For Tim Forsyth, Director & Chartered Financial Planner at Amber River Midlands in Edgbaston, life is all about doing what you love - and knowing how to take the right risks at the right time.

The Wealth Solutions (UK) team joined Amber River in March 2021, and rebranded as Amber River Midlands in November 2023. They’ve been providing tailored wealth solutions to clients across the Midlands since the 1990s.

“I never sit down in pubs - I want to move about and have conversations with different people”

Tim Forsyth likes to keep himself busy. He hates standing still, and you will rarely even find him sitting down: “I prefer to keep standing up when I’m talking. I never sit down in pubs, as I want to be able to move about and have conversations with different people”. He readily admits he loves to talk – “I have a story for every occasion” – and has spent the best part of 40 years having conversations that have helped people look after the things most important to them.

His first job was in the Civil Service, but he only lasted there for two years: “I absolutely hated it,” he says, “because I had nothing to do all day”. His next role was more to his liking.

“I went to work for a building society, the Bradford & Bingley, dealing with customers at the counter. That’s really what gave me the confidence to talk to people. Then I moved from the Bradford & Bingley to Royal Insurance. That was where I became fully immersed in financial services – and I’ve stayed there ever since.”

"I was taught to be always thinking about the long term, not the short"

You could say Tim’s path into financial services was preordained. His father was a Scottish Presbyterian Church minister: “My dad’s church in Solihull used to draw a congregation of Scots from as far away as Wolverhampton and Warwick. At the time, a lot of Scottish financial institutions – Standard Life, Scottish Equitable, and the like – were moving to England and relocating their staff. So, we grew up surrounded by actuaries, insurance consultants and bankers.

“These were all clever people, deep thinkers, educated at Scotland’s great universities. They were taught to always be thinking about the long term, not the short. When I wasn’t sure what career to choose, one of them suggested to me: ‘You should be involved in a career that will never go out of fashion’. I took his advice and opted for the finance route, on the basis that money never goes out of fashion.

"As human beings, we all want security"

Tim likes to tell his clients about “the five pillars of security”, something we ask him to explain further: “As human beings, we all want security, and we need to have it across at least five areas of our lives: security in our home, our relationships, our health, our work, and our finances. If any one of those five pillars starts to crumble, then you’re in danger of bringing the rest down too. They are all interconnected.

“For example, if you run your own business and that business fails, it will end up affecting your health, your relationships and everything else. So my job, well, it’s more of a mission really, is to make sure that all of those pillars are secure and protected. Clients appreciate that because we help them by finding ways to take the pressure off. Once you feel secure about those five pillars, it gives you the permission to really enjoy life”.

Tim knows the challenges that business owners face because he’s been there and done it himself. “I was part of the management team that bought the shares of Ault Independent Financial Advisers from J Sydney Ault Ltd, a very well-known Black Country insurance firm with a history dating back to 1896. We always had a very simple measure of how well we were doing, which was to check on the last day of the month whether there was more money in the bank than there was on the first day. It doesn’t sound sophisticated, but in the early days, that was genuinely one of our measures.”

"I am constantly learning, and discovering what people are passionate about"

Now he’s in a position where he can help clients take steps to secure their financial future. But to Tim, it doesn’t even feel like work. He loves getting to know people who come from different walks of life. He’s constantly learning, and discovering what people are passionate about and he relishes the opportunity to talk to businesses.

“I love talking with engineers – they’re always so precise about everything. In fact, most of my clients have built engineering or manufacturing companies, and are in the process of either selling their business (so they need an exit or business succession strategy), or have already sold the business and need the proceeds to fund their retirement and their legacy planning.”

"We are risk managers at the end of the day...none of us can avoid risk completely"

You can tell that Tim admires precision as a character trait. His main passion is motorcycling, and he talks passionately about the Isle of Man TT, the annual motorcycle race event held every year in May and June. Tim has been biking there with a group of old friends every year since 1979. A keen rider himself, he’s just as happy to be in the crowd, soaking up the atmosphere.

“It’s always the best week of the year, for me. You can just walk around the paddock and meet these superstars. I find it amazing they don’t have any fear in them. At some points they’re reaching speeds of 200 miles an hour. How do they do it?”

We ask Tim whether it’s dangerous and if he’s seen any crashes, and he nods. “Injuries are part and parcel of it. Yes, there are accidents, but statistically speaking, motorbikes are safer than horses, provided you know what you’re doing. Most of us can avoid injuries if we’re sensible and think about the risk we’re prepared to take. For example, I would never ride without a helmet, proper boots and protective clothing, for example. You have to know your own limits.”

So is Tim’s outlook on motorbiking similar to how he approaches financial planning: hope for the best, plan for the worst? He thinks about it for a second, and agrees: “Yes, we are risk managers at the end of the day, aren’t we? None of us can avoid risk completely, and we all need to take a risk from time to time. Business owners know that better than anyone.

“What I do is to help people to manage the risk to their own five pillars, to make sure they are well prepared and have a plan in place, just in case something unexpected happens.”

If you own your own business or are self-employed, you may be interested in Tim’s expert insights about financial business planning: Self-employment advice to give you peace of mind.

Self-employed advice to give you peace of mind

Life Landscaping® from Amber River

Tim is one of our professional independent financial planners who can help you create a plan for your personal or business financial life landscape. We know an individual’s journey is unique and very personal; that’s why we start by understanding your dreams and aspirations. Then, together, we formulate a plan to give you the best chance of making them happen.

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