Power Podcast – Episode 2 – Ruth Sturkey

Rob Schwarz and Scott Millar talk to Ruth Sturkey. Ruth co-founded and led The Red House Financial Planning firm before merging it with Paradigm Norton in 2017.

Described by Rob & Scott as a ‘leading light in the Financial Planning profession, Ruth shares an incredible transition from “flogging mortgages and endowments” in the days of commision, to setting up The Red House with two colleagues in 2007. Their first clients became those who had been left high and dry without good advice in recessionary times! From then, The Red House defined their niche and ideal clients and stuck to it.

But first, how did Ruth get into Financial Planning to start with? Ruth trained and qualified as a staff nurse, but quickly discovered it wasn’t her bag. She had a bit of a winding path doing various things (sales) and then discovered financial services, “Which was a bit of a murky place in the late eighties”. Her boyfriend at the time ran a mortgage brokerage in Newcastle and she got stuck in.

Learning from how financial services wasn’t done well, where clients are a means to an end rather than the end itself, Ruth decided to do all of her exams and became Chartered in 2006 whilst working for a large IFA. Still flogging products.

Looking for something more, Ruth met colleagues Gareth and Linda and founded The Red House. Years later, after a schock that Gareth was unwell and would have to leave the business, Ruth and Linda felt compelled to work out what next. Next became a firm attractive enough to present to leading Financial Planning firm Paradigm Norton.

To Ruth, a merger with Paradigm Norton became quite a simple decision when the list of important criteria was put together. Three years later and a successful merger complete, Ruth looks forward to a role as non executive director and exploring more about diversity and inclusion. As Ruth says, “We probably all know, when we look aroung us, that Financial Planning is quite white, it is quite male and there are age distortions. Ther is quite a lot we can look out.” Then there is becoming employee owned and a B Corp.

And then there is starting work on a 2030 vision.

Rob & Scott ask Ruth how do others achieve such great things. “Contribute, look for places you can step in, volunteer, attend things, … really get stuck in … and believe in yourself,” is Ruth’s answer.

Listen in! And contact Ruth if you would like to.


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