A look back at 2021 with Berry & Oak

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It’s easy to forget your achievements as you focus on your quest to reach the next goal but the end of the year is a good time to reflect on your progress and celebrate your success.

Back in January, we set ourselves a series of goals for Berry & Oak that we wanted to achieve in 2021. We have had a fantastic year, despite the disruption of the pandemic.

Here is an overview of everything we’ve achieved in the last 12 months:


We committed to the PFS Financial Vulnerability Taskforce. This means that we are officially knowledgeable and trained to be able to look after all clients, including those in vulnerable circumstances.


We were awarded the New Model “Adviser of the Year Award” 2021 for the North for the third year running. This was a huge achievement for us to win and is a testament to all the hard work and innovative ideas the team have to serve our clients, promote financial education, and help Berry & Oak be the best it can be.


We won Professional Adviser “Tax-Efficient Adviser” of the year. A new award for us, highlighting one of our key skills, that really benefits our clients, and the team were delighted that we won.

It’s pleasing to know that our hard work is recognised and it’s reassuring to our clients that they are in safe hands at Berry & Oak.

Sarah passed her final qualification, AF8 – Retirement Income Planning to be awarded the title of “Chartered Financial Planner & Fellow of the CII”.

We became associated with the Verve group and are supporting their initiative “We are change” that helps encourage young people to join financial services.


We held a Zoom investment seminar featuring guest speaker Shane Balkham. Shane is the chief investment officer at YOU Asset Management. Shane explained their views on what the future might hold for your investments.

We launched The Berry & Oak graduate scheme to support bringing young people into financial services and received more than 40 applications.


Berry & Oak were named one of Citywire’s Top 20 firms in the North for going the extra mile for clients and the profession.

We were finalists in Moneyfacts Awards 2021 for the Retirement Adviser of the year.

We also held a successful graduate assessment and meet the team day for six final applicants for the graduate role at Berry & Oak. The day was extremely successful, and we offered the role to two graduates who accepted and joined.


The Berry & Oak team had a few days away in London in celebration of their hard work.

It was great to be able to get together after the last 18 months of not being able to socialise as a team and it was a good introduction to the team for our graduates (who hadn’t even started with us at that point).


Sixth-former Luke Hamilton joined us in July for a sixth form work placement over the summer. Luke was a great addition to the team, and he’s now back at Tadcaster Grammar school completing his A-levels.

Lily and Holly joined the team as graduate trainees.

Anya passed CF1 (UK Financial Services, Regulation and Ethics), the first exam on her Financial Services Administrator apprenticeship.

The new Berry & Oak website was launched with some new features and useful tools for our clients to be able to use, including a link to the Truth about Money and the Enough book.

Sarah went to Garforth Academy and presented to the sixth form students about Personal Finance Basics. We are passionate about teaching young people about managing their money, to hopefully give them a good understanding for their futures.


Leah joined the team as a client relationship manager. Leah is involved with the smooth-running of our clients’ financial planning meetings and the joining process for new clients.

Dan passed his final exam LP2 (Financial Services Products and Solutions) and became a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society.


Holly and Lily graduated from Leeds Beckett University – what an amazing achievement and congratulations to them both!

We also started a partnership with Just One Tree – a non-profit initiative that plants trees all over the world including in our oceans. Our staff are regularly contributing each month from their salary, and we plant 10 trees on behalf of any new client that joins us.

Lara passed AF4 – Investment Planning exam and is now only one exam away from Chartered Status.

Andrew was a judge for the national CISI Accredited Firm of the Year awards. A great experience to sit on the other side of the table, for a change!


Rebecca joined us as a trainee paraplanner, after a complete career change.

This month also saw us hold our second client investment webinar on Zoom. Feedback included: “the balance was perfect between an update of the situation at Berry & Oak and the markets presentation from Shane.”

We gained our annual re-certification for International Standard (ISO 9001), giving us an additional third eye approach and ensuring we have robust processes and procedures.

Sarah was highly commended in the Professional Adviser Women in Finance awards for Financial Adviser of the Year in the North-East.

Berry & Oak were very proud to have been selected by New Model Adviser as one of the Top 100 financial planning firms in the UK for 2021 for the 4th year running.

It’s an honour to be on this list with the best firms in the financial planning profession.


Our new website was shortlisted for the Investing Reviews “Personal Finance Website of the Year” It makes us so proud as a small local firm to be recognised for making an outstanding contribution to personal finance, alongside the likes of Money Saving Expert, Nutmeg, and This is Money!!

We also held our first client investment dinner with Paul from Gore Brown Investment Management. Feedback included: “You couldn’t have done better” and clients loved meeting other clients and our team.


Sarah and Lily presented at Leeds Beckett University on careers in finance. They said it was great to be involved, to meet the students virtually, and share their knowledge on careers in financial planning.

Lily was able to share what she’s been doing since she joined us in July and, since this presentation, we have already received a few early applications for our 2022 graduate program, which starts in July.

Sponsorship of the Towton Christmas lights. It’s great to be able to help Towton continue to have its amazing Christmas lights every year. If you’ve not seen them, take a drive through when you are next in the area!

Berry & Oak are shortlisted for three awards at the Yorkshire Financial Awards 2022:

  1. Financial Adviser Team of the Year
  2. Financial Adviser of the Year Award (Andrew)
  3. Director of the Year (Sarah).

What an honour to be shortlisted for not one, but three incredible awards, and a lovely way to end the year.

A final word

Thank you to all our clients, for being so supportive during the year. We love working with you and helping you to achieve your aims and goals.

Thank you also to all the Berry & Oak team, your hard work and dedication is inspiring. We have more great plans for 2022 – so watch this space!

Finally, the whole team at Berry & Oak would like to wish you all a happy Christmas and a healthy and successful 2022!


Best wishes, Andrew and Sarah