IN the words of Bob Dylan: ‘The times, they are a-changin’.’
Indeed, times are changing for Tim Townsend, who is the newest recruit to Alexforbes Offshore, having taken up the role of head of wealth management and corporate consulting. Tim is one of those encouraging people to embrace change and he joined his new employer just as the company launched its new rebranding as Alexforbes earlier this year, with the new strapline: Insight, Advice, Impact.
Alexforbes Offshore managing director Adrian Peacock said: ‘Tim’s appointment matches our aspiration to focus on delivering purposeful advice that makes a positive impact on our institutional and individual clients’ lives.’
Tim’s adaptable style reflects his and the firm’s desire to ‘connect across the generations’ and position the company as one that ‘truly cares about making a lasting positive impact on people’s lives’.
‘As we approach our 50th anniversary in Jersey, the revised group vision supported by a refreshed Alexforbes brand is very timely for us,’ explains the new head of wealth management and corporate consulting. ‘In common with many businesses across the globe and in our island, the past couple of years have provided an opportunity for us to reflect on our purpose, identity and values as we evolve the way we add value to our clients’ lives.’
As a result of these changes, the South-African-headquartered firm, building on the strong roots it established in 1935, has a renewed vision: to be the most impactful provider of financial advice serving both institutional and individual clients. For Islanders, this means a focus on helping them to improve their financial wellbeing through sound holistic financial advice on protection, retirement and investments. Tim also has the added ambition of putting Jersey on the map for international pension solutions, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa.
And, with growing global awareness of responsible and sustainable business practices backed by measurable and intentional impact, it is important for Alexforbes to continue to pioneer insights and advice that help clients on their own unique financial journey. This aligns with Jersey’s own ambition to leverage its expertise and position as a conduit for global capital to support the transition to an environmentally and socially sustainable global economy.
Adrian added: ‘Our new brand simplifies our promise to our clients and members, unifies our client-value proposition across our range of services and amplifies our purpose to all stakeholders. It pragmatically represents who we are, why we exist and how we add value. Our purpose is to pioneer insight and to provide advice that makes a lasting positive impact on people’s lives.’
It is an approach which resonates particularly strongly with Tim, who recently completed a master’s degree in international financial services, with a focus on regenerative leadership. It is this basic shift in mindset which Tim believes is a critical step not only for the Island but for the future of Alexforbes, its clients and broader stakeholders.
‘If we continue on a growth-at-all-costs, consumption-led path that disregards the environment and society, we won’t have a world worth retiring in,’ he said.
Instead, he proposes a more balanced approach which connects tomorrow’s reality with today’s aspirations. In this respect, he feels the Island is making good progress through its move to sustainable wellbeing instead of gross domestic product as the measure of our progress as a society. The Jersey for Good strategy further supports this shift in mindset as the Island aims to position itself as a leading global centre of sustainable finance.
‘We at Alexforbes Offshore are well aligned to these ambitions.’ Tim says. ‘By drawing on our insights to deliver high-quality advice, we can make a positive impact by helping clients secure their own financial wellbeing. This in turn enables them to thrive and make their own positive impact on society.’
Sound financial planning and holistic advice is essential for all of us as we face increasingly uncertain times and challenges. Selecting suitable investments is only one part of financial planning, says Tim, and for many this can feel like an overwhelming and complex area. A professional financial adviser will work closely with you to understand your aspirations and objectives before helping to map a detailed and measurable set of steps towards these clearly defined and prioritised goals. This includes planning for and expecting the unexpected so that your unique plan is not impacted by a life event such as serious illness or a change in circumstances at work.
‘One of the priorities for Alexforbes is helping people to plan for all of life’s milestones, from purchasing a first home to retiring comfortably and leaving a legacy,’ he said. ‘However, no matter how carefully people save or invest, if there is no protection strategy in place, an illness or life-changing accident will impact and derail even the best-laid plans.’
While many people do not consider financial planning until their 40s or 50s, Tim’s interest in the world of finance started at an early age.
‘My mother spent her whole life working in retail banking in South Africa and I was always fascinated by the personal finance element of the industry and how sound financial decisions and considered planning could fundamentally change people’s lives,’ he reflected.
Born in Durban, his career began in South Africa and included nearly five years with Lloyds Banking Group in the role which brought him to Jersey ten years ago.
‘I was transferred from the bank’s Johannesburg office to Jersey, where I worked for a further few years before taking on roles at Ashburton and Standard Bank which gave me a greater experience of investment management and corporate banking,’ he said. ‘Having always loved financial planning, I am excited to have the opportunity to take these skills and network into my new role at Alexforbes. I plan to build on my passion for knowledge in this area and, through quality advice from our world-class planning and pensions teams, help individuals with sound advice and companies to engage more fully with valued staff in a way which will help them retain and attract talented staff.’
With a keen focus on the impact that holistic financial advice and responsible investments have on individuals, families and broader society, it is no surprise that a strong sense of community and philanthropy feature significantly in Tim’s personal life. As well as coaching junior rugby and cricket players and supporting the strategy of the Jersey 2 Africa 4 Football Foundation, the father of three is committed to developing a Jersey branch of the South African Chamber of Commerce (UK) in the Island, both to promote trade and develop commercial, charitable and cultural ties between the two jurisdictions.
‘There is tremendous potential for the small South African community in Jersey to have an outsized positive impact in both the Island and their country of birth,’ he explained.
Tim is also proud of a recent initiative delivered to help arrange an international pension savings plan out of Jersey for employees of the Mastercard Foundation working in Africa.
‘Bringing this all back closer to home, it is great to work with a team and business at Alexforbes that is both focused on delivering tangible positive impact on a global scale while still serving everyday Islanders,’ he said. ‘For close on 50 years, Alexforbes has provided Islanders with sound financial advice and pension solutions, enabling their unique ambitions and financial wellbeing. I look forward to building on this proud legacy over the years to come.’
Alexander Forbes Offshore is the registered trading name of Alexander Forbes Channel Islands Limited, regulated by the Jersey Financial Service Commission.