“What doesn’t kill me will make me stronger”

Accepting that the title of my article could be construed as insensitive at this time, I’m only repeating what was said to me during a recent telephone conversation. Let me explain, but before I do, I have had permission to recount what follows (personal details have been changed for obvious reasons):

I had the pleasure of making the professional acquaintance of a young insurance broker a couple of years back, in the throes of starting out on his journey toward financial independence. A man of incredible morals and principles.

On his wall in his humble office the following quote hung with prominence:

“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain

That’s exactly what he did and took that leap of faith (a leap that we all [perhaps] yearn to do) and set up his business.

I helped this broker obtain direct FCA authorisation as a one-off project and remained in touch with him - off and on – since.

In a recent telephone conversation, he reluctantly admitted to me that his enterprise had not succeeded and asked if I could assist him cancel his FCA permissions. Of course, was my immediate answer and he set out to explain that his priority was to make sure that all his clients were adequately catered for and that they would not be disadvantaged. No surprise to hear that bearing in mind his moral compass and his overwhelming sense of duty to his clients.

But there was one problem with all that he said which I quickly identified. His focus was entirely on his clients. He was clearly paying little regard to himself [again no surprise]. In his mind, he simply wanted to unravel his business in the best way possible for his clients, take a sabbatical and regroup once all the dust had settled.

In this rather emotional conversation, I asked whether he had considered selling some or all of his business (or parts thereof). He told me that he had not.

Fast forward 5 days and with the help of a senior RWA colleague, this broker now has the potential to dissolve his business, secure the future for his clients and, extract some value to reward the last 2 years of blood sweat and tears.

Not what he expected when he set out on his journey but certainly more than he envisaged (all things being equal) 5 days ago.

The reason I’m writing this is threefold:

Firstly, to express my admiration for this chap who, reluctantly accepting that this chapter in his life is over, is so incredibly resilient and determined that he has vowed to return a stronger man, husband and father;

Second, to remind you that in reality you’re never alone; and

Thirdly, to also remind you that RWA are truly here to help. All you need do is ask - just as my young friend did.

About the author

Bruce has worked in financial services for the whole of his professional life, including 11 years as a Compliance Director of a US owned Independent Financial Advisory and Wealth Management business. At RWA, Bruce leads the Audit and Conduct Risk department from our Manchester office. He is RWA's lead consultant to the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC).

Get RWA Insight In Your Inbox

Regular business news and commentary delivered direct to your inbox each week. Sign up here