Page 1

Issue 4

To the Manor Born

Dylan Matthews - CEO Celtic Manor Resort

A Growing Attraction The National Botanic Garden of Wales

The Welsh Oil Baron Meet Colin Owens

Digital Disasters

Can Close Your Business


A Stay at the Celtic Manor Resort

Regional Expansion

Take The Money and Run!

Me & My Classic Cars

Thomas Carroll Opens New HQs in Hereford and Swansea

Extracting Your Business Monetary Assets For Tax Efficiently

James Hull, Collector


The Welsh Oil Baron

To The Manor Born


Welsh Businesses are a Real Force for Good

Me & My Motor

Digital Disasters

The Scene is published by Thomas Carroll Group plc. Editor: Peter Acton, Yogi Communications, Publisher: Gwenllian Thomas, Thomas Carroll, Design: Burning Red. Contributors to this issue: Peter Acton, Gwenllian Thomas, Lee Cecil, Gareth Cotty, Alison Davies, Mark Eedy, Louise Eedy, David Lovitt, John Moore, Kevin Price, Rosie Sweetman.

Caerphilly Office Pendragon House, Crescent Road, Caerphilly CF83 1XX t  +44 (0)29 2088 7733



Auto Enrolment Workshops


Folly Farm


Mike Powell Joins Thomas Carroll


New Hereford Office


Ministry of Justice (MOJ)

Photography: Andrew Davies, Martin Ellard, Phil Rees, Richard Swingler, Alex Mills, Wales News.

Group plc, and services and goods featured are not necessarily endorsed by Thomas Carroll Group plc.

© 2014 Copyright Thomas Carroll Group plc. No part of this publication may be reproduced or used in any form of advertising or promotion without written permission of the publisher. No responsibility will be accepted for any error or omissions or comments made by writers or interviewees. Views expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of Thomas Carroll

Editorial submission to: - The Editor retains the right to edit editorial according to style and space considerations.

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Financial Advice   Health and Safety   Employment Law


Cover Story Dylan Matthews, Chief Executive, Celtic Manor Resort Photograph: Richard Swingler

WIN a Stay at the Celtic Manor Resort

Thoughts of

John Moore The priority for 2014 is again all about you our clients. That makes for a rather simple 2014 business plan … to understand your needs and get the result organised promptly. And that immediately takes my thoughts around our advice when catastrophe incidents visit you and your business. Whether a major flood or destructive fire, something complex that challenges your professional indemnity, or directors and officers contracts … it demonstrates our ability to manage and influence things to your advantage. A complete test of our trusted business adviser status.

The height of luxury: Inside The Celtic Manor Resort

Simply find the answer to the question below and you could win an overnight stay for two* with dinner at the luxurious Celtic Manor Resort including dinner, breakfast, and full use of the leisure facilities in the Forum Health Club. To enter our free competition simply read the article on pages 9-11 where the answer to the following question can be found:

Which international summit will Celtic Manor host in September 2014? Closing date for entries is 31st May 2014.

With a significant number of clients presently involved with major losses and some engaged with difficult HSE investigations, our Group approach offers you comforting intelligence that brings protection and limits interruption to your business. All this from an engaged team of claims experts … not all Brokers are the same !!! And, with workplace pensions and auto-enrolment staging dates arriving, the best knowledge is with our IFA team to make it happen for you. You are also encouraged to visit our Club Signature, a bespoke personal insurance service that confidentially takes your private covers most seriously.

And now, with our continued success through mid-Wales and across into the Marches … another TC Group office launched on Broad Street, Hereford. With our reputation for independent trading this exciting expansion again attracts qualified people to come join the Group … welcome Charles Taylor and Wendy Peplow.

… your loyalty and friendship recognised, valued and enjoyed with many thanks." But also, to bring vast experience around the Board tables … pleased to announce Stuart Deane from Principality and Gareth Williams senior partner at Hugh James take non Executive positions to performance coach, mentor and drive results from our ambitious strategy plans. Enjoy our 4th edition of the SCENE and interesting articles from business partners, The Celtic Manor Resort, Oil 4 Wales, VPS Valeting, James Hull and many more.

*Dates subject to availability and excluding Saturdays.

An eventful year for the Group, with the major extension to HQ in Caerphilly now complete, the purchase of Elm House in Swansea Enterprise Park a very serious indication around our commitment in SA, and further investment towards Pembrokeshire with our splendid new office on Victoria Place, Haverfordwest.

Last Issue’s Winner

Thomas Carroll supports many charities and organisations including:

The prize will be an overnight stay for two in the fivestar Resort Hotel with dinner, breakfast and full use of the leisure facilities in the Forum Health Club. Email your answer together with your business contact details to:

As always, your loyalty and friendship recognised, valued and enjoyed with many thanks. John Moore Chairman

Congratulations to the winner of our Issue 3 competition, Chris Evans of Lawray Architects, who wins four hospitality tickets to Ffos Las Racecourse.







Colin Owens, CEO Oil 4 Wales 4

Thomas Carroll

Photographs: Phil Rees


Words: Phil Hurst

How did an Islington boy end up in West Wales, heading up his own multi-million pound oil company, serving the people and businesses of the country he loves? The Scene managed to catch up with Colin Owens, CEO of Oil 4 Wales, a family run business currently turning over £85million a year. As a teenager in London, Colin Owens knew that an office life was not for him and, as he describes it: “I ran away to sea and joined the merchant navy. I was a steward for P&O”, he laughs, “but it was the best apprenticeship in life I could have had”. On his return he applied for a job with the oil and chemical storage

company Powell Duffryn. He remembers the interview well: “They asked me what my role with P&O was. I replied; one, to make people happy, and two, to communicate with them and get tips off them”. He was offered the job on the spot. His work took him to South Africa and America, to commission oil and chemical storage facilities for this multinational company with Welsh roots. He then returned to the UK in the late 1970s, finding himself at the company’s oil and chemical storage facilities in Barry.



meeting with John willing to fund the new Owens Fuels venture for the first two years, asking only a share of the profits (if any). The business flourished with the company making a £40,000 profit and throughout its life was never in the red. Three years later, when John asked Colin to run OJ Williams, his own fuel company, success inevitably followed and they expanded into England with the creation of OJ Williams West of England.

Man in the middle: Colin Owens meets with Thomas Carroll's Robert Jones (left) and Mark Sullivan

My philosophy is that people often over complicate life…we are a very transparent company, everyone is involved in decision making. We try to create a family atmosphere for everyone involved. His Welsh journey had started. Despite his birthplace and London accent, Colin clearly regards himself as Welsh: “England or Wales when the rugby’s on”, we ask; “totally Wales”, he replies. “I think it is a Valleys thing. Being from the East End of London we also had that community thing – you could leave your front door open, you could go to a pub and chat to anyone. I just relate to the passion we have got for our culture, for our singing, for our rugby.”

Colin’s love of the Welsh game has seen him follow Wales through many summer international tours as well as following five British Lions trips. His two children (Sally and Paul) were born in Wales, further cementing his links to Wales, but his work eventually took him away from Barry and back to Essex. Although a successful period in business terms, Colin and the family missed the community spirit and down-toearth nature of Wales. In 1989 they moved back when Colin joined Action Petroleum. Founded by the late cut-price petrol king Donald ‘Curly’ Humphries, Action Petroleum pioneered cheap petrol in Wales. Colin helped build it into a fully integrated fuel company. Action Petroleum’s success caught the eye of the large oil companies which eventually bought them out, but as Colin put it: “the large corporate world is not my thing”, so he set out on his own to start Owen Fuels. Money was tight but he met John Williams, owner of OJ Williams, an established fuel distribution company covering West Wales. It was a fortuitous


The three companies now had an annual turnover in excess of £350million, and once again attracted the interest of big oil companies. A pattern was beginning to emerge. This time it was Texaco, who gave them an offer they could not refuse, and condition of the sale was that Colin was to remain at the helm, which he did for the next decade. “It relieved a lot of cash flow pressures with such a massive oil giant behind you”, explains Colin: “I was general manager rather than director, but they gave me the space to develop the companies and we expanded”. Texaco got caught up in the global restructuring of the oil industry a few years ago with Chevron buying them out, and with it a change in management style. The time had come to once more branch out on his own, with his family and previous Owens Fuels employees as the core staff. Established in 2010, after just three years of trading, Oil 4 Wales has a £85million turnover. It is an inspirational story, a classic entrepreneur tale of spotting opportunities based on a thorough understanding of the market and developing an approach to business that clearly works.

