Ayres Punchard was established in December 1995 by its current Managing Director Chris Welsford.
At that time financial services had a poor reputation for being driven by high pressure sales, fuelled by commission hungry sales people peddling expensive life insurance and investment products, designed more to meet the objectives of the financial services industry than its clients.
A desire to do better for his clients
Before founding Ayres Punchard, Chris had worked as a life insurance company representative. He had always felt compromised by the demands placed on him by his employers to meet sales targets; the life companies’ poor client service and their high product costs that were often hidden. He wanted to do better for his clients and so he formed Ayres Punchard to provide truly independent, unbiased financial advice, free from the financial ties created by commissions and other incentives offered by financial services product providers.
Unbiased and truly independent
In 1995 fees based financial advice was almost unheard of. The only way most financial advisers could be paid was through commissions paid by product providers. This meant that unless a product was sold to a client, the adviser would not be paid. Chris wanted to change that and focused on advice not sales.
Resisting massive pressure to sell products
Back then, life insurance companies and investment houses, exerted massive pressure on independent financial advisers to sell their products. Commission was a major factor which could be addressed by fee charging. But inducements, such as days out at the races or a day on the Skandia Yacht at Cowes Week were also common place. These have the potential to make advisers beholden to the life companies and investment houses offering these freebies. In the early days we accepted such rewards, but gradually realised the conflicts of interest they created. Today we accept no inducement or incentives whatsoever
No doubt over who pays who or for what
Chris was determined to operate a system that was transparent and left no room for doubts over who was paying who and for what. Ayres Punchard’s clients buy advice, implementation and review services entirely on the basis of how much time it takes to deliver such services. This remains our principal mode of operation.
Leading the way to a commission free system
By charging fees for providing financial advice rather than being influenced by the commissions available for selling financial products, the company led the way towards the commission free system that was implemented in 2012 by the new financial regulator, the FCA.