An interview with Mike Leigh, Director of Haven

Mike Leigh, director of Haven, talks about his experience of working at Haven and the values he is committed to.

Joining Haven

I joined Haven in 2000, so I’ve been here almost since the beginning of the company. I was an administrator first of all, but I’ve worked my way up. There’s been quite a few changes as years have gone on. More and more people have come on board and we have grown quite a lot since those early days.

Supportive Training

The most important thing for me about Haven has been how supportive they have been to me. I’ve trained through the company over the last 17 years. Learning from the bottom up. It’s been great to have that support throughout the training process of examinations. It’s something we continue now for all our employees.

Directorship and business growth

I bought into the company and became a director in 2006. Since then, I’ve taken responsibility for the finance and HR issues that we have, supporting the current admin team, all of whom have been with us for a good long time. It’s a good testament to Haven and everything we stand for that our staff stay with us for so long.

Haven Values

Having a great admin team gives that sense of continuity for clients and for the IFAs as well. It’s important that we have that and that our clients know that we aren’t a flash in the pan company that’s trying to sell them one or two products, but that we have a long term commitment both to our clients and to our staff.

Longevity is an important value for us. Which is why I open so much time building good solid relationships both in the team and with our clients.

Current Work

At the moment, with the clients I work for, pensions are dominating. We have a specialist who does mortgages, but we find ourselves more and more talking to clients about pension transfers. And more and more, we are helping people who are approaching retirement, rather than just retired people with money.

People need to know about their future, and need to understand how their pension will be worked out, and what they will get. Helping people prepare for retirement is the most valuable thing we do.

And there’s so little support out there!

Most people have no understanding of pensions, which schemes are best, how much they need to retire on and what choices to make. It’s understandable, the choices out there are complicated. But people still need the best advice they can get.

That’s what fires me, really making sure my clients know that I’m helping them make the best choices for them. Because, no matter what your financial situation, we can always recommend a pathway that will help them.

The Future for Haven

Trust and integrity are really important to us at Haven. Our new brand is simply a reflection of who we are and what we do every day. The business has been on a development with me. We’ve both grown and changed and I feel like we’ve supported each other all the way through our evolution.

Now we are a stage where we aren’t trying to become too big for out boots. Plenty of IFA firms, like ours, will try and take on huge swathes of clients, getting more and more new people in to deal with them. The problem with doing that is that they expand too quickly and lose that personal approach with their clients. Clients notice that; they don’t get the same personal service they used to, and the result of that is that their finances often don’t perform as well either.

At Haven, we aren’t worried about being the biggest, just about being the best!

Commitment to our Clients

We’ve grown quite a bit, and we are busy, but we can never lose the personal touch. For me, people aren’t numbers, they are people, and thats the same for all of us who work here at Haven. We work for and and with our clients.  Even when we have had to take new people on, we know the fit we want. Our new people all fit in with our ethos and our values.

My view is that our staff stay with us and our clients stay with us. So we are doing something right! My best days are when I help a client and they get the right outcome. When they then put you in touch with a friend or contact to help them, that’s when you really get a buzz. Recommendations from an existing client are almost nicer than a brand new person who’s never heard of us before.  

It’s the best endorsement of our work and what we do.

New Offices

Moving to our new offices is a great chance to build on what we already have. I’d love to see us establish our presence in Sale community. Really get into that community and get to know new people, and keep our values going well into the future years of Haven’s life.