Fortitude Financial Planning

Our news

A new initiative focused on good practice

The Personal Finance Society (PFS) has established a new Financial Planning Practitioner Panel to help with the vision of “protecting the public by guiding the profession”.

The panel of experienced financial planners, which includes Fortitude director Neil Bailey, will be advising the PFS as it broadens its programme of continuous professional development (CPD) resources to incorporate inspirational financial planning good practice.

Society President and Panel Chair, Sharon Sutton commented: “We are honoured to have such a distinguished and passionate group of individuals who are willing to share what they have learned for the benefit of the wider profession.”

Neil commented: “It is a privilege to be involved with this project.  Hopefully, by learning from the collective experience of this group, many more advisers will adopt some of the tools and techniques that contribute to good financial planning practice.  This will be a win/win for the both adviser and their clients.”

Fortitude welcomes new team member; Richard

We are delighted to be able to announce the arrival of a new member of the Fortitude Financial Planning team; Richard Peters.

160610 RSP for Blog editLike many people in our profession Richard had a life before financial services and for several years ran his own business offering specialist services to the Logistics industry.  Not surprising, as the owner of a successful business, Richard found that he needed some advice about pensions and other financial matters and so met with a financial adviser.  The outcome of that meeting was not quite what he expected. Rather than simply deciding on how much to pay into his pension, Richard had an epiphany; financial advice, done well, is life enhancing.

At that moment Richard decided to become a financial adviser.

Richard is the sort of chap who, once he has decided on a particular course of action, cracks on with it.  Over the next 12 months he took the various examinations required to achieve the Diploma in Financial Advice.  Having achieved that qualification he found a job with a Northampton firm as a financial adviser.

This was a start; however it wasn’t exactly what he imagined he would be doing. His clients were very happy with the financial advice he was providing, however Richard’s goal is to work with clients to deliver comprehensive Lifestyle Financial Planning rather than focus on one or two elements.

With a background in research it did not take too long for Richard to discover that there are many people who share his goal; a community that continues to develop the profession of Financial Planning.  One of the leaders of that community suggested that Richard should contact Fortitude and “the rest is history”.

Richard will be joining Neil and Chris in many of their meetings so you will have the opportunity to meet him over the coming months.  His first big challenge will be to complete the examinations and assessments required to achieve Certified Financial PlannerTM professional status.

Richard lives in Northampton with his wife Leah and his 2 daughters; Faith who is 4 and Elah who is 1.

Richard likes visiting new places with his family, especially in his folding camper! Spending quality time with friends and family is really important to him.

He is an active member of his local church, has run many courses and is planning to run a course on managing money.

When pressed he will admit to a secret passion; he enjoys fast cars and one day would like to own a Porsche 911!

Chartered what?

Neil and I are delighted to announce that we are now Chartered Wealth Managers.

Einstein apparently said “if you can’t explain it to a 6 year old you don’t understand it yourself”. When trying to explain my new designation to my mother (who is clearly older than 6) I realised how difficult it must be for clients to understand the myriad of qualifications that can be achieved in our profession.

One approach is to ignore qualifications completely, on the assumption that all financial advisors are good enough.

I believe that anyone who has complex needs should not deal with a planner who has only achieved the minimum qualifications! So here’s a quick summary of some the qualifications that exceed the minimum qualification level:

Diploma with a red silk ribbon, isolated on black background.

Certified Financial PlannerCM Professional (CFPCM) – this is awarded when a technically qualified planner, with the required experience, is able to demonstrate the application of their technical knowledge to prepare a comprehensive Financial Plan for a client. When I achieved this in 2006 it was a eureka moment; I realised that all aspects of a client’s life are connected, not just their financial matters, and that Financial Planning is not the same as financial advice

Chartered Financial Planner – all Chartered Financial Planners have completed degree level professional qualifications and have at least five years’ experience. They adhere to a code of ethics and commit to ongoing professional development. Whilst a candidate requires a significant number of exam passes covering a wide range of technical knowledge, there is no necessity to provide evidence of an ability to plan.

Chartered Wealth ManagerTM – this is a postgraduate level specialist qualification which encompasses the breadth of knowledge needed to provide a high quality service to clients. The recent merger between the Institute of Financial Planning and the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments (CISI) resulted in this designation being awarded to both Neil and I because our existing qualifications and experience, together with the completion of an ethics module, demonstrate the required level of competence.

In some countries the use of the title “Financial Planner” is tightly regulated. Unfortunately this is not the case here in the UK where there is nothing to stop anyone from using the title, regardless of whether or not they really are capable of providing a comprehensive Financial Planning service to their clients. Clearly then it is important for a client to establish that their adviser has the skill, knowledge and experience to do so. While you should not rely solely on an individual’s qualifications or title when seeking to identify the right adviser for you, one would expect a Financial Planner to have obtained the CFPCM and (ideally) a Chartered designation as well.

At Fortitude we find that the best adviser / client relationships result from mutual rapport and trust underpinned by confidence that recommendations will be appropriate, technically correct and with the client’s best interests at heart.


Happy Christmas from the Fortitude Team

DSC_0518We’re all looking forward to Christmas and donned our Christmas jumpers last Friday!

The office will be open until mid-afternoon on Christmas Eve. Over the festive period we will be open on Tuesday 29th and Wednesday 30th. We re-open after New Year on Monday 4th  January 2016.

We hope you have a very Happy Christmas and a fantastic break.  We look forward to continuing to work with you in 2016!


Fortitude in Cuba?

Neil and I have just spent a fabulous couple of weeks in Cuba….

Car 2

…never before have we encountered such friendly people, learnt so much about a destination’s history or seen such amazing architecture (albeit that much of it is crumbling).

