Nicola Ward

Associate and Head of Birkett Long IFA LLP

I head the Birkett Long IFA Team. Our clients are often faced with difficult situations and/or tragic circumstances, including bereavement and complicated financial planning arrangements. No matter what our clients face, my aim is to provide the advice in such a way to help remove the stress and anxiety, to help simplify what can appear to be a complex area and to help my clients achieve their financial goals.

I am personable and passionate about my role as a financial planning manager, with over 30 years’ experience in the financial services industry. I always wanted to work with people and started as a management trainee with a local building society, becoming a branch manager. In 1989, Colin Hyoms, who is a senior financial planning manager at Birkett Long IFA, and I were asked to join Birkett Long and help establish the Financial Services team, of which I am very proud.

I specialise in investments, long term care planning, lifetime mortgages/equity release, life protection, income and business protection, retirement planning and residential mortgages.

I find it very rewarding helping people achieve their financial goals. We generally provide an ongoing service to our clients, rather than a transactional one, therefore we get to know our clients very well and generally meet with them annually. We often provide financial advice to generations of the same family.

We have five qualified financial planning managers, paraplanners and support staff in the team. In addition, 3 years ago we launched a financial adviser training programme which has proved successful with training our own advisers meaning we all have the same ethics and principles when advising our clients.

I am also a Compliance Officer and am therefore responsible for ensuring that Birkett Long IFA meets the regulatory requirements of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the training and development of our team members.

I hold the Certificate in Building Society Practice, the Chartered Insurance Institute Certificate of Proficiency, Financial Planning Certificates 1, 2 and 3 and the Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice. I also hold the London Institute of Banking Certificate in Regulated Equity Release, the Certificate in Long Term Care and the Diploma for Financial Advisers. I am a member of the Personal Finance Society and the London Institute of Banking and Finance.

I am also a member of Braintree Chamber of Trade and Commerce Committee.

Outside of work, I enjoy watching various sports such as athletics, rugby, gymnastics and motorsport. I played county league badminton in my twenties. I was brought up in a car enthusiast family with both my parents competing in motorsports - I have competed in the past. My husband continues to take part in the sport so we travel to all the major UK circuits including Brands Hatch and Silverstone. I also have a love for animals after growing up around all different types. In adult life, I have always had dogs – mostly boxers, who we enjoy walking and taking part in dog agility.