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'Nothing was too much trouble': My adviser and me

12 March 2019

Adviser James Wetherall has supported Fiona Ryland through two bereavements and has become an invaluable source of advice and friendship...


Fiona on James...

Fiona Ryland, 67, a retired GP from West Yorkshire, and her late husband David, were assigned a young adviser when their existing one was signed off sick. Fiona says...

"When we first met James he was a very young adviser – he was still doing exams. We liked him as a person – he was obviously very much a people person, very enthusiastic and very honest. So David and I just looked at each other and said ‘let’s wait and see’.

James spoke with us about what we wanted and suggested some restructuring to our investments. As time went on it became apparent that he was very good at his job. We got on, the three of us, very well. He was doing his job very efficiently and was a very nice person, so we said ‘aren’t we lucky?’

James also started to look after my mother’s finances. Given her age, the way that he had to approach them was quite different and he certainly proved himself to be adaptable. She was very financially astute – she’d done her own finances for a number of years – and even in her late 80s took a keen interest in financial markets. She very much enjoyed her meetings with James.

'Mind at rest'

When my husband was diagnosed with cancer, James was brilliant. We were told David had only a few weeks to live. James came to see us – we sat in the garden looking out at the view and went through everything that was necessary. It put my husband’s mind at rest.

James was a good friend, as well as adviser, when I was bereaved. Nothing was too much trouble for him. He went out of his way to be kind, as well as explaining things more than once since I was not very good at taking in information at that point.

He put me in touch with a probate solicitor and made everything so much easier than it could have been. He’s also been great with my mum’s finances since she died. He is great at just listening, as a friend, to my worries.

At the point we came to know James, my husband had marked mobility problems following a spinal infection. James very kindly always came to our house and saved David having to travel to see him. Since David’s death, it has been a mixture of visits to Manchester for me or a visit to the house for James – whatever suits both of us at the time. But looking back, I am grateful he never even suggested a Manchester visit for David.

'We can have a laugh'

I see James once every six months. If he comes here I usually make him lunch and he goes away with some homemade jam. We talk about lots of things apart from finances. I look on him as a dear friend.

James has a lovely sense of humour, which I appreciate. It’s an important aspect of our good relationship. We can have a good laugh.

My overall feeling is that I am so lucky to have met James, both as a very good and kind friend and an extremely competent adviser. He has taken a lot of worry off my shoulders in many different ways."

James on Fiona...

When James Wetherall founded his own practice, Manchester-based Wetherall’s, in 2014, Fiona was among the 40 clients who followed him to his new business...

"As am employed adviser with IFG Group in 2009, I was appointed as a locum to Fiona and David Ryland, two medical professionals, when their adviser fell ill. He wasn’t able to come back to work, so I took on their account permanently.

I immediately took a liking to them. I initially worked with them to streamline their investments. They both had final salary pensions from the NHS, something that shouldn’t be tampered with, but I tidied up their investments and made sure the strategy was consistent.

Fiona's mum was a real character. Fiona lost her dad when she was young and her mum, Phylis, raised the family. She was a plucky lady and an interested investor, unusual for a woman of her generation. Sadly, later in life she came to suffer with dementia and passed away in her 90s, but even in her late 80s she’d ask some of the most challenging questions of any of my clients. She once asked what I thought about China and its impact on the global economy. I loved it!

When David became unwell and sadly passed away I helped Fiona through that as much as I could. Not long after, Phylis started to lose her mental capacity. Fiona has been through an awful lot. She’s stoic.

When Ascot Lloyd bought IFG, I walked away from an incredible offer to stay and set up my own business starting with a blank sheet of paper. Fiona was the first client I spoke to about it. Without hesitation, she said she would follow me.

'A two-way street'

It’s because of clients like Fiona that I am where I am now. Rather than stay with a very big, well-established business, they chose to put their trust in me. We have doubled our clients and doubled our assets in four years. A lot of that has come from referrals and recommendations. Fiona has recommended me to her friends and I’m very grateful for that.

Advice is a two-way street – clients invest their money with me and I invest in them personally. I love client contact and always enjoy meeting Fiona. I love cars and go bouncing up country roads on hard suspension to fall out on Fiona’s drive, while everybody else is driving around in four by fours.

I’ve struck up quite a friendship with Fiona. I’ve always admired her and I don’t say that glibly. She takes a keen interest in what’s going on in my life. Once we’ve gone through the finances, the tables turn and she GPs me. I often go away on strict doctor’s orders to make sure I’m not pushing myself too hard.

Something that David said to me around the dinner table has always stayed with me – you spend five years learning your craft and building your career, and after that it’s interpersonal skills that define your career. When I guest lecture to business school students at Manchester Metropolitan University, I credit David with that. It’s nice to be able to pay it forward.

Fiona is one of the most selfless, kind and genuine people I have ever met. She always wants to do so much for friends and family and people around her. I’m quite humbled by her. She’s amazing."