Stonehenge Fleming - Estate Planning
Susie is a Partner and Head of Wealth Planning. She acts as a trusted adviser to a wide client base of professionals, entrepreneurs and Board Directors.
She has several families she has supported for many years working with the different generations. Susie sets our high standard of technical regulated advice delivery and is widely recognised in the market particularly in the complex area of UK pension provision.
Susie has spent the majority of her career advising private clients from within the professional consultancy environment at City Chartered Accountants Deloitte, Andersen and RSM Robson Rhodes.
In the latest edition of Finance Monthly’s Women in Finance Awards, we are delighted to feature an insightful interview with Susie Hillier, a distinguished Partner and Head of Wealth Planning at Stonehage Fleming. Known for her exceptional role as a trusted adviser, Susie has carved out a remarkable career, guiding professionals, entrepreneurs, and board directors through the intricacies of wealth management and planning. With a keen focus on delivering technically regulated advice, particularly in the complex realm of UK pension provision, Susie’s expertise is widely recognized within the industry.
Stonehage Fleming is known for its comprehensive wealth management services. How do you approach wealth planning to ensure it aligns with the diverse needs of your clients?
At Stonehage Fleming, our diverse client base includes business owners, entrepreneurs, professionals and private equity partners. We really do look after babies to billionaires!
We provide comprehensive support to individuals and families both in the UK and internationally. Building strong personal connections is a fundamental part of our approach. I dedicate significant time to truly understanding our clients and their unique circumstances drawing on our experience of working with so many different families, something we refer to as providing practical wisdom.
We create teams for each client family to ensure that the service they receive is tailored and of the highest standard. I firmly believe that the success of our team approach is rooted in the nurturing, support and time I, and my senior colleagues, invest in the team’s professional growth.
Our expertise lies in helping clients plan for various scenarios. By drawing on our experience and prioritising consistent and effective communication, we are able to help clients understand not only the issues they face today but also those they will have to consider in the future.
In your experience, what are the key factors in developing effective wealth-planning strategies for high-net-worth individuals and families?
To assist clients develop an effective wealth planning strategy (that can include a wide range of goals such as retirement planning, inter-generational wealth transfer, investment management, and tax structuring), we believe
it is crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of their overall financial goals and the purpose behind their wealth.
Our team specialises in working with a diverse range of clients, catering to those who are just beginning to build their wealth through ultra-high net worth individuals, including private equity professionals and owner-managers. We recognise that wealth holds different meanings for different individuals.
Our unique approach revolves around adopting a broad, holistic perspective. For example, we can assist in terms of passing wealth to the next generation by putting in place structures or supporting philanthropic endeavours. We are dedicated to empowering the next-gen by providing them with valuable financial education.
There is often a significant event in their lives that serves as a catalyst for seeking our assistance, such as an entrepreneur selling their business, a professional transitioning into retirement, or parents passing on their wealth. These triggers bring excitement and opportunity for us to make a meaningful impact on our clients’ financial journeys.
How do you see the role of women evolving in the finance industry, and what changes would you like to see to promote gender equality in this sector?
In broader financial services, gender equality has been a constant issue to get right with many schemes and social movements to address it. It is, therefore, somewhat rare to have created a Wealth Planning team where advisers and senior managers are equally split between genders, and overall, there are more women within the team.
The finance industry still has challenges in attracting more women to consider it as a career. At the true advisory end of our industry, I have found that that both male and female clients often open up more quickly and feel more comfortable working with women. I also believe that having access to a female adviser can mean that some feel less threatened or vulnerable and this removes a barrier to them seeking advice.
I am proud of the work that I have done during my career as a trusted adviser to a wide client base and proud of the team that has been brought together.
What strategies do you use to maintain high levels of motivation and engagement among your team members?
Since joining Stonehage Fleming, my priority has been to lead by example and build a diverse team who are focused on the growth and development of each other as well as themselves. Our goal is to create an environment where everyone feels included and supported, and where employees are encouraged to express themselves and share their perspectives. Due to our collaborative approach, those starting their careers actually have exposure to complex and wealthy clients working alongside more experienced team members.
Our broad in-house expertise allows us to advise complex clients in a streamlined and efficient way. Our clients have access to numerous specialists, who they can engage with without building relationships from scratch. They have confidence in us to refer them to the best person for the job, whether inside or outside of the firm.