MEET THE TEAM: JEREMY SMITH

In this second instalment of our ‘meet the team’ blogs, we take a look at how B-Compliant director, Jeremy Smith, became our business development champion and very own medical miracle!

The best laid plans…

This is a tale of two hospital stays that have bookended my career to date and shaped not only the work I do, but latterly my outlook on work life balance.

I planned to study accountancy at university, but was unable to take up the place after my motorbike had a close encounter with the rear axle of a lorry. I spent 16 weeks in plaster and needed a further six weeks of physio after that.

Once I was well enough to work, I took up a junior role at a firm of chartered accountants. What I should have done was leave the following September and go to university and in hindsight, that decision shaped my career. Instead, a job came along at TSB and I spent five years moving through six branches and gaining four promotions.

The man from the Pru

I then secured a role at the mighty Prudential as one of its first external financial consultants, who were to replace ‘the man from the Pru.’ I spent three happy years doing this before someone persuaded me to join the field sales training team. The next three years whistled past in a whirlwind of demonstrating sales techniques to underperforming advisers and resolving issues for disgruntled clients.

Halifax Financial Services was the next headline act on my CV. It was one of the most fantastic places I have ever worked – my colleagues were brilliant. I was appointed regional quality manager, working with Richard Miller, who was a terrific boss. His view was “do the best you can, but ensure you enjoy it” and it’s something I have strived for ever since.

Compliance comes calling

Looking at where my career path was taking me, it’s probably no surprise that I made the move into compliance consulting in 1999.

My previous roles had required a comprehensive understanding of the regulations that were in force in the pre-FSA days and I realised I was interested in this side of financial services. I spent the next seven years leaping from one project to another, criss-crossing the country, from Glasgow to Cheltenham.

A desire to go home at the end of the day, rather than live in hotels, brought me back to an employed role in 2007 with Tenet, which was followed by positions at Positive Solutions (another great team), ACE Group, Towry and finally Towergate Financial Services on an interim basis.

Fast forward to 2018 and Vicky and I decided the time was right to launch B-Compliant. Six years later and I’m very proud to say we have an established brand and reputation, thanks to some very talented colleagues, who help us support some equally great clients.

The initial idea was Vicky’s and I would have stepped back into consulting work had it not been viable for me to continue. However, we have our own areas of focus and this really seems to work.

Our roles have changed over time and will no doubt evolve again. Currently, I’m responsible for around 90% of the business development, although Vicky also brings in warm leads that she’ll pass to me. It’s great to be dusting off my sales techniques again!

Like most business owners, we live and breathe our work every day. Knowing that it makes a real difference to our clients and therefore, improves the advice consumers receive makes the long hours worthwhile. We enjoy great relationships with colleagues and the firms we support, so it doesn’t feel like a chore and having the ability to choose who we work with remains a key driver for me.

A seminal moment

And then came the bombshell. On 20 June 2023, my world changed.

Having never suffered a major illness before, I didn’t know why the back of my head felt like it had been hit with a hammer. Stupidly, I carried on working – and driving – until I was forced to go to hospital.

Three weeks and two operations later, I embarked on the long road to recovery from a subarachnoid brain haemorrhage.

I am so grateful to Mr Hiren Patel, consultant neurosurgeon at Salford Royal Hospital, who led my treatment. He and his team cared for me and repaired me, whilst my wife and colleagues took up the slack, giving me time to recover. I wouldn’t be here without all of them. I must also thank our clients who demonstrated such fantastic loyalty and empathy.

If this latest challenge has taught me anything, it is that I needed to prioritise a better work life balance. Most importantly, I survived and I’m back with renewed enthusiasm.

I have been and remain amazed by Vicky’s resilience and adaptability. Every challenge B-Compliant has faced has been met head-on with a determination to learn and grow. If we ever hesitate, it isn’t for long and we have exceeded our projections consistently since the firm’s inception.

If you would like to know more about B-Compliant’s wide range of services, or discuss how our support could benefit your firm, don’t hesitate to contact us on (0161) 521 8641 or email: info@b-compliant.co.uk

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