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The MM Profile: Martin Bamford

Martin Bamford is the son and the employee one of the most respected independent financial advisers – Nick Bamford.

At the ripe old age of 27, Bamford junior is about to have his first book published The Money Tree.

Due to hit the shops on September 21, it is described by Bamford as a “personal finance book for anybody, aimed at helping people to clear their debts and then grow their wealth”.

He thought of writing a book a couple of years ago but his experience was limited to having written a few articles and features. He got into talks with a publisher and although the firm eventually decided not to take him on, the meeting did lead to further contacts and publishing house Prentice Hall eventually gave him the green light.

Bamford has only been in financial services for six years and over the last four years he has been at Informed Choice, working for his father.

He left university six years ago and is quick to point out that it was not a given that he was going to work in financial services but he says: “Working with Nick was in the back of my mind but perhaps not so soon though.”

Martin Bamford refers to his father as “Nick” at all times and says he has called both his parents by their first names since the age of two.

After secondary school, Bamford studied for an HND in business and finance and then went on to do a year at university to gain a degree in business administration.

He toyed with the idea of becoming a recruitment consultant but he quickly realised around the interviewing stages that this path was not for him.

His father put him in touch with some product providers which led interviews and in 2000 he began his career as a broker consultant trainee with NPI.

“I was the last person to get on to the graduate programme at NPI before it ended. I trained as broker consultant and I was placed in the Leatherhead branch. What I did not realise was that this was a sales job based on the phone. I had a panel of around 120 IFA firms and I had to build relationships with them over the phone.”

In July 2001, he joined Standard Life and here, much to his satisfaction, he was able to get involved in face to face work.

“I learned an awful lot from NPI and Standard Life but realised I needed to do further training so I did my FPC exams and AFPC while at Standard Life.”

One common occurrence early in his career, as a result of Bamford senior having such a major presence in the industry, was that many introductory conversations began with the line “Oh, you are Nick Bamford’s son.”

But in 2002, Bamford made the decision to join his parents at Informed Choice where his mother Andrea also works as a financial director. He started as a trainee paraplanner and became a shareholder in 2003. And no, to this day he has yet had to ask his father for a pay rise. “My influence has been well received but there were obstacles initially,” he says.

With, the average IFA being around 30 years senior to Bamford the younger, he notes this age gap means he has few close personal friendships with other advisers. “I know maybe three or four advisers around my age,” he says.

Bamford plans to become a chartered financial planner by the end of the year and hopes to become a certified financial planner in the next few months.

“I love being an IFA I would not want to be anything else. I see myself as a business owner first and an adviser second.”

Friends do ask Bamford from time to time for some financial advice “usually about mortgages, sometimes pensions” and he has three childhood friends as clients among his total client base of around 70.

Looking at the financial services market Bamford believes a lack of clarity in terms of what is independent financial advice is a serious issue.

“The biggest challenge today is the lack of distinction between what is an independent financial adviser and what is an independent financial sales person. There is a lot of confusion since depolarisation.

“I do not see a proper distinction between IFA, whole of market adviser or multi-tie, they are all selling but this is the FSA’s responsibility. But both fees and commission have their place.”

He also strongly believes that product providers need to focus on existing business instead of just chasing new business.

When it comes to product providers and wraps, he views this as a desperate attempt to control distribution. “Standard Life for example is trying to have a foot in both camps – being a wrap and a provider/product manufacturer. It is waiting to see which is the best one for it as a firm.”

Born: 1979, West Bromwich
Lives: Cranleigh, Surrey
Education: 1997-99: HND in business and finance, Guildford College 1999-2000: Business administration, University of Winchester
Career: 2002-present: Informed Choice, 2001-02: Standard Life, 2000-01: NPI
Career ambition: “To build a respectable advisory business and be respected from a professional point of view and to continue to enjoy what I do.”
Life ambition: “Enjoy myself, and write more books, provided this one sells more than 10 copies.”
Likes: Spending time with family, scuba diving, furthering education.
Dislikes: Early mornings, wearing a suit, board games.
Favourite film: Vanilla Sky
Favourite album: “Right now its the Foo Fighters’ latest, In Your Honour and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ Stadium Arcadium
Most admired: Richard Branson, Nelson Mandela
If I was not doing this job I would have been… “In a profession of some sort, maybe in law or accountancy.”


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