As Managing Partner – Aberdeen of AAB Group, Derek is a key member of the AAB Wealth Board. Find out more about Graeme and his role below.
WHO I HELP
Family Businesses. Owner Managed Businesses.
HOW I HELP
Commercial & Tax Advice. Tax Structuring. Succession Planning. Business Restructuring.
“PROVIDING TRULY COMMERCIAL ADVICE.”
Derek Mitchell is Managing Partner of our Aberdeen office. He is also part of our Business Advisory team and specialises in advising family businesses.
Based in our Aberdeen office, Derek is responsible for the day-to-day operations of all divisions in that office.
Derek can advise clients on a wide range of issues, from tax structuring, succession planning to general commercial business advice.
ALIGNING OUR BUSINESS
“My operational role as the Managing Partner of the Aberdeen office involves ensuring that our business units in Aberdeen are aligned and that we co-ordinate our efforts and resources to deliver awesome client service.
As the business grows across locations and we bring in other firms, we need to identify what’s best practice, learn from each other’s business, then embed across the group. I’m very motivated by combining best practice and seeing how that allows us to move forward on our journey and deliver the best solutions for our clients.”
CREATING OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE
“I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to work in a business that’s growing, dynamic, and disruptive in its marketplace. Being able to bring people into AAB, train them and give them the same opportunity that I’ve had is fundamental. I’m really passionate about creating career opportunities for people joining and working in the business today.
One of our reasons for focusing on growth, is to continue to create opportunities for our people and our clients. The most satisfying thing for me is seeing other people fulfil their aspirations and knowing that I had a little bit of a helping hand in their success. That really matters to me.”
INVESTING IN TECHNOLOGY
“The future really excites me. We want to continue to grow, continue to innovate and move forward on our digital journey. Across the group we have innovative technology already, but it’s exciting to see our tech roadmap and know the speed at which we can now deliver on that and reach digital maturity.
We focus on using technology to change and improve how we deliver services to clients. It’s about process automation and efficiencies, but more importantly making our clients’ journey easier. Technology allows us to spend more time with clients and focus more of our energy on delivering value adding advice. That’s what success looks like for me over the next few years.”
GETTING IN THE TRENCHES
“I get a real kick out of being able to provide innovative, bespoke solutions for our clients that get them to where they aspire to be. I want my clients to feel totally supported. My client focus is around how do we grow the business; how do we protect the business; and how do we ensure that it’s done tax efficiently.
For me, the personal care and attention that I give my clients is absolutely key to what I do. Often, it’s about rolling my sleeves up and ‘getting in the trenches’ with a client to support them. The advice I give can make a big difference to a client; it can help them achieve their goals with support and confidence and that’s hugely rewarding for me.”
As Chief Commercial Officer of AAB Group, Doug is a key member of the AAB Wealth Board. Find out more about Doug and his role below.
WHO I HELP
Owner Managed Businesses. Family Businesses.
HOW I HELP
Mergers & Acquisitions. Business Strategy. Deal Initiation.
“MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS expertise.”
Doug Martin is Chief Commercial Officer and Head of our Corporate Finance team. He specialises in Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) activity, having advised on over 400 client deals.
Regularly working across all our offices, Doug’s role as Chief Commercial Officer means he is responsible for the growth strategy and corporate development of the AAB Group.
“My two roles as Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Corporate Finance very much crossover. Both are focused on commercial business strategy and developing organisations. It’s about helping businesses deliver on their goals and objectives.
My skill is strategic thinking and insight, in terms of how to structure a business, how to competitively position yourself, positioning for future funding, as well as exit planning. These skills are important both in terms of our own business but also our clients as well.”
ADVICE THAT CHANGES PEOPLES LIVES
“My client role involves building long term relationships and providing support at critical points throughout a clients’ business journey. That could be advising on funding for growth, business acquisition or ultimately their exit. It’s very important to me that I’m there for clients when they need me.
