The Long Game: Dennis Reed

July 20, 2019

Dennis Reed is development director at Fairstone, a full-service wealth management house redefining the UK financial planning market. Following short careers in professional football and the Royal Navy, Dennis entered the retail financial services sector in 1988 with French re-insurer Group Des Assurances National (GAN). In 1995, Dennis was a founder of Inter-Alliance Group, which ultimately listed on AIM and integrated sales forces from US-owned Lincoln National and Prudential Assurance. After co-founding Fairstone in 2008 with Lee Hartley, Dennis took the lead in driving integration-led growth through the firm’s unique Downstream Buyout Programme. Fairstone is now one of the UK’s largest Chartered financial planning firms, with five- star ratings from Defaqto, and is the number one rated wealth management firm on Trustpilot


When I first entered financial services in 1988, the sector was largely focused on selling life assurance and pensions. At the time, the industry was made up of companies rapidly building salesforces, so you could easily make the career leap from postman to salesman within a few short weeks. Most companies held rudimentary training courses, designed to equip the salesperson with enough basic knowledge to promote their in- house products to friends and family, followed (hopefully) by referrals to repeat the process.

Looking back, selling products on a commission-only basis with no leads provided, was a steep learning curve. On a positive note, it taught me discipline and an understanding that  the word ‘no’ wasn’t to be taken personally.

Over the years, the number of people I have helped to buy their first home, build school fees funds and protect their families against unseen life events has been enough to make me realise that financial advice is a real and worthwhile vocation.


Today, financial services is much more about wealth management and providing the client with a long-term plan to protect and enhance their financial well-being. Products have become much less important for the impartial and independent wealth manager and applying intelligent solutions to each individual client is key. Clients are simply at the centre of everything we do.

Clients appoint their wealth manager and agree fees upfront, so it is vital there is a transparent and flexible fee structure in place to suit individual requirements.

In a world of increased legislation and regulation, it is also essential that wealth managers operate in a risk averse environment, with centralised research driving consistent client outcomes.

Increasing demand for wealth management continues against a backdrop of a reducing number of regulated individuals authorised to provide this. Fairstone has its own academy, supporting new entrants to attain professional qualifications and operate within an independent Chartered environment.


Over the next three decades, more than £5.5 trillion of inter-generational wealth is forecast to transfer within families, partially driven by the surge in property prices since the 1980s.

According to the PwC Wealth Sector Report 2017, worldwide assets under management are expected to almost double by 2025 against a backdrop of fewer qualified advisers.

Meanwhile, the UK financial advice market is experiencing 8 per cent client annual growth supported by over £1 trillion of liquid investable assets, held mainly by consumers aged 55 to 70, largely in expensive, inflexible and poorly performing life-wrapped policies.

Fairstone is a technology-led national Chartered firm and our whole-of-market choice and independence are essential components in delivering the finest service we possibly can for our clients.

As client requirements become increasingly complex, it is essential that the ability to deliver intelligent solutions keeps pace and we recognise the huge opportunity in helping clients move wealth into the modern world – transforming old money into new money.

Fundamentally, what will drive us forward is our core commitment to clients and our pledge to develop first-class relationships with them across a lifetime financial journey.


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In the limelight: July/August 2019