Meet... Stuart Foden
Posted on Oct 03, 2018
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Stuart Foden joined The Goodman Partnership 16 years ago and is now the firm’s Paraplanner Manager. He says that the role of paraplanners – both within the firm and the industry as whole - has evolved over the past few years.
“Originally paraplanners were expected to primarily provide advisers with technical and administrative support, now that’s expanded to include establishing, developing and evolving modelling tools,” he explains. “We are now a technical hub to support advisers.”
He adds: “As an industry, paraplanning is establishing its own skill set and it’s being recognised as a profession on its own, with dedicated conferences and forums. It’s a change we are seeing on an industry level. It really emphasises the vital role we play.”
Having completed his ‘A’ levels, Stuart considered going to university but was offered the opportunity to join a private bank in its asset management operation.
“I was always good at maths and liked economics – having studied it as part of my business studies ‘A’ level – so working on the analytical side of finance appealed,” says Stuart. “My Dad also assured me that if I joined a bank, it would be a ‘job for life’. As it turns out, it wasn’t… and I was eventually made redundant…”
Having been part of a very large, international firm – the opportunity of joining a smaller organisation, in the of shape of The Goodman Partnership, appealed.
“The job at the time provided the scope for me to get involved in new areas and to have an input into developing processes and business strategy decisions,” says Stuart. “I felt that joining the firm would allow me to personally develop within a paraplanning and managerial role.”
He was also aware of The Goodman Partnership from ‘its reputation’, something which he is proud has continued to this day.
“The firm has been in existence for over 30 years and, during this time, the advisers have acquired the highest level of qualifications and built a very solid knowledge base,” Stuart says. “Outside of that, The Goodman Partnership has established many processes and protocols that ensure the best advice is always given. This includes constant reviews of our processes, recommendation checking at a peer level and just as importantly, staying up to speed on legislation and rule changes.”
He continues: “In addition, the professionalism and approachable nature of the advisers puts people at ease often at times of stress in their lives such as losing a loved one or a family member moving into a care home.”
As manager of the four-strong paraplanning team, Stuart’s role encompasses people management, which he says he enjoys.
“The enjoyment of working with the team here is one of the reasons why most staff members have a long service record at the firm,” he explains. “We support and respect one another. Within my department, I have an excellent team with a great attitude and a superb level of ability. That makes my job easier.”
In addition to Stuart’s role within paraplanning, he also manages the firm’s Wealth Management division and chairs the Investment Committee meetings.
Stuart is married with three children, the oldest of which is 11. Although this doesn’t leave him with a huge amount of spare time but does enjoy football coaching.
“Luckily, I also like driving – so acting as a taxi for the kids is not a problem,” he adds.
He also enjoys cooking, mountain walking and socialising with family and friends. Over the years, he has been able to share his love of both cooking and mountain walking with his colleagues.
“Six years ago, some of us joined together to tackle the Three Peaks challenge,” Stuart explains. “We decided that making our own flapjacks to take on the trip would be a great way of getting some energy onboard during the challenge.”
He continues: “My colleague Ian Knipe’s wife and two daughters were part of our support team and, while we were driving between the mountains, we had a mini bake-off competition with them as judges – and Richard Searle’s flapjacks won.”
Since then, the paraplanning team has held regular bake-off challenges, with tarts being the most recent theme.
“At the end of the day, it’s something fun to do,” says Stuart. “We all work hard – so a chance to have a cup of tea and a slice of cake is a pretty good idea.”