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Meet The Team

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Financial Planning Team

Lee Wells — DipFA

Managing Partner

Ablestoke Group

Lee grew up in Bexley and after attending Bexley Grammar School he went on to read Economic History & Politics at Keele University. Upon leaving education, he trained as a Commercial Insurance underwriter before becoming a financial advisor in 1996. Over the last 20 years Lee has gained experience as an advisor, a manager, and has also served as Sales & Marketing Director to several companies. Lee now directs the service strategy, advice quality, and workflows of the Ablestoke team. Away from the office Lee is married to Sarah and has a young son Edward “Teddy”. Lee’s passions are travel, Liverpool football club, martial arts and he is also a keen chef.

Barnaby Balkwill — Chartered ALIBF, Adv DipFA, AwPETR

Financial Planner

Ablestoke Financial Planning LLP

Barney grew up in the south west of London and joined the industry in 2006, a year after completing a degree in Politics at Nottingham University. Barney now lives in East London and has a keen interest in electronic music, as a DJ and also the organiser of club nights over the last 10 years. He has a great love of food and wine; enjoying cooking at home and eating out at as many good restaurants as possible. Barnaby specialises in providing holistic financial advice to individuals, small to medium sized businesses and charities.

Reviews and Ratings for Financial adviser Barnaby Balkwill, London

Owen Cook — Chartered ALIBF, Adv DipFA, AwPETR

Independent Financial Adviser

Ablestoke Wealth Management Ltd

Owen graduated from the University of Nottingham after studying Biochemistry & Genetics. He then worked at Arthur Andersen in Corporate Re-structuring, before joining the financial services industry in 2002. Owen heads our Wealth Management team, holds specialist qualifications for pension transfers, provides investment and retirement planning advice for private clients and professionals, and also manages our relationships with Accountants. He has an avid interest in the property markets reflected within his international portfolio, is a keen mountain biker, horse rider and is an extreme sports enthusiast. Owen is in the top 200 rated IFA’s in the UK on www.vouchedfor.com, the national website where customers themselves rate financial advisers according to their performance.


Reviews and Ratings for Financial adviser Owen Cook, London

Andrea Liu — Dip PFS Certs CII (MP & ER)

Financial Planner

Ablestoke Financial Planning LLP

Originally from Hong Kong, Andrea has been in the UK financial services industry for 15 years, both as an advisor for a large American insurance company, and for the last 6 years as a Financial Planner, during which time she has successfully completed the full Advanced Financial Planning Certificate. Andrea also holds specialist qualifications in Taxation & Trusts, Personal & Pension Investments and Long Term Care. Andrea specialises in providing inheritance tax planning and investment solutions for clients. Andrea is an accomplished musician, piano and voice. She sings at the Lisson Grove Choir, is a keen photographer and a donating member of the Terrence Higgins Trust.

Hamil Mason — Chartered ALIBF, Adv DipFA, AwPETR

Financial Planner

Ablestoke Financial Planning LLP

Originally from Hammersmith, Hamil attained a degree in Business & Finance, after which he worked in local government, before joining the team in 2007. Hamil has attained the Diploma for Financial Advisers, and provides holistic Financial Planning solutions for his clients, particularly to athletes and people in the entertainment industry. Although Hamil follows Manchester United, he has a passion for all sports, and practices Muay Thai boxing.

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Priyesh Patel — DipFA

Financial Planner

Ablestoke Financial Planning LLP

Following his Business & Financial Services degree from Nottingham Trent University and a brief stint at Marsh Insurance, Priyesh joined the industry in 2006 and has gone on to attain his Diploma for Financial Advisers. Priyesh is a valued member of the team, and specialises in providing holistic financial planning solutions to his large private client base. Priyesh follows sport passionately especially cricket and football and in his spare time participates in helping his community. He has served as President of Sojitra Samaj UK and Chairman of Chha Gaam and through these organisations has done a lot of work to help the Patel Samaj a community he is proud to be apart of and represent.

Reviews and Ratings for Financial adviser Priyesh Patel, London

 

Edmund Shardlow — Dip PFS

Financial Planner

Ablestoke Financial Planning LLP

Ed comes from Chichester, and studied Psychology at the University of Warwick and now lives in Surrey with his wife Carolyn and son Alexander. After finishing his degree he taught English in Japan for a year before returning to work in local government and financial services administration in London. Ed holds the Diploma for Financial Advisers and is studying towards the Advanced Diploma, and heads up our relationships with legal practices. In his spare time Ed is an amateur songwriter, musician and photographer, a dedicated Arsenal fan and is treasurer of the Guildford Ultimate Frisbee team.

