About The Trainers

Steve Martin CFP Chartered MCSI


Chartered Wealth Manager

Certified Financial Planner

Steve, 43, is originally from Ayr in Scotland but moved to Altrincham in 2003 now spends a lot of his time in Spain. He is a Chartered and Certified Financial Planner (CFP) as well as a Chartered Wealth Manager, a holder of the Investment Management Certificate and is a former Assessor of the CFP licence.

Steve founded Smart Financial Planning Limited in 2008 and serves as it chief executive. He also founded Smart SSAS, a pension trustee business in 2011 and Smart Divorce, a divorce specialism in 2018.

He is a director of The Financial Planning Training Academy, which delivers Face2Face communication and coaching skills training for Financial Advisers seeking to master Financial Planning.

He was Chair of the Manchester branch of the Institute of Financial Planning for 5 years before standing down in 2015.

Steve is married with two children, is an Ironman Triathlete, a keen runner and a CrossFit level 1 coach and is a committed fund raiser for the Cystic Fibrosis trust.

Steve has over 20 years’ experience in the profession, having been a Partner and Managing Director of previous firms.

Steve specialises in advising business owners as both a financial planner and a business consultant.

Awards & Accreditations

Steve oversaw the delivery of the Accredited Financial Planning FirmTM to Smart Financial – awarded in 2011.

Steve has led Smart Financial to numerous professional awards including

Professional Adviser Awards 2014

  • Adviser Firm of the Year (North West) Winner

Money Marketing Awards

  • Small IFA of the Year 2012 Winner
  • Small IFA of the Year 2013 3rd place
  • Small IFA of the Year 2014 – shortlisted

New Model Adviser Top 100 – listed in 2012 -2016 inc

Retirement planner awards – 2014 winner

Finance awards – 2015 winner.


Steve is a highly sought after speaker on Financial Matters. He speaks regularly on a variety of subjects including

  • How to motivate your team,
  • How to maximise client’s future wealth within their financial plan
  • The importance of Why
  • How to ask great questions

He speaks regularly and chairs events and conferences and is also a regular contributor to a wide range of feature articles on financial and money management related subjects across trade, local and national press including the Times. He has appeared on BBC radio, guest blogged in numerous publications and has extensive on camera experience.

Host of the Financial Life Coach Podcast

dr_picture191Damien Rylett


Chartered Financial Planner

Managing Director, Brunel Capital Partners, Pilgrim Financial Planning CEO, IronBright Investment Management and Partner at Financial Planning Training Academy.

A former IFP Branch Manager and Conference Chairman who has spoken at a number of events on Practice Management.

Damien established Brunel Capital Partners, a Bristol based financial planning firm in 2011. He is responsible for mentoring and developing the firm’s young, upcoming financial planners. Having acquired Pilgrim Financial Planning, a Somerset based IFA practice in the summer of 2016, Damien is overseeing the firm’s transition from a traditional model to a comprehensive financial planning offering. Damien is also CEO of IronBright Investment Management, a DFM built by financial planners for financial planners. Both Brunel and Pilgrim are Chartered Financial Planning firms.

Damien has been delivering Lifestyle financial planning for the past 16 and now uses his wealth of experience to coach and train other advisers and financial planners through the Financial Planning Training Academy which he established with Smart Financial CEO Steve Martin.

An experienced sports coach, Damien is able to transfer the skills acquired in this arena to the financial planning world to help advisers and planners be the best they can be and deliver their service with passion, integrity and empathy.

Host of the Financial Life Coach Podcast

Tamsin Caine MSc., CFPTM Chartered MSCI


Head of Financial Planning – Smart Financial

Tamsin joined Smart Financial in January 2015. She had 15 years’ experience in financial services in businesses from a small family company to a large PLC. Since meeting Steve Martin about 10 years’ ago, during his time as chair of the local IFP branch, Tamsin had wanted to work with him, providing lifestyle financial planning to clients. Having secured her dream job, she soon discovered that transforming from a traditional transactional IFA to a lifestyle financial planner was not as easy as she had anticipated. However, 2 years’ on and too many role plays to count, she is now helping others through the academy and mentoring several new and existing planners.

Having completed a Masters in Financial Planning and Business Management at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2015, Tamsin now works as an Associate Lecturer at the university in the Accounting and Finance department.

She now uses a combination of teaching at the university and coaching skills developed on the rugby field to help to develop successful lifestyle financial planners.

Brian Hill DipFA MIFS


Brian is a Diploma Qualified Independent Financial Adviser, with a specialist focus on pensions and investments. Brian has been rated as one of the top 200 Independent Financial Advisers in UK. Brian is the principal Independent Financial Adviser at Jones Hill .

Prior to joining The Financial Planning Training Academy, Brian joined the Army and attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (Sovereign’s Platoon, for those who are familiar). Unfortunately Brian was War Pensioned off after suffering knee injuries in the Final Term, just 8 weeks away from Commissioning.

His knee injuries didn’t stop Brian from training and qualifying as an Alpine Ski Instructor and Brian takes time out each ski season to teach in Bavaria.

Over the years he’s become well known for his integrity and down to earth approach, with his clients prepared to travel long distances to see him. Brian’s specialist area is helping those who have served and their families.