I work with people closely and intensely when I’m working on a transaction and then I may not be as involved for a period. The joy is being able to pick that relationship back up and work with people again on the next stage of the journey. It’s very satisfying for me to build long term, close relationships and I can do this because of the integrated way that AAB support clients. The advice and support we give can quite often change people’s lives and that’s really rewarding for me.”
CREATING OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH
“A big part of my role is the development of AAB’s commercial business strategy. We have ambitious growth plans in terms of M&A and organic growth. I work with all the business units to support their growth plans, whether that’s building their team, extending their offering, or bringing in a new business.
The investment we’ve had allows us to grow more rapidly, both in terms of M&A but also organically. We can invest heavily in people and technology to drive the business forward. I love the quote “Don’t wait for the right opportunity; Create it.” That’s exactly what AAB intend to do and that excites me.”
A REAL TEAM EFFORT
“Everything I do is backed by a real team effort. We have been recognised as leading dealmakers in our key markets for over 15 years. I have a fantastic team and what we’ve achieved and delivered is something I’m immensely proud of.
I’m a great believer in giving people as much ownership and responsibility at an early stage as possible. It’s about engaging and driving the team to be the best they can be. The skill in the team lies in the ability to create and find opportunities to do deals and I’m very proud at how everyone achieves this.”
As Chief Executive of AAB Group, Graeme is a key member of the AAB Wealth Board. Find out more about Graeme and his role below.
HOW I HELP
At AAB Group, my role varies from setting the direction and getting the Group aligned, supporting the leadership team, ensuring they have what they need to be effective, engaging the Board and connecting all the stakeholders.
“BUILDING A HIGH PERFORMING TEAM.”
Graeme Allan is Chief Executive of the AAB Group. In Graeme’s role he is responsible for executing AAB’s strategic priorities, which includes transforming the business into a tech enabled critical business services group through driving growth both organically and by acquisition.
Graeme works closely with the Executive team to harness the power of people and technology across AAB to build strong foundations for future growth and development of the group.
Graeme’s expertise includes strategy, leadership and building high performing teams.
IT’S EXCITING TO LEAD AAB
“You may not think of the business services sector as EXCITING but the relentless pursuit of opportunities and the desire to do better tomorrow than you did today means that being Chief Exec at AAB is just that! Whether it’s working with clients on their exciting journeys or spearheading the growth of the group, no two weeks are the same.
I truly believe in harnessing the power of our people across all our locations, so it’s important we continue building and supporting high performing teams to enable us to attract and retain the best talent. It’s my role ensure that happens by articulating the AAB story and getting people excited about the future of the firm.
Private Equity backing means we’re able to scale more rapidly and this growth and scale opens up a huge number of opportunities for people to grow their careers in AAB. I’m dedicated to helping our people perform at their best and deliver awesome service to our clients.”
LEADING THE EVOLUTION OF TECHNOLOGY
“My focus is on AAB leading the evolution of technology in our sector. Technology will act as a catalyst for change in AAB both in our service delivery and our client experience. It’s not just about implementing technology; it’s about how we change people’s mindset to deliver services differently to benefit clients and our team.
I’m passionate about how we optimise the combination of people and technology to enable us to offer even more support and advice to clients. Sometimes it can be the combination of good commercial awareness and using data to support that which has a huge effect on a client’s business. ”
ONLY THE START OF THE JOURNEY
“For me personally, I’m still constantly learning and because of our rapidly changing environment, our growth, and the growth of our clients I thrive on change and having to adapt my thinking.
We have a clear plan and I’m here to ensure we deliver on that plan. My ability to build strong relationships, my strategic vision and resilience are the strengths I bring to this role. But to succeed, I’ve needed a strong team around me, and I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have great people that have and continue to support me.”
NO DESIRE TO STAND STILL
“There is never a desire to stop or stand still. It’s about recognising the opportunities that will drive us to do more, whether it’s additional services or wider geography. This could be a 10-to-15-year project for me now that we’ve got PE backing.
I believe that I’m the custodian of this business. It’s not just about growth, it’s about creating and leaving a business that’s in a better place than when I became Chief Executive. That’s all about creating opportunities for our clients and our team members and if everyone goes away happy, then that will be job done for me.”
WHO I HELP
Everyone within the Wealth team.
HOW I HELP
Recruitment. People Training and Development. Operations. Compliance.
“My passion is people.”
Vikki Venerus is Head of Operations and Compliance for Wealth. She has been a part of the company since day one, when she joined as an Administrator. So has seen it blossom from nothing, into the successful business it is today.
Based in Aberdeen, Vikki oversees the day-to-day operations, while taking responsibility for compliance – a crucial task in such a highly regulated sector. But undoubtedly the part that she enjoys the most, is growing and developing the team – a role which takes in recruitment, training, mentoring, coaching and wellbeing. She’s dedicated to bringing on the next generation of financial planners – and it looks like nothing will stop her.
FINDING THE RIGHT FIT
“Culture is always at the front of my mind, especially when I’m recruiting. I see plenty of people who are really interested in numbers, analysis and the tax side of what we do. But that’s not enough. In a job like this, you also have to be a people person.”
Yes, the numbers are important. But I always think the most important factor is how that helps clients – because ultimately that’s our end goal. Building relationships, delivering sound financial advice and giving clients peace of mind. That’s what it’s really all about.”
SUPPORTING THE TEAM
“Whatever my team need, I’m there for them – whether that’s guidance, support, direction or empowerment. I don’t expect them to check in with me on everything – they can just get on with the job themselves. But I’ve put strong systems and controls in place to make sure that nothing falls through the net.
Having said that, I always make sure I check in with my team. Just to make sure they’re ok. Wellbeing is so important, if we don’t get that right, there’s no way we can do a good job for our clients. And it’s really important to me that everyone feels like they have a voice. Because in a team, everyone’s views are important.”
EMBRACING THE FUTURE
“A big challenge in our industry has always been the technology side. Getting tech speaking to tech. But compared to a lot of other financial planning firms I think we’re very progressive. In fact, you could say we’re early adopters. If there’s anything coming down the track, we’re always open to finding out more, especially if it will lead to more efficient ways of working. Anything that makes our clients’ journey a little bit smoother, like being paperless or using tools like MS Teams or DocuSign, is worthwhile.”
LEADING BY EXAMPLE
“I came into the business as an administrator many years ago. But soon I wanted to know the ‘Why’. Why was I doing what I was being asked to do? That’s what drove me to study, do my exams and became a qualified Chartered Financial Planner. Now my mission is to give that opportunity to other people.
Nothing makes me happier than seeing people grow and progress. In fact, nearly everyone on my team is studying for one qualification or another. Being able to bring good people through from your own talent pool and see the future open up for them is just incredible.”
WHO I HELP
Individuals. Business Owners. Oil and Gas Executives.
HOW I HELP
Financial Planning. Wealth Planning. Legacy Planning.
“FOCUS ON THINGS YOU CAN CONTROL.”
Andrew Dines is Head of the Wealth team. Based in Aberdeen, his role is two-fold. Firstly, he is part of the leadership team, providing strategic direction to help the business reach its objectives.
Secondly, as a financial planner, Andrew works directly with individuals, discovering what their own aims and ambitions are. Then he helps them create a plan to live their desired lifestyle, without fear of running out of money. He’s a people-person who likes nothing better than working with clients and doing his bit as part of a team.
“I work with a wide range of different clients. They come to me because they want to sell their business, have money to invest or want to start drawing down income from their pensions. Some are just looking for a better place to grow their cash.
Whatever the reason, it’s essential that the relationship works and feels like a comfortable fit. Potentially, we’re going to meet up every six months for the rest of our life. So it really helps if we actually like each other! And of course, having trust is absolutely crucial.”
A LIFETIME OF SUPPORT
“My clients are mostly in their 50s. They’ve forged their career and probably built up some capital, but they’ve still got a lot of things going on – weddings, grandchildren, retirements, travel. So what they want to know is whether they can do all the things they want to do without fear of running out of money.
So fundamentally, my work is all about offering support through life changing events – and all the tax planning, legacy planning, and investment management that goes with it. And that’s a difficult thing to put a tangible cost or value on. So when clients want to introduce me to their family or friends, that’s a really big compliment. And actually, the main way we’ve grown our business.”
