Barnes has spent most of the past 20 years working in the Australian financial service sector, latterly as managing director of ASX listed financial services group Australian Wealth Management Ltd.
He joins Bestinvest following record profits for the company in its 2006 accounts. Pre-tax profits increased by 71% on the previous year to over 6 million, while turnover was up 59%.
Spiers: Having steered Bestinvest along a tremendously exciting journey over the last 20 years, I felt the time was right to pass over the management of the business to someone with greater experience of running a rapidly growing company. As controlling shareholder I will continue to take a very close interest in Bestinvest, but Andrew will steer the company as CEO moving forwards.
Barnes says: Having decided to return to the UK for family reasons, I wanted to join a financial organisation that practices the highest ethical standards and has the potential for substantial future growth. After reviewing a number of companies I settled on Bestinvest. Their 20 year record of consistent growth, coupled with a very high retention rate of clients and staff, suggested that the business is run firmly along the right lines.
Although the UK IFA sector has experienced mixed fortunes in recent years, Bestinvests robust business model has helped the business hit record profits over this period. It is one of very few IFAs who align their financial interests with those of clients, by waiving initial commissions in favour of remuneration based on the value of client portfolios. All financial planning work is carried out on a fees only basis.
The model clearly works and the business is scalable thanks to extensive use of in-house developed IT systems. We may look to supplement organic growth with acquisitions, but only where the businesses are fundamentally sound and practice the same high ethical standards as we do ourselves.