60-second interview with…


Clive Barwell TEP, STEP member since 1996

Why did you join STEP?

I was invited by John Riches and I saw it as a good way to recognise my qualifications in wills, trusts, etc.

What does being a member mean to you/your organisation?

It is increasingly important in terms of being perceived as a professional in this important area of private-client advice.

How does being part of a branch (Yorkshire) enhance your membership experience?

It is a great way to network with other professionals. I have been a member of the branch committee since joining STEP and am a regular attendee at branch events.

What’s been the best STEP event you’ve attended and why?

It’s difficult to pick one out – generally the CPD events are outstanding. However, for entertainment value, it would be one of [STEP President] Geoffrey Shindler’s updates, and for technical content, any Chris Whitehouse talk.

What are the main challenges facing your organisation/practitioners at the moment?

Coming to terms with everything the Financial Services Authority’s Retail Distribution Review entails, particularly competition from ‘restricted advisors’, who are now authorised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and are likely to be authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to take referrals from STEP members.

How will you deal with these?

By continuing to enhance my profile and reputation through STEP and the other professional bodies of which I am a member, particularly the Society of Later Life Advisers.

What else is keeping you busy at work at the moment?

Just general business development, particularly trying to build relationships with care providers to offer independent advice to their self-funding residents (or their family/attorney).

What was your reaction to STEP Chairman Michael Young’s article on care home fees, as published in the STEP Journal?

I have quoted extensively from Michael’s article on my website as I agree with his stance. Anything that sets out to or purports to save care fees could, and probably will, be construed as deliberate deprivation and should be avoided like the plague. However, I believe this is being taken too far by some practitioners and preventing them from using trusts for other legitimate planning purposes, which may then have an unintended consequential impact on means-testing at a later date.

You use LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. How important is social media in your line of work? Should more practitioners be getting involved?

Without a doubt, social media is the way to market professional services. It is the next best thing to a personal referral. I’ve just launched an extended personal profile at clivebarwell.co.uk to be the ‘hub’ of my ongoing social media campaign, which will shortly include a business Facebook page. It is a way for all professional advisors to differentiate themselves and get their message out to an ever wider audience.

What’s been your career highlight?

Banking Towergate’s cheque for the sale of my business just a couple of weeks before the collapse of Lehman Bros!

Who has been your greatest mentor and why?

The assistant branch manager in the first branch of Lloyds Bank’s Executor and Trustee in which I worked in 1971 was called David Kirby. He went on to become the first chief executive officer of Lloyds Private Banking and he was an inspiration. Not only had he passed all the Institute of Bankers Trustee Diploma examinations, he had also gone on to take an external law degree and was fantastically knowledgeable on all matters of wills, trusts, probate and estate duty (as it was in those days). Also, unusually for a Banker in the 1970s, he was entrepreneurial. Of course, it helps that he had the good sense to appoint me as manager of Lloyds Private Banking in Leeds in 1988!

What do you do in your spare time?

What spare time?! I’m a renowned workaholic, generally finding an excuse to go into the office for at least some time seven days a week. Otherwise, I enjoy spending time with our extended family, including five grandsons.

What’s the best book you have read this year?

Contented Dementia by Oliver James: a fantastic practical guide to coping with dementia either in a client or in the community.

What’s your favourite quote?

‘If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.’ (Sometimes attributed to F1 guru Ron Dennis.)

Clive Barwell TEP FCSI CFP is an Accredited member of the Society of Later Life Advisers. He is Head of Later Life Advice for the national IFA Towergate Financial but works from home in Leeds. He is former treasurer and chair of STEP’s Yorkshire branch.

Read Clive’s article about how STEP members should go about selecting a panel of independent financial advisors.


Would you like to be interviewed? Email [email protected]

Article posted 13 September 2012


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© 2012 Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners