Whether skydiving, fire walking or becoming one of the most highly qualified financial planners in the UK and Middle East, Lord does not shy away from a challenge.
Joining the Dubai office as a wealth planner in October 2009, Lord was made managing director for Killik Chartered Financial Planners the following year, covering both the UK and Dubai, in addition to heading up its wealth planning operation in the emirate.
Each month, she would spend three weeks in Dubai and one week in the UK; only returning to the UK permanently after her daughter was born in 2012. In October that year, Killik & Co made her a partner.
“It was relatively quick,” Lord says, referring to her ascent up the corporate ladder. “At that time, I was the only female partner.”
A glance at the titles after her name serves to highlight both her experience and knowledge: Killik & Co partner, wealth planning director, certified financial planner, associate of the Institute of Financial Planning, fellow of the Personal Finance Society and a registered life planner.
Lord, who recently studied for her Chartered Insurance Institute RO8 exam while on maternity leave, says: “Professional development is important to me. I have always tried to stay at the forefront of the industry. I know it could be seen as doing exams for the sake of it but it is about being able to apply that knowledge to the client.
“I am a great believer that, when working with clients, knowledge is power. Clients want to work with someone that they be-lieve can deliver the most appropriate advice and solutions.”
Having embraced a fee-based model in the UK prior to the retail distribution review, Killik took the “radical” step of implementing the same structure in Dubai.
“When we first arrived, the way in which we operated was completely revolutionary. I remember talking to people shortly after I arrived and they were saying, ‘You charge fees for financial advice? That is radical. That is not what happens out here’.
“Being fee-based in Dubai means we have to be at the top of our game. That is what people expect if they are paying for advice,” Lord says.
Client education plays a big role in how Lord and Killik & Co convey that the fee-based model is the better option for clients. The company has released the Killik Explain Series, a collection of free videos covering an array of financial topics.
“We really want to be seen as a thought leader in client education. I am really passionate about people being empowered to make their own financial decisions.
“There is still an element of clients saying, ‘Well, hang on, if I go to another organisation they are just going to charge me X percent on implementation. So they are telling me what the cost of the advice is. But I’m not actually having to pay for it, whereas, you’re telling me that I need to pay for it’.
“But people are beginning to wake up to the fact that ‘just because it is not costing me anything, does not mean it is free’.
“If we are really honest, it continues to be a challenge for us because there is still this misconception that you can get advice for free elsewhere.”
People seeking out Killik’s services generally turn to the company for three reasons: “In the UK, our typical client can be mid-40s anywhere up to mid-70s, and it is very much about goals-based planning. With the pension rule changes, we have had quite a lot of final salary transfer advice in the past 12 months with people wanting to know whether they should transfer out or not.”