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Newry-based Ashtree Financial Services, the financial planning division of Autoline Insurance Group held a Breakfast Seminar last week delivering the message that SME owners throughout Northern Ireland are placing the future success of their companies at serious risk by not focusing heavily enough on business protection and succession planning.

Guest speaker Dave Dawson, Corporate Business Development Manager of Bright Grey, provided guests with an overview of the key business risks and financial planning issues affecting companies. 

With a dozen accountancy firms in attendance, Mr Dawson outlined how accountants and financial planners can work together to ensure business clients put in place safeguards against threats to the value of their firms.

A breakfast seminar hosted by Ashtree Financial Services today has warned SMEs of the risks they face by not focusing heavily enough on business protection and succession planning. At the seminar at Ashtree’s Newry headquarters are (from left) Karl Murphy, Financial Advisor, Ashtree Financial Services, guest speaker Dave Dawson, Corporate Business Development Manager of Bright Grey, and Kevin Curran, Client Services Director of Ashtree Financial Services
A breakfast seminar hosted by Ashtree Financial Services today has warned SMEs of the risks they face by not focusing heavily enough on business protection and succession planning. At the seminar at Ashtree’s Newry headquarters are (from left) Karl Murphy, Financial Advisor, Ashtree Financial Services, guest speaker Dave Dawson, Corporate Business Development Manager of Bright Grey, and Kevin Curran, Client Services Director of Ashtree Financial Services

Speaking after the seminar, Kevin Curran, Client Services Director of Ashtree Financial Services, commented “SME owners, particularly those of family-run firms, are becoming increasingly vulnerable through not paying enough attention to business protection and succession planning. They are focused on looking after their clients on a day-to-day basis, but are not ensuring that the value the business has worked hard to accumulate is adequately protected against all potential threats.

“Business owners need to take a step back and focus on issues such as making sure the value of a business is fully protected in the event of death or illness of key staff, or that wealth is passed tax-efficiently to the next generation. We work closely with accountants to encourage our business clients to think more seriously about financial planning and hope that events such as the breakfast seminar can help reinforce the message.”

Today’s seminar is the first in a series of events Ashtree is planning which will highlight a range of key financial planning issues and advice on how to address them.

Financial advisor Karl Murphy, of Ashtree Financial Services, added:

“Across all sectors, business owners need to develop a strategy which ensures their business succeeds for them and their staff as well as delivering effectively for clients.  All businesses face risks on a daily basis and one important risk to consider is the death or serious illness of a key employee, director or business owner.

“The loss of such an individual would not only impact the business financially, it could also cause financial uncertainty for the business owner’s family.  Successful business planning provides the right strategy to prepare for these eventualities.” 

Headquartered in Newry with branches in Downpatrick, Ballymena, Coleraine and Enniskillen, Ashtree Financial Services is the financial planning division of the Autoline Insurance Group. Established eight years ago, Ashtree integrates financial planning with tax planning to provide a complete wealth management service.

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