Ovation first opened its doors to clients in January 2000, making 2015 our 15 year anniversary.
But the year 2000 wasn’t remarkable only for seeing the birth of Ovation! It started with relief that computers all over the world didn’t all shut down, with predictions of aeroplanes falling from sky proving unfounded.
The film American Beauty won five Oscars. Perhaps slightly less memorable, Phil Collins won the Oscar for best song with the theme to the Disney film Tarzan.
In music, Steps were still at the heights of their powers, if that’s the correct term to use, as was Badly Drawn Boy. The BRIT awards winners included Travis, Robbie Williams, Macy Gray and Beth Orton. Tom Jones also got an award, but that’s not unusual.
In world events Vladimir Putin was elected President of Russia and the Olympic Games were held in Sydney. The dot-com bubble inflated and then burst, creating and then losing huge amounts of stockmarket value.
All of which shows that the year 2000 seems a long way away in some respects, and yet remarkably close in others.
For Ovation the story is very similar. Back in 2000 Chris Budd was almost unique in the way he charged time for work, breaking with the traditional method of selling products for commission. People laughed at the time, but fifteen years later and the rest of the industry has been forced by the regulator to follow suit and work now as Ovation did back then.
In the meantime Ovation continued to evolve. Being an Ovation client right now would be very similar to 2000 in some ways, based on a belief in long term relationships rather than product sales, backed up by strong pensions, investment and tax knowledge. However this is now enhanced by the experience and knowledge we have learned to help clients plan their desired future, using business coaching skills, cashflow modelling and our annual planning meetings.
Our premises have moved from one room in Redland, Bristol, to seven rooms in Whiteladies Road. We’ve been through two microwave ovens, five kettles, twenty seven computers, fifteen office plants, fourteen desks, twenty seven chairs, four accountants and two fax machines. Chris, however, is still using the FX-100A Casio calculator that he used for his mathematics O-Level!
As the French proverb says, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Back in 2000 the internet was accessed by dial up modem, emails were just coming into use, and the huge daily post arrived at 10am. Fifteen years later we have 4G, Ovation has long been a paperless office, and the smattering of post we do get arrives at 4pm.
We continue to help most of the clients we were helping in 2000. We are taking on new clients with the same initial observation, “You’re not like any other financial advice firm I’ve dealt with”. Those first few members of staff still work here. And we still believe in helping clients plan for (and in some cases have achieved) a financial future they often hadn’t realised was possible.
Here’s to the next fifteen years, by which time we will presumably arrive at client meetings on hoverboards.