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Business & Economy

Financial support with a personal touch

In a world of continuing financial uncertainty, having access to assured support is crucial. And one firm providing such is wealth manager Raymond James. Having recently expanded into the area with a new office, Raymond James, Monument is guiding clients on investment and financial planning decisions across the North East and beyond. Here, Steven Hugill speaks to branch principal Gary Fawcett and wealth managers Rob Brotherton and James Carrick about the value of its expertise in ever-changing times, its tailored approach to clients’ needs and its plans for expansion.


Gary Fawcett pauses mid-sentence, a large thud from the floor above momentarily stopping his flow.

Not that Gary, reclining in a plush velvet chair in Newcastle’s Portland House, minds too much.

On the contrary, such sounds – from builders revamping the ex-Newcastle Building Society headquarters into a business hub – provide a more than suitable bed for wealth management firm Raymond James’ own mood music.

While Portland House, and the skyward-shooting steelwork of the neighbouring Bank House and Pilgrim’s Quarter schemes point to a city undergoing significant commercial conversion, equally does Raymond James’ additional North East office tell of industry revision.

Having moved into the New Bridge Street West-based cohabitation space earlier this year, the firm’s branch – known as Raymond James, Monument – is busily reshaping the investment and financial planning environment.

Central to such is its deeply personalised approach, which complements the unique needs and circumstances of individuals and families, business owners, trusts and charities across the North East, the Scottish Borders, North Yorkshire, the Lake District and beyond.

Gary says: “In a world of consolidation, it feels like the personal touch is being lost.

“But the client is at the heart of everything we do, and our truly tailored financial advice and investment management support is also delivered at a price point we feel offers value for money in our sector.”

Equally fundamental, says Gary, is the individuality the branch’s team – which collectively possesses more than 50 years’ industry experience – can impart on every client decision.

Gary says: “We aren’t tied to products or beholden to fund houses.

“Chartered wealth manager James Carrick and I, for example, build tailored portfolios to meet individual client needs, using an array of research we have access to through Raymond James.

“We act upon what we see, and develop our investment strategy for clients accordingly.”

Gary, who has more than two decades’ experience in the region’s wealth management sphere, adds: “We go far beyond a transactional service.

“A lot of people presently feel disconnected with their money, that their funds are being managed by someone they don’t know.

“But we do things differently.

“We feel ours is a much more intimate offer; when clients work with us, they know they are dealing with the people making the investment decisions, and that gives them greater confidence.

“And it hopefully means we retain clients while gaining the next generation.

“Our support spreads into the wider community too; we’re very good at connecting people and businesses, we’ve married firms with angel investors and we’ve had coffees with students wanting to get into the industry.”

“We’re always very happy to share time to help others,” says Gary, who reveals the Monument team aim to donate a percentage of their turnover to charity as they grow and become profitable.

Citing the branch’s support of business owners, Rob, a Chartered financial planner and wealth manager, adds: “Many are so focused on their ventures, they sometimes don’t focus enough on their own finances.

“We support clients for the long-term, with plans that are constantly reviewed – they are never just a number to us.

“We guide them through changes to personal situations, as well as legislation and factors like inflation and interest rates, which ensures they’re looking at areas like pension contributions and ISAs, and making use of annual allowances.”

“It all helps structure plans that provide the best options for their futures,” adds the Northumbria University graduate.

And such provision is primed to be amplified in the coming months, with growth aspirations for the team over the near-term.

However, while faces may change, the ethos of the branch – which recently joined industry-led tech organisation Dynamo North East – will remain proudly constant.

James says: “There is a buzz about the North East, and we’re joining a very exciting journey.

“But while we’re looking to the future, we’ll never lose sight of the branch’s heart – the client.”

“And that will be distilled into everyone who joins us,” says James, who has previously guest lectured to Northumbria University finance and investment management degree students.

He adds: “We want to build the best possible team, and are passionate about recruiting from all walks of life.

“We want to attract more female advisors to the industry, build a wider, more diverse team full of equally diverse ideas, and prove a career in wealth management doesn’t mean a career in London.”

Gary adds: “This practice will grow by doing the right thing.

“Our biggest passion is helping clients achieve their financial objectives.

“When they do that, it means we’ve done a good job – and we’re fully committed to increasing our support to help more reach their goals.”