Neil Moles of Progeny tells us about delivering integrated financial, legal, and corporate solutions.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined Progeny.
Neil Moles: I left school at 16, opting out of A’ Levels and university in favor of an apprenticeship with my local building society. I worked at getting my professional qualifications and then a degree in business management while in full-time employment.
In 2004, following eight years in technical and advisory roles with regional and national financial advisory firms, I joined wealth advice firm Lawrence Scoffield. In 2008, I led a management buyout of the business, which went on to become Progeny.
How does Progeny innovate?
Neil Moles: Progeny is the first and only firm in the UK to bring together independent financial planning, asset management, tax, HR, and private and corporate legal services. We have built an innovative framework of coordinated advice and insight, delivering integrated financial, legal, and corporate solutions.
Through the diversity of our expertise, we are equipped to meet the complex needs of investors, businesses, family offices, and charities, providing a unique service that is greater than the sum of our parts. We have overcome industry silos by putting ourselves in our clients’ position, seeking to truly understand their challenges so we can anticipate and exceed their demands.
By embracing technology, we are solving old problems in new ways, combining the strengths of traditional professional services – the people – with digital innovation and reach. This allows us to forge deeper relationships with our clients by continually innovating and constantly improving the service we provide.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Neil Moles: At the beginning of the virus outbreak, we took the initiative to do what we could within our field to make a positive impact – for our clients, our team members, our communities, and society. Our aim is to emerge with a firm that can better service our clients, create more jobs and support our communities and charitable causes more effectively.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Neil Moles: While many businesses chose to furlough staff or make staff redundant, we decided to do the opposite. We increased rather than reduced our team’s size and accelerated rather than paused our plans to improve the business. We are still continuing to do this now.
We’ve all learnt how much better we can do in looking after the environment if we really put our minds to it. Now we have had the chance to change old habits; there should be no going back.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Neil Moles: We have pressed ahead with the adoption of technology across the business. By embracing technology, we are overcoming the limitations of lockdown. Communicating digitally rather than physically changes what’s possible. We have held well over 10,000 online meetings and moved more than 2,000 clients onto our digital client portal.
By listening closely to what clients want from us, we can blend tradition and technology, developing a hybrid model where we combine the strengths of a people-focused approach with the flexibility and innovation of digital.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Neil Moles: As the first and only firm in the UK to bring together independent financial planning, asset management, tax, HR, and private and corporate legal services, we are unique in our field. In Progeny, we are looking to create one of the most trusted and respected advisory firms in the UK and beyond.
At the end of 2020, we conducted a survey of more than 2000 people across the country. Our aim was to take the temperature of the UK at the end of a year like no other and to understand current attitudes to financial advice.
A constant for us throughout 2020 has been our commitment to servicing our clients and to continuing to move forward as a business. The survey is our way of understanding the areas we need to focus on as a firm and as an industry to keep making progress and exceeding our clients’ expectations.
Your final thoughts?
Neil Moles: 2020 challenged us in ways we could never have imagined and tested us as individuals in all areas of our lives. Yes, it’s been difficult, but at times like these, we really learn who we are. We remained committed throughout the year to serve the constituencies that are important to us and will continue to do so as we grow and move forward as a business. The restrictions of 2020 have fueled our innovation and invention, changing what’s possible and opening up new avenues for us and the professional services industries, pointing to a future of exciting and endless opportunities.
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