Thomas Carroll

So we asked him the obvious question; “how do you do this?” “The right team of people”, he replies with no hesitation at all. “My philosophy is that people often over complicate life…we are a very transparent company, everyone is involved in decision making. We try to create a family atmosphere for everyone involved. “We have no head office”, he continues, “our head office is me charging about and my daughter Sally charging about! My son Paul is the Cardiff depot manager and my wife Shirley covers the legal aspects of the business, with Rob Young overseeing all the operations and with Audrey Williams keeping us all in check. “We regard everybody working for us as part of the family, that’s very important to us”. For Colin’s immediate family it is a 24-hour operation. “The word ‘no’ is banned as service is paramount. We never really turn off. If a farmer rings up at 8pm in need of gasoil as its harvest season we will always answer the phone and take their order for the following morning and whilst occasional mistakes will be made, our response to correct them will be immediate.” When asked if there is a secret to success he thinks for a while and in typical down-to-earth fashion says; “you should ask my staff rather than me. I hope it is honesty, transparency, passion and hard work”. Those traits echo that first job interview all those years ago; “one, to make people happy, and two, to communicate with them and gets tips off them”. Visit:



Delivering an Upbeat Economic Message in Milford Haven

A video produced for the opening of Thomas Carroll plc’s new West Wales regional headquarters in Haverfordwest, delivers an upbeat message on the West Wales economy.

Speaking at the opening of the Group’s new office at Victoria Place, Haverfordwest, Brynmor Williams, Director said: “We see growth areas in Pembrokeshire, certainly around Milford Haven, with businesses coming into the port and developing. “The tourist industry has always been strong in Pembrokeshire and growing, the agricultural sector speaks for itself. There are a number of areas where we see growth and we want to be very much a part of that.”

Also featuring Robert Jones MBE, Regional Director of Thomas Carroll, two versions of the video, have been produced to provide viewers with a bilingual experience, with interviews in English and Welsh.

In the interview he says: “We are fortunate in West Wales that we are to an extent sheltered from the peaks and troughs of the business environment”. He adds: “There is money available in Pembrokeshire which bodes well for anybody thinking of starting a business”.

Dylan Harries, Partner at local chartered accountants, Ashmole & Co, also speaks of the buoyancy of the local economy, with support industries and financial services concerns faring very well.

To view the video visit





Manor Born Words: Peter Acton

Imagine you are the son of one of Wales’ greatest businessmen and its first billionaire, and you are responsible for steering his great vision, The Celtic Manor Resort, one of the world’s finest hotel destinations.


hat is the role of Dylan Matthews, who in 2013 celebrated ten years as Chief Executive. He spoke exclusively to The Scene about his life and times.


By 1991 plans were unveiled to develop a convention centre and two golf courses between the Manor and the River Usk. A year later work on the first Robert Trent Jones Senior-designed golf course began.

Dylan Matthews is the eldest son of Sir Terry Matthews, the WelshCanadian high-tech communications business magnate, founder of 80 companies including Mitel and Newbridge Networks.

The five-star, 330-room Celtic Manor Resort Hotel was opened in 1999 and the former Celtic Manor Hotel was renamed ‘The Manor House’.

In 1980 Terry Matthews purchased the 19th century Celtic Manor, a former maternity hospital and his birthplace, transforming it into a luxury 70-room hotel.

Set in 2,000 acres of the Usk Valley and costing more than £100million, the Resort symbolised a new, confident Wales, with its bold architecture and luxurious design, it found its true international expression as

Thomas Carroll

the stage to golf’s Ryder Cup 2010 – won by Europe – at the now world-famous Twenty Ten course. Not one to rest on his laurels, Dylan is today at the helm of one of the most dramatic developments in the Resort’s history, a dynamic ten-year plan, which will double its size. The £160million expansion, which started in 2013, will see the construction of 40 luxury hill-top apartments, a first phase of 10 luxury 5-star chalets, a new convention centre, and a breath-taking zip wire course over the River Usk.


Terry is the leader of the team and he’s my boss. He’s very good at keeping people over a long time. Like anyone, I have choices and I choose to work for Terry.”

Dylan Matthews Chief Executive, The Celtic Manor Resort Photographs: Richard Swingler



Looking back at what has been his proudest moments over the past ten years as CEO, how is it performing during what has been a sustained period of economic downturn? “I caught my first salmon in the River Usk recently! But seriously, it was probably catching up and maybe even surpassing a couple of other resorts in the UK, places we had always looked to as benchmarks for us to aspire to.

Dylan Matthews at Celtic Manor Resort

The Resort today encompasses the two hotels, a country inn, two spas, six restaurants, a multipurpose conference centre, three championship golf courses, two golf and country clubs, adventure golf, and a high ropes course. Dylan Matthews first arrived to work at the Celtic Manor at the age of 19, in 1996. He had grown up in Ottawa, Canada, where his father had emigrated to in the late 1960s. He began his career at the Resort running the health and fitness club which bears his name. As a youngster in Canada, Dylan’s passions lay elsewhere, far away from business and technology: “I probably wanted to have been a footballer, I was not the most ambitious of kids, and I played lots of sports, especially soccer”. His father’s early guidance to his son gives an insight into the Matthews way of building businesses: “Terry never advised what field I should get into, it was more general advice. He used the word ‘persistency’ a lot. He also advised me, before getting into detail, to stand back, and take a look at the bigger picture and


to never give up but at the same time, have fun and enjoy it”. Dylan has subsequently moved into the hospitality side of the family business empire: “It happened naturally; I’m a people person and hospitality is a people industry. “I have my own style, yes, you pick up certain things that Terry has done over the years, but I don’t try and copy. Our customers are our focus, we strive to get on their level and personally make everyone feel comfortable at the Resort”. Dylan says of his business apprenticeship running the fitness centre: “It was a great job; it gave me a good introduction and good business experience. Running a gym is not overly complicated and I got to know many great people. “After that we built this giant hotel and I wanted to take over, but it was clear that I was not ready to manage 500 employees, so we hired a Chief Executive”. Building up his experience by working throughout the Resort, Dylan eventually became Chief Executive in 2003.

“The Resort has taken off massively in recent years, we have more than weathered the economic storm; we were proud to bring the Ryder Cup here, it came at the perfect time for us, right in the middle of the economic recession. “It gave us unprecedented profile, it was the biggest event Wales has ever held with the third biggest TV reach of any sporting event in the world. After the Ryder Cup we were named Europe’s top golf resort and the UK’s sports venue of the year. “It helped us to develop our infrastructure and highlighted the skills of our team on so many different levels. It was great to be part of Team Wales. I love the fact that the Resort pushes the Welsh story very proudly, we all need to push how great this country is”. Reacting to the economic downturn and ensuing dip in corporate spending, the Resort has successfully transformed itself in the last ten years, from a predominantly businessoriented hotel, to one which is also very much family-oriented. Dylan lives and breathes the Celtic Manor and lives there with his family, so never misses a beat in running the Resort. He clearly takes enormous personal pride in the continuing success of his home.

Thomas Carroll

We are now at 85 per cent occupation to the point where dad says ‘you are fixing the numbers’.” “2014 will be our best ever for Resort events, the Celebrity Cup (a star-studded TV golf tournament) will be our best ever, we are hosting the Elemis Polo event and our Christmas Kingdom, amongst many others. “I like to think that every time you visit the Celtic Manor, you may not exactly know what events are happening here, but you know that there will always be something happening. “We have gone from a corporate conference hotel to one that is a corporate and leisure resort for families and leisure breaks. This was always the ambition, and we have achieved this through persistency”. It is obvious that father and son form a close business partnership and that both share a long-term approach in moulding the Resort: “Dad and I set out a vision 15 years ago, it takes a long time, but the next thing you know the team is doing it for you. The original concept of the Resort was always to be one for cycling, walking, fishing, horse riding, and golf, and for families. And here we are; we are there”. As part of that big vision, the Resort has embarked on another dynamic development, the ten-year plan which will see it double in size.


