Giselle Clayton, an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) with Amber River True Bearing, feels a sense of responsibility towards her clients. Her talents lie in making them feel at ease, encouraging them to open up about their financial concerns and simplifying complex financial solutions. She can then then build tailored plan that genuinely makes their lives better.

From nuclear to finance

Giselle left school at 16 with a vague idea of attending art college and becoming a set designer. But with the lure of a regular wage and encouragement from her mum, Giselle successfully answered an ad for an engineering apprentice in nuclear power. However, by the time she’d completed her four-year apprenticeship, the political dial had moved away from nuclear, and the industry was in decline, leaving Giselle without a role.

It was after a visit to her grandmother’s house, a chance meeting with the savings rep from Britannic (who had come to see her gran), a job interview, and a six-week crash course that Giselle found herself on the first rung of a career in financial services.

"I begin with a genuine attempt to understand their concerns. I listen, and I learn about their lives."

A passion for helping people

Giselle believes financial decisions should be driven by a deep understanding of clients’ needs and goals.

“When I meet a prospective client for the first time, we have a conversation. I begin with a genuine attempt to understand their concerns. I listen, and I learn about their lives. I build trust and rapport with my clients, which often involves sharing information about my life.”

Giselle likens this process to assembling a jigsaw puzzle, where each piece represents a facet of her clients’ lives. This personalised approach creates an environment where clients feel comfortable sharing their wants, worries, and financial challenges.

“I particularly enjoy finding solutions for people worried about their financial wellbeing. My overriding aim is to leave my clients with a plan they believe in, one they will stick to, and one that gets them to where they need to be,” explains Giselle.

Educating and empowering clients

One of the ways Giselle reaches potential clients is through pre-retirement workshops conducted by Amber River True Bearing. These workshops tend to cater for employees of national employers such as the Police, Fire Service, NHS, BAE, and local government.

“The focus isn’t solely on finances; it’s about helping individuals plan for retirement holistically,” says Giselle, emphasising the importance of having a life plan alongside a financial plan.

Giselle explains that the conversations from these workshops often lead to conversations with the broader family.

“I’ve restructured retirement income to protect a partner financially upon the death of the policyholder – something a lot of people are worried about,” says Giselle, “I’ve also advised their children on pensions, life insurance and investing. The earlier you start planning your finances, the more likely you are to achieve all the things in life you’re planning for.”

"I love my role - I’m able to make a positive impact on countless lives”

A real-life success story

To illustrate her impact, Giselle shares a recent success story. An attendee of one of the workshops, an NHS psychologist, sought advice on the best way to withdraw her NHS pension at 55 so she could reduce her working hours. Her concern centred around the tax implications and her eligibility for child tax benefits.

Giselle’s expertise came to the forefront. By strategically utilising the client’s savings, she managed to mitigate her tax liability and secure child tax benefits. This solution not only provided a significant tax saving but also enabled the client to phase into retirement precisely how she’d planned.

Reflecting on life and work

Looking back on her career, Giselle says she’s most proud of her decision to transition from a secure and well-paid job as an HSBC mortgage adviser to retraining as an IFA.

“It was tough,” she explains. “At 41, I started back at the bottom as a graduate trainee paraplanner. I took a considerable pay cut and had to return to studying. Finding the time with a young family was difficult, but I did it, and within nine months, I was qualified.”

This determination ultimately led to her current role at Amber River True Bearing, where, she says, “I love it – I’m able to make a positive impact on countless lives.”

Outside of work, Giselle’s life revolves around her family – her two daughters, husband, and beloved springer spaniel. Their favourite family activity is exploring the Lake District and enjoying quality time together. They have set a goal to swim in all five lakes closest to them, creating beautiful memories along the way.

Life Landscaping® from Amber River

Giselle Clayton aims to put her clients at ease so they feel comfortable enough to open up about their financial concerns so she can build a tailored plan that genuinely makes their lives better.

Our North West team

Get in touch

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