Fortnum Private Wealth have announced the retirement of founder and executive chairman Ray Miles after an extraordinary 51 years in financial services.
Miles, who established Fortnum in 2010 as an alternative to institutionally-owned licensees, will officially step down at the end of the year but continue to serve as non-executive chairman for the group.
After starting his career in insurance at MLC and Aetna Life and Casualty, the industry stalwart co-founded advisory group Associated Planners in 1989. Associated Planners subsequently grew from 13 to 450 advisers, at which point Miles was instrumental in the group’s sale to Challenger for $99.9 million in 2004, with the resulting merger between it and Challenger’s own Garrisons Financial Planning giving rise to Genesys Wealth Advisers, where he served as the inaugural CEO.
Miles left Genesys in March 2007, with the group subsequently taking a rocky path. After being sold to AXA in 2008 and then falling into the hands of AMP in 2011 it was eventually being shut down in late 2014. By then it had less than 200 advisers.
In a statement Miles – who is known for his direct, no-nonsense approach – explained that the experience had a bearing on his tenure at Fortnum.
“I didn’t want what happened at Genesys after I exited to repeat itself, which is why I stayed on as executive chair for the past five years,” he said. “I am now more than confident to step down.”
He paid tribute to current Fortnum chief executive Neil Younger for his “vision, commitment and support”, saying he was confident Younger could take the business to the “next level”.
Younger, in turn, called Miles a “pioneer” of the advice industry.
“He built two exceptional businesses, effectively from scratch, and has championed the value of professional advice for five decades,” Younger said.
“Ray has never shied away from expressing his opinions on key issues including the separation of product and advice, vertical integration and volume rebates,” the CEO continued. “He has been a vocal supporter of higher education and training standards, and regulation that strengthens consumer protections.”