Dylan Matthews on...

Working for Sir Terry

Warm reception: Dylan Matthews with Alison Davies, Managing Director of Thomas Carroll Private Clients

Sir Terry Matthews

Rather than extend the existing hotel, the plan is to build luxurious apartments and chalets in its surrounding country estate.

“So, we will double the size of Celtic Manor over the next ten years in the same vision as Mont-Tremblant. It is a North American model and it can be very successful if you get it right.”

“Terry is the leader of the team and he’s my boss. He’s very good at keeping people over a long time. Like anyone, I have choices and I choose to work for Terry.”

Given the sheer expanse of its 2,000 acre domain, expansion of The Resort is hardly an issue, but with increased accommodation comes the need for increased dining capacity:

Welsh or Canadian?

“The hotel industry is changing and all the costs of running a hotel, its infrastructure, heat and energy, and food costs are increasing above the rate of inflation. “You have to think of new ways of driving the business, as traditional revenue is not enough. The economy has forced us to accelerate our long-term plan”. The inspiration for the ten-year plan came from Canada and clearly it was part of Sir Terry Matthews’ vision from the outset: “Where I grew up in Canada, Mont-Tremblant was transformed from a small ski village into a massive skiing real estate destination. Dad always used to say that that was his vision for the Celtic Manor”, said Dylan. “When he built the Resort, he always wanted to build Mont-Tremblant (in Quebec) here. But you need over 80 per cent occupancy before you can build something like that. In essence you build apartments, people buy them, and you rent them out for them. “Ten years ago it did not make sense; the occupancy rate was not high enough. When we set out our ten-year plan we had 50 per cent occupancy and set a goal of 70. We are now at 85 per cent occupation to the point where dad says ‘you are fixing the numbers’.

“We have 400 rooms now and that can mean 800 people staying here. With the expansion we will have 1,600 people staying here and we need more places to have breakfast and more restaurants. The wooden lodges that we are currently building are gorgeous and are very much landscaped into our surroundings”. Shortly after our meeting with Dylan Matthews, it was announced that the world’s leaders will gather at the Celtic Manor Resort for the 2014 NATO Summit, the first to be hosted by the UK in over 20 years. In November 2013, Sir Terry Matthews confirmed plans to build the state-of-theart Wales International Convention Centre at Celtic Manor Resort, with a capacity for around 4,000 delegates, attracting the leading conferences from around the world.

“I was christened here and most of my family is here in Wales, so I consider myself to be Welsh more than Canadian.” Patriotism “I love the fact that the Resort pushes the Welsh story very proudly; we all need to push how great this country is.” Thomas Carroll “We have mutual audiences and see each other a lot at rugby and the South Wales scene, and not all around sport, but art as well, and insurance is a big factor in our operations. I know John [Moore, Chairman] has similar values to us, a good strong family-based company that delivers a world-class service.” Dylan Matthews

Visit: t  01633 413 000




Thomas Carroll

Illustration: Lo Price


Digital Disasters Can Close Your Business Says Peter Martin

In today’s technology-filled world every business, regardless of size, is at risk of data and digital loss. How many of you have, or know someone who has:

•• lost a USB stick? •• left a laptop on a train? •• sent an e-mail to the wrong person? •• lost client or customer confidential or sensitive information? •• had their phone system hacked? It is a common misconception that only organisations trading online are vulnerable. But anyone storing or processing electronic information, as simple as email communication, is increasingly prone to risks.

Whilst you may have a robust and strict IT security policy, they are of little use against the risk of a negligent employee leaving data unattended or the seriously determined hacker. Even if you outsource your IT or data storage, either paper or electronic, you are still at risk and you should give particular attention to risk management of this data at third party locations. Additionally, the growth of social media allows employees to express potentially libellous views of their employers, colleagues or customers, which might reach a far wider audience than intended.



Anyone storing or processing


electronic information, as simple as email communication, is increasingly prone to risks.” The consequences of data or digital loss


It is estimated that the overall cost of data loss is £100 per record, made up through:

REGULATORY FINES FOR DATA BREACHES The Information Commissioner’s Office has the power to issue monetary penalty notices, requiring organisations to pay up to £500,000 for serious breaches of the Data Protection Act. As recently as October 2013, the ICO fined the Ministry of Justice £140,000 after the details of more than 1,000 inmates at Cardiff prison were emailed to three prisoners' families. This shows how a simple e-mail sent to the wrong recipient can result in significant financial loss to any organisation.

NOTIFICATION COSTS Costs of notifying individuals whose data has been lost or stolen, plus costs of investigating possible data theft protection and credit file monitoring of those affected.

You will need to deal with the problem whilst continuing to maintain normal business operations. The loss or breach needs to be diagnosed, networks reconfigured, security re-established and systems restored. Whilst the system is out of action, profits can be lost.


Reputational harm of a data breach can out price any cost associated with a data breach. The company’s response in the first 24-48 hours is critical.

of mismanaging


for employers,

Traditional insurance policies do not generally cover the full range of Digital & Data loss exposures. These risks can severely impact the financial stability of a business – the consequences of mismanaging risks can be devastating for employers, employees, suppliers, and business partners. Make sure you understand the risks. Keep an eye out for our upcoming seminars but for further information or to discuss your potential exposure, contact your Account Executive or our in-house expert: Peter Martin Account Executive Thomas Carroll Brokers Ltd Email:



Thomas Carroll

risks can be devastating employees, suppliers and business partners.”

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     of Homeowners Underinsured Are You?

Research suggests that one in five households* could be underinsured because owners do not know how much their home is worth. Alarmingly, at least 65%** of higher value homes are underinsured. Home insurance is often divided into two separate policies, one for buildings, and the other for contents. In addition to the structure itself, the buildings policy includes permanent fixtures such as bathroom suites and fitted kitchens. By Alison Davies


Thomas Carroll

However, be sure to check your policy as it may not include gates, driveways, boundary walls or swimming pools. Calculating the cost of rebuilding a standard three-bedroom home is somewhat straightforward. Estimating the cost of unique or unusual features in a higher value home is very challenging. Therefore, it’s important that you get the right advice and correct valuations under the guidance of a broker. Your policy will provide a summary of what is covered, and, more importantly, any significant or unexpected exclusions or limitations to the cover.


Top Tips •• Taking the time to read through

your insurance documents could prove to be an invaluable exercise

Some may be unaware that it is the responsibility of the insured to make sure that the ‘sum insured’ is adequate to cover the cost of a disaster.

In Thomas Carroll’s experience, commonly underinsured possessions include; antiques, original works of art, inherited items, and electrical equipment.

Contents insurance covers almost everything you would pack up and take with you if you were to move house. Again, every policy limits the amount you can claim, so you must be certain that you are covered for the full amount of replacing your possessions.

Thomas Carroll provides a personal insurance service which is expertly customised for you by our Chartered insurance broking team.

The sum insured is the maximum amount you could be paid under your insurance policy, and you need to ask yourself – is it enough to cover your most valued and treasured possessions? It is easy to underestimate the amount it would cost to rebuild your house and the number of valuable items you have tucked away inside.

In addition, our complimentary personal insurance service, Club Signature, is a unique offering for clients whose financial position and lifestyle require high levels of individualised cover. Alison Davies is Managing Director of Thomas Carroll Private Clients

•• Consider a review of your

contents sum insured, they may be under- or over-insured

•• If you buy anything valuable after taking out your policy, contact your insurer to make sure your new purchases are covered

•• Work out how much it would cost to rebuild your house by visiting

•• Seek professional advice from a broker

Sources: *Association of British Insurers (ABI), ** Chubb Insurance

Also visit:



Me & My Motor Interview with

James Hull Classic Car Collector Interview: Gwenllian Thomas

Q When did you catch the classic car bug? 1974 and I was 14 years old, my father had a Jaguar Mark II that was quite old and I started restoring it for a bit of fun, and got that going which was my first car, hence my love for Jaguars.


