The Free Group is a full-service Search and Selection business covering the UK
and purely focused on the Financial Services Arena. Our expertise covers the Family Office, Private Banking, Investment Management, Professional Practice, Employee Benefits and Financial Planning sectors.
The foundations of The Free Group stretch back over a decade during which time we have attracted business critical talent for some of the industries most established brands, discreetly executing assignments across Operations, Compliance, Sales and Sales Support. We provide services and
solutions that are flexible, clear and deliver outstanding results for both Clients and Professionals.
The Financial Services Industry has long been one of the keystone of the British Economy and as such has reinvented itself time and again to keep up to speed with global events, political change, economic climate and increased regulation. It is an industry that has always innovated to survive, blending new technologies and long standing traditions so that exceptional client service remains the central theme running through its institutions, governing bodies and commercial entities.
Moving forward there are several significant challenges that will affect the industries future, these include; increased demand for advisory services, attracting greater numbers of young people to choose Financial Services as a career, encouraging diversity and the continuous quest to ensure ethical advice. Businesses that are seeking to overcome these issues should utilise an inclusive talent development and acquisition strategy.
Diversity and Inclusion
The opportunities presented to businesses adopting an Inclusive Talent Attraction Strategy are huge, in a recent survey conducted across 450 global Asian, European and American companies gender diverse organisations were 15% more likely to outperform their peers and ethnically diverse companies were 35% more likely to do the same, additionally inclusive teams out performed their peers by 80% in assessments. This poses a very interesting conundrum for an industry which has traditionally been uniform in nature. Leaders are now asking how can they positively develop leadership capabilities within existing employees and how they can attract future industry stars with a diverse background.
Single and Multi-family offices are the Ultra High Net Worth’s very own tailored solution to all things financial. Offering not only the traditional regulated wealth management services but also combining budgeting, insurance, charitable giving, legal planning and oversight of family owned businesses. Interestingly there has been an increase in the creation of family office departments within professional practices and Investment Management institutions looking to capture a higher percentage of this highly lucrative wealth demographic, consolidation and cross country alliances within FO’s and MFO’s are also increasing to cope with demand from a population with a multi-national lifestyle.
Private banking is one of the oldest and most exclusive of
the UK's financial services sectors with some banks established in the 17th
century and responsible for some of the country's most refined clients. The
term Private denotes the level of integration and service these
organisations offer to their patrons, typically they will deliver a plethora
of solutions to a High Net Worth individual or family. As such PB is one of
the fastest changing areas of the industry having to adapt and integrate new
technologies and strategies to maintain their exceptional service
The investment management space be it institutional or private client is one of the most lucrative and thus competitive sectors of the UK financial services industry. Competing strategies and philosophies battle for superiority in a market with the sole purpose of achieving the clients desired outcome. This has led to several of high profile mergers and acquisitions in recent years. Additionally, the need to embrace technological advances in this arena is essential as the levels of compliance have increased and margins are being continuously challenged as investors look for better returns.
Professional Practices are uniquely positioned to take advantage of the commercial possibilities generated by the various facets of the financial services market place. An ethical reputation combined with an overview of a client’s personal, business, legal or tax affairs means that a lot of these organisations see Financial Services as a key growth area and long term profit centre. This has allowed traditional Accountancy and Law firms to metamorphose into professional services
Employee Benefits is at the forefront of an organisations talent retention and attraction strategy, from an SME to FTSE100 most industries and sectors in the UK economy are experiencing a skills shortage and the war for talent is escalating. EB represents a nimbler and more cost-effective way of incentivising new and existing employees than just raising salaries, it allows a diverse range of financial and work life benefits to become available to those who choose to select them. The EB structure is also being used to tackle long term social issues such as pensions underfunding through government policies. Auto-enrolment and Pensions freedom are creating huge opportunities for Global professional services firms, HR consultancies and the broader commercial markets.
Financial Planning is one of the most buoyant and active sectors of the financial services industry and has responded well to the opportunities that RDR, MMR and the crackdown on Financial Incentives have presented. The HNW section of the market itself has benefited from a change in how key the position of Financial Planning is seen in a client’s affairs, where previously an adviser was an added service to cover product gaps in a client’s portfolio now they are viewed as a key constituent of an individual’s financial health often working closely with their legal and accountancy advisers. Large companies seeking vertical integration have also ventured into this market after many years seeking to maximise distribution opportunities within the under serviced affluent and mass affluent client base, these factors means that there are substantial opportunities for businesses to consolidate, diversify and use technology to give them an advantage.