Welcome to our “Have you met?” series, where we catch up with members of our team through an informal Q&A.
In this edition, we spoke with Kerry Holmes, from our Norwich office, about an array of topics, ranging from common financial planning mistakes and her charity work, to the three books she believes everyone should read.
Read the short Q&A session below to find out more about Kerry.
Kerry is a Divisional Director and Independent Financial Planner at Lucas Fettes.
She has been advising clients for more than 20 years, having started life in a call centre dealing with life cover, PEPs and pensions. She took her professional exams before moving on to being an adviser with Norwich Union (now Aviva). She also spent a number of years with a national accountancy firm, before joining Lucas Fettes in 2012.
How would you describe your time with Lucas Fettes?
It’s been varied, challenging and interesting, I’ve really enjoyed it. I have a lovely set of co-workers; my clients are great and keep me busy and the leadership team is really supportive. Fab place to work in my opinion!
What you enjoy about helping people with their finances?
Its hugely satisfying to make a difference to someone’s life, by putting in place a financial plan, monitoring and evolving this over the years as things change, you get to help people in their journey and achieve their goals and ambitions.
Are there any common financial planning mistakes you see regularly?
The most common thing I see is the assumption that by paying in the minimum percentage to your workplace pension, you’ll have enough to retire on. Most people don’t consider what net income they actually need, and as such what size of fund is required to meet their basic bills, let alone lifestyle costs such as holidays, dinner out, replacing a car and so on.
What is your approach to a first meeting with a client?
For me it’s about simply having a conversation and getting to know each other. It’s my clients opportunity to express what they are looking to achieve and why they are looking to have professional advice. It’s all well and good knowing what policies someone has, however without any context in regard to client plans and goals, there’s no meaning to the background numbers, as you need to know what direction you’re going.
What would you say are the most important aspects of financial planning?
Understanding what you want is fundamental. Once you now where you would like to be, we can create a plan to get you there. Also, don’t leave it too late. It’s never too early to think about what your ambitions are and to set the foundations to make it happen.
How has the current Coronavirus pandemic changed people’s outlook on their finances?
Financial planning is long-term, so short-term market movements shouldn’t impact on the fundamentals. I see more changes in client’s attitudes when it comes to lifestyle. COVID has made people reassess what actually matters to them; creating a better work life balance, spending quality time with friends and family and most appreciably how much money they have saved not commuting, grabbing a daily coffee and lunch out.
You are part of our charity committee, how are we looking to support these organisations moving forward?
As a company we give all employees the opportunity to take a paid day off each year to volunteer for charitable activities which are close to their hearts. As a group we regularly organise collections for local charities chosen by our employees. With the COVID pandemic, collecting physical items is challenging, however we have worked around this for example with our upcoming Christmas collection, by taking cash pledges from employees and making a central donation to our chosen charity, which this year is the Food Bank.
On a personal level, I am a volunteer mentor to vulnerable young women, having been part of a pilot organised by the Norfolk Community Foundation working with The Princes Trust.
What are you passionate about, outside of work?
Right now its all about my new puppy! I try and make sure I always have something to look forward to that will put a smile on my face. Outside that I try and take on charity challenges when I can (last year was a 24-hour Box-a-thon for mental health), and currently I volunteer as a mentor for vulnerable women.
What do you do for fun?
The usual, dinner, drinks, theatre with friends and family, plus when possible I do silly things that I’m probably too old for! I hugely enjoy new experiences, so I am up for most things. Ziplining in Wales, white water rafting in Nottingham. Essentially if it puts a smile on my face, I’ll likely do it!
Any random facts you could share with us?
I once bottle fed an orphaned zebra, I have grade 2 tap dancing and I got my first grey hair at 24.
Name three books you think everybody should read.
Oooo, so many books to choose from…
- Margaret Attwood: Oryx and Crake trilogy (I count that as one, as they can’t be read standalone)
- Allie Brosh: Hyperbole and a Half
- Mitch Albom: The Five People You Meet In Heaven
What do you think is your spirit animal?
According to Pottermore, a Piebald Stallion, however I would say Sloth if I am in book reading mode, and a Chimpanzee the rest of the time!
Find out more
You can find out more about Kerry, including her contact information, through our Our team – consultants page.