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Ciaran Ruttledge

Ciaran Ruttledge – MLIBF DipFA

Financial Planner

Ablestoke Financial Advisers Ltd

Ciaran has worked in the Financial Services ever since leaving University in Manchester. He spent 9 years consulting in the Financial Services industry working for two of the Big 4 firms, Brewin Dolphin, NOW: Pensions and Quilter Cheviot the Investment Management arm of Quilter. After spending 4 years consulting in Wealth Management he decided to follow his passion in helping people with their Financial Planning by joining Ablestoke. Ciaran has a keen interest in investment portfolio structures, family inheritance tax planning and ensuring families are protected. Outside of work, Ciaran loves to travel especially when it includes skiing and cycling holidays and likes to play the occasional game of Football. Funfact; Ciaran has a FA Cup Winners medal from when he represented Durham County in his youth.

Reviews and Ratings for Financial adviser Ciaran Ruttledge, London
Lawrence Bearman

Lawrence Bearman — DipFA

Independent Financial Adviser

Ablestoke Wealth Management Ltd

Lawrence grew up in Hertfordshire and has recently graduated from the University of Nottingham having studied Mathematics and Economics. During his time at the Nottingham, he competed for the Universities Football and Tennis teams, captaining the football team in his final year of studies. Lawrence also interned for Ablestoke between his 2nd and 3rd year at Nottingham which is where he developed his passion for the financial services industry.

Straight out of education, Lawrence joined Ablestoke in 2019 where he is en route to becoming a fully qualified financial advisor after passing his first qualification. His aspirations for the future are to become a chartered financial advisor and create a successful and ever-growing client base.

Outside of the office, Lawrence is passionate about his sport, competing for clubs in both football and tennis, as well as skiing and snowboarding once a year. He is an avid Chelsea supporter, having been a season ticket holder for more than 10 years. Lawrence is also a keen traveller, looking to experience cultures from all around the world.

Protection Team

Royston Bannock

Protection Manager

Ablestoke Financial Planning LLP

Royston is one of the founding members of Ablestoke. Originally from Bexley in South East London, he studied I.T. at college before working for Microsoft for two years. He went on to run a successful I.T. business before joining the Financial Services industry in 1999. Over the last 17 years Royston has become both an experienced advisor, specialising in personal, family and business protection, as well as managing a successful team. Royston is a keen golfer, snowboarder and a lifelong Crystal Palace fan.

Matthew Smith

Senior Protection Adviser

Ablestoke Financial Planning LLP

Growing up in Kenton, north west London, Matt went on to attend Kingston University & London Southbank University, gaining a degree in Sports Science. Matt was previously Business Development Manager at one of the three largest tax refund companies in Europe, UK Tax Free Refund LIMITED and whilst one of their top sales managers in the Pan-European group, Matt nurtured relationships with Manchester City, Liverpool as well as Nokia in London. Matt continues to play football and cricket, having represented QPR and Middlesex as a youth before injury forced him to hang up his boots. He now spends much of his spare time passing on his footballing prowess to his son who harbours aspiration to follow in his father’s footsteps. Matt is also a keen cook, loving cooking all types of cuisine and enjoys regularly sampling his next potential dish whilst dining out.

Mortgage Team

Barney Wilde — CeMAP DipFA

Senior Mortgage Advisor

Ablestoke Financial Planning LLP

Barney has over 10 years experience in the industry.

Barney enjoys playing football, squash and running having completed a few half marathons for charity. A big Crystal Palace fan Barney also loves cooking, baking and eating out. He lives in Norbury and recently bought his first buy-to-let property making him the perfect candidate to guide clients thinking of becoming a landlord.

Gaurav Shukla

Gaurav Shukla – CeMAP

Mortgage Advisor

Ablestoke Financial Planning LLP

Gaurav has been in the financial services industry since 2013 and has worked at some of the largest mortgage firms in the UK. Gaurav is big on sports, watching and playing football and cricket and following tennis. He is a big fan of Liverpool FC and attends games regularly and follows them religiously. Gaurav loves to travel and experience other cultures and also aims to have a fundraising event for charity at least once a year.

Bijal Patel — CeMAP

Mortgage Support

Ablestoke Group

After graduating from the university of Hertfordshire with a degree in Information Technology, Bijal began working in the property sector where she gained a passion for mortgages. Bijal joined the Ablestoke team in early 2017 and known for her tenacity and ambition, she has progressed to become a valued member of the mortgage team, providing support to clients and advisers. Bijal’s key responsibility is ensuring that mortgage applications proceed smoothly and timely. Bijal is also studying towards becoming a mortgage adviser.

Away from the office Bijal has a passion for drawing and is learning the art of animation.

Client Account Executives

Devin Chohan

Business Development

Ablestoke Group

Devin is from London. After working as an optician for many years; he ventured into his own business within the FMCG Food and Beverage sector, successfully growing his well known brands with retailers and wholesalers throughout the U.K and internationally. With a range of accolades and a wealth of business experience to his name, he now dedicates his spare time in mentoring, educating and sharing his knowledge with new start ups and is part of various organisations such as Virgin Start Up and Young Enterprise. Devin joined the Ablestoke team in 2019 and is on his journey to becoming a financial advisor. Outside of work, he has a keen interest in all things to do with nature and animals conservation, an addict to Masterchef and he is an avid Liverpool supporter.

