract without telling anyone is an underhand contractual dealing. Whether he is doing it for the right reasons (to protect PS’ interest) or the wrong reasons (to artificially increase profitability), it is not fair or correct to behave in this fashion. This is nothing to do with my opinion.

    I’ll not bore anyone who might still be reading this with the detail – its well documented across the industry now – but lets not insult everyone by insinuating that Pete commented on these things publicly as if its something to be commended – he only did so after a huge amount of pressure and public criticism.

    So in conclusion, I’m not sure I’ve made a mountain out of a molehill.

    In fact, I think you’re trying to stamp the mountain into a molehill; there is a problem there, lets stop walking away from it or burying our heads.

  41. Not positive anymore 5th October 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Correction – where I say:

    “Remember that it wasn’t that long ago that this company was registering profits in excess of £10m a month. ”

    This should have said £1m a month.

    Just before I get accused of misreporting the facts from Mr Anon

    Happy weekend all 😉

  42. @ not positive anymore

    You are bang on with every comment, accurate and factual although the financial numbers are actually much more “interesting” but I can’t post the details on here. Suffice to say the loss of productive Partners is now feeding through to turnover and profit.

    @ Anon

    A rather weak “insiders” defence however I would add to your points

    1) PS posts losses in 2011 again

    PS are apparently profitable in 2012 so far mainly due to exit fees, ,which is very short term profit, and increased retention

    2) comments being made about valued leavers, both PS employees and high quality award winning IFAs are not only disingenious but also rather petty and childish. Also intersting that those valued advisers who resign get a call from a board member to try and persuade them to stay.

    3) The majority of IFA leavers have been in Call me Pete’s “target market” and higher producers, see his recent comment

    4)Some significant disputes ongoing over this but a huge PR own goal which has killed PS recruitment

    I think PS are becoming very desperate in trying to plug the holes in their listing ship

  43. Post-RDR business owner 6th October 2012 at 8:22 am

    Shouldn’t you all be out building relationships with clients rather than posting fourteen paragraphs on bulletin boards?

    I’m sure if they knew you spent their time (i.e. money) wittering on like this they would leave you and come to me.

  44. I’m not going to pass comment on most of what yopu say, I think I already have answered alomst all of your points, and this is all getting a bit tiresome.

    I will answer your direct questions though:-

    1/ No
    2/ No (and how do you know these guys are on the payroll? Have you spoken to any of them? The ones I have spoken to have confirmed they are not, but you may have confidential access to bank records I do not have).

    The late return of accounts is not a £1000 fine (another made up ‘fact’).

    You don’t have anything of substance to back up your horribly innaccurate ramblings, and I’m bored now.

  45. Looks like PS HQ (Honister/Burns Anderson) team have been on the boards!

    Not sure whether PS have got the legs to survive?

  46. There are alot of anonymuses in this world, I wonder if they were fathered by the same guy?

  47. Interesting that for the first time ever PS Annual Accounts do not provide the numbers of IFAs trading at year end.

    Given published number of 930, which includes all leavers and those on notice this year, then 850 is ballpark where they are. Down 50% in 3 years.

    Says it all really

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