Q What is your all-time favourite classic car?

Q What is your favourite driving experience?

It has got to be the Jaguar E-Type; specifically the external bonnet lock 1961 Roadster.

It has to be road rallies, as opposed to race circuits; I’ve driven the Mille Miglia twice, which is a thousand miles around Italy in classic cars. On both occasions I drove a Jaguar Mark VII 1954. It was the biggest car in the race and it did very well, it got round with no problems.

Q Has your taste in cars changed over the years? Yes, I used to like sports cars, now I’ve got a family I have to drive Land Rover Discoveries! It has changed actually, I’ve become more focused on buying cars that give you more of a driving experience than modern cars tend to do. I enjoy driving cars that are not fully automated, or you can switch the automation off.

Thomas Carroll

Q What do you look for in a classic car? Although it’s definitely an emotional and nostalgic decision, the province and history of the car is very

Photographs: Richard Swingler


Driving pleasure: Claire Humphries, Director of Thomas Carroll Private Clients at the wheel of James Hull's 1933 SS1 Coupe

important. It’s obviously about the style as well, so quirky cars and cars with history. Most of my cars have got the history from new, it’s important to me that I can trace the history back as far as possible. Q What tops your current shopping list? It is the 1957 Chevrolet Fuelee, and I’ve hopefully found one in the US! I like it for its general shape and style. It was also the first Corvette with the revolutionary Rochester fuel injection system.

Q What are your top tips for buying classic cars?

Q What fascinates you about the collecting process?

If you’re not experienced in understanding cars mechanically or condition, get an expert to evaluate the car for you; you’ve got to have somebody who knows what they are doing look at the car if you do not know yourself, that’s got to be the number one tip.

Let’s take a Bentley, it’s likely that the original owner of it was a very wealthy individual, had a lifestyle, 'celebrity-type' status perhaps, or business perhaps, and as the car got older, it got cheaper, and cheaper, and cheaper, and any man in the street could have bought it.

A car can start life in one sector of society and migrate through ownership as the price comes down, to everyone. And then when it has reached rock-bottom, it starts appreciating again and that’s going on all the time. There are cars at the moment that are regarded as secondhand cars, and some of them will become classics in 15-20 years time.


Photograph: Rex Gray


The Protectors James Hull’s cars are insured through the Private Clients division of Thomas Carroll Group, under the specific care of Claire Humphries, Director. James Hull said of the service he receives: “Claire’s extremely professional, and the thing I like about Claire is that she dots the ‘I’s and crosses the ‘T’s, which is always very useful if you are not that way inclined; she looks at the finer detail, hence I feel comfortable and protected. Many times I’ve had recourse to call Claire and she’s always been available, can’t fault her at all”.

Photograph: David Merrett

A 1957 Chevrolet Corvette similar to this example is next on James’ shopping list

Photographs: Richard Swingler

James' all-time favourite classic, the Jaguar E-Type


Thomas Carroll

Lifestyle | Insurance | Wealth

Club Signature is the new complementary personal insurance service for Thomas Carroll clients whose financial position and lifestyle require high levels of individualised cover. Club Signature benefits include:

••Your own dedicated consultant ••Competitive premiums ••Club Signature Card with partner services ••A personalised insurance audit

••One renewal date for multiple policies ••24-hour priority claims response ••Complimentary magazine subscription




A Growing Attraction

The National Botanic Garden of Wales Words: Peter Acton

If you are contemplating a spot of plant hunting, where better than the

Opened in 2000, the multi-award winning Garden is one of the biggest visitor attractions in Wales and is a truly great day out. Set in 568 acres of beautiful Welsh countryside, it is home to more than 8,000 plant varieties and it boasts the world’s largest single span glasshouse. Designed by Lord Foster, the awesome structure houses one of the finest displays of Mediterranean climate zone plants in the world. In an era of climate change and intensive farming, the Garden is also playing a major role in conserving some of the world’s rarest plants. This all comes at a cost and, as a registered charity, the Garden is involved in fundraising to keep its vital work going into the future.


Photograph: Andrew Davies

National Botanic Garden of Wales. Leading figures, including The Prince of Wales and rugby legend Gareth Edwards CBE, have added weight behind a legacy campaign to encourage people to leave bequests to the Garden in their Wills. Flower power: Robert Jones with Gwenllian Thomas

They were joined recently in their mission by Welsh rugby great, Robert Jones MBE, Director of Thomas Carroll Swansea, who pledged his support through a corporate sponsorship agreement.

at the National Botanic Garden of Wales

During his visit to the Garden, Robert Jones said, “The Botanic Garden is a national treasure and a world leader for Wales. When I learned more about its conservation work, not only of rare Welsh species, but collections from around the globe, my admiration grew even further.

“We will be encouraging our business network to join us in supporting this important campaign and I urge everyone to leave a legacy to the Garden for the benefit of future generations”. The Garden’s Head of Facilities, Clive Edwards added: “The Garden has a long association and valuable working relationship with Thomas Carroll Group and we are delighted that they are getting involved in our core mission. We are hugely grateful to them for sponsoring our new legacy brochure”.

Thomas Carroll

Robert Jones was joined at the Botanic Garden by Gwenllian Thomas, Group Marketing Manager, who announced that Thomas Carroll has become the first company to sponsor the Garden’s plant DNA barcode programme. The Garden played a leading role in the DNA bar-coding of all Wales’ native flowering plants – the first country in the world to do so. Gwenllian Thomas said: “We are very excited to be augmenting our involvement with the legacy campaign by sponsoring the DNA barcode of The Welsh Poppy (Meconopsis cambrica).

Illustration: Lo Price


“In 2014 we will be running a campaign called ‘The Year of the Welsh Poppy’, to encourage wider cultivation of this iconic plant in people’s gardens. We are making packets of Welsh Poppy seeds freely available to clients on request and asking people to send us photos of their plants in full bloom”. The dainty little Welsh poppy adds a touch of colour to any garden with its elegant and graceful foliage and abundance of large golden poppy flowers produced in succession from late spring to early autumn. A perennial, the Welsh Poppy will self-seed freely in undisturbed ground.

To claim your free packet of Welsh Poppy seeds please email your request to: The National Botanic Garden of Wales, Llanarthne, Carmarthenshire SA32 8HN



A Shining Success Story Steve Davis,

Photographs: Richard Swingler

Founder VPS vehicle valeters


Thomas Carroll



Words: Peter Acton

The next time you step into a gleaming motor at your local dealership, luxuriating in its pampered interior, there is a good chance that it has been expertly prepared by the car valeting experts at VPS. From Audis to Range Rovers, BMWs to Lexus and many marques in between, VPS are stationed at car dealerships in South Wales, the South West and the Midlands, polishing off over 4,500 cars a day. Cardiff-born, Steve caught the taste for valeting at the tender age of 12, helping out at a Splott garage, polishing American cars for pocket money. Fast forward to 2013 and Steve is the owner of a £2.5million company, employing over 130 staff and operating from 40 car dealerships. VPS Valeting is a long-standing commercial insurance client of Thomas Carroll, and more recently added the health & safety consultancy services provided by Thomas Carroll Management Services. Steve’s rise to success seems to have stemmed from a combination of determination, opportunism as a young man, and an inimitable sense of duty to his clients.

Back in his teenage years, his father strongly advised young Steve to ‘follow the right crowd’, and he did just that, and quickly spotted where his path to success lay. When he was 18, Steve went to work for a small company in West Canal Wharf: “I was earning £35 a week and the woman who was cleaning cars next to me was earning £100 a day. So I watched her for a good day and thought ‘ahh, that’s how you do it’, and that week I earned £300!” Just a year later and Steve was working for a national valeting company as a site manager in Birmingham. The business cleaned over 3,000 cars a month for Hertz and Avis. Steve always had a yearn to work for himself, and, returning to Cardiff in 1982, he started as a one-man band at a Ford dealership in Treforest, cleaning their used cars. Another company had the contract to clean all their new cars but it went into receivership and Steve was invited to take over all their contracts in Cardiff. Overnight he had five dealerships, and 17 staff to pay!



Steve said: “So, I did the right thing that anybody would do and phoned my mum and I asked if she could lend me £17,000 till Monday! “We were not a rich family with a silver spoon background, but without any hesitation she said ‘yes, no problem at all’. It beggars belief where my mum had £17,000 stashed, but it was certainly there the next morning! “I didn’t pay her back Monday, I could only pay her back about two years later. I sent her a bouquet of flowers containing a cheque. I rang up to check if she had received them and she was crying and she said: ‘I didn’t want it back’”.

VPS are stationed at car dealerships in South Wales, the South West and the Midlands, professionally valeting over 4,000 cars a day.”

Steve built up his ‘Autoclean’ business to a point where he was operating out of 12 car dealerships and employed 34 staff, and then in 1991 he sold it to a plc.

Asked about the secret of his success, Steve said: “I try and do what is said on the tin, it’s all about the right products and the right people.

“I thought I was going to forge my way to the higher echelons of industry up there with the CEOs but now I’ve done better than that!” After working for the plc, Steve's urge to be the master of his own destiny eventually resurfaced and he left to set up his own company. ‘Autoclean VPS (Vehicle Preparation Services)’ was born, which eventually became ‘VPS Valeting (Vehicle Preparation Specialists)’.


Using his contacts, Steve once again built up the business from scratch, winning the contract for a BMW dealership followed by Audi, and regional expansion followed. Most of the company’s growth has occurred in the last three years. VPS now has multiple sites in the Midlands, Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, and Newport. Today the company operates from purpose-built valeting bays at dealerships including Audi, Honda, VW, Land Rover, Seat, Skoda, Ford, BMW, Toyota, and Mercedes commercials. The company is also a pioneer of logistical technology and their in-house developed App. COur tracking system is the best in the UK,” said Steve. “As soon as a salesman sells a car, anywhere in the network, with one click it is pinged into the valeting bay for processing.” Steve can live track the cleansing progress of each and every car being valeted throughout his system, from Bristol to Birmingham.


I did the right thing that anybody would do and phoned my mum and I asked if she could lend me £17,000 till Monday!”

“We have the same people working in dealerships for the past five or six years and without them I wouldn’t be where I am today; after all you can’t give someone a key to a £120,000 Audi R8, who doesn’t know what they are doing!”

Pictured at Cardiff Audi, Steve Davis (left) with Simon Atkins, Director, Thomas Carroll Group

“For us, the customer is king and without our staff we are nothing; we put a great deal of time in to training our people. I’m a great believer in giving people chances in life, just like I have been given chances in the past”. Steve spells out the advantages to a dealership of outsourcing to a third-party company based on-site. “The benefit to the dealership is reliability and continuity. We have a system we call ‘overlap’ where a valeter from another site will come over to shadow, to see where the keys are kept, and get to know the staff.

Thomas Carroll


Swansea West Wales

Networking pioneer: Jo Watson

Women’s Business Network Flourishes Beyond20, the West Wales women’s business network co-founded by Thomas Carroll New Business Executive Jo Watson in 2012 is going from strength to strength.


ased at the Group’s Swansea office, Jo, who lives near Ammanford, established Beyond20 with Sarah Wynne of Wynne and Co, accountants.

“We are so pleased with the success of the group, there was a clear need for something tailored to the needs and lifestyles of women in business and we are looking forward to continued growth.

“We identified a gap in the market for networking events which are few and far between in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire”, said Jo.

“There’s no membership fee, you just pay for lunch on arrival. The intention of the group is to work together, and make good friends and business connections along the way. We have also arranged educational and training days based on group requirements.”

“There was also a lack of opportunities for women to network in an informal and sociable way and early morning gatherings are tricky for mothers, so we decided to come up with our own network, and Beyond20 was born.” The group’s name gives a nod to the fact that only 20% of senior management positions are held by women, the vision being to increase this percentage.

For further information and to be added onto the mailing list contact: Twitter follow: @Beyond20Ladies

Beyond20 meets for lunch on the second Wednesday of every month in various locations in the Carmarthenshire area. All women are welcome, whether employed, selfemployed or retired.



Health and Safety is no Folly at The Farm

Photographs: Andrew Davies


Pictured at Folly Farm, Chris Ebsworth (right) Managing Director of Folly Farm with Richard Pask Director of


Thomas Carroll

Thomas Carroll Management Services.


Words: Peter Acton

The only herd of Giraffes in Wales and a new colony of South American penguins have become the latest new clients of Thomas Carroll Group plc.

One of Pembrokeshire’s largest tourist attractions hosting over 400,000 visitors a year, Folly Farm has recently invested £1/2million in creating Wales’ first saltwater penguin pool, ‘Penguin Coast’, housing 24 endangered Humboldt Penguins, which opened in May. Chris Ebsworth, Managing Director of the family-owned business founded in 1989 by dairy farmer Glyn Williams, said: “Thomas Carroll is a natural fit for us as we go forward with continued expansion. As well as the group’s expertise across a range of services, the newly opened office in Haverfordwest was a major factor as we like to buy locally. “In terms of health and safety, the added advantage of a wide-ranging staff training programme, along with the group’s ethos of instilling health and safety as central to the company and tailoring it to our specific needs, was also important in our decision to appoint Thomas Carroll”.

Folly Farm is home to over 50 species and is a member of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme. It also houses a 700-seater theatre and conference facility and one of Europe’s largest undercover vintage fairgrounds, spanning 60,000 sq metres, with in-house restored rides dating back to 1907. The attraction reports that business levels for 2013 were up by 18 per cent year on year. Richard Pask, Director of Thomas Carroll Management Services said: “The health and safety requirements of Folly Farm are many and varied, ranging from the handling of different species to fairground equipment and behind-thescenes maintenance activities. “We are delighted to be working with such a high-profile and unique organisation that is totally committed to providing a safe and healthy environment in which its many visitors can enjoy the diverse range of attractions it provides”.

Photograph: Folly Farm

Folly Farm, the award-winning Pembrokeshire zoo, petting farm, and theme park, has appointed Thomas Carroll’s health and safety division to provide a wide range of health and safety consultancy and training services over the next three years, aimed at promoting sustainable improvements at the development.




IN MY OPINION By Lee Cecil - National Landlords Association - Representative for Wales

Most, if not all, business people I meet in my everyday life have bought, either by accident or design, one or more buy-to-let properties. Usually, if you have a goodto-average tenant they poodle along and pay you a fair yield every month and over the years, as one chap commented, “I forgot I had a few!” It baffles me why any asset would be treated this way, but it shows that for the last 50

years not a huge amount has happened regarding regulation. That is not however true in Wales. The National Landlords Association celebrated its 40th birthday in 2013. We have been at the top table advising the Welsh Government on the Private Rented Sector (PRS) for 11 years. In addition we are the Vice President of the Union of International Property owners in Brussels. We have local representatives in all parts of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and, of course, Wales. In fact, I was the first local representative over 11 years ago and as a consultant to the NLA I am supported by Vince Botham in the south and Julie Woolfenden in the north of Wales. We have over 55 local reps so if you wish to acquire a property anywhere in the UK I can introduce you to a local trusted contact to get some help.

Now the not so good news: by next year, in Wales only, but I suspect England may follow after the next elections, if you have a rental property in Wales then your name and address is required to be on a database that Cardiff Council will control. Then, within a 12-month period, if you manage your properties you will be required to attend a one-day course in a classroom on how to be a landlord – mandatory! There are also associated costs that you have to pay to the council for the privilege. Can you avoid this? – No. However if you still want to self-manage your properties but do not wish to be treated like a school kid, then contact me and I’ll advise you how you can pay less and do the accreditation online in your own time. Or, if you’ve had enough of the ‘toilets and the tenants’ plus the government but still want the returns with no hassle, then email me. Lee Cecil

Soon in Wales, Thomas Carroll will be speaking at our local landlord forum, which I established a decade ago. Again, if you wish to attend an NLA event anywhere else in the UK because you wish to acquire there, just ask me and I’ll introduce you to that person.


Thomas Carroll

NLA National Representative for Wales

Protect your Family Tree With our Will Writing Service Thomas Carroll Independent Financial Advisers Ltd can now offer a Will Writing Service to new and existing customers. We have made a special arrangement with Involegal to provide you with a legally binding and cost effective service. Do not leave your family assets and their future down to chance; make the right provision for your family and friends. Visit us online for more information on how to make a Will.

