North East Connected

New book demystifies world of financial planning

AN experienced financial planner has written a book to demystify the world he’s worked in for almost 40 years.

Howard McCain has worked in financial services for 39 years, leaving school in Sunderland to start work in the South Shields branch of NatWest Bank in 1982.

He worked across the region in NatWest’s retail business for several years until, in 1993 and aged 26, he completed his Chartered Banking Associateship and was appointed as a financial adviser at NatWest’s Gateshead branch.

A year later Howard was appointed Area Manager of NatWest’s financial planning team in Durham and Teesside; then in 2001 he became NatWest’s Regional Premium Channel Director, covering the North of England and Scotland.

In 2004, he left NatWest to set up his own company, Howard McCain Wealth Associates, partnering with St. James’s Place Wealth Management.

“I enjoyed my time at NatWest, it was an invaluable learning ground, but I’d always wanted to set up my own financial planning practice to provide my clients with a bespoke service and I have never looked back,” explained Howard.

“The support and encouragement of my wife Gill, in taking the massive step from being employed to being self-employed, was invaluable at this time.”

He then passed his Chartered Financial Planner Associateship and Fellowship qualifications in 2012 and his Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA) qualification in 2016.

As part of his longer-term client succession planning, in March 2020 he moved from Howard McCain Wealth Associates to Sovereign Wealth Limited, a Principal Partner Practice of St James’s Place Wealth Management, where he now continues as a self-employed senior partner,

“Over the years I’ve amassed a great deal of knowledge and experience – particularly through the hundreds of client financial seminars I have delivered – and thought it was time to share what I’ve learned,” said Howard.

“The investment seminars introduced me to a number of clients and I was able to grow my business to one with a turnover of more than £400,000 and employing five staff from my office in Houghton-le-Spring.

“I learned a great deal at NatWest, but even more as chartered financial planner and I hope that my love and respect for the financial advisory industry shines through in my book,” he said.

The book, Why Take Financial Advice?, has been written in collaboration with Write Business Results and is available on Amazon, priced £9.99 from today (May 17).

“The purpose of the book is to help people – help them to really understand the importance and benefits of financial planning.  In writing it I wanted to highlight how intergenerational advice is to help my clients’ children, as well as their parents who may need advice surrounding the payment of their long-term care fees. In the text I use some confidential real-life client examples, including that of my own dad, to illustrate and animate my points,” Howard explained.

The idea of a book was first mentioned to Howard by business coach Georgia Kirke, who is also founder and director of Write Business Results, and who he met at a strategic coach workshop in 2013.

“I needed to be disciplined in balancing my client work with writing the book.  I started it in May 2021, and, by September I had a first draft.  I would write a chapter, share it with Write Business Results, we’d discuss it, edit it and move on.  They also helped me with the structure of the book.

“It was hard work, but extremely enjoyable.  I do believe the book can help people, in their important decision as to whether or not to take financial advice and if they do so, the resultant benefits,” said Howard.

“The book is designed to answer questions about estate planning, wealth management, investments, pensions and financial planning goal setting, but without reverting to industry jargon. It’s not intended as a replacement for the support of qualified professionals, but to give you a base level knowledge and then encourage you to seek advice from an adviser who is the right fit for you,” he added.

The book is subtitled, ‘how an adviser can help you understand, grow, enjoy and pass on your wealth’ and has chapters on wills, inheritance tax, pensions and investment, later life advice, other investment options, working out a financial plan and the seven ‘golden rules’ of investment.

Outside of work, Howard enjoys time with his wife Gill, his sons Alex, 24, and Euan, 14 and their dog Fergus. He’s a SAFC fan and also enjoys table tennis and fly fishing.

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