From the heart! Bill Ward opens up on people, planning and Parkgate
It was 25 years ago that Bill Ward first founded Parkgate.
Here Bill takes us on his journey from the early days, to building one of the leading financial advice firms in Merseyside.
Sometimes great things start in adversity. This is certainly the case for Parkgate founder Bill Ward. After starting out as ‘The Man from The Pru’, Bill was employed as an IFA for the Yorkshire Building Society. ‘I loved that job but when I was made redundant (they closed down the whole division), I noticed that clients were still calling me for advice. It made me realise they trusted me, and gave me the confidence to start my own firm.’
And so Parkgate was born, although it was a very different place compared to now. ‘When I first started the firm back in 1995, we only had one computer. It was shared between three of us. Everyone was allocated an hour, and there was always drama when anyone ran over!’
While times have changed, it’s clear to Bill that the fundamentals of financial advice have stayed the same.
‘Our business will always be about people. That means really getting to know someone, helping them to understand what’s most important to them and figuring out a financial plan to achieve their objectives.
PEOPLE ARE AT THE HEART OF THIS BUSINESS
‘People matter to me. Behind every client sits a family and a story, I try not to lose sight of that, says Bill.
It’s an approach that works well, seeing Bill keep most of his clients since first opening Parkgate’s doors 25 years ago. ‘It hasn’t been easy. In the early years, there were times when I had to use my credit cards to pay the salaries. It’s taken sheer graft to get to this position, and I’m proud of the firm we’ve built.’
‘I’m deeply indebted to those clients who backed me when I first started Parkgate because without them there wouldn’t be a firm today.’
IMPROVING EVERYONE’S FINANCIAL JOURNEY
Similar to Parkgate’s own journey, Bill is keen to emphasise the value of Financial Life Planning. ‘The fact is, you’ll have a far greater chance of meeting your objectives if you have a financial plan and follow it through’.
‘We ask clients where they want to go and it’s our job to help them get there. It’s like buying a ticket for a bus journey. Would you get on a bus not knowing where you want to go? We’re here to help you get the most out of your fare, and get you to where you want to go in the safest way. This isn’t just a service for the ‘wealthy’, it’s important for everyone.’
PARKGATE LOOKS TO A HEALTHY FUTURE
Of course, Bill doesn’t do it alone. Rob Whittle joined the firm in 2008 and became an equity partner in 2011. ‘It’s funny. Rob lived in Liverpool and all his clients were in the Wirral. I lived in the Wirral and my clients were in Liverpool! We were crossing each other every night, going home in opposite directions. We complement each other and he’s been a trusted counter-weight.’
Joining forces has paid dividends. ‘We have a fantastic management team with some great and varied experience, from our Managing Partner Steve Braidford to Gareth, Dave and Jackie, who work closely with our advisers and a wonderful support team. Everyone is important’.
‘We now find ourselves in the strongest position we’ve ever been in, with the best team we’ve ever had, and I’m really looking forward to the future.’
FINALLY, WHAT PART OF THE JOB DOES BILL STILL ENJOY THE MOST?
‘Solving a problem that clients don’t think is solvable: saving them money, reducing their tax, helping them to get the best life possible with their money. I still get a buzz from making a difference to someone’s life.’
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