Meet the team

Smith Cooper IFS has a dedicated team of financial industry specialists with the vision to take your financial planning to the next level.

  • Richard Garside

    Managing Director

    Richard brings more than 30 years’ heavyweight financial services industry experience to his leadership role at Smith Cooper IFS.

    Following successful periods at Prudential as a pension specialist and Allied Dunbar as Sales and Marketing Director – and having worked with many Smith Cooper partners during those tenures - when Richard was offered the opportunity to establish Smith Cooper IFS in 2005 he couldn’t resist.

    Today the company is testament to his directorship, providing the broadest range of financial planning advice to corporate and private clients and with over £120 million under management.

    Born and bred in Derby, Richard is married with two adult children and two grandchildren. He enjoys golf, sailing and skiing and is also a frequent visitor to Wembley and Derby County to watch football.

  • Paul Hamilton

    Director & Chartered Financial Planner

    Paul’s primary role is to advise corporate and private clients in all areas of independent financial planning, helping individuals, families and companies realise their long term financial goals.

    Having started his financial planning career in 1997, Paul joined us in 2008. During that time he’s qualified as a Chartered Financial Planner and gained Fellowship of the Personal Finance Society which includes advanced qualifications in Investment Management, Pensions and Tax - a rarefied status that only a small fraction of advisers achieve.

    Paul takes a keen interest in rugby union, golf and football but work is never far away. Whilst a regular at Twickenham he’s still – in his own words – a bit of a nerd and enjoys reading academic articles on accountancy, finance and economics.

  • Jakki Grogan

    Independent Financial Adviser

    Jakki is a founding member of Smith Cooper IFS, helping establish the company as Administrator and Paraplanner along with Managing Director Richard Garside in 2005. Although fully qualified as an Independent Financial Advisor, it wasn’t until 2012 that she officially undertook her advisory role.

    Providing independent, impartial advice to a broad range of private and corporate clients, for Jakki the rewards come from the way clients express their appreciation for the work that she does and that, as she says, makes it all worthwhile.

    Married with two children and one granddaughter, Jakki is a family person at heart and considers her relatives her best friends.

  • Sylvia Cooper

    Chartered Financial Planner

    An affiliate member of STEP with ACII and APFS qualifications, Sylvia is not only an asset to Smith Cooper IFS but also to our high net worth clients, charities and trusts for whom she provides the highest quality long-term advice on pensions, tax efficient investment strategies and inheritance tax planning.

    Sylvia has been in the financial services industry for more than 25 years, previously working for companies including Ashcourt Rowan and Towry. Interestingly, whilst at Towry she also worked with Camelot providing valuable guidance to new National Lottery millionaires!

    Married with two children, Sylvia is not one to blow her own trumpet but instead prefers the tenor horn which, in her spare time, she plays in the City of Coventry Brass Band.

  • Jason Million

    Paraplanner

    Jason graduated from Coventry University with a 1st Class Honours Finance and Investment Degree in 2013. After a brief sojourn at Mattioli Woods he joined Smith Cooper IFS where his career began to take flight.

    As a Paraplanner, Jason’s duties include researching and producing sustainability reports that solve specific client problems. He works closely with our Independent Financial Advisers and has an ambition to become one himself. With our support, Jason already has numerous financial services qualifications.  Now only one exam away from being diploma qualified, his ultimate goal is to reach Chartered Status.

    Jason has an active interest in technology, motorbikes and golf for which he is currently taking lessons.

  • Ian Simpson

    Paraplanner

    As a perfect example of the calibre of the Smith Cooper IFS team, Paraplanner Ian is an Associate of the Pensions Management Institute and the Personal Finance Society. He was granted Chartered Financial Planner status in 2004 and is studying to become a Fellow of the PFS.

    Ian has been in financial services for more than 30 years and today provides essential administrative support to our Independent Financial Advisers. In his own words: “There is no greater experience than valued clients putting their faith in you year after year.”

    Away from work, Ian’s spare time revolves around his family; he has two children, one in University and the other taking A levels. He’s also sport mad, playing cricket and cycling to keep fit.

  • Michelle Ghent

    Administrator

    There’s nothing Michelle likes more than hard work and getting jobs done which is why she fits perfectly into her support role to Smith Cooper IFS Managing Director Richard Garside, helping him serve his clients by booking appointments, preparing reviews, getting reports from providers and a myriad other vital administrative duties.

    Michelle is also ambitious. Her goal is to work up to the position of Paraplanner and in doing so build up her skill set, knowledge, confidence and contribution to our company and clients.

    With a firm belief in maintaining a healthy work/life balance, when away from the office Michelle spends quality time with her husband and two young daughters.