Small is beautiful – a good news story from Investment Solutions

investment-solutions-logoI heard yesterday that my old employer , Investment Solutions, has been bought  by its management and the Family Trust of the Souter Family from its previous owners , Alexander Forbes.

I’m really pleased for them, their clients and their supporters, both I am First Actuarial are supporters!

Investment Solutions is an insurance company. It manages about £3bn of client money and employs 17 people. It has one office in the City. Its CEO is Adrian Swales and its MD is Chris Trebilcock , it has a strong operational team headed by my friends  Phil and Laura and you can read about what it does here.

I like this firm because it is very clear about who its clients are and what it can do for them. It does not make false promises and it is transparent in its dealings. It puts the customer first.

Of course it is easier for a small company with a brief legacy and a tight management structure to set about things the right way, but I find it hard to think of many companies which have such a strong ethos as this one.

I am particularly pleased that Brian Souter and his family trust have chosen to back them. Brian is a Christian man who has built several businesses around the Stagecoach brand. He is a man with strong views which I don’t always agree with – when you are driven by dogma you will not always delight your audience but at least you know where you stand with such a man.

If we are to get to a point where we restore confidence in our financial services industry, we must have examples of good practice. I joined First Actuarial after leaving Investment Solutions because they were such an example. Investment Solutions is another such example.

The good that we do is not just for our clients, it is for the industry as a whole. I would say the same for the Pension PlayPen, another small firm that is showing an example in a slightly different space.

It may well be that Investment Solutions, the Pension PlayPen and First Actuarial are all absorbed into larger companies at some time in the distant future. But for now they stand out as three beacons of excellence, independent and free to set an example.

It is almost exactly 40 years since EF Schumacher published his book of essays “Small is beautiful”. Small is beautiful

I hear him speak soon after publication and have read the book two or three times since. It seems to me that large corporations and even Governments are dependent on firms such as ours for the kind of leadership we can bring.

I guess that whether you agree with me or not, you are reading this blog because you value the opportunity to test your ideas against mine. Have a look at the Investment Solutions website or or – you’ll see a common thread- SMALL BUT BEAUTIFUL.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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