IFSDG: How long have you worked at Intelligent
Steve: I set the company up in 1998.
IFSDG: How many people work at Intelligent
Steve: At our Glasgow head office we have
a team of 14 administration staff and 8 retirement analysts working
all over the UK. Senior management comprises four directors and two
non executive directors.
IFSDG: What is your vision for Intelligent Pensions
Steve: We plan to continue expanding the
business organically driven primarily through professional
connections and working with employers looking for expert advice
for the senior staff on retirement planning. As one of the leading
specialists in advising both professional and management personnel
on pensions and retirement planning we believe the demise of 'Final
Salary' schemes and consequential expansion of Money Purchase
pensions will result in a growing demand for our services
both here in Scotland and across the UK.
IFSDG: What's a typical day for you?
Steve: I tend to be at the office most
days and travelling perhaps once or twice a month mainly down south
on business. As Managing Director around half of my time is spent
on management issues and strategy planning, and the rest is client
focussed, reviewing recommendations and client reports before
signing off, and communicating with our professional connections.
Mornings tend to be fairly hectic, with a lot of paperwork to get
through, while afternoons are taken up with meetings and a whole
variety of other activities including keeping abreast of the ever
changing world of investment, tax and pensions legislation.
IFSDG: How many emails do you receive on an
Steve: Good question! I respond to around
30 to 40 every day, but probably more than twice that number are
'information only' emails which get a quick scan but don't result
IFSDG: Why did Intelligent Pensions choose to locate
in the IFSD in Glasgow?
Steve: The central location is ideal for
transport and just 20 minutes from the Airport along the M8, and
close to Central Station. Parking is also fairly easy and
convenient which makes life easier for clients coming into the
office. The location is also convenient for meeting up with city
based professionals, such as solicitors and accountants.
IFSDG: Three good things about working in
Steve: I'd love to say the weather, but
that would be pushing things too far. Having lived in Glasgow all
my life the easy access to the countryside and the sea is great,
and as both a golfer and a sailor there can be few places on earth
that offer such variety on the doorstep, and yet getting to and
from the office from Newton Mearns is easy by rail or car.
IFSDG: What is your biggest business achievement
Steve: I am delighted that earlier this
year we won the two top awards for pension advisers at the UK Money
Marketing Awards, held at the Grosvenor Hotel in London. Being
voted both Best Annuity & Drawdown Specialist and Best
Retirement Solutions Adviser, against very stiff opposition in both
categories, was definitely a great accolade and a wonderful reward
after so many years of hard work building up the business.
IFSDG: What is the best investment you ever
Steve: There is no doubt in my mind that
our best investment has been our employees, both internal and
external. We have a truly hard working and dedicated team, and
staff turnover is negligible, so they seem to enjoy working in the
business, which I believe makes a significant impact on our
performance as a company.
IFSDG: Which business person or company do you
most admire and why?
Steve: Although not directly comparable
as we specialise purely in the retirement planning field, I have to
admit that the way Hargreaves Lansdown have grown their business
over the last 20 years has been very impressive. They caught a wave
of 'DIY' investors who have bought into the idea making their own
investment choices. While being impressed with their expansion we
firmly believe that the complexities of pensions, and in particular
the choices at retirement, warrant specialist advice, and through
our low cost SIPP facility we can offer our clients the best of
both worlds and at a very competitive overall cost.
IFSDG: What did you want to be when you were a
Steve: I actually studied Engineering at
University, and had ambitions of building bridges and dams and
other great feats of construction. Maths was always a strong point,
and I am happy to say that I in spite of not following a career in
engineering was able to put much of that training to good use,
especially in the field of programming. We often describe our
business as 'financial engineering' as that is exactly what we do,
and this involves both the design and construction of financial
solutions, as well as the ongoing care and maintenance
IFSDG: What do you do to relax away from the
Steve: I am blessed with a wonderful
family including two sons and a daughter as well as three
grandchildren, and when I am not at home I will either be on the
golf course or sailing on our yacht with my wife and daughter.
IFSDG: Blackberry or
Steve: I-phone now!
IFSDG: Suit or no
Steve: Suit, but normally no tie in the
IFSDG: Football or
IFSDG: Wine or beer?
IFSDG: Sunshine or
Steve: Both, as long as the snow is in
IFSDG: and finally, what three words to sum
Steve: Creative, conscientious, and fair.