Thomas Heald Limited is joining AFH Weath Management Plc

Thomas Heald company directors
Nick Thomas and Chris Holland

Why is Thomas Heald joining a bigger company?

Since its inception in 2009, Thomas Heald has been at the forefront of the financial planning profession. Our concept was simple: to deliver excellent outcomes for our clients at a highly competitive price point. Now the regulatory and economic climate is changing, we’re taking the next step in our evolutionary journey…

We have always sought to add value to client portfolios and to realise our clients’ aspirations through sound financial planning – all the while making our services pay for themselves many times over.

This makes excellent commercial sense, as happy clients stay with the business and recommend us to friends and family, and this in turn increases the firm’s financial strength and stability, creating a virtuous circle for growth.

Along the way we have encountered many changes to the economic and regulatory backdrop. As with any successful organisation, we have needed to be able to adapt swiftly to the ever-changing landscape.

As a large regional IFA business, we have been big enough to develop systems, such as our own investment platform VisionWealth, but small and nimble enough to be able to implement new and innovative processes through our advisory team and support staff, without the operational burdens that sometimes weigh on large corporations.

Over the years, we have:

  • 2009

    Led the way on transparency

    Right from the start, we embraced a fee-charging business model and eschewed commissions long before it became a regulatory requirement.

  • 2010

    Attained professional excellence

    We were amongst the earliest firms to achieve corporate Chartered status (awarded to fewer than 1 in 5 firms in the country).


  • 2011

    Made investing bespoke

    We launched our very own VisionWealth investment platform and adopted risk-rated model portfolios backed by the in-house expertise of our investment committee.

  • 2016

    Adopted advanced techniques

    We embraced cash-flow modelling – which helps clients to map out their financial futures – across our services as standard.


  • 2017

    Developed new technologies

    Developed one of the first electronic advisory portfolio delivery systems in the UK, enabling clients to update and accept our recommendations to their portfolios efficiently.

  • 2018

    Gained industry recognition

    We beat 100s of firms nationally to make the shortlist for two prestigious awards at the Professional Adviser Awards 2018 (‘Best Client Engagement” and “Best Adviser Website”) – receiving a special commendation for our client-friendly website.


So how do we continue to innovate against the current backdrop?

First of all, let us consider where we are at currently. Investment conditions have become increasingly volatile in recent weeks and months. Between Brexit uncertainties and the US trade war with China, we are faced with a challenging set of circumstances, and this is unlikely to change in the near-term.

We are likely to see lower investment returns as we emerge from the post ‘Quantitative Easing’ era, together with increased market turbulence. Under these conditions, we need increasing scrutiny of all investment opportunities, to keep pace with a rapidly shifting economic climate. We also need to harness economies of scale to keep costs competitive as our services become increasingly sophisticated.

AFH Financial Group Plc CEO, Alan Hudson

With this in mind, we looked at a number of options. After months of preparations, we are finally able to announce the deal we think will take the business forward without compromising on our core values: Thomas Heald has become a part of AFH Financial Group PLC, headed up by CEO Alan Hudson.

The decision was taken with tremendous care and due diligence, and as ever our top priority was and remains delivering the highest possible quality of client service.

Who is AFH?

AFH was founded in 1990 by Chartered Financial Planner Alan Hudson in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. In the decades since, AFH has become one of the biggest Financial Planning firms in the country, thanks in large part to Alan’s vision for a wealth management company that would revolutionise client servicing.

In a market saturated with bloated charging structures and outdated modes of doing business amongst the industry’s biggest players, Alan saw a golden opportunity to outpace the competition by delivering fairer, simpler and more transparent services, while absorbing costs he believes that clients shouldn’t have to pay.

Why AFH?

Like Alan, we have long been committed to delivering an industry-leading financial planning service, and we’ve followed a very similar evolutionary path to AFH. Therefore, it was an immediate meeting of minds.

We recognised that to get the critical mass required to deliver the efficiencies that AFH can deliver would take many years to achieve – as would building an investment research team of a similar size and scope to the team AFH currently has in place. Being able to harness these resources for our clients immediately was too much of an opportunity to miss, given the backdrop of today’s economic climate.

As founder and Managing Director of Thomas Heald, Nick has been exacting in his requirements for a business to take his company forward. He believes that this “is a great deal for our clients, who will receive the same service, delivered by the same advisers and staff, but with the added advantage of AFH’s back-office support and investment expertise. It’s also great news for our advisers, for whom all that support means more time to do what they enjoy – helping clients.”

Alan was the first CEO we met whose ethics and values aligned with our own as company directors. Alan is also a discerning businessman, and he only agrees to take on board companies that share the ethos of AFH, with a focus on delivering the best outcomes for clients – even if that means absorbing costs that other firms might have passed onto their customers.

By merging the business with AFH, it allows us to continue to specialise in looking after our clients. All our support staff and advisory team will be joining the enlarged group and will be able to continue to deliver a first-class service, whilst benefitting from enhanced support from the wider group.

Alan said in a press release that: “I am pleased to welcome Nick Thomas, Nick Heald and Chris Holland, together with their team, to AFH. I look forward to working with them in the future and to provide their existing clients with the benefits of the full range of AFH services.”

How will you be able to benefit?

AFH has at its disposal a vast team of investment analysts and highly-trained technicians, who dedicate their time to researching the best investment opportunities and financial planning solutions on the market.

They’re also alert to the latest statutory and regulatory changes, to ensure clients are receiving a responsive and bespoke financial plan that remains suitable for their needs at all times.

What happens next?

We’ll keep you involved every step of the way throughout the transitional period. You don’t need to do anything at the moment, as everything is continuing as normal while we facilitate the integration process.

In early 2019, you can expect to receive a letter from AFH welcoming you on board. Then, when the time comes, your adviser will explain in further detail the enhanced service offerings that will be available to you, and how you stand to benefit.

Until then, know that you can sit back and relax, and anticipate some innovative changes to the way your financial planning services are delivered in 2019.

If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your adviser. Alternatively, you can send an email to: enquiries@thomasheald.co.uk.

For further information about AFH, please visit: https://www.afhwm.co.uk/

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Barlborough Links
S43 4PZ


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LS18 4TJ

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© 2019 Thomas Heald Limited. All rights reserved. Thomas Heald Limited (FCA No. 492792) and Thomas Heald Solutions Limited (FCA No. 528610) are entered on the FCA Register at https://register.fca.org.uk/. Registered in England No: 06622318. Registered Address: 6 Feast Field, Horsforth, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS18 4TJ. Chesterfield Branch Address: 11 Napier Court, Gander Lane, Barlborough Links, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S43 4PZ.

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