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
“Often I’ll suggest something to one of my clients – perhaps something they’ve never even considered before. And seeing them act on that, and thrive because of it, is something that really makes me happy. Sometimes, they might be thinking about leaving a legacy for loved ones and I’ll say why don’t you do it now? To actually see people get the benefit of the money, often when they need it most, is so much more fulfilling than sticking it away in a trust until after you’ve gone. It’s helping make things like that happen that’s really satisfying for me.”
HELPING YOU LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE
“The norm for most financial advisers is to take their client’s money and invest it. Then in a year’s time see whether it’s gone up or gone down and move it around a bit. I don’t work like that. I believe it’s better to make a plan and stick to it – and let the markets do the work. If you keep your costs low, remain disciplined and diversify, that will allow you to have a successful investment experience.
Anyway, I don’t want to base my relationship with a client on getting a certain return in a year. Because the moment you don’t achieve it, that’s the moment when the relationship starts to break down. My approach is to focus on things you can control. Focus on what you want to do, how much you want to spend, what you want to spend it on. And then come up with a plan to make it all work.”
WHO I HELP
Private Individuals. Business Owners. High Net Worth Individuals.
HOW I HELP
Wealth Planning. Cash Flow Modelling. Financial Planning. Pension Planning. Investment Planning. Cascading Wealth.
“I help people achieve their goals.”
Ian Campbell is a Head of Financial Planning within our Wealth team. Calm and level-headed, he works with clients to build their own unique financial plan. One that will help them discover how to build their wealth, plan for retirement and cascade their wealth onto loved ones.
Based in our Aberdeen office, his aim is to become a trusted adviser, building lasting relationships that often extend decades – or even into the next generation. And his ultimate goal – to help his clients get the most out of life.
“Professional but fun. That’s the type of relationship I want to build with my clients. I want us to enjoy each other’s company. To get on well. And of course, I want them to trust in the advice that I give.
I’ve worked with some of my clients for over a decade and I hope I’ll be around to help them for many more years to come. And hopefully, even move on to support their kids in future years too. I’m not in this just to provide my clients with a one-off bit of advice and then disappear. I want to be by their side as they take each important step in life.”
“I don’t think many of my clients come to me because they want to build a financial plan. Their call is usually triggered by another event. That could be retirement, an inheritance, or a company sale. But once we start talking, they soon begin to realise that this one event is actually part of a much bigger picture. And that’s when they start to see the benefit of building a financial plan and all the peace of mind that can bring.
There’s nothing better than helping someone see that they can achieve their goals. Or retire even earlier than they thought. I’ve never had someone come back and say, ‘Oh, I wish I was still working.’ And brilliantly, I often see them a year on after ditching their stressful job and I can actually see they look so much healthier and happier. So that’s immensely satisfying.”
EMBRACING NEW TECHNOLOGY
“At AAB, we’re progressive and very entrepreneurial. Maybe because we’ve got quite a young team compared to others in our industry. I’m always ready to embrace new technology. Like using online client portals instead of clients having to bring in sheets and sheets of paper. Or the way I identify clients for anti-money-laundering purposes. I send them a text and they upload a selfie – then our software matches them to their passport or driving licence just to prove it’s them. Stuff like that helps me provide a service that’s totally efficient and makes the client experience as enjoyable as possible. You probably wouldn’t get that from your traditional IFA.”
PART OF THE FAMILY
“There’s no greater accolade than clients wanting to refer you. And yes, it’s great if they mention you to colleagues, but even more powerful if someone says, ‘Would you mind speaking to my dad’, or ‘can you help my son’. If someone introduces you to a family member, it’s a pretty big sign that they trust you to provide a good and honest service. I talk a lot about bringing confidence, giving reassurance and peace of mind, but that’s really hard to quantify. But a client once said to me, ‘I’m always worrying, but after I come to see you, I always feel so much better – because I know that everything is going to be ok.’ I think that speaks volumes.