Quickfire session with Colin Low

Managing Director, Kingsfleet

Colin is the founder and MD of Chartered Financial Planners, Kingsfleet, named after the primary school he attended in Felixstowe.

Published in UK Director Magazine Spring 24

About Colin

Colin has lived in Suffolk since he was three years old, and after years working in banks, building societies and investment firms, he founded Chartered Financial Planners Kingsfleet, in 2010.

Its purpose is to ensure that clients have sufficient funds to do what they want to do for the rest of their lives.

It also encourages philanthropy through independent financial advice and operates the Kingsfleet Community Fund (managed by Suffolk Community Foundation), focusing support on educational causes across the county. They have also recently started the Gary Gladwell Fund – named in memory of a staff member who died unexpectedly in 2022 – to assist children in Suffolk to access play and sport.

Q&A’s

What are the main challenges facing SMEs at the moment?

  1. Recruiting the right people.
  2. Dealing with the issues of regulation.

What is your advice on retaining employees?

Make it someone else’s responsibility! We implemented the Entrepreneurial Operating System (as devised by Gino Wickman) in 2020, and one of the key issues is that founders think they can do everything – they clearly can’t! It is important to make others in the business responsible and accountable for the things they are much better at.

How do you maintain and enhance margins?

Effectively we are charging for our knowledge, experience and intermediation. We are in a highly regulated business, so we must ensure that all our relationships are profitable and deliver the high standards of service that our clients rightly expect. 

How can you put your prices up and keep your customers?

We keep a close watch on our numbers and review our fee rates annually. Our ongoing fee income is closely correlated to the investment values of our clients, so our interests are aligned.

How do you protect your reputation and enhance it?

Our business is built on trust, and we recognise that this takes years to build but can take a second to destroy. Our ethics are critical and we have five core values: Virtuous, Knowledgeable, Dependable, Compassionate, Meritocratic

How do you network to your advantage?

Before anyone trusts anyone else, they often like to see how they behave in different circumstances.  Do they have good manners? Does their behaviour reflect their image? Do they walk the walk rather than just talk the talk? Networking helps with that.

How do you shut off from the business and manage the work/life balance more effectively?

I think my wife ought to be the judge of that! I’ve realised that I’m actually an introvert and like to recharge my batteries away from others. I used to run but now do long walks when I can. Other than that, I just love watching cricket (I’m gradually working my way around all the first class county grounds).

How can you cut overheads and outgoings without negatively impacting your business?

Not easily. We need the best people we can afford, with the best technology too. We want to deliver the best service we can for our clients and sometimes that means paying more.

Quickfire session with Colin Low 1
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