To better understand the inner workings of Sheards Financial Management, we sat down with Financial Adviser Stephen Harrison. We discussed the path in which Stephen had taken to find himself at Sheards, and why he has remained here.
Stephen has 25 years’ experience in the financial services sector, so we thought it was about time to delve into that history.
Tell us about your background and how you got into financial services?
My career began in January 1994, when I first joined Scottish Equitable. I worked in the pensions and investments market, wherein I built relationships with financial advisers. Later I worked with a number of large UK and Global companies including MetLife, AXA Life Invest and Prudential.
For a number of years, I had considered becoming an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA), and thought about it for a long time, until finally, I took the leap.
I later approached Mark Stewart, the Director of Sheards Wealth, as I had seen the firm growing. I had known Mark for a number of years, and I saw how passionate they were about their clients and the services they offered to them throughout their lifetime, really understanding what their client needs were and putting plans in place to achieve those goals, that is what drew me towards them as a business.
What skills and experience have you developed on this journey?
I have had 25 years’ experience within the financial sector, and I have developed too many skills to list! As well as having years of building technical knowledge and experience in fact-finding under my belt, I have also been able to develop my communication and soft skills.
I have seen the industry change over the years, especially how pensions have developed since 1994, which has helped me keep on top of my knowledge.
Can you give an example of going above and beyond for a client?
At Sheards we are all about helping clients achieve their future goals and living their desired lifestyles. This client had worked for 42 years for the same company and had dedicated his life to them, working hard for them and his family. His goal was to stop working and spend time with his wife and family, while he was still fit and healthy. He had a built up a large pension fund as well as some other assets. His main worry was, did he have enough monies to enjoy his potential retirement and would he run out of money?
Through several meetings, understanding his expenditure and utilising Cashflow modelling reports with the client, the satisfaction of explaining to the client that he did not have to work to 65 and could retire at 60 reminded me of what we are all about at Sheards. Helping clients achieve their goals. I always say to clients, “I don’t want to be sat with one of you at 80 years old and hearing you say I wish I had done this or that.”
What are your hobbies and interests?
I have been playing Rugby Union since I was ten years old and played senior rugby at Bowdon RUFC a Cheshire Club. I obtained my level 2 coaching qualifications so that I could continue my passion for rugby, allowing me to coach from mini rugby up to and including seniors, a lasting memory is the U16 winning the Cheshire Cup.
I also have a passion for cooking and travelling, as well as eating out if you can count that as a hobby!
Finally, what do you love about Huddersfield?
It has to be Uppermill doesn’t it?! That used to be Yorkshire and still is in my books, there are plenty of white roses above the shop doors. Other aspects of Yorkshire that I love are the country pubs, the rolling hills and the people. Nothing beats it.