David Robertson, a Chartered Independent Financial Adviser for Amber River East Anglia, is a strong advocate of technology. He leverages innovative software to fine-tune his clients’ financial plans, ensuring they’re on track to reach their goals.

David chose an unconventional path into the world of work, starting with a stint as a holiday rep on the picturesque island of Cyprus. Although far from a typical journey into a financial services career, it did give him the tools to connect, engage and relate to people from a diverse range of backgrounds, including those who may find themselves in challenging or stressful circumstances.

When he returned to the UK, David secured a position at a city-based foreign exchange brokerage firm. Tasked with cultivating and maintaining relationships with both individual and corporate clients, David says, “I thrive on interacting with people, and this role was all about client engagement. It also allowed me to pursue my financial planning certifications, eventually leading to my career in financial planning.”

"Life doesn't always stick to the plan, it does throw the occasional curveball"

Within two years, David had passed all of his financial planning qualifications and began working as a financial adviser for a number of different firms, before joining Amber River East Anglia in 2022. “It’s crucial for me to provide independent, unbiased advice to my clients. I don’t want to be confined to a limited range of products or financial strategies. Having access to the entire market means I can do the best job possible for my clients, and that’s precisely what Amber River facilitates.”

What’s your approach when someone comes to see you?

Every client meeting starts with David getting to the heart of what his client really wants from life: their goals, concerns, aspirations, and worries. Only then, with a deep understanding of what’s important to them, can he begin to craft a tailored roadmap.

“Most of my clients are on the cusp of retirement, aiming to draw a pension in five to ten years, and they’re wondering if that’s an achievable dream,” David explains. “To answer that question, I use cashflow modelling to check they’re on course and ‘stress testing’ to gauge how their plans would fare against life’s unexpected twists.”

Cashflow modelling is a financial forecasting technique used to visualise an individual’s future lifestyle, based on their income and expenditure . David explains, “It helps to assess financial health, identifies any potential risks, and helps my clients make better decisions on things like investments, protection and retirement planning.”

The technology also allows stress testing, so you can evaluate the resilience of a client’s finances against potentially adverse scenarios. “By running a financial plan against market downturns, economic recessions, or unexpected events, I can show my clients where they are potentially vulnerable. We can then take steps to mitigate those risks.”

“Life doesn’t always stick to the plan. It does throw the occasional curveball, meaning sometimes we need to navigate a more winding path to reach our goals. That’s one of the reasons why these tools are so important,” says David.

David empathises with his clients’ concerns, whether related to job security or market volatility. “I consider all of these potential scenarios in the modelling, ensuring my clients are prepared for even the most challenging of times so they can enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing their future is secure.”

David gives an example of a couple eager to advance their retirement plans for a ‘once in a lifetime’ trip to Australia. “They wanted to know if the numbers added up,” David recounts.

By applying his expertise, cashflow modelling and stress testing, David mapped out their finances, including the possibility of an early cash-free lump sum to fund their trip. His meticulous calculations, even with the most pessimistic of scenarios, revealed they could comfortably retire four years ahead of schedule, giving them the confidence to fast-track their Australian dream.

How do you attract new clients?

Many of David’s clients followed him when he joined Amber River East Anglia, and most of his new clients come from referrals made by existing clients to their family and friends.

“It may begin with a pre-retirement couple seeking guidance,” David explains. “But as our relationship deepens, we navigate beyond retirement planning into estate planning, and that’s when the conversation naturally starts to involve the wider family.”

In this respect, David becomes an adviser, not just to the couple, but to their children and sometimes even their grandchildren. “It’s about securing not just one future but the future of their entire family,” he adds.

"The potential for AI to further refine our forecasts and strategies is fascinating"

How do you advise clients to retire well?

David sees his role as giving people the confidence to realise their goals. “My job is to convert the investments nestled in their pensions into tangible cashflow in their bank accounts.”.

But this is just one facet of his role. David also acts as a coach, offering reassurance during the inevitable market ups and downs. “Sticking to the plan is crucial, even when the waters get rough – be it a tough phase in business, an unexpected job loss, or a shift in family dynamics. I might suggest a temporary scaling back of pension contributions or other investments at the time, but make it clear that it’s key to ramp up again as soon as the situation allows. Steering clients steadily towards their goals is at the core of what I do.”

What has been the biggest change since you started?

In the six years David has been a financial planner, he’s witnessed a technological transformation that’s reshaped the field.

“The advancements in technology are astounding — it’s completely revolutionised how we work,” he shares. “Now, I can bring a client’s financial future to life right before their eyes. With the sophisticated cashflow modelling software we can play with different variables, tweak the numbers, and instantly see how these changes could play out across their short, medium, and long-term objectives. It’s not just a tool, it’s a window into the future that helps keep my clients engaged and motivated.”

Looking ahead, David’s gaze is fixed on the horizon of AI. “The potential for AI to further refine our forecasts and strategies is fascinating. I’m eager to see how it will enhance our ability to plan with even greater precision,” he muses, envisioning a future where technology and financial planning become even more entwined.

On a personal note

David recently got married, and when he’s not fine-tuning financial plans, he loves spending time with his family and Mabel, the dog who joined the couple two years ago from Battersea Dogs Home.

An avid sports enthusiast, David’s love for running, tennis, and golf often finds him in the great outdoors. And for those of you who’ll be watching the Great North Run this year, keep an eye out for him. He’s running not just for the challenge but for a cause close to his heart, as he’s proudly supporting the mental health charity Mind.

Life Landscaping® from Amber River

David Robertson leverages the latest financial modelling and forecasting technologies to give clients instant insights into how the decisions they make today will shape their future financial well-being.

Our East Anglia team

Get in touch

To arrange an appointment with David, or another Amber River financial planner in your area, call 0800 915 0000. Alternatively, use our contact form here.