September marks the start of the main conference and business dinner season.
Attending the influential Gleneagles conference is always immensely rewarding as the quality of presentations, speakers and debate are second to none. As the conference is conducted under the Chatham House rule, I will say no more other than “we have some challenges ahead” – but then that’s nothing new.
As you would expect, the culinary delights are also second to none and the only downside of Gleneagles is the added inches!
On my return from Gleneagles, I attended a very different dinner. It was arranged and hosted by a national IFA firm to raise money for a very worthy cause called the Brathay Trust, which helps to inspire young people from difficult or disadvantaged backgrounds to engage positively in their communities.
Why was the dinner so different? Well, it was cooked and hosted by the great and good from the financial planning community, including the editor of Money Marketing Paul McMillan, Beaufort Group’s Alan Easter and the Institute of Financial Planning’s Nick Cann. The purpose of the event was to help Jeff Prestridge reach his ambitious target of raising £100,000 for the trust, which brings me to amazing feats. Most of you will have read articles written by Jeff, mainly in the Mail on Sunday, but I doubt many of you know that he completed an incredible 10 marathons in 10 days to raise money for the Brathay Trust.
This is an astounding achievement, one that very few would be capable of or, dare I say, mad enough to even contemplate! But Jeff did it – and the dinner I attended was to reward his endurance by supporting his charity. But the dinner was only possible because some people generously gave a lot of time and effort.
This is just one outstanding example of the great deal of charity work being done by members of our profession. I am constantly surprised by the amount of financial advisers and firms that quietly participate in charitable activity.
This was most recently evidenced when we reviewed the entries for the PFS Volunteer of Year award. The range of charitable works included in the nominations was wide, from individuals providing PFS regional support to supporting local and international community projects to providing financial education in schools and universities.
Our profession gets very little recognition for all this work but that isn’t the point. The fact that thousands have benefited in many ways from the generous and passionate nature of those working in our profession is the real reward.
Of course, not everyone has the time to do pro bono work but from what I see, we are not short of volunteers. Maybe it is because we are a people business or simply that our desire to help others goes beyond just financial matters.
Beyond the value it brings to society and the communities in which we operate, at the PFS we believe that a core part of being a profession is putting something back and it’s great to see this is a belief shared by many of our members.
Oh, I forgot to mention, the dinner served at the Brathay event, for which we were asked to make a donation, tasted great – despite the presentation.Well done to everyone involved.
If you wish to know more about Jeff’s 10 in 10 and the Brathay Trust, go to www.justgiving.com/jeff-prestridge
Fay Goddard is chief executive at the Personal Finance Society