When I launched West Riding in 2004 I knew from the outset that I would need a proper database / client management system. Like most IFAs registering a new firm I was targeted by the sales departments of all the large and long-established purveyors of such systems. Most were web based. All did a lot of things I didn’t want whilst not doing some key things I did want. Also they pretty much all wanted an extra user licence for every machine, which would be inconvenient for us. Though there are only 2 advisers in the firm I need the software loaded on 5 machines because we use different workstations for different tasks due to the layout of the office. I wanted to pay a one-off fee and have done with it. I was uncomfortable with a monthly licensing arrangement because, it seemed to me, the provider could have me over a barrel if they decided to jack up their monthly charges. They all say that you can migrate your data to another system, but being the suspicious soul I am, well, I’m suspicious of such claims.
So I gave up on the off-the-shelf systems and spent 3 years on and off blueprinting what I wanted, intending to find a whizz kid who could write the software to my functional specification. I’d just finished my blueprint when I discovered in a press article that another IFA in Kent had been through all the same thought processes and had arrived at all the same conclusions as me. The only difference was that he had a brother who was a whizz kid who had already written the software.
Thus I was introduced to Freedom, and it was love at first sight. I went for the gold version and it did pretty much everything I wanted, plus a few things I’d not thought of. Best of all we were able to add to, and modify certain aspects of it ourselves and Simon (the said whizz kid) Andrews was very responsive when we asked him to make other tweaks we needed. And he still is. In fact, the support is one of the best aspects of Freedom; it’s on a personal level that you just don’t get with the big firms.
I am completely confident in Freedom as a major component of our business. I regard it as ideal for a firm of our size, plus firms that are a good bit bigger, and would recommend it to anyone in our position.
At the end of the day, I put my money where my mouth is. Anything that can persuade this Yorkshireman to part with £2500 must be good. Any prospective purchaser is welcome to phone me for a chat. Simon Andrews deserves every bit of the success he gets.
Neil Liversidge, Managing Director, West Riding Personal Finance Solutions Ltd