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January 22, 2024

Ceri Griffiths, winner of Private Client Innovation of the Year, is on a mission to empower women

Spear's Awards 2023 winner: Ceri Griffiths, winner of Private Client Innovation of the Year, founded Willow Brook Lifestyle Financial Planning to support women involved in big-money divorces

By Spear's Partners

When Ceri Griffiths founded Willow Brook Lifestyle Financial Planning in 2019, her mission was simple: to provide women with expert advice to assist them in taking ownership of their financial affairs. The business was born when Griffiths, while observing a business meeting between a wealth adviser and a female client, realised that the industry had failed in catering to the full spectrum of women’s particular financial requirements. 

[Click here to register for updates on the Spear’s Awards 2024]

Putting women on the front foot

Her novel approach focuses on advising women who are involved in big-money divorces – often from a high-profile partner. The cases that cross her desk tend to fit certain criteria: the women (Griffiths works exclusively with women) have often given up their careers to fulfil family obligations; they have little control over finances; and they are suffering from a power imbalance in the marital relationship.

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‘I knew there were women who were feeling vulnerable, needing expertise, and were very much on the back foot, not knowing how to access what they needed,’ she tells Spear’s.

[See also: Who won at the Spear’s Awards 2023? The complete list of winners revealed]

The traditional relationship between a client and their professional adviser is insufficient in these circumstances, Griffiths believes. ‘My clients don’t typically want to work with someone who reminds them of their ex-partner,’ she says. ‘They want to find a space where they can catch up on their finances with dignity and grace.’ 

The Spear’s judges noted that Griffiths has a unique offering ‘that considers the dual needs of financial and emotional support during a relationship breakdown’. This approach involves a methodology based on empowering women to assert control over their finances by better understanding their spouse’s income and their own future expenses, and grasping the reins in making important investment decisions to ensure financial security.

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Ceri Griffiths, Willow Brook Lifestyle Financial Planning, was awarded Private Client Innovation of the Year

Crossing the digital divide

The intrinsically sensitive nature of Griffiths’ work means she works alongside women who are vulnerable and value privacy. In line with this, she has turned to online platforms to support clients virtually – many of whom, she says, have ‘massively embraced the distance’ and only opt for face-to-face interaction when required. For women who choose to retain complete anonymity, Griffiths posts content on YouTube and social media. Her approach has proven successful as Willow Brook flourishes and finds its feet in its partnership with St James’s Place.

With the backing of a large firm, the boutique practice has focused on building meaningful relationships with clients. ‘St James’s Place is able to do the due diligence behind the scenes and I can focus on the relationship with my clients,’ Griffiths tells Spear’s. ‘I know then that I have absolute quality to rely on and I can be confident in the proposition I’m giving.’ 

Click here to register for updates on the Spear’s Awards 2024

This feature is published in Spear’s Magazine Issue 90. Click here to subscribe

Cover: Cat Sims

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