Lives: Pluckley, Kent.
Born: December 17, 1968
Education: South Manchester High School
Career: Began as a broker sales consultant at Eagle Star from 1998 to
1992, the same position with Allied Dunbar 1992-1993, responsible for
marketing, education and sales at PPP Lifetime Care 1993-1998,
longterm care adviser for IFA Campbell Fisk & Partners 1998-2001,
head of Care Funding Bureau 2001 to present.
Career ambition: Having an impact on the care issues that exist in
Life ambition: To keep smiling and to have a balanced lifestyle.
Likes: Manchester United.
Dislikes: Liverpool FC.
Car: BMW 3 Series.
Peers say: “Owain is bright and enthusiastic and is set to succeed in
helping people in what is a very vulnerable area.”
If it wasn't for the end of the Cold War, head of Care Funding Bureau
Owain Wright might never have entered the financial services industry
– he would have become an RAF fighter pilot instead.
But with the fall of the Iron Curtain and the cutbacks in the size of
the armed forces, Wright's dream of cruising the skies in defence of
his homeland was not to be.
“I once hitched a ride in the back seat of a Hawk fighter jet. Going
through the mountains of Snowdonia at 450 knots only 250 feet off the
ground is like nothing else on earth.”
Having completed the RAF training course back in 1988, Wright was
told to come back in a year. When he did so, however, he was told
there were no jobs.
So it was financial services for Wright instead and 14 years later
sees him founding an IFA specifically devoted to the provision of
long-term care advice.
His parents gave him an interest in care issues. When Wright was a
youngster he used togo to work with his mother who was involved in
the Manchester care industry.
“Call me weird or something but I have always had a sort of soft spot
for elderly people.”
The Care Funding Bureau was launched last week as part of London IFA
The Bureaux, alongside the Annuity Bureau and the Income Drawdown
Its aim is to provide advice about all the issues surrounding
long-term care. Operating both on the existing client bank of the
Bureaux and on referrals from other IFAs, Wright wants to grow the
company to be a force for good in the often confusing world of care.
Wright says: “We want to try and give holistic advice on this one
particular area. A lot of IFAs have a lack of knowledge themselves.
One of the key areas of business will be introductions from other
Wright sees the Care Funding Bureau as being about much more than
simply selling pre-funded LTC policies. He says it is an issue which
confuses people, often when they are most vulnerable, and identifies
a gap in the market which he hopes to fill. “I have long suspected
that there are a lot of people who want to ask questions but don't
know where to turn.”
Wright points to the new funding plans announced by the Government
last year and implemented in October, the result of which, he says,
is that local authorities do not funding assistance if a person more
than £18,500 in assets.
There are half a million residents in care homes and another six
million being informally cared for by their families so Wright
believes there is a huge market.
The Care Funding Bureau's office is in Waterloo just south of the
Thames in London. It is so close to the busy railway station that
Wright says: “If I threw myself out of the window I would probably
land on platform seven.”
W right has been focused on LTC for most of his career in financial
services. Other than a four-year stint at Eagle Star in the late
1980s and a year or so at Allied Dunbar, he has worked almost
exclusively in that area.
“I have never really enjoyed being a bog-standard IFA. In this role,
you meet people who are confused, hurt, angry and desperate. You can
tell when they walk away that they are grateful. That in itself
generally gives a bit of buzz.”
He spent five years with market-leader PPP Lifetime Care and then
about four years working for Crowborough IFA Campbell Fisk &
Like many others, Wright reckons that, with the longawaited
announcement by the Government of what it will and will not pay for
finally here and the imminent regulation of LTC products, the market
is set to grow. But it will be a slow climb, and he doubts that more
providers will jump in unless there is clear evidence of there being
a market to compete for.
“I suspect that there has to be more of a market to convince more
providers to dive in.”
Any conversation with an IFA would not be complete without asking
their opinions on the future of polarisation. Wright believes the
changes will result in increased consumer confusion and sees the
high-street banks as the big winners.
“We would like to remain independent but until we are really clear
about what the Government's view of independence is, we do not really
know. We would not want to take the multi-tied route though.”
Wright still flies these days but only for fun – he is a member of
his local flying club in Kent. His other passion is Manchester United
Football Club. The depth of his love for his boyhood team is almost
as great as his loathing of rival Liverpool. He also has some degree
of scorn for the millions of Man U fans who come from outside of
Manchester. “If you haven't gone to work on a bus in Manchester
through Moss Side you can't be a real Man U fan,” he says.