Edition 16 of SportsBiz Spotlight sees us venture in to the financial world as we sit down with Ben Smith, from FLM Wealth Management to learn all about the business and the work they’re doing with athletes and football academies across the UK.
Tell us about the business? What does FLM Wealth Management do?
We focus on working closely with our clients to truly understand what motivates them and what goals they are aiming to achieve with their finances. We will then put a plan together to help them to achieve these objectives and fundamentally help them to make great decisions with their money.
Working alongside my colleagues Ed Forsyth and Gemma Cottis, we’ve applied that framework to the sporting landscape with a two-pronged approach: education and wealth management.
We’re visiting academy sides up and down the country to deliver educational seminars on basic financial concepts such as tax, amortisation and mortgages, while also underlining what represents good financial practice and the importance of wealth management.
Additionally, we work with numerous athletes across various disciplines to provide financial advice and manage wealth effectively. Sporting careers, as we all know, are notoriously short and can end at any moment, so it is important to care for finances with a long-term outlook.
When was it founded?
FLM has been going for over 20 years and we now look after over £1.3bn of our clients’ wealth.
We’ve been active in the sporting sector for a number of years having worked alongside athletes at the highest levels, while also supporting numerous local and national sides with sponsorship – you’ll find us on the shirts of our local rugby league side, the London Broncos.
However, given the financial uncertainties which existed for all young athletes as a result of the pandemic, this demographic was in desperate need of guidance, education and long-term planning.
We launched our educational offering at this time, and following early success at clubs such as Huddersfield, QPR and Chelsea Women, we’ve built upon that and now deliver an engaging syllabus to teams across the country.
What’s the main purpose of the organisation?
One of the most important things we have learned is that how wealthy someone becomes is not decided by how much they earn; it’s how they behave with their money.
We want to be there to help with all the difficult decisions and set our clients on the right path to success no matter what the future holds.
In a sporting sense, we’re here to educate the next generation of sports stars on good financial practice, while also effectively managing the wealth of current and retired athletes.
If failure wasn’t a possibility, what would be your biggest ambition?
I’m still holding out hope for a call up to Gareth’s squad for the next World Cup!
Whilst I wait for the phone to ring for the 2022 squad announcement, and strictly speaking in regards to the educational activity we engage in, if we’re able to help any young players avoid the financial pitfalls which exist by providing sound, constructive financial advice and guidance, then we would consider our work in this space to be a huge success and one without failure.
What’s your USP?
We’re a young, energetic team existing in an industry where age demographics are typically higher – the average age of advisers is nearly double that of our adviser team.
While age is no guarantee of innovation, we continue to break new ground and have been doing exactly that in the sporting space by becoming one of the first wealth management firms to offer educational sessions to academy sides across the country.
I’d argue this kind of forward-thinking and human approach is what sets us apart from the usual financial types you may find within our industry, but our years of experience as a firm, quality of work and contemporary, bespoke approach to the financial journey of each individual really makes us distinct.
How many people work at FLM Wealth Management and what capacity? I.e. job roles etc.
We’re constantly growing and we now have over 100 people in the company with 34 fully qualified advisers, with support from; associate advisers, a tax and accountancy team and paraplanning team.
We’re also incredibly proud to have a 50-50 gender split in the office and champion equality throughout the business, and we hope this can be reflected in other practices and wider sport itself.
Athletes looking to make the transition from sport into a finance career have the opportunity to be a part of our trainee programme, too.
Those who have had that sporting experience have a unique understanding and we are proud to give something back to the space which has not only been a considerable part of our business, but an area which we’re so passionate about.
Who are your usual clients?
Traditionally we’ve mainly worked with clients in and around the city of London, but in the last few years, due to the company’s interest in everything sport related, and the obvious need for financial help in this space, we’ve moved more towards sportspeople too.
We work with people of all ages, a variety of backgrounds and sporting disciplines – both inside and outside the capital.
Enacting good financial practice is applicable to just about everyone one of us, but when we reflect upon sport, we recognise this is a landscape which has perhaps missed out on the advice, education and understanding which other occupations may get.
We’re here to bridge that gap, but to circle back to the question, and speaking in a sporting sense, our usual clients vary between retired sportspeople, active athletes and the next generation of sports stars.
We consider ourselves to be very lucky to be able to work at just about every level and demographic in a sporting sense, which is not something every business is able to do.
Who would be your dream client?
We very much view our jobs as coaches, so constructing a positive, functioning relationship with a client is at the foundation of what we do.
We place a great of emphasis on that mutual understanding. We have that with everyone we work with, so in that sense, those who fit that profile would be what we consider to be a dream client.
There are many sportspeople who encapsulate the qualities I’ve briefly touched on here, and we’re very proud of the work we do for our clients in sport and the relationships which have been built.
How can people connect with FLM Wealth Management? What’s your website and socials?
Our website can be found at: https://www.flmltd.com/
We’re also on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/flm-wealth-management/
And Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/flmfinancialplanning/
Thanks to Ben and FLM Wealth Management for providing insight into everything they do and how they’re helping to educate the next generation.
If you would like to feature your sports based business or know of an organisation you would like to see feature on SportsBiz Spotlight, get in touch.