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The Financial Options Group

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Women in Advice: Determination and career excellence lead to impressive accomplishments

Updated: Jun 29, 2020

Our Operations Director Sarah Kendell receives a host of qualifications as she and Financial Planner Jenny Loftus are nominated for prestigious awards…

Sarah Kendell’s career in financial advice has always been marked by excellence, however in her recent achievements she has reached all new heights. We’re delighted to announce that Sarah has just received her Advanced Diploma in Financial Advice, Chartered Status and Later Life Adviser Accreditation.

Plus she is a nominee in two categories of the Women in Financial Advice Awards 2020, alongside colleague and fellow nominee Jenny Loftus, who is also nominated in two categories.

A member of our team since 2002, Sarah fulfils dual roles as our Group Operations Director and a Financial Adviser – playing a key part in steering the firm’s business development and management, while providing impartial, expert guidance to clients.

With the firm having set a goal of seeing all advisers obtain Chartered status within the next five years, Sarah has become the first of our advisers to do so; she is also the first Financial Options Group adviser to be accredited by the Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA).

How do advisers gain Chartered status?

To receive Chartered status, a financial adviser must take the Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning (APFS) and have five or more years’ experience. The APFS is a rigorous course, demanding around 1,000 hours of study. Women who receive Chartered Status are outnumbered by male colleagues six to one, but Sarah is passionate about supporting other women in advancing in their financial advice careers.

“I understand how important it is for women to achieve work life balance while still pursuing a fulfilling career of growth and advancement,” says Sarah. “The Financial Options Group is one of the few financial advice houses in the UK that is evenly split across genders, up to and including the senior management level. This has not been achieved via an initiative, but simply by consistently recognising the relevant skills of individuals, and developing talent in-house through career development opportunities and mentoring.”

Specialising in later-life advice

To obtain accreditation from SOLLA – a Which-recommended not-for-profit organisation – Sarah had to satisfy its robust assessment process, which requires face-to-face assessment, extensive checks and annual relicensing. Her achievement is great news for Sarah and our firm, but this is also fantastic news for our clients, since Sarah’s enhanced skills set enables her to provide expert advice which is targeted to meet their specific needs. Having Later Life Adviser Accreditation means that Sarah delivers clear, jargon-free financial planning advice and recommendations, helping clients to make informed decisions in matters such as care funding and equity release; this could be either for themselves or on behalf of a family member.

“I decided to seek a later life advice accreditation because I think it’s important to stay responsive to cultural and societal shifts, such as our growing ageing population,” explains Sarah. “This way, older clients can feel completely at ease that I have the tools and expertise to explain their options clearly and sympathetically, especially with those paying for care or facing terminal illness.”

The fact that both Sarah and Jenny have been nominated for the Women in Financial Advice Awards comes as little surprise to Group CEO Christian Pepper, who comments: “Sarah is outstanding at connecting with people. She’s worked with me for nearly 20 years, and I’m still consistently impressed by the determination and focus she maintains. As a board member, Sarah plays a vital role in developing the business and in steering our Charitable Foundation. Last year, she was instrumental in delivering a gala event with 350 attendees, which raised thousands for charity. Sarah takes on more commitments and does a lot of things other advisers wouldn’t dream of, then she excels.

“Jenny is likewise a tremendous asset to our business. She’s professional, her clients love her and she follows through. She will go the extra mile in carrying out financial planning – she’s innovative and will speak to the clients’ accountants and solicitors, coming up with solutions to meet their long-term requirements. It’s wonderful to see both Sarah and Jenny acknowledged through the award nominations – they really couldn’t find more worthy contenders.”

To find out more, contact The Financial Options Group team on 0161 764 9944 or email



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