A financial planning firm is exceeding expectations after moving to Newton Aycliffe almost two years ago.
Eldon Financial Planning relocated from Bishop Auckland to new offices on Aycliffe Business Park towards the end of 2014.
Since then the firm has expanded its full-time team to nine with two new members of staff, five of whom are financial planners, and has plans to take on two more in the near future. Turnover continues to increase year-on-year – it’s now approaching the £1m mark.
The latest addition to the team is Ben, a two-year-old tri-colour border collie, rescued by director Joss Harwood from an unsuitable home earlier this year.
The charming and loveable dog is the same breed and almost identical to celebrity canine Matisse, who won the 2015 Britain’s Got Talent contest with owner Jules O’Dwyer.
And while Ben’s presence makes for a homely feel to Eldon’s plush Parson’s Court offices, Harwood insists there’s nothing casual about this company which is going places.
“We’re friendly and approachable and we like to think there’s a nice ambience here,” she says.
“We offer a highly personal service, but we’re also very professional. We’re quite terrier-like with our standards, maintaining a first class client service.
Eldon is a multi award-winning, Chartered and Accredited firm which was set up in 2002 by Harwood, her partner and co-director Tony Conner and another director who has since retired.
Eldon, which now has close to 300 clients across the UK, provides specific, detailed advice to individuals and business owners within the framework of a comprehensive financial plan so that everything fits together to meet clients’ goals.
They use the latest integrated software and tools to deliver high levels of expertise in investment, retirement and tax planning for those with simple or more sophisticated requirements.
Director Gemma Siddle said: “We love working with individuals on their own objectives, so the aim from the beginning is to find out what people want to do with their lives and what their plans are for the future. We then structure their finances in a way so they can best achieve that, meeting every year to ensure that they stay on track.
“We have clients going back more than 25 years, and to have people stay with us for so long really is humbling and very rewarding.
“We change people’s lives, and we can see we do that because we see what happens to them over the course of many years.”
Like Tony Conner and Joss Harwood, Siddle is a Chartered and Certified Financial Planner, a Chartered Wealth Manager and a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society (PFS) Tony and Gemma are also Fellows of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments (CISI) and Tony is a Chartered Accountant.
Gemma is part of a talented team of which Harwood is very proud. “Our staff are all ‘home grown’ and nobody has every left the firm, testament to our culture,” she said.
“The financial planners are at the top of their tree in terms of qualifications and accreditations. They’ve been brought up in our image of honesty and ethics, which are not the first words you normally hear about financial services.”
Harwood, who has been in financial planning for 28 years and in financial services for nearly four decades, added: “We have a very outward-looking approach. The feedback we get is that first and foremost clients trust us, which is the foundation on which we build.
“We’re a small team, but we’ve grown over time, and as a business we’ve always been efficient and with Tony’s accountancy background we know our numbers, which is key to any business success.
“We have steadily grown the business over the years by personal recommendation and professional referral, but we remain small enough to provide a highly personalised and individually tailored service.
“We’re very pleased to be small and local but are known on the national stage, being at the forefront of our profession. Highly-qualified, experienced individuals put their clients at the heart of the business and we deliver an ongoing service of the highest quality.”
• Pictured (above): The Eldon Financial team: Directors Joss Harwood and Gemma Siddle with (left-to-right) Donna Jackson, Jon Bean, Kevin McCarthy, Jan Mathwin, Adam Kinsley, director Tony Conner and Neale Cooke.