Call Thomas Carroll today: Telephone:

029 2088 7733 Or email:

in association with:


Mike Scores

in the World of Insurance

Coming Home Mike Powell, at Glamorgan County Cricket Club's SWALEC Stadium, Cardiff


Thomas Carroll


Photography: Wales News


Mike Powell, the Glamorgan cricket star who has retired from the professional game after 16 successful seasons, has joined Thomas Carroll in the position of Account Executive. Much loved at Glamorgan thanks to his run-scoring prowess and loyalty, Mike spent the majority of his career at the County. Making his debut in 1997, the right-handed batsman contributed to the most successful period in the Club’s history. He accumulated over 19,000 runs including a career high of 299 against Gloucestershire, receiving the 2006 accolade of Player of the Year. Abergavenny-born Mike, who played cricket for his hometown club before joining Glamorgan, said: “I have known Thomas Carroll over many years through their high profile sponsorship of league cricket in Wales. I became closer to the company, and Chairman John Moore, a stalwart supporter of Welsh cricket in particular, during my testimonial year of 2011. “John knew that I was preparing for a business life after my career was over and offered an opportunity with Thomas Carroll. I do feel very lucky to have been asked to be part of such a prestigious company, and frankly didn’t need much persuading to join!” John Moore said: “Mike epitomises the values we stand for at Thomas Carroll, including professionalism, loyalty, ambition and success. He is currently touring our Group divisions to gain hands-on experience of our operations and I have been impressed with Mike’s transition from full-time sport to business and his commitment to gaining insurance qualifications”. In 2004, Mike Powell came into England contention when he was called up to the one-day squad as cover, and toured with the Lions a year later. He spent the last two years of his career with Kent, before retiring from the game after the 2013 season. Brynmor Williams, Thomas Carroll Group Director said: “I must say we have been waiting some time for Mike to retire; the Group is very happy that he finished this year and took us up on the offer to join TC!”

Grandstand view: Pictured L-R Thomas Carroll colleagues, Gareth

Renowned for his devotion to Glamorgan cricket, in 2007, after an operation to remove a rib, Mike was granted permission to bury it beneath his beloved SWALEC Stadium.

Cotty, Director, Mike Powell and Brynmor Williams, Director



Take the Money and Run! By Louise Eedy

Looking to extract your monetary assets tied up in a business, but concerned about the tax implications? Here Louise Eedy explores how Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS) might be beneficial to individuals that have a significant amount of wealth sitting in a business that they have run for many years. If you are in this situation, you may be reluctant to sell as this will incur a capital gains tax liability. Additionally, if your business assets currently qualify for business property relief (BPR), liquidating them would generally mean moving them into nonqualifying assets and exposing them to a potential inheritance tax (IHT) liability. A solution may lie in an EIS.

underlying investments. Assuming the BPR-qualifying business that has just been sold was owned for more than two years, there isn’t even a two-year wait to achieve this IHT-free status. Plus, of course, the investor also benefits from the 30% income tax relief on investment.

By selling the business investment and investing the gain into an EIS solution, the capital gain is deferred*. If the investment is held until death, it is eliminated entirely.

A business started from nothing and sold for £1million will incur a £100,000 capital gains tax liability (under Entrepreneurs’ Relief). Assuming other assets have used up the investor’s £325,000 nil rate band, the remaining £900,000 would then be subject to 40% inheritance tax.

Additionally, as an EIS is BPR-qualifying, the assets will be IHT-free once the funds have been employed in the


Multiple Tax Benefits

Thomas Carroll




£865,000 TO HEIRS


£325,000 OTHER ASSETS £1,505,000 TO HEIRS

£120,000 IHT




The inheritance tax liability would therefore be £360,000. Thus, without any planning, the business owner passes only £865,000 of his £1,325,000 assets to his heirs, and pays £460,000 in tax. If, instead, the £1million from the sale of the business is invested into an EIS (£500,000 for this tax year and £500,000 for the previous year), the capital gain tax liability is deferred. The investor also receives £150,000 in income tax relief for the 2012/13 tax year and £150,000 for the 2011/12 tax year, (assuming they earned that income over those periods). Finally, their EIS investment would be IHT-free once the EIS had employed its funds in the underlying investments (although the income tax relief, which has not been invested in EIS, would be subject to IHT).

In this scenario, the business owner will pass £1,505,000 in assets to his heirs. This is 74% more than without this planning approach. An EIS can represent a compelling investment opportunity for a range of investors. As it is not a pension, EIS is not subject to the reduced pension annual allowance so it can be a useful tool to complement more traditional methods of funding retirement, particularly for higher earners. Louise Eedy is Director, Thomas Carroll Independent Financial Advisers Ltd * Investors should be aware that deferring a CGT liability results in the loss of Entrepreneurs’ Relief.


Photograph: Brian Clift


HEREFORD Here We Come!

This issue of The Scene brings news that 40 years since its foundation, the Thomas Carroll Group has opened its first regional office outside of Wales.

We are exporting our unique Group approach to risk management and financial planning with the opening of a regional office in Hereford. Located at 32-35 Broad Street in the city, the office will provide clients in the area with a full range of Thomas Carroll services encompassing personal and commercial insurance broking, health and safety consultancy and independent financial advice. Announcing the development, Rhys Thomas, Director of Thomas Carroll Group plc said: "This is a logical move for us as the Group has many clients in the Hereford and West Midlands area who will benefit from a local Thomas Carroll presence.


We are providing a full suite of Group services from our new office. We look forward to bringing our Group offering and business community support to Hereford and the region as a whole”.

New Team

Heading up the office which will also serve Brecon and mid Wales, are local insurance broking professionals, Wendy Peplow and Charles Taylor. Wendy, who has lived in Ledbury, Herefordshire all her life, has over 30 years’ experience in the insurance

Thomas Carroll

industry, having joined Clarke Roxburgh Insurance Brokers in 1980, which was purchased by Jelf in 2008. Charles Taylor, also a born and bred Herefordian, has 37 years’ experience in the industry having followed the same path as Wendy at Clarke Roxburgh. In this time Charles has worked throughout Hereford, Gloucester and Worcestershire. Thomas Carroll Hereford can be found at: Broadway House 32-35 Broad Street Hereford HR4 9AR t  +44

(0)1432 359 500

Visit and sign up for our Enewsletters to keep posted on developments at our new Hereford office.


Chairman Comes up Stumps! John Moore, a member of Pentyrch Cricket Club near Cardiff for the past fifty seasons, and Chairman of Thomas Carroll Group, has received a Lifetime Achievement Award for his dedication to cricket in Wales. The award has been granted by the Sport’s governing body, Cricket Wales. The current Vice Chairman of Pentyrch CC, John Moore has committed to Thomas Carroll’s sponsorship of the Glamorgan & Monmouthshire Cricket League, for the past 12 seasons. As well as the League, the Group is also title sponsor of The South Wales Cricket Association. At Pentyrch CC, John is head groundsman, tending the pitch and outfield throughout the year. He is also Chairman of the East Wales Cricket Groundsmens Association.

Speaking of his award, John Moore said: “I love the great game and have made so many lifelong friends through the best of competitive spirit. I thoroughly enjoy the boundary talk, cream cakes and ales into the evening. “I am also thrilled to be part of a club that encourages youngsters, the talent of the future, to enjoy the game; we currently have almost 50 young players on our books”. A finger spinner by speciality, John Moore’s finest hour playing for Pentyrch occurred in 1992, taking 10 wickets for 44 runs when on tour in Devon.

Cover drive: John Moore awarded for services to cricket.

Photograph: Martin Ellard

On the club’s website, he describes his other positions as ‘relief barman’ and his bowling status as ‘grenade launcher 5th XI’.




Rugby Great Opens New Swansea HQ

Wales and British Lions rugby captain Alun Wyn Jones, officially opened Thomas Carroll Swansea’s new headquarters in Swansea.

