Unividual grows business and opens doors to new students

By Anita Jaynes on 26 July, 2019

Unividual, a financial planning firm with a 20-year heritage, is experiencing considerable growth with new premises in central Bath, a new office in London and a new intake of aspiring finance professionals on to Unividual’s in-house Chartered Financial Planners school, Unicademy.

Founder John Baxter, his daughter Cherie-Anne Baxter and son Lewis Baxter are growing the family firm to continue providing clients with financial advice for generations to come. However, they have found recruitment challenging. Cherie-Anne Baxter, FCIM Chartered Marketing Director, heads up recruitment for the firm, “It is notoriously difficult attracting people to our industry, especially graduates and women. We found it very difficult creating a balanced workforce. This is a huge threat to the financial services industry, but Lewis and I wanted to transform this in to an opportunity. Five years ago we created Unicademy, a unique training programme that would attract and nurture the next generation of Chartered Financial Planners.”

Unividual are currently recruiting for the September 2019 intake. Lewis Baxter, FPFS Chartered Financial Planner and Director has been overwhelmed by the quantity and quality of applications. “We’ve had over 500 applications so far for five places on our Unicademy programme. This is a tremendous response and demonstrates that people understand the value of our training and the opportunity we offer. It is difficult for aspiring paraplanners and financial planners to find a business willing to give them an opportunity.

Our training programme combines formal qualifications with the Chartered Insurance Institute, mentoring, personal development and on-the-job training so that at the end of the programme the student can either continue their career as one of the highest qualified technical specialists in the industry or become a well-trained financial planner with the skills to provide great financial advice and build long-term relationships with clients.”

Managing Director and Financial Planner John Baxter added, “The vision is to create a school where people are not just technically expert but also have the values and qualities that we believe are essential to help people manage their money. Now in its fifth year we have proved the concept works, 100% of the successful graduates have stayed at Unividual and are now contributing to the success of our clients and our business. They are the foundation on which we will further grow and build our business.”

Students start by assisting Unividual’s financial planners, progressing during the three-year programme from trainee, to financial planning assistant, senior and then Chartered Financial Planner. Formal qualifications are through the Chartered Insurance Institute and combined with highly structured on the job training.

Bath-based Scott Gurd was the first graduate of the three-year academy and Aimee Marshall, Greg Harris and Simon Hicks followed in his footsteps. All are now working as Chartered Financial Planners with Unividual. Aimee Marshall now manages the recently launched London branch in Paddington and the other four graduates have successfully launched their careers as Financial Planners.

Unicademy students will be based in either London or Bath. The company is also looking to hire administrative staff to support marketing, recruitment, accounting and HR functions in the business.

Unividual’s new Bath premises are at Sterling House, Upper Bristol Road. To find out more about them visit: www.unividual.co.uk

Pictured above: Some of the Unividual team