We recently caught up with Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) John McCreadie to learn more about building a career within finance, why people are the most rewarding part of his job and how it’s never too late to seek financial advice.

 How did you get into Financial Services?

“I came into the industry by accident, which I think was quite common back then. I left university in 1986 when the job market was tight, and, like many, I had an overdraft to pay off quickly as there was no such thing as student loans back then!

At the time, my mum was working in the same building as the insurer Sun Alliance and heard about an opportunity to join them – I interviewed and was offered a job as a quotes clerk – not that I knew what that was!

I quickly saw that being in an office all the time was not for me, so lacking opportunity at Sun Alliance, I left to join what was then the smallest mutual assurer in the country, FS Assurance, becoming a trainee consultant in 1987, then in 1988 I graduated to looking after the company’s local relationships with advisers in north Birmingham and the Black Country.

From there my career mainly remained focused on developing relationships with advisers working for major names such as Scottish Widows and Aviva all over the country.

I’ve always enjoyed dealing with people face to face, and I still do – I have been fortunate that my jobs have always allowed me to do that.”

What brought you to MPA?

“I joined MPA in 2018 after the company I was with at the time withdrew from dealing with advisers. I had known Phil for maybe 25 years, and was a former colleague of Eddie Ball, our recently retired director, back in FS days.

There were also quite a few other former colleagues with the firm, so it already had a familiar feel.

The industry has always been about the people in it for me – Phil and I are of the same vintage with similar backgrounds and paths into the industry.  He has built a business of integrity and admirable values, that having seen many others that I wouldn’t entertain, I was flattered to be asked to join. For me, it’s essential to be part of a team that you trust and enjoy working with, and that has been very much the case with MPA.”

What is your area of expertise?

“My background is as a pension and investment specialist or leading teams in those areas for provider companies, although, here at MPA, I’m much more of a general practitioner.”

What would your advice be to any clients considering financial advice?

“I did start with the intention of maintaining a professional distance, as I thought that was important to be able make unbiased decisions and recommendations, but when you are dealing with real life day to day, that is just not the case – you need to know people and what it is that they really want and need, to be able to steer them in the right direction – so my advice is, the more you can tell me the more I can help.

I also stress that it’s never too late to seek financial advice to help people with making the most of their money – whether that’s spending it wisely, moving wealth down the generations or being tax efficient – there’s no one answer – everyone is different, and another viewpoint often helps!”

Has the way people manage their finances changed over time?

“I’ve always been committed to helping people manage their finances so they can enjoy their retirement without worrying about running out of money and that never changes.

However, I have noticed that many folks’ financial aims have changed over time.

Despite a bit of belt-tightening lately due to inflation and the markets being down, there’s still a growing emphasis on enjoying life and making the most of the savings they have worked so hard to build up while they’re still young enough to do so, rather than a focus on bare subsidence.

For example, these days, a lot of people want to go travelling, make gifts to the family for houses or weddings and share their wealth with loved ones now, rather than just taking enough money out to “get by” as was frequently seen in the past.

The age people start to draw their savings from is also changing from being a set age to a wide range – some people can’t wait to leave work, while others just want to keep going because they enjoy it and all variations in between, which means a very different approach is needed now to meeting income needs.”

What is your most memorable case so far in your career, and why?

 “I’m always flattered when clients refer me to friends or family. A professional in the investment industry recently recommended me to his parents for some complex pension planning – that level of trust is something I don’t take lightly.”

For more information about financial planning with MPA visit: https://www.mpafm.co.uk.