Due to continued expansion, the Swansea business has moved operations into its new premises in the Tawe Business Village, Swansea Enterprise Park, from a neighbouring office which opened in 2009. The new headquarters houses all group operations, encompassing Chartered commercial and personal insurance broking, Chartered independent financial Welcome Home: Members of the Thomas Carroll Swansea Team at their new HQ


Thomas Carroll

advice, and health & safety consultancy and training. Robert Jones MBE, Regional Director of Thomas Carroll Swansea said: “This move represents the largest investment ever made by the Group outside our Cardiff headquarters and we are very pleased to be consolidating our investment in jobs and the local economy.

Photographs: Martin Ellard


Grand Opening: Alun Wyn Jones (centre) pictured with (L-R) Brynmor Williams, John Moore and Robert Jones, Thomas Carroll Group.

“Since establishing a standalone office in Swansea in 2009 our expansion has exceeded all group targets and expectations. This move represents our third in four years as we have quickly outgrown our offices and it was important for us to purchase our own building of a size and scale to accommodate significant future growth”.

Thomas Carroll’s regional expansion strategy which began in Swansea, extended further west earlier this year with the opening of a West Wales headquarters in Haverfordwest John Moore, Chairman of Thomas Carroll Group plc said: “This significant property investment commits our future

to Swansea and the surrounding area. The investment recognises the importance of the strong client relationships that we have in the area, as well as their interest towards our Group Approach offering. “The move reflects our confidence in the expertise of our local ambitious team,

it also opens doors for local brokers and consultants to come and talk to us”. Thomas Carroll Swansea Elm House Tawe Business Village Swansea Enterprise Park Swansea SA7 9LA t  01792


View a video on the opening of the new HQ, visit



Moving on Up Top Tips For Putting your Home on the market By David Lovitt, Head of pa black

Moving home can be a stressful task to undertake, here are a few tips to help smooth the process. Decide how quickly you can move Appoint a solicitor

Obtain financial advice It may sound like such a simple concept, but knowing exactly what you can afford to accept on your property can make the difference.


You may not think that it is relevant to get a solicitor in place until you have a buyer, but it can speed up the process if you have one in preparation. Also it is worth using an established conveyancing solicitor as they are used to the process and dealing with the specialist enquiries that can crop up when selling a property. Sometimes a normal family solicitor simply cannot deal with the issues that may arise.

Thomas Carroll

It is a seller’s market at the moment so if you are looking to move on then you should prepare yourself that some sellers will not let you view until you have an offer on your property. This is a bit of a catch-22, because once you find a buyer for your home then you do not have too much time to find your next home! Consider renting in the interim; you may find it better than rushing into another purchase.


Give your agent a set of keys

Why did you buy your home in the first place?

Preparing your home for the photographs, floorplans and HD films to be taken These images are going to be the first impression buyers will get of your home so make sure everything is tidied up and clutter free. Make sure the gardens are clear and tidy; maybe cut the grass the day before (weather permitting).

The very reason that you bought the house may be the exact reason someone else wishes to buy it. Let the Valuer know why you bought the house in the first place and they can put this in the description. Also if you have a lovely little story about your home, this may be a nice touch to add to the details.

It is surprising how important this can be. Buyers can want to view with very little notice and your agent having a set of keys can put you at an advantage. That last minute viewing booked can be your buyer! And you can leave the rest to your agent!

About pa black pa black is the new property division from Peter Alan Estate Agents who specialise in the sale of distinctive homes across Wales. At pa black we specialise in distinctive homes and we aim to provide solutions for executive and individual homes which benefit from both local and national exposure. We understand that buying or selling your dream home requires specialist services above and beyond the usual services offered by Estate Agents. That is why we strive to exceed expectations and use new and innovative ways to help buy and sell luxury homes.

If the paintwork looks like it might need a refresh, get this done before the photographer comes round. Move your cars from your driveway in order to give your front elevation shot the best advantage. First impressions count!




Manage Auto Enrolment... or Face The Consequences By Mark Eedy

Fines for employers will be levied at the rate of £2,500 per day” In its annual workplace pensions report Scottish Widows studied the post-auto-enrolment workplace pensions market.

Number of Employees

It concluded that fewer than 1 in 10 employees have opted out so far, one year on from when employees were initially auto-enrolled into their company pension scheme. This compares with earlier industry predictions of up to 3 in 10 employees opting out. The report also reveals employee awareness of auto-enrolment has increased from 39 per cent in 2012 to 65 per cent in 2013. The Department for Work and Pensions has strived to raise awareness of the reforms among employers and employees via a multi-million-pound TV advertising campaign. However, understanding of auto-enrolment remains low amongst lower earners, with 21 per cent of people earning less than £30,000 unaware of the changes. But the research also found that 1 in 3 employers are uncertain about the scheme they will use. Costs associated with the changes were given as concern by 23 per cent of firms assessed. It is promising to see the positive impact auto-enrolment has had on how employees perceive saving for retirement. It is also encouraging that opt-out rates for the scheme are significantly less than originally predicted.

Staging Date

(on 5 th April 2012) 350 – 499

1st January 2014

250 – 349

1st February 2014

160 – 249

1st April 2014

90 – 159

1st May 2014

62 – 89

1st July 2014


1st August 2014


1st October 2014


1st November 2014


1st January 2015

54 – 57

1st March 2015

50 – 53

1st April 2015

49 and below

1st June 2015 to 1st April 2017

The greatest challenge is yet to come as smaller companies begin to auto-enrol; over the course of the next 12 months the staging dates and autoenrolment responsibilities of employers with employee numbers under 249 will begin.

Fines Begin The Pensions Regulator has carried out its first compliance assessment on employers who have staged up to April of 2013. It is investigating 89 cases and has already issued the first Non-Compliance notice. Fines for employers will be levied at the rate of £2,500* a day. The message is clear; without sufficient time allocated to planning, the potential exists for a serious fine. The recommendation from the Regulator and the Scheme providers is to allow

at least six months planning time before your staging date. We have developed a structured service and advice proposition to help existing and new clients manage their Auto-Enrolment requirements. Contact us with you PAYE reference number. We can then confirm your Staging Date and arrange a meeting to discuss your obligations. Visit: Mark Eedy is Managing Director of Thomas Carroll Independent Financial Advisers Ltd t 029 2085 5245

*For firms with 50 to 249 employees


Thomas Carroll


Justice has its Price – so Act Quickly says Kevin Price

2013 probably saw the most significant overhaul of the Civil Justice System for over ten years in England and Wales. The introduction of The Lord Justice Jackson Reforms and the extension of the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) claims portal have resulted in major changes in the way that insurers handle Employers and Public Liability claims. Put simply, these changes require businesses to promptly report any accidents that are likely to give rise to a claim. In the event of a claim businesses need to assemble all the relevant accident documentation within very tight timescales. The ability to assemble and retrieve this information is therefore crucial and

could make the difference between a positive or unfavourable outcome.

Missing pieces of documentation, inadequate investigations, poor quality evidence, to name but In the event of a claim a few, could seriously undermine the position businesses need of insurers in mounting a to assemble all the successful defence to liability claims and significant cost relevant accident savings could be lost!

documentation within very tight timescales� To meet the challenge, organisations must have robust health and safety management systems with the appropriate level of competencies to investigate any incident, and report effectively and quickly.

Kevin Price is Managing Director Thomas Carroll Management Services Ltd Email:

Your Vital MOJ Timescales To restrict third party costs when settling your claim, you must adhere to prompt new notification rules after an incident takes place. Thomas Carroll has online hints and tips for reporting an incident. Check out our MOJ Checklist at: Remember, failure to help your insurers keep a claim within the timeframe, will result in an increase of costs. This will directly result in an adverse effect on your claims experience.



Welsh Businesses are a Real Force for Good Says Rosie Sweetman Wales Director for Business in the Community

As a business-led charity that champions responsible business, we are arguably more interested than most in business acting as a force for good.

