Q&A with Taylor Beavis of Universe Financial Advice and Trusted Adviser Magazine

By Christina Bentley on August 13, 2020

Our exclusive interview with Taylor Beavis on giving back, the biggest challenge for advisers, and the advice gap

Taylor Beavis is the founder of Universe Financial Advice. The Berkshire-based firm specialises in retirement planning, investment and protection advice. Taylor champions a new generation of advisers and is doing his part to give back to the community.

Together, we’ve worked to support advisers and give them platforms to share their thoughts and ideas. Taylor has been a featured panellist in our Mastermind sessions, offering his insights and advice with our partners. He also invited our joint CEO, Nigel Borwell, to share his expertise on the advice gap in this month’s issue of Trusted Adviser Magazine.

He spent time with us to discuss his charity work, the industry and his new magazine:

Q – What is the history of Universe Financial Advice?

A – It was initially set up as an appointed representative of a network. This was to make my life easier and give me extra support as I was just starting out. I incorporated the company as Universe Financial Advice in December 2018.

My ambition was to create a company that gave me a good work-life balance and helped people manage their finances – because that’s a huge passion of mine. It also needed to have a positive impact on the local community. If I could achieve those three goals in some way, then it felt right.

On day one, I started in a hired office with zero clients and now there’s two of us. We built it up from there with a lot of organic growth. We’ve now become authorised [by the Financial Conduct Authority]. It’s a positive move for us and gives us much more responsibility and control.

Q – Can you tell us about your charity work initiatives?

A – I’ve always wanted to do as much as I could with the means I had. When I was 10, I baked 200 cakes for charity and donated the proceeds to Dog’s Trust. So, it kind of began there.

When I started university, I knew I wanted to do something similar. I didn’t have the income at that time to donate, but I knew my skills could help. So, I became a treasurer at a Newbury-based children’s charity called Home-Start.

Once Universe Financial Advice had grown a bit, I knew I could start to do more charitable work. We started an initiative where we gave away three months of our income to charities of our clients’ choice. That was the big start.

In addition to that, I’ve started Trusted Adviser Magazine and a local Newbury magazine. Both magazines have helped us raise money to feed 100 homeless people and donate to Coronavirus appeals. We’ve also supported charity efforts from other people in the industry.

Q – Why do you think it’s important for advisers to give something back?

A – Everybody can and should do something charitable. You don’t always need to give money to charity to give something back. We can add value in other ways. Often, your time can be more valuable than money.

Charity isn’t only for the homeless or sick – it can help everyday people with mental health issues or support for workers. There will come a day when we all need help. When my day comes, I hope that I’ve paid in enough that I feel I can take that support.

Our people

Q – How did Trusted Adviser Magazine start and how has it been received since its launch?

A – Before March, I was working non-stop. Then, I found myself with more free time during lockdown and decided that I wanted to start a magazine. I knew I wasn’t the first person to do it, but I was determined to do it better.

My aim for the magazine was to give financial advice professionals a platform to share their honest views. We’ve covered diversity, tech and the advice gap. It’s a different kind of magazine and I think that’s why it’s been successful. We’ve already had positive feedback from our readers and people are reaching out, asking how they can get involved.

Q – Have you faced any challenges as a younger adviser?

A – I’ve not faced any challenges from clients, but I’ve faced them from the industry. When I was thinking of setting up Universe Financial Advice and even becoming an adviser, a few older advisers told me I was too inexperienced. They said that my clients wouldn’t take me seriously or wouldn’t engage with me because I was younger than some of their children. I was determined to try so I went for it.

I’ve equally had a lot of support, too. The fact that I am a younger adviser isn’t an issue with my clients. When they meet me for the first time, they’ll see that I’m more relaxed. I don’t wear a suit and tie and we’ll chat over a cup of tea. If that’s not for them, that’s fine but those that have carried on are satisfied with my service.

Q – What do you think is the biggest challenge for advisers today?

A – When I started out as an adviser, I realised that people had a negative view of what we do. This may be based on bad experiences or stories about defined benefit transfers and poor pension transfer advice.

It’s a big challenge for the industry. Anything we can do to improve our image will help us break that stigma. We need to show people that we care and aren’t all looking to rip people off.

Q – What do you think the future holds for the financial advice industry?

A – The future is uncertain, but I see advice becoming more of a highly-regarded profession as people gain awareness of its importance. At the moment, there’s a knowledge gap between people understanding what we do and only coming to us when it’s too late.

I also think that fee structures for financial advisers will change. We need to reassess the fees we charge people with lower wealth values. At the moment, they’re not getting advice. If we can build a cost-effective model for the customer and take the regulatory pressure off advisers, everyone will benefit.

Q – What advice would you give to someone considering becoming an adviser?

A – One motto that I stick to is ‘nobody knows everything’. What I mean is that no financial adviser knows the inside out of every product or provider. You can only specialise in a few areas. Understand your strengths, work out what you don’t know, study hard and get your qualifications.

This leads me to my second piece of advice: never take on something that you’re not wholly confident in, no matter how big the money might be off the back of it. Sometimes people see dollar signs and give poor advice that they’re not sure about.

Above all, if you’re a younger adviser or thinking about becoming an adviser, stay true to yourself. As long as you’re genuine and your intentions are in the right place, then go for it. You’ve got nothing to lose.

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