IEP Financial: Your centre of information for pensions, investments, life assurance

Ian Poysden, managing director of IEP Financial
Ian Poysden, managing director of IEP Financial

For Ian Poysden, the financial services business isn't fundamentally about money.

For Ian Poysden, the financial services business isn't fundamentally about money. It's about people - and relationships.

It's quite straightforward. Based in Hove, IEP Financial has worked for 25 years doing what it does now.

"We're a professional services business," said Mr Poysden. "Our business is our people. Without that we don't have anything."

Until two or three years ago, there were only seven or eight staff. Now, there are 24. Between them, they have 250 years of experience in the industry - from people who started out 30 years ago, to those who have gone through the firm's apprentice programme.

IEP' Financial's remarkable growth began with an important change in legislation that potentially affects us all.

In the jargon, it was the Retail Distribution Review (RDR). But Mr Poysden, 48, doesn't do jargon. He speaks in straightforward language about complex subjects.

So when RDR came into effect on January 1 2013 - requiring financial advisers to be completely transparent about fees, rather than opaque about commissions - IEP Financial was ready: "It was quite an easy transition for us, because we'd traded that way fro six years before. We were fee-led before that period. So we didn't really have to change too much."

At the same time, the government brought in auto-enrolment and workplace pension legislation. IEP Financial decided to become experts in the field - while many other firms simply chose not to get involved.

Mr Poysden, whose parents moved from the East End of London to Billingshurst when he was a child, is one of three directors; the others are David Williamson and Patrick Spencer, the cricketing son of John Spencer, the renowned cricketer.

You can't spend long in IEP Financial's offices in Church Road without cricket getting at least a mention.

"My big passion is cricket. Sussex County Cricket Club is literally on my doorstep - and we are moving into our 17th year of sponsoring Sussex. I'm also one of the patrons of the Sussex Cricket Foundation, which is the charitable trust, which looks after not just the elite crickect, but also visually-impaired cricket.

"We have always been led by the community. We are proud to be a Sussex company. We are very clear about what we are. We are a provincial financial adviser. We advise predominantly clients in Sussex and across southeast England.”

Ethos and professional development are important to IEP Financial.

It is perhaps no surprise IEP Financial has always had a charity partner. Rockinghorse and Chestnut Tree in the past. This year it is The Martlets Hospice - and the revivial of an annual ball, a Halloween Ball to mark the hospice's 18th anniversary.

Back to business and the pensions choice facing many more of us, because of recent reforms. Mr Poysden is a big fan of choice, but recognises there are risks and possible pitfalls. That's where IEP Financial comes in.

If you have financial awarenss, then that's fine. But many of us face big decisions with even bigger implications later in life. IEP Financial seeks to be a source of information - trusted and reliable. And not only for the super-wealthy.

The auto-enrolment requirement for companies of all sizes is central to a lot of what IEP Financial does. "We have taken 100 companies through their auto-enrolment staging date, the date by which they have to have it done by," Mr Poysden said.

"The first company had 960 employees over 20 different sites across the UK. A big deal. The staging dates are in line with the number of employees. So at the moment it is companies that are around 40 or 50 employees. We're speaking to a lot of those at the moment to get those sorted out, and in the right place.

"We want to be viewed as a centre of information in pensions, in investments, life assurance. Good quality information without it being stuffed down your throat."

The message is clear: "We're trying to encourage people to get their house in order as soon as possible. Don't wait until six months before your date. Start speaking to us now."

IEP Finnacial is holding a complimentary auto-enrolment breakfast seminar at 9.30am on Tuesday, May 19, at Sussex County Cricket Club, Eaton Road, Hove. To book, email or telephone 01273 208813. Limited places are available.