July 10th, 2019

Talking with Leighton Parkes

Leighton Parkes, Financial Planning Consultant at Prosser Knowles Associates Limited, met with Kay Crooke to chat about his time working at Prosser Knowles so far…

You started working with Prosser Knowles Back in April 2007, what led you to work in the Financial Services Industry and for Prosser Knowles in particular?

I had spent over 15 years working within the Non-Ferrous Metals industry and wanted a new challenge that would enable me to improve my home life. I had just had my second son and my outlook on life had changed, so I spent nine months travelling the country with Andrew Prosser (one of the directors) to see if it was something I would enjoy. Why Prosser Knowles in particular, well Ken Prosser is my Father in Law and he had been asking me to come and join the team for a year or so before I did. He thought I would fit in well with the staff and would get on well with clients. I soon realised Prosser Knowles was a company like no other I had worked for, the people were keen to help you progress and if there were parts of the role that you weren’t understanding, there was always someone around to help explain it in a way that helped.

You must have seen numerous changes over the years, could you tell us a bit about them?

We have grown massively over my time within the business; however, the original mandate is still the same, working with clients to ensure goals are achieved and that they understand their choices along the way. Proactively dealing with situations to ensure the clients can get on with their own lives knowing their finances are being looked after. The business now has three offices, with twelve advisers and three client facing directors, however the company still has the same attitude and values it has always had. We work hard to ensure the job is done by making the offices a happy friendly place to work.

As an industry the job has changed massively since the financial crisis in 2008, regulation has been tightened, higher qualifications have been introduced and investment products have been improved dramatically for the client’s benefit. Costs have been reduced and investment structures have become more transparent and easier to understand. This has helped the industry to engage with clients and for clients to see the benefits of taking financial advice.

What is the most rewarding thing about your job?

The clients, going to work each week helping clients hit their targets or putting them on the path to do so. This then leads to them recommending my/our services to their friends and family. Over several years’ clients turn into friends and the ongoing meetings are more and more relaxed. This only happens because the clients are relaxed about their financial affairs and they trust in what we are doing for them.

Who has inspired you?

I don’t have anyone in mind that has inspired me, I do feel lucky to be where I am today, I have met some amazing people over my working life who have helped me to get to where I am. People who have shown me how to do things differently and made me look at situations in a different way. People that made me realise that you can achieve anything if you work hard and put 100% effort into it.

One of my old Bosses, when I worked down in London, said to me on the day I left his business that he wished I had spoken to him before resigning as he would have tried to keep me in the business. This didn’t change my mind as I was looking for a new challenge and had decided I needed to move, but the way he said it and at the time he said it made me realise that I had something to offer and I was a valued member of his team. This was a massive confidence boost for me and from that day forward I have known I would succeed at whatever I did. I definitely felt this helped me with my next role.

What advice would you give to anyone starting out in financial services?

It’s hard work… but very rewarding if you are determined to make it work. There is a lot to learn and things change at a very fast pace at times, but the rewards are there for you. I think I was lucky that I joined Prosser Knowles, as they help you every step of the way if you are prepared to work hard.

How do you choose to relax?

I try to be relaxed all the time, it’s not always possible. I love sport – football and motorsport are my main sports, followed by Rugby and everything else. I have two teenage boys that play and love sport as much as I do so this helps. I socialise most weekends, or as much as I can, my only regret is that I haven’t stayed connected with some old friends from School and College. Time just seems to run out. Who knows, I may get to change this over the next couple of years?

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