We Aim to Be the Financial Planning Firm of Choice; MIKE HUGHES Meets KARL PEMBERTON, MD of Active Chartered Financial Planners in Thornaby

Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England), January 18, 2016 | Go to article overview

We Aim to Be the Financial Planning Firm of Choice; MIKE HUGHES Meets KARL PEMBERTON, MD of Active Chartered Financial Planners in Thornaby


Byline: MIKE HUGHES

KARL Pemberton, now 38, took the old-fashioned route to finding a new job. He opened the Yellow Pages on the financial listings and sent his CV to all of them. So he's obviously not a man who wastes his time.

But he does consider his options - and his answers to The Gazette's questions - before making his move. It's the speed with which he does it that is impressive. There is an instinct there that has served his company well in the 11 years since he took over the reins from his father. Active now operates from large modern offices in Dukes Court, Thornaby.

| Early influences "My dad was a joiner by trade, but my grandfather on my mum's side was in insurance. When my dad became disillusioned by the joinery business at the same sort of time as me and my brother were born, my grandfather said he needed a better trade to look after the kids, and offered him a job in finance.

"My brother has always been the brains and is an accountant by trade. Personally, I almost fell into it by accident. I was in the top set for maths at A-level, but I always wanted to be in either the RAF or the police - my passions are still flying and cars. I got accepted on to the RAF programme, but I had sent my CV to almost everyone in the Yellow Pages and Yorkshire Bank were the first to come back to me, so I took their offer."

| How did the business start? "The company my father worked for was closing down, so he created Active back in 2000. He had clients going back 14 years in Guisborough, and wanted to make sure he could still look after them.

"In the 1980s and Nineties how people sourced their financial services was much more local - before the internet you went to whoever was on your high street.

"The market widened as the web grew and banks became much more involved in these services.

"Dad's name and reputation was well established and he had a loyal bank of clients who stood by him when he started on his own.

"I had been keen not to take the easy option of leaving Prior Pursglove College and going to work at Active, but in 2004 my dad became seriously ill.

"He was on life support in James Cook for three months and, statistically, probably shouldn't be here at all. But it highlighted that the business WAS my dad. It was a typical, old-fashioned business and when he wasn't there the business couldn't survive.

"It was a worry for the family, that everything he had been working for could disappear. That really opened my eyes - but I have always had that entrepreneurial spirit and I knew it was a massive opportunity. I am also a great believer in fate, everything happening for a reason."

| The Pemberton philosophy "If a PS1m client was looking to invest their money, historically they would go to one of the bigger brands because they felt safe. I wanted to create a brand where people would recognise a moral and ethical local brand that has been around for many years and are independent. Equally, if a client only had PS20,000 to invest, they could go to a one-man band working out of a back bedroom at home, or to Active.

"My mentality was that if we could create something for that middle ground it gives a choice to clients at both ends of the spectrum. …

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