The ‘we’ refers to herself and partner in business and life, Rod Reed. Between them, they own four businesses, with the others in paraplanning, IT support and compliance.
Reed handles the technology side, making sure they deliver a professional service from anywhere. Among many gadgets and apps, they use mobile Wi-Fi routers and Microsoft Teams, a workflow system they regard as indispensable, partly because it enables instant, recorded video calls to staff and clients.
Working three months a year from hotels in Thailand or Cambodia, or a mobile home in Spain, is certainly different. But Reed says internet connectivity has made working from anywhere easy.
‘Actually, Cambodia is one of the easiest,’ he says. ‘Every hotel, restaurant and café has a strong signal. These places are full of digital nomads now. Buying offices makes no sense.’
Hodges adds: ‘Where do we call home? The planet. But if I could live on a spaceship I’d give it a go.’
Money Honey’s five other staff also work remotely from various locations in the UK. Hodges plans to nurture a small pipeline of talent and has already started training Money Honey’s Shropshire-based client relationship manager Rachael Varney towards a more senior role.
Hodges is also involved with promoting the wider profession and is vice-chair of the Personal Finance Society’s (PFS) Financial Planning Expert Practitioner Group; and on the committee of her local PFS group in Kent.
The expert practitioner group promotes financial planning, for example, through publication of its ‘Power guide’ series and Power Live event, the first of which is on 5 June.
Hodges is campaigning passionately to eradicate wet signatures from the profession. She blogs about it with an apparently enraged picture of herself due to what she says are providers’ painfully slow pace of adoption.
‘Post, paper and wet signatures drive me insane,’ she exclaims. ‘They waste so much time and money, which all go into the client fee.
‘We must make every provider, lender and fund manager paperless and accept digital signatures or stop using them.’
Hodges and Reed appeared in a previous New Model Adviser® cover star interview together with Nick Kelly, chief executive of national firm Alexander House Financial Services (AHFS). Hodges was chief operating officer at that firm, and Reed was technology and digital marketing director.
They left AHFS to set up Money Honey, which they named after the Elvis Presley song, in August 2016 and started trading a year later.
Hodges says her and Kelly’s views on strategy had diverged. They initially planned for advisers to work remotely, but some were still reverting to old habits such as driving to meetings, she says.
Also, AHFS was recruiting advisers quickly, but Hodges says she prefers smaller scale expansion.
‘I want to grow younger advisers in new ways of working, and build client relationship managers around a few advisers, not many,’ says Hodges. ‘This gives better control and understanding. Driving to meetings is costlier, wastes time and you have fewer controls.’
She says it is also safer for advisers, and clients are more relaxed online compared with having an adviser in their kitchen, which makes them feel more pressured.
‘Also, I don’t believe in one or two rigid annual appointments,’ adds Hodges. ‘You should educate clients regularly, [which is easier to do online].’