Aberdeen businessman Steven McKnight is celebrating 25 years of working in financial services, offering wealth management to private clients, businesses, charities and trusts.
He first joined St. James’s Place Wealth Management in 1995, becoming a Principal Partner Practice with the reputable organisation in 2011.
It’s a success, perhaps in part because of a shared focus on charity.
As well as being heavily involved in the St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation, which recently passed £100million of fund raising, Steven is passionate about helping others.
“I love the charity side of the work I do. I’m one of the founders of Dennis Law Legacy Trust, I’ve helped build a school in Malawi,” says Steven McKnight. “I do a lot of charity work, have done all my life, even when I worked in retail. It’s important for me to give back.”
He moved to Aberdeen aged four but sadly didn’t have a great childhood, something that’s been a “driving factor” from his very first job in retail, where he progressed from Saturday boy to manager, to throughout his financial services career.
Now, he’s focused on helping others forward their careers. Supporting his employees with training is key to this, whether that’s taking them through the St. James’s Place Paraplanner Academy or sharing his industry experience.
And the knock-on effect is that Steven has developed trusted relationships with financial consultants. He’s been able to bring them in as partners to continue growing McKnight Associates Wealth Management, which rebranded with a new logo last year.
This move has helped Steven ensure longevity for his business and succession advisers for his longstanding clients, who are concerned about inter-generational planning.
“Probably even 15 years ago you would never really talk about the next generation – clients were quite insular about their affairs. Now it’s about helping their children get on the property ladder and how we can help the kids, because it’s so difficult for youngsters now,” explains Steven.
Steven builds strong relationships with clients over years, with whom “trust is the most important thing.”
Having trusted succession advisers in place is added peace of mind that they and their children will continue being looked after, even when Steven retires.
Alongside developing the right team and partners, Steven is preparing for McKnight Associates’ future by buying and extensively renovating his office building – creating a welcoming and socially distanced environment for clients and employees.
He’s also looking to expand and diversify the team. Steven says: “I would like to see more females in the industry. I’m currently looking for a quality female adviser to join the team. It’s something we need.”
A “game-changing” and unique Financial Education programme for businesses is another key component for the brand’s future.
With 25 years of success to draw on, and a plan of action, there’s no doubt that McKnight Associates will continue to grow and cement its place in Aberdeen for the future.
Meet the team
One of the keys to McKnight Associates Wealth Management’s success is its dedicated and knowledgeable team.
Steven has built this team carefully, which means that no matter who you’re speaking to at the company, you’re in safe hands.
Alongside Steven, you’ll find three other Financial Consultants who all bring their own expertise and backgrounds to the table.
This includes Gary MacFarlane, who initially joined the team in 2015 before recently becoming an Advising Principal. Married with two young boys, Gary strongly believes that by doing his job well he can have a huge positive impact on his clients’ lives – he specialises in holistic wealth management.
They are joined by fellow Financial Consultant Zyg Krukowski. Zyg successfully launched his own business as an Associate Partner Practice of St. James’s Place Wealth Management after graduating from the organisation’s academy in 2017, but he is now bringing his experience to McKnight Associates. An avid footballer fan, Zyg previously spent 19 years in the oil and gas industry.
The newest Financial Consultant is Sean Mills, who joined the team back in April 2017. After completing a diploma in financial planning and graduating from the St. James’s Place academy, Sean has worked as a fully qualified paraplanner. As well as providing holistic advice to clients, Sean is continuing to sit advanced exams as a Financial Consultant with McKnight Associates – outside of the office, he is busy playing rugby for Aberdeen Grammar.
Of course, providing trustworthy wealth management is a team effort; supporting and working with the Financial Consultants is a whole host of other experts.
Not least of these is Operations Manager Anna Jackson, who boasts 20 years of management experience across varied industries. A new role in the practice, Anna supports Steven and the growth of the business.
And as a Principal Partner Practice, McKnight Associates also has exclusive access to the product, services and highly regarded expertise of the St. James’s Place Wealth Management Group.
Find out more about the McKnight Associates team online here.
The Partner Practice is an Appointed Representative of and represents only St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc (which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority) for the purpose of advising solely on the group’s wealth management products and services, more details of which are set out on the group’s website www.sjp.co.uk/products. The ‘St. James’s Place Partnership’ and the titles ‘Partner’ and ‘Partner Practice’ are marketing terms used to describe St. James’s Place representatives.