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


    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 chairmanship, providing the broadest range of financial planning advice to corporate and private clients and with over £280 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

    Managing Director

    Paul advises both corporate and private clients as well as leading the company. For his corporate clients, he advises on complex pension matters and for his private clients, he advises with a focus on enjoying and making the most of their money.

    With his career starting in 1997, Paul joined us in 2008 and was appointed to the board in 2014. During that time, he’s qualified as a Chartered Financial Planner, gained Fellowship of the Personal Finance Society and completed a Master of Science in Financial Planning. He also holds advanced qualifications in Investment Management, Pensions and Tax.

    Paul’s main hobby is golf, with most weekends and family holidays involving a round or two! He takes a keen interest in most sports but particularly rugby union. Podcasts and audiobooks feature at some point each day and he is almost certainly Apple’s best customer!

  • Jakki Grogan

    Director and Finance Manager

    Jakki is a founding member of Smith Cooper IFS, helping establish the company 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. Jakki has now retired as an adviser but continues to work in a managerial capacity, predominantly managing the finances of the company.

    She is married with two children and two granddaughters and is never happier than when she is with them.

  • Chris Soborowski

    Operations Director & Chartered Financial Planner

    Chris has worked within the financial services all his working life spending the first nine years with a leading life office in their actuarial and pension administration departments. Since 1990, he has worked as an Independent Financial Adviser gaining Chartered Financial Planner status in November 2005. 

    Besides in-depth knowledge of the rules concerning SIPPs and SSASs, Chris has been involved in many pensions on divorce cases, his degree in Actuarial Science having definitely been of assistance when it comes to valuing pension entitlements.

    Chris is the Operations Director of our financial services office in Burbage.

    Chris is married with two adult daughters. His interests are history, economics and following Arsenal football club.

  • 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

    Independent Financial Planner

    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 in 2014.

    Jason advises private clients and family businesses in all aspects of wealth management. He is in touching distance of being a Chartered Financial Planner and has a strong technical background having made great progress through the ranks since joining us. Jason has a keen interest in Financial Technology and uses this to the full advantage of our clients.

    Jason is married and has two beautiful young daughters which keep him busy when he is away from work. He has a keen interest in all things technology and enjoys listening a wide range of audiobooks and podcasts.

  • Ian Simpson


    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; which inclues his two children. He’s also sport mad, playing cricket and cycling to keep fit.

  • Mufaddal Travadi

    Chartered Financial Planner

    With more than 15 years of experience as a financial advisor, Mufaddal is passionate in working with clients in an independent nature to help find the correct solution for them.

    Mufaddal’s previous work includes time at the FTSE 100 company Hargreaves Lansdown, Skipton Financial Services and Santander and is well regarded in the field. With the knowledge and skills he has achieved over the years, Mufaddal is enthusiastic in providing clients with strategic financial advice that adds long term value to help them attain their overall hopes and dreams.

    Outside of work, Mufaddal enjoys spending time with his family and says he is kept very busy with his daughters. Mufaddal likes to keep fit by heading to the gym or hitting the road on his bike and likes to indulge in supporting his local football team Nottingham Forest.

  • Charlotte Reynolds

    Independent Financial Planner

    With over 10 years experience in the financial services industry, Charlotte started her career back in 2008 at AXA Insurance and quickly progressed into several roles within the industry, including a year spent within a top New Zealand bank.

    Charlotte’s last 5 years have been spent in the Financial Services Division at NFU Mutual, most recently in a Financial Adviser role where she worked closely with personal and corporate clients to help them achieve financial peace of mind. Charlotte is currently working towards becoming chartered.

    Outside of work, Charlotte enjoys going to the gym, spending time with her partner and young football obsessed son and has recently taken a keen interest in cricket.

  • Vasanthan Gnanasegaran

    Assistant Paraplanner

    Vas joined us straight after doing his A-Levels, eager to join a workplace environment where he can gain experience in a field that he enjoys.  

    Vas assists the advisers in providing the best service we can, with the ultimate objective to become a chartered paraplanner.

    Away from work, Vas spends his time going on hikes and spending quality time with his friends.

  • Aman Matharu

    Financial Planning Analyst

    Aman is a recent graduate from Coventry university, attaining a 1st class honours degree in accounting and finance degree in 2021 and joined Smith Cooper IFS in May 2021 straight out of university.

    Aman is employed as a financial planning analyst, which requires him to analyse portfolios and funds, create cashflows and conduct research. Having passed his first professional qualification, he is currently working on achieving the Personal Finance Society Regulated Diploma in Financial Planning.

    In his spare time, he likes to explore different cultures foods, learn about technology, and enjoy a song or two on his electric guitar.

  • George Brandist

    Financial Planning Analyst

    George graduated from Coventry University in 2021, with a 1st class honours Finance degree and joined Smith Cooper IFS immediately, looking to get started on his career in financial services.

    George works on parts of the financial planning process, primarily for Paul Hamilton’s clients but is always willing to help the team. George is currently working on obtaining his diploma in regulated financial planning with the future goal of becoming a Chartered Financial Planner.

    As a big Coventry City fan, George watches and plays a lot of football. He also finds it important to spend time with family and friends and enjoys playing music.

  • Michelle Ghent


    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.

  • Deborah Foxton


    Deborah is the receptionist for Smith Cooper Independent Financial Solutions, within this varied role Deborah is committed to doing what is best for the clients, her colleagues, and the company. The tasks vary from day to day so there is never a dull moment.

    In her past administrative roles Deborah has been able to contribute to different companies with her enthusiasm, empathy, and teamwork.

    Deborah has two grown-up children who are both ‘paddling their own canoes’ allowing Deborah to enjoy her love of travel and to spend many a happy hour in the sun with a great book or listening to a podcast.