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'People buy people': On the road with Keith Laurent

10 June 2019

Having started Worcestershire-based Laurent Wealth Management three months ago, it’s all work and no play for Keith Laurent, as he tells his Zurich business account manager Jon Brookes

Keith Laurent

Firstly, tell me a bit about your company...

My company commenced in March 2019, so is effectively brand new! I worked for a firm for 14 years and when they decided they wanted to back away from financial services to plan their retirement, I agreed to acquire the client bank and set up on my own. I have one support staff member but have intentions to add a paraplanner within the next 18 months. The firm has a healthy mix of most advisory areas with a significant responsibility for a number of group personal pensions. I don’t advise on pension transfers or mortgages and refer enquiries in these areas on to others.

What made you want to be a financial adviser?

I didn’t – I wanted to be an airline pilot!

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Meeting people and helping them on their financial journey. I have dozens of clients, individual and corporate, who I have advised for decades. These people have become friends as well as clients over time and that is something I am always grateful for.

And the least?

Unsurprisingly, the compliance/paperwork trail, as unavoidable as it is.

What personality traits make you well suited to the profession?

I guess it would be being personable. My passion, humour and my confidence in what I do and what I believe in is something I am often told comes across strongly with clients when I speak with them. I also have the ability to simplify complex financial issues that are ordinarily heavy in jargon, so the client ‘gets it’, which makes client meetings less top heavy and more enjoyable for them, and me.

What is the most rewarding thing about your job?

Receiving thanks and appreciation from satisfied, happy clients. Being financially rewarded for my time and expertise is one thing, but the appreciation shown by a client is the icing on the cake.

How would you describe your relationship with zurich?

Very good thankfully, more so since I began using their Platform 5 years ago. The representatives who look after my firm are reliable, knowledgeable and perhaps as equally important, nice people who I am happy to share my time with. 

What are you glued to on tv?

Having been addicted to Breaking Bad in the past, I am eagerly awaiting the next series of Better Call Saul to air.

What do you dream of driving?

I’d really love a Tesla Model X but that is a long way off happening unfortunately.

Outside work, what are your passions?

I love flying and aeroplanes and I’ve been taking flying lessons to obtain my private pilot’s licence in the coming years. I love music and still play guitar in a rock band. My other passion is following my beleaguered football team Birmingham City. On the latter, I have worked as their on-pitch stadium announcer and live match commentator at different times over the past 20 years, so the club has played quite a big role in my life. I’ve been privileged to meet and get to know many people through that connection.

What motto do you choose to live by?

“Treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself.” Extending this to our industry, it could be slightly modified to read: “Advise others as you would wish to be advised yourself.”

How would you describe your work/life balance?

Chaotic. It’s a brand new business and since day one I have worked far more than I’ve played due to the pressures a new business venture brings. The gym membership is certainly wasted money at the moment.

How are you looking to grow your business?

My client bank is almost exclusively borne from referrals and recommendation, yet I have never asked for a referral in my career. My work is appreciated by many and I am lucky to see people pass on my name to others. I would like to think that organic referral process will continue to work well for me in the future and so marketing is not something I am focused on right now.

What’s your favourite place in the world to visit and why?

Islamorada in the Florida Keys. I love the people, the food, the vibe.

What does the future look like for our profession?

There are many uncertainties, but I truly believe a large proportion of our society will always want and need a financial adviser to help them. People buy people; most IFAs are excellent at what we do. I’ve lived through several “the end is nigh” times since I joined the industry more than 30 years ago, RDR perhaps being the most recent “crisis”, yet we are still here and continue to provide a critical service to people who need a personal financial guide to hold their hand. I do not believe that will change, now or in 20 years.