Client Support

Amanda Paget

Client Care Manager

Ablestoke Group

Amanda grew up in Camden and studied Business Management at Kingsway College. She then joined the financial services industry in 2001 as a client administrator and has since worked in operations for several financial advice firms prior to becoming a founding member of the Ablestoke team in 2009. Over the past few years Amanda has progressed from client administrator to Client Services Manager and is the most senior member of our client servicing team. She has also gained an NVQ in Business Management Level 3 and an Advance Level NVQ in customer service.

Away from the office she enjoys traveling, with friends, family and her beloved cat Smudge.

Lorna Sheehan

Client Care Senior Administrator

Ablestoke Group

Lorna has worked at Ablestoke since leaving school at the age of 16. Twelve years later Lorna has progressed to become senior adviser support, helping advisers deliver our ongoing service to our clients. Lorna has always been highly numerate from passing her maths GCSE two years early and going on to study statistics, she also supports our finance team.

Whilst being at Ablestoke Lorna completed various courses including level 3 NVQ in providing financial services (Administration for financial planning & mortgage intermediaries) and is now enrolled with the Quilter Financial Adviser School studying for the Financial Services Regulations & Ethics qualification.

In her spare time Lorna is very sociable, enjoys spending time with family & friends, is an active member of her gym, enjoys running and is a proud Glasgow Rangers Fan.  

Nasima Solanki

Paraplanner

Ablestoke Group

Nasima grew up in South West London and joined the Financial Services industry in 2012.
Nasima has 2 degrees – a BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Sciences from Kingston University and an MSc in Investment and Finance from Queen Mary University.
She is currently working towards her level 4 Diploma in Financial Planning.
Most of Nasima’s time is now dedicated to her young daughter, however she still enjoys taking time out for herself and enjoying life with friends and family.
Nasima has recently joined Ablestoke as their team paraplanner, working with the Advisers in specific process and advice areas.

Konstantin Zolotarov

Client Account Manager / Adviser Support

Ablestoke Group

A highly motivated individual with experience in finance. Gained international exposure through his study in the UK. Looking to gain experience in all areas of the financial industry.

Konstantin grew up in Ukraine, attended Oswestry School in Shropshire from the age of 14. He was chosen to represent school in multiple sporting teams including football and rugby, was recognised for his talent at sport and awarded a substantial sport scholarship. That allowed him to complete his GCSE`s and A-Levels and get on BSc Banking & Finance course at BPP University in London. He has joined Ablestoke earlier this year after completing his degree. He is excited by the challenge knowing the amount of work required and experience needed before being able to advise clients. Currently supporting the most experienced advisors in the company while pursuing further professional qualifications. Konstantin is passionate about football and supports Liverpool football club also enjoys sea kayaking and chess.

Surinder

Surinder Kalsi

Client Account Manager / Adviser Support

Ablestoke Group

Surinder was born in Mau Summit, Kenya, and grew up in Nairobi before moving to England in 1975.

She worked in insurance administration for 27 years as a Team Leader before joining the financial industry in 2015.

Surinder is now part of our Client Care Team using her experience to provide service to clients and support our advisers.

Away from the office, when not spending time with the family dog, she likes to participate in 5k,10k or half marathons with her husband, raising funds for various charities.

She has a lot of crafts skills and loves to create and design handmade textile pieces to a point where she even embroidered not only her own but her daughter’s wedding outfit too, and during the Covid Lockdown, she kept herself busy in her spare time by making custom designed face masks to keep safe.

Surinder is also an amazing cook, just ask her lucky colleagues!

Stuart Steele

Paraplanner

Ablestoke Group

Stuart lives in Kent and is married with four grown up children and two dogs. From full time education and time in the retail sector, Stuart has now been in Financial Services for over 25 years and has experience across the board, from sales roles through to being an IFA in his own right.

More recently Stuart has focussed on paraplanning and practice management, including creating an online business for Remote Paraplanning Services.

Following the acquisition of a retiring IFA’s practice in 2021, Stuart has joined the Ablestoke Paraplanning Team and is now applying the ‘wealth of his experiences’ into all aspects of the group.

Stuart spends most of his time away from the office either on the Golf course or supporting Bromley FC.

Arina Skokova

Paraplanner

Ablestoke Group

Arina grew up in Latvia, Riga and came to London in 2006. She Graduated (BSc) Business Economics from University of Westminster, after graduation she travelled for a year around the world. Arina joined the financial industry in 2012 and she is currently studying towards her Diploma in Paraplanning. Back in Latvia she played semi-professional tennis and has visited 30 countries, she’s keen to explore South America, a big fan of rock and Gordon Ramsay. She also has a 4 year old daughter.

Management

Neil Mutton

Management

Ablestoke Group

With over 30 years of experience across a range of business sectors. Neil has built up a unique blend of leadership, management and organisational skills.

From a Cornish upbringing, Neil studied in London following which his work and pleasure have taken him all over the world.

Golf, Plymouth Argyle and avoiding DIY are key weekend priorities.

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