Norwich firm Chadwicks unlocking graduate potential in wealth management

Richard Ross, founder of financial advisers Chadwicks, runs his business from the Enterprise centre

Richard Ross, founder of financial advisers Chadwicks, runs his business from the Enterprise centre at the UEA. - Credit: Nick Butcher

A seasoned financial adviser has extolled the virtues of a graduate workforce which has helped his company to innovate within the wealth management field.

Richard Ross, managing director of Chadwicks, has six graduates in his employ with plans to hire up to three more at the end of the academic year.

And the company is not afraid to put its hand in its pocket to support ideas from staff, with funding given to innovations like The Pension Counter and its masterclass series.

Mr Ross, who founded Chadwicks in 1996 before scaling back the business in 2008, said giving young staff not only opportunities but 'the opportunity to fail' was vital to progression.

'We are happy to spend a long time to see if something will work,' he said.

The 59-year-old agreed that millennials are more keen to work for companies with a clear ethical code. 'The things which are important to them are entirely different to my generation and we try to reflect that in our values,' he said.

The 13-strong firm was one of the first tenants at the Enterprise Centre at UEA and specialises in succession planning for business clients - and itself.

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Mr Ross said building a 'strong team' was important, with staff encouraged to engage in further training.

'After our staff have their masters in wealth management, we basically take them as far as they want. Our value is that if you are working, you are learning and that frames our culture here.

'Many of those we employ and interview are high quality graduates who could have gone anywhere, to JP Morgan or somewhere like that, but they have come to this little firm in Norwich.

'We have to make sure we attract and most importantly retain them. We are in competition with firms who have far bigger resources.'

Investment analyst Radostina Dencheva joined Chadwicks after finishing her masters at UEA six years ago. The 30-year-old is currently researching how better use of technology could help the company.

She said: 'Even in hindsight I think it was a good idea to join a small company like Chadwicks, because we can see our input, whereas in a bigger company there is no way you are going to see your own ideas in action.'

The Pension Counter

Wealth manager Daniel Harvey heads the project team for Chadwicks' auto-enrolment service The Pension Counter.

The UEA economics graduate joined the firm in 2014 and is currently studying for a masters degree in wealth management.

Soon after joining the firm, he approached Mr Ross with a business plan for The Pension Counter and was given £100,000 to get it off the ground.

The service, which creates workplace pension plans for businesses in line with new legislation, now has hundreds of clients across the UK.

Mr Harvey said the promise of on-going training at Chadwicks attracted him to the firm. 'I could see the training programme had longevity,' he said.

'I liked Richard's plans and they seemed quite agile. I was given quite a lot of responsibility from the start.'

Mr Harvey now also leads Chadwicks' special projects team, helping graduate staff to progress their ideas.