Client Story: Richard and Jane Hawkins – The power of shared values

Kunle and Richard first met when working in the City and Richard was encouraged to speak to Kunle about his pension options. This was in the early 2000s and he and his wife, Jane, remained as clients of Kunle as he moved from Kleinwort Benson to SK Financial – but not just because of the sound financial advice he had given them. Here Richard talks to us about his experience of Kunle and the SK team.

The strategy that SK has followed, together with the tools they use, have allowed us to build up a comfortable pension pot, with the ultimate goal of enjoying a quality lifestyle and retirement.  This result has confirmed my opinion of SK as a being a strong and trustworthy company, with sound policies and strategy.

The team takes great care to understand us as clients and to advise accordingly. Yes, this is required to some extent by law in risk assessments etc, but the understanding is developed in a very pleasant, and caring way that allows the client to relax into it. My wife and I feel safe in their knowledge and in their professionalism.  Most importantly, this is a company that has values that we share and respect.

“We very quickly hit it off easily and well.”

I first met Kunle when I took on a new position at a large investment bank and I was asked to go and see someone by the name of Kunle Olafare to talk about my pension. I had a pension already but this was going to be novel to me as it was a money pension versus a final salary scheme or state pension.

We very quickly hit it off easily and well and, as a result, we continued to meet and discuss my pension options long after he moved across to SK Financial. Kunle and I talked avidly about how Jane and I should build up pensions – especially once the children started fleeing – and as we’d been fortunate to receive some substantial inheritance, we were taking advice concerning this too.

My wife, Jane, grew to know Kunle well and describes him as “a good character, trustworthy, knowledgeable and caring, which is confirmed by his interests and participations outside of his work, particularly his fundraising.” And I could not agree more.

“The positive characteristics we came to recognise in Kunle, manifested themselves more and more strongly in SK.”

Kunle’s interest in the person, as well as their financial health, is always evident.  As an example, in 2013, I was happily made redundant and in 2014 I took on a small part time job in our local church.  This allowed me to spend more time with my elderly mother-in-law and parents. I left that job in 2016. Shortly afterwards, and within a short timescale, both my mother-in-law and my parents sadly died. That was a very difficult time for both of us. Throughout that period, I was in contact with Kunle and over time, many of the positive characteristics we came to recognise in Kunle, manifested themselves more and more strongly in SK. This was important to us.

More recently, Kunle has gradually withdrawn the personal contact he and I and Jane have had in order to allow others in SK to take on clients similar to us. He very much encouraged members of staff at SK take on more and more of the front, client facing work such as reviews and recommendations, investing and withdrawals.  I felt this was a very good approach and timely. At the end of the day, the company will be Kunle driven, but at the same time he is developing staff who can rise to the occasion, take on the mantel and do so very well and professionally. While Kunle is always there in the background, I also commend the staff who we are now more regularly in contact with particularly, in our case, Emma and Richard.

I have no criticism of SK but lots of compliments and, in 2024, I will be able to start to collect and enjoy the pensions that Kunle and the SK team have helped us build! Thank you to everyone.