Jason Butler of Bloomsbury Wealth
Jason Butler, Caroline Gowen and Robert Lockie are the founders of Bloomsbury Wealth. In my opinion, Bloomsbury are one of the leading Financial Planning firms in the UK and are genuine innovators. Spend any time at all with Jason Butler and you’ll be amazed at the array of ideas coursing through this man’s mind. I always find it stimulating and exciting to talk with Jason whenever I can. He’s the author of the best selling Financial Times Guide to Wealth Management, which I highly recommend reading.
I asked Jason 10 questions about his business and here’s what he had to say.
10 Questions for Jason
Q1. What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever been given?
Be vigilant against anyone (yourself, clients, suppliers or staff) inadvertently sabotaging the business. This can take the form of inefficiencies, lacking focus, over-complicating things, or going off on tangents.
Q2. Who is your business role model?
Generally Steve Jobs takes some beating. His relentless focus on simplicity, innovation, passion and excellence are inspiring. In the wealth planning sector, Brent Brodeski of Savant Capital in the USA, because he built from scratch a business which today plans and manages over $4b.
Q3. Have any other adviser/owners ever helped you with advice or support?
Too many to mention and in lots of little ways. The late, great David Norton was my original mentor and inspiration to do good work and build an enduring business. My wife and I still have the financial plan which David helped us create over 15 years ago. Paul Etheridge is the nearest we have to a God in the financial planning space and his wise words ring as true today as they did 20 years ago.
Q4. Have you ever given up your time to help another adviser coming through?
Over the years my firm has recruited and trained several graduates and I and my fellow directors have been active in the Institute of Financial Planning. I was editor of the IFP’s member newsletter between 1999-2004; I’ve spoken at many branch meetings over the years and given talks at conferences. I have answered many questions from fellow professionals on a range of issues and twice a year I now lecture and teach financial planning students at Northampton University.
Q5. What was your most expensive or painful business mistake?
Growing costs faster than income. Although we built brand, capability and capacity, we never had the capital reserves to fund to break even.
Q6. Which person or business do you most admire in the profession?
Shane Mullins, who has built an incredibly successful business from nothing 15 years ago to managing over £270m today and gaining countless awards.
Q7. What do you love about Financial Planning?
Making a real difference to real people’s lives, intellectual stimulation, getting well paid for my knowledge and experience.
Q8. If you could have your business career over again, what would you do differently?
I would have established a strategic partnership/alliance with another complementary business that could consistently refer suitable potential clients and also provide access to capital.
Q9. Have you ever been under severe financial pressure as you grew?
In the first five years of the business (from 1998-2003), we almost went bust with £250,000 of my and £250,000 of the bank’s capital. I’m pleased that we came through that and today we are entirely self-funded, with strategic cash reserves.
Q10. What’s the secret to happiness in life?
I’m still trying to figure that out! What I’ve learnt so far is:
- If you focus properly on your personal health and fitness you’ll feel good about yourself and have energy;
- If you take time to cultivate and maintain personal relationships with a close circle of friends and family, you’ll retain a sense of security and emotional well-being;
- If you engage in activities which you love and are very good at, you’ll be professionally fulfilled.
Get all that right and you’ll then probably start to look outwards and make a difference to wider society and humanity.