Member profile Karl Pemberton, Active Chartered Financial Planners

The Institute of Directors (IoD) has lots to offer directors aspiring to be the best and to make a real difference in their communities. Here we hear from member Karl Pemberton who is Managing Director of Active Chartered Financial Planners and also Chair for the IoD North East (South).

Tell us about your role today

Active Chartered Financial Planners is a family business which I joined having worked in banking for 12 years. We are independent financial advisors for the medium to high net worth, private client and business owner space. My role is about 30-40% client facing from the financial planning perspective, and I spend the remaining 60-70% of the time actually being the MD and running the business strategically.

Why did you invest in your personal development via the IoD’s Chartered Director programme?

As a business, we have grown each year since I joined in 2007. We thought we were doing well, we knew what we were doing, and that the journey would simply continue. However, in practical terms we soon realised that to continue our focus on being the best in our industry, we needed to become ‘better’ directors. It meant the timing was right for me to focus on personal development through the IoD’s Chartered Director programme. The ambition was to become a better managing director, run a better business and recruit the best financial advisors and other experts in their field. With that approach being scalable we could build out on that premise. I’m glad to say we’ve achieved exactly that.

What impact has it has for your organisation?

After taking the IoD’s Chartered Director programme, Active Chartered Financial Planners started to evolve significantly and we are now a multi million pound company in terms of turnover. Of course, we hadn’t bargained for the COVID-19 pandemic which then hit but thankfully the learnings from the programme were at the forefront of my mind.

They were a great reminder that the fundamental principles of business are the same regardless of what you are selling and, to an extent, the circumstances in which you are selling. We focused on knowing the market, worked on the core governance that drives the business, and focused hard on the finances and leadership.  We even posted another record year last year, with all likelihood of a repeat performance this year. The IoD gave me such an education really – I wouldn’t be where I am and the business wouldn’t be where it is if it wasn’t for them.

You’re the IoD North East (South) branch chair. Why is membership and volunteering with the organisation important to you?

Membership and volunteering is important to me because it helps create an ecosystem of resources that benefits all of us. Our members deserve access to improved knowledge, growth prospects for their own businesses and the benefit of access to the regional professional network. It is like having a professional little Black Book – interwoven connections that benefit members either directly or via referrals and collective problem solving.

Being branch chair also means the opportunity to shepherd the organisation in a direction of influence. This really matters in a geographical area like Teesside which I feel is professionally overlooked due to being in the geographical shadow of Newcastle and Leeds.

To find out more about IoD membership and Chartered Director programme, please visit or contact the local branch chair Sarah Waddington at [email protected].

This article was written for ‘Northern Insight’ magazine and published as part of their February edition.

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