For BITC Wales, being responsible is achieving commercial success in ways that honour the company’s values and positively impacts on both people and planet. To put it another way, it is about achieving a ‘winwin’ for business and for communities across Wales. During 30 years in business, we have had the privilege of supporting hundreds of companies in Wales on their responsible business journey. One of the common misconceptions about Responsible Business Practice (RBP), sometimes called


Thomas Carroll

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is that it remains firmly in the realm of multi-national companies. But this is simply not the case. We can demonstrate that responsible business is not only a consideration for large companies but can be at the heart of businesses of all sizes. As a responsible business, employees value your company as a great place to work; customers and suppliers value your company as a good business to do business with; and the community values your business as a great neighbour. This is simple stuff and it makes sense to companies of all sizes. Our role is to support


Three’s company: Wales Director for BITC, Rosie Sweetman with BITC Members, Edward Morgan, Castell Howell Foods (left) and Chris Lodge, PHS Group

you to manage, measure and communicate your responsible business practice to ensure you maximise the business and societal benefits. Our experience tells us that many Welsh companies do not have a dedicated RBP resource but are frequently involved in responsible business initiatives. From giving their time and resource to community activities; working with local schools and young people to enter the workplace; or investing in the development and wellbeing of their staff. They might not call this CSR or RBP or any other jargon, but the fact that a business behaves in this way shows that the ethos of being a responsible company is a fundamental part

of who they are and how they operate. Responsible Business is therefore at the heart of operation – just where it should be! Momentum continues to grow behind the responsible business movement. However, people can be pretty cynical about businesses’ desires and capacity to be a force for good in society; there are a host of bad examples in the headlines to back up their scepticism. So those of us who believe business can deliver positive change to our communities, our environment, and our society as a whole, need those companies who are willing to stand up and say: “Actually, we are positively contributing to Welsh life”.

Our annual Responsible Business Awards help us celebrate Welsh business as a force for good. These independently assessed awards are the longest-running, most robust CSR Awards,

responsible business story. With previous winners including the Thomas Carroll Group, Bluestone Resorts, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water and UES Energy, you’ll be in good company.

During 30 years in business, we have had the privilege of supporting hundreds of companies in Wales on their responsible business journey.” and our primary means of recognising best practice.


The Awards are open for entries until 21 February. Help us celebrate and recognise Welsh business as a force for good by telling us your



A Great Tea By George A charity afternoon tea organised by the Private Clients arm of Thomas Carroll has raised £3,000 for charity. Attended by guests of our Club Signature service, Thomas Carroll clients helped us to raise the magnificent total for the George Thomas Hospice, where the event took place. The tasty event was hosted by Alison Davies and Claire Humphries of Thomas Carroll Private Clients and Nicky Piper MBE, Head of Fundraising at George Thomas Hospice. All enjoyed a classic afternoon tea provided by Spiros Fine Dining Caterers and a special presentation by Massimo Bishop-Scotti of Zucchero Pâtisserie.


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TC Charity Golf Days 2013 in support of

George Thomas Hospice Care Creigiau Golf Club

in support of

Ty Olwen Machynys Peninsula Golf and Country Club


Thomas Carroll


Dinner Raises £25,000 for Rugby Legend A charity dinner co-organised by Thomas Carroll’s own rugby great Brynmor Williams and Tight5Events, has raised £25,000 for South African rugby legend Joost van der Westhuizen and his J9 Foundation.

Joost formed the J9 Foundation after being diagnosed with motor neuron disease in 2011. His foundation provides aid to patients and their families who endure the overwhelming hardships that this terminal condition brings about.

Held at Cardiff Arms Park, the event featured a host of legendary scrum halves including Gareth Edwards, Mike Phillips, Rob Howley, and Thomas Carroll’s own Robert Jones.

Brynmor Williams, Group Director of Thomas Carroll said: “It was an incredible and emotional night, with over 250 Thomas Carroll clients and associates helping to raise this incredible sum for Joost and his remarkable foundation. It has been a pleasure to have been part of an event which truly epitomised the spirit and camaraderie of rugby in supporting its own”.

Presented by Gethin Jones, Sarra Elgan and Brynmor, and featuring live entertainment from Rod Woodward and the Meibion y Machlud choir, the event celebrated the Springbok legend who ranks as one of the greatest rugby players in the history of the game.

Presenters Gethin Jones and Sarra Elgan

Pictured at the dinner: (L-R) David Thorpe, Pieter van der Westhuizen, Joost Van Der Westhuizen.



Julie is Appointed Board Director

Promotion: Julie Waters, new Thomas Carroll Board Director

Julie Waters has been promoted to the role of Group Board Director at Thomas Carroll Group. Julie, who has 25 years experience in the insurance and financial sector, joined Thomas Carroll in 2002 and was promoted to Associate Director in 2006. In her position of HR & Compliance Director, Julie is in charge of training throughout the Group ensuring we retain our Chartered status. John Moore, Chairman of Thomas Carroll Group plc said: “Julie is an invaluable member of our senior management team, contributing to TC winning two awards last year; BITC award (People Development Award) and South Wales Chamber of

Commerce award (People and Skills Development Company of the Year). “Julie’s rise to Board Director exemplifies our succession plan, where we attract ambitious, committed experts who ensure the continued strength of our Board”. Julie Waters said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have received promotion to the Group board at TC. I am passionate about our business and our people and this role gives me the opportunity to recruit, develop and retain professional individuals. This in turn leads to business excellence, which is our mission at TC”.

Thomas Carroll Swansea Lee Samuel and Philip Evans have been appointed as Account Brokers at Thomas Carroll Swansea. With 25 years experience in insurance, commencing with Hill House Hammond in 1988, Lee who was born in Pontardawe and lives in Clydach, joins us from Antur Insurance.

Philip Evans has been appointed Account Broker at our Swansea office. An insurance professional for 12 years, Philip, who hails from Morriston and lives in Birchgrove, Swansea, also joins us from Antur. Welcome on-board: (L-R): Lee Samuel, Robert Jones, Philip Evans


Thomas Carroll


Non-Exec Appointments

Group HQ

Thomas Carroll Group plc has further strengthened its board with the appointment of two non-executive directors – Stuart Deane and Gareth Williams.

Tony Smith

Tony Smith has been appointed Employee Benefits Consultant at Thomas Carroll Group. With 27 years experience in insurance, Tony, who is based at our Cardiff Headquarters, is an expert in advising employers on benefit schemes design and implementation. Previously with Willis, Tony who lives in Caerphilly, covers schemes including pensions, life assurance, and health care provisions.

Stuart Deane joins us having over 25 years experience in financial services having held senior leadership roles across general insurance, retail financial services and life & pensions markets. Stuart's most recent role was as Managing Director of Distribution for the Principality Building Society.

Gareth Williams is a Senior Partner at leading law firm Hugh James. He specialises in sports law and substantial commercial and insurance litigation. He has represented insurance and corporate risk clients for more than 25 years, handling complex and high value cases.

At the Principality Building Society, Stuart Deane was responsible for all of the Principality’s distribution channels, including branches, direct, and intermediary channels, along with the Society's property companies, including the estate agency Peter Alan, a surveying company and corporate property development.

Gareth is also the company secretary of the Welsh Rugby Union, for whom he has acted for 20 years, and a trustee of the Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust which supports rugby players who have suffered serious injury playing the game. He is a member of and interim chair of the Board of Directors of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, as well as being a governor of the University of South Wales.

Stuart owns a consultancy business specialising in sales, marketing, and distribution with clients across a number of household name companies, including a FTSE 100 retailer bank, building societies, and an international mutual life company.

John Moore, Chairman of Thomas Carroll Group plc said: “The appointment of Stuart and Gareth who operate at the highest echelons of their professions, will greatly strengthen the Thomas Carroll board and will play a vital role going forward. They both bring to the board a vast wealth of experience, dynamism and knowledge which will be vital as we continue to expand The Group into the future”.

John Newnes

John Newnes has been appointed Claims Manager at Thomas Carroll Group. Joining us from Cunningham Lindsey, John has claims expertise across a wide range of sectors and disciplines including Property, Construction, Major Loss insurance claims as well as business interruption/continuity. Originally from Newport, John now lives in Cardiff.


Enjoy our

Group Approach With more specialists in Wales than any group in our sector, award winning Thomas Carroll takes care of it all for you, from insurance to health & safety and independent financial advice. Claire Humphries Director, Thomas Carroll Private Clients

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