When not spending time with his young family, Brian can be found at his local Crossfit gym or Southwick Parkrun, training for endurance events such as the gruelling 24km FanDance (twice across Pen-y-Fan peak, whilst carrying up 35lb-60lb of extra weight). The FanDance is used as part of SAS Selection.

A little well known fact is that Brian used to be a Church organist. Nowadays he would probably play all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order.

David Crozier CFP


David Crozier is a Certified Financial Planner and Chartered Financial Planner with Navigator Financial Planning.

He is one of the UK’s most experienced financial planners when it comes to working with those who have suffered serious personal injury, having worked in this challenging market since 2001.

As well as advising clients, he has worked with the legal profession, social services and charities to help achieve the best outcome for his clients.

Sean BanksSean Banks DipPFS, Cert CII (MP & ER)


Consultant at Premier Wealth Planning

Sean bridged The Adviser Gap from Paraplanner to Financial Planner in March 2018. He has worked for companies ranging from medium-sized corporations to small boutique IFAs. Sean enjoys meeting clients from different backgrounds, each with a different story to tell. He loves bringing meaning to their money and building financial plans collaboratively with them to target what they really want to achieve in life.

Sean believes the financial planning profession needs more highly skilled individuals entering into the role of Lead Adviser / Financial Planner. He is keen to help people develop the skills and personality required to be a successful Financial Planner, which will ultimately lead to better client outcomes and a greater public perception of Financial Planning as a profession.

Co-host of The Adviser Gap podcast with James Mousley, Sean wants to share his experience of the adviser gap, as someone who has transitioned from a paraplanning role, into the role of lead adviser. He feels there is definitely a learning gap in the profession for people making this jump in career, and he wants to help people make that transition as smoothly as possible.

Through The Adviser Gap Podcast, Sean and James share experiences and insights from some of the leading lights in the Financial Planning profession, as well as giving listeners their own take on things. The podcast is for everyone who wants to transition into what is a highly challenging and rewarding career.

Through The Adviser Gap training days, Sean and James want to share their own knowledge and transform the wisdom shared by their guests on the podcast, into practical learning that can easily be put into practice. They hope to help kick start careers and help would-be Financial Advisers and Planners find their feet as a comfortable, confident and competent lead adviser sooner than they did.

Role play is, in Sean’s view, the quickest and most powerful way to put learning into practice, other than doing the actual job in the real world. The Adviser Gap training days provide a safe space for people to try out techniques, make mistakes and really drill down on a style that works best for them. Everyone will have their own way of delivering financial planning, but they provide a track to run on in what can sometimes seems like a no-man’s land.

Sean wants to be able to spend most of the time he has doing things he enjoys, whether that’s work related or otherwise. He says,

“You can tie yourself up in knots trying to figure out your path in life and have it all mapped out. As long as I’m doing things I enjoy, everything else falls into place. I try to offer this service to my clients. ‘Allow me to take away the stress and burden of your finances, take your mind away from these things while you go do what you enjoy.’ A financial plan is important, of course, but it’s meaningless if it doesn’t ultimately provide the freedom to live your best life.”

Host of The Adviser Gap Podcast

James MousleyJames Mousley Bsc. DipPFS


Senior Financial Planner – Paradigm Norton

James is the newest member of the Financial Planning Training Academy trainer team. Being a glutton for punishment he has attended and supported at more training days than Steve and Damien care to recall! The benefit of this has been his rapid advancement from a traditional Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) to a leading financial planner at the London Office of the multi award-winning Paradigm Norton.

His continual curiosity and desire to improve his client facing communication skills has set him apart from many of the attendees of the Financial Planning Training Academy first meeting trainings; so much so we wanted to bring him onboard as part of the team.

He has experienced and delivered financial advice and financial planning (some firms more than others!) at several financial services business from a large PLC to a boutique financial planning business that was awarded the coveted Chartered Financial Planning Firm of the Year.

Having seen the value Lifestyle financial planning could deliver to clients within the first few months of advising clients, he has evolved his skills over several years to deliver a high-end service to a small group of families and private individuals in London. Therefore, he is in a great position to support and pass on his experiences to date.

Passionate about helping the next generation he hosts regular networking events for new entrants in the profession. This led him to launch The Adviser Gap Podcast with the mission to support as many individuals transition from non-advisory roles (such as paraplanners and career changers) to financial advisers. Having bridged the Adviser Gap himself he wanted to highlight the challenges that individuals will need to overcome in order to make that successful transition.

Having been a half-decent athlete in the past, he spends time in the gym (or the occasional CrossFit session) reminiscing on past days and usually training for whatever charity challenge he has been roped into. In his spare-time he can often be found on a walk with his better half or if the weather is good walking a fairway or three.

Host of The Adviser Gap Podcast

Sam Sloma


Chartered Financial Planner

Managing Director – Engage Financial Services

Sam’s route into financial planning is rather different to most. After a career as a professional footballer, he retired at 26 and set his sights on a new vocation. That vocation was Financial Planning.

In 2016, just six years into his new career, Sam became a Chartered Financial Planner.

Before setting up Engage in 2017, he gained experience working for a large financial institution and a smaller independent practice.

Sam’s goal is to help his young, high earning clients develop great financial behaviours. His vision is to be a trusted partner throughout their lives, there to help through the difficult times and appreciate the good.