Joint CEO at Guardian Wealth Management David Howell named in the IA 100 list

David Howell Guardian Wealth Management

Being in the industry for 35 years, Joint CEO of GWM David Howell has seen most, if not all of it. So, it was no surprise when he was selected as part of International Adviser’s top 100 most influential people in the industry recently.

We caught up with David, who perhaps unsurprisingly was packing his suitcase for yet another trip having clocked up over 50,000 air miles already this year.

Having started off as a UK IFA, David is very proud to have helped build a global financial planning firm over the last 15 years with fellow Joint CEO, John Hasberry.

“During this time, we have opened offices in the middle east, Europe and the US whilst retaining some of our oldest clients in places as remote as Malton and Goathland in North Yorkshire.”

Areas of influence

Using FCA standards as a benchmark, The GWM Group has successfully exported a blueprint that mirrors UK advice standards across the globe.

“Whilst being mindful of local cultures and nuances, we are regulated in each jurisdiction where we are established and we enforce our own internal regulation and compliance functions to exceed and surpass client and regulator expectations.”

Best in breed

Bringing together the best in IT, Recruitment, Compliance, and Tech, along with some of the top consultants in the industry, allows the GWM to provide a best in breed financial advice proposition that looks after their interests both now and in the future, should they choose to repatriate or retire overseas.

Back in the UK, David has been instrumental in driving forward with the team at GWM Financial Planning achieving the gold standard Investors in People award.

Greatest influence in business

On the subject of his own influences, David says one person stands head and shoulders above all others.

“Many moons ago working under the tutelage of Ken Davy I learned valuable lessons about life and business. Ken, who has successfully built three businesses helped shape me as a businessman and in turn the growth of GWM into the firm it is today. Ken also introduced me to The Million Dollar Round Table, a group which has taken me across the world, and continues to be the source of much personal inspiration.”

Transition to upfront fees

David believes the most significant change in the industry during his career was the move from commission to fee based financial planning that came with RDR.

“It was an exciting challenge and on the whole a positive one. We were geared up to this for a long time and whilst other jurisdictions play catch up, we are well placed to negotiate the journey thanks to our UK roots."

However, David feels the switch to upfront fees has made qualified advice unaffordable for some clients in the UK.

Client service and journey

Moving forward, David sees differentiation as both the greatest challenge, and opportunity that the industry faces.

“The industry is quite vanilla, with firms offering the same products and often any innovation is hampered by regulation. The main concern of a client is not how much you know; rather how much you care. Clients ultimately want to know how we are going to look after them and their family for generations to come.”

“To remain ahead of our competitors in terms of client service and journey, we must always be looking for new opportunities that we can embrace and add value to our proposition”
David Howell Charity treck

Charitable adventures

Away from the office, David has served as a local Magistrate and undertaken a number of charitable adventures, such as cycling in India, and trekking the Rift Valley for a BBC documentary that took a class of troubled children from the UK to Tanzania.

David Howell Charity BBC

Got a question for David?

If you have any financial questions, you can contact David now.

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