Spotlight on Jake Barber, Principal of SJB Global

How / why did you get into your line of work in the financial services sector?
I always had an interest in finance and business from a very young age and whilst I was backpacking around the world, I started to read a lot of ebooks on finance, investing and being a financial adviser. What I was really looking for was a way to make money from anywhere in the world as I had a love for travelling plus I wanted to be self-employed, giving me the option to be rewarded for my own hard work.

I started out as a Derivatives trader for a London firm which allowed me to work remotely around the world once I had passed my level 4 exams and training but my passion was always in the relationship part of the job so after a few years I moved to the Middle East to become a Financial Adviser.

What is your special interest or particular field of expertise in the financial services sector right now?
Mine and SJB’s field of expertise is helping British expats with all areas of financial planning including general tax advice, retirement planning, UK pension advice, estate planning and portfolio management. It is a very complex area to understand for clients once they leave the UK but what we try to do is make it as simple as possible to understand.

What is the most important aspect of your work, in relation to clients, or the part of your day-to-day role which gives you the most satisfaction?
Being responsible for training and managing all of our advisers as well as managing my own book of clients, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what gives me the most satisfaction as there are many aspects that give me joy but if I had to choose, I would probably say it’s when an adviser tells me about a big success story or a client thanks me for helping them sort their finances and getting their life completely in order. So I guess my main satisfaction comes from seeing others do well.

What’s special/unique/most interesting about the region you work in?
Being based in Spain, Europe, you realise what a huge attraction this part of the world is for expats and because so many people decide to retire along the Mediterranean coast, these countries will offer special tax efficient products. For example, in Spain you pay high taxes whilst living here but for expats planning to retire here, they have very good tax efficient options. So it does make the coastal areas in Europe very interesting as they compete with each other to attract the wealthy expats.

How has the market / industry / your client base been impacted by Brexit?
It has but not as much as the industry expected. There was a big impact on where the funds were domiciled and which products allowed UK domicile funds and communication changed with some fund managers who were UK based as well. One change that has been impacted is Brits who live in the UK and want to go and live in Europe as they now have to abide by the Schengen rules but with the new digital nomad and retiree visas being offered in most countries in Europe, I don’t see this being a negative impact long term.

What is your one piece of invaluable information for expats or anyone seeking retirement planning and wealth management advice?
Because retirement can be so long way, people often think of it more as a future issue and would prefer to live their life in the present but the longer you delay setting up your retirement plan, the more expensive it’s going to get. I would urge everyone to really understand what they are going to need in retirement and how to get there and make sure its reviewed by a financial adviser who understands the country where they are residing to make sure they are utilizing all of the avenues they have available.

What would be your advice to any firm seeking licencing permissions under an international network?
You would want to know what the network support is going to be like, what are the current locations where they are licensed and what are their future plans to make sure it’s in line with what you are looking for. Going with a well-established network who has a track record in succeeding is paramount as the future of your firm is effectively in their hands.

Nexus Global and Blacktower already have a long and successful history in the sector, how will your firm continue to offer value to clients in the next 20 years and beyond?
As the market is forever growing and advancing technologies are always improving how we can do our jobs, they key for SJB is to make sure we can always find more value than our competitors by providing the best possible service. In the 5 years since we’ve been running, we have seen a huge transition in the offshore market to justify our fees based on the value we provide every year leads to an exciting new path to what the future brings. I feel we are positioned perfectly to always be ahead of the trend and maintain our excellent reputation for decades to come.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself
I have lived in 12 countries around the world including in Europe, Asia, Central America, South America and the Middle East.

What else makes SJB unique?
I would like to share one thing that I feel makes SJB very unique. We made a decision in our 3rd year to not hire any already established Financial Advisers so that everyone starts out as a Business Development Business and works their way upwards.

There are 2 reasons for this. The first is because we found that established advisers often were set in their own way and had potentially bad habits that they developed from other firms which didn’t match SJBs business model and secondly, we wanted to keep SJB as a level playing field, meaning that every Senior Adviser had earned their right to be a Senior Adviser based on their own success within the firm and they had passed every stage to get there. This also gives the Seniors the ability to be able to help anyone working in their team with any single task as its something they have already done before.

So for us it’s about growing organically within the firm so that no one is holding anyone back and everyone can work together as a team which is exactly what we do!

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