While in Havana we were more than excited to see that the Fortitude brand has reached such distant shores and couldn’t resist sharing these photos of Neil with a beautifully restored 1956 Chevrolet BelAir!

If you are thinking of visiting Cuba we will gladly share our experiences and the contacts we have made…just let us know.

Car 1



An inspiring evening

NCF NEW LOGO SmallFortitude are proud to be members of the Northamptonshire Community Foundation (NCF) N100 whose purpose is to act as a connection bringing philanthropists together with those in need. Like many, in the past we supported charities both as individuals and as a company but that support tended to be reactive; responding to requests for sponsorship from friends and family or requests for donations from individual charities . We wanted to do something more proactive and particularly wanted to support local charities. The NCF provided a solution which allowed us to do that cost effectively.

We attended their Annual Awards evening last week.

For the first time ever, the previous 12 months saw the NCF making awards totalling over £1million to more than 260 local community projects and activities across the county.  Their Awards evening celebrated the commitment and work of some of the groups and individuals who were recipients.

It’s fair to say we were shocked by some of the facts shared on the evening:

  • 8,000 people have been diagnosed with dementia in Northants, with a further 3,000 suspected as yet undiagnosed.
  • Homelessness has increased 12% in the last 12 months.

We are very aware that we are privileged to help our clients with their Financial Planning, which, inevitably means that we are usually in contact with those who have substantial financial resources; we were reminded that there are many who are less fortunate.

It was an inspiration to see the commitment of so many individuals to help those in need; congratulations to all who received awards.

Neil and Helen



A week at Fortitude

Emily Turner recently spent a week with us and has kindly written this Blog to share her experience:

“I am a first year Economics student at the University of Exeter and during the first week of June 2015 I was lucky enough to undertake work experience at Fortitude Financial Planning Ltd.

I had recently chosen to study a Personal Finance Module at University which taught me how prudent people smooth their consumption of income over their lifetime; risk and return and the importance of diversifying investments; insurance; planning for future taxation and creating an early pension plan for retirement.

The module highlighted to me the importance of financial planning for the future and the need for professional advice. I was keen to learn more about how this works in practice through work experience. I chose Fortitude because I felt gaining a deeper understanding of their five-step process of determining what clients want to achieve would give me an excellent insight into financial planning. I also wished to undertake work experience in a firm which always has the interests of its clients at heart.

During the week, I learnt that financial planning is a long-term process and focuses on future goals. Goals should be specific but as realistic as possible – such as being financially independent by age 60 and to fulfill these goals the client may need to adapt their lifestyle by reducing big expenditures, pushing back the date of goals or by changing their investment decisions.

emily - small - b&w

I also learnt how Fortitude ensures that clients’ investments are diversified and split between growth and defensive investments, according to the risk preferences of individuals.

Through shadowing existing staff, I gained an insight into how Fortitude prepare for a meeting, observed what took place during a meeting and saw what happens after a meeting. This gave me a deeper understanding into Financial Planning as a profession.

Overall the week taught me about the complexity of the role of a financial planner; encompassing the use of a variety of programs, keeping up with new legislation, determining client’s priorities and true values and mentoring clients to make better decisions with their money.”

Neil’s Big Adventure

Neil is about to embark on an adventure to Morocco and has written a few words about his plans and the inspiration for his trip:

“Ted Simon published “Jupiter’s Travels” in 1979, telling the story of his four year journey across 45 countries, travelling 64,000 miles on his Triumph motorcycle. At the time he never imagined that  he would be the inspiration for hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals to undertake their own amazing journeys.

I was enthralled by Ted’s book and for many years have been curious about what it would be like to go on an extended journey overland by motorcycle.  Well now I am about to find out!  On Monday 13th I fly to Malaga where I will collect my motorcycle, which has been transported by the efficient and personable Chris Hathaway of

The bike is a 10 year old Yamaha XT660 – I have dubbed him Rocinante, Rocky for short, after Don Quixote’s horse who, like the Don, is awkward, past his prime, and engaged in a task beyond his capacities!

NWB Bike - after

From Malaga I head to Algeciras and embark on a ferry to Morocco – a country which was described to me as “the closest faraway place”.  I will tour for the best part of a month.  My journey will take me from the snow-capped mountains of the High Atlas to the sand dunes of the vast Sahara desert, travelling through the palmeries of the Draa valley and visiting an array of souks and medieval kasbahs.  If technology allows, I will be posting some blogs and photos from the trip.

My trip is nowhere near as challenging as Ted Simon’s (his book can be found here) so if all goes well I hope to be able to go a little further next time.

Rest assured that, while I am away, normal service will be maintained by my wonderful colleagues.  Clearly they will miss me terribly, but have no doubt that they will bear my absence with their usual Fortitude.”


We are proud to support local charities

We have recently become members of the Northamptonshire Community Foundation N100 which, as their website says “is a county giving circle and networking ‘club’ for like-minded companies and individuals who care about their area, believe that charity begins at home and want to work collaboratively to give something back.”

The Northamptonshire Community Foundation (NCF) is one of 57 community foundations across the UK.  Launched in 2002 the NCF has invested over £7 million across Northamptonshire by supporting over 2,500 charitable projects.

Fortitude has previously supported selected local charities that have approached us directly but we were particularly drawn to N100 because the Trustees can demonstrate a process by which projects are selected, the way in which each grant has been used and the resulting benefits.Northants Community Foundation

Neil said “The Fortitude team is delighted to be part of the N100 giving circle.  We are looking forward to working with the Northamptonshire Community Foundation, who will ensure that our donation will be managed effectively to support projects within our community.”

So, if you were wondering why we don’t send Christmas cards (and by the way thank you for all your Christmas cards and greetings) we hope that you will understand our preference to direct the money to those who are less fortunate in our local community.