Share Prices & Company Research

Press Release

29 September 2016

A novel approach to new business

“Not confused, but curious …” In a TV news bulletin, a photo of Prince Andrew and his new bride Sarah Ferguson in the background, this was how Keith Loudon described the reaction to his firm, Redmayne-Bentley, opening its new branch in the middle of Hudsons book shop in Harrogate.

The innovative new venture was opened on 29th September 1986 by another man featured in the news clip, the branch’s manager Paul Meyrick. Whilst leafing through the newest blockbusters such as Judith Krantz’s I’ll Take Manhattan or John Le Carre’s A Perfect Spy, shoppers could also get their hands on shares in companies such as British Aerospace or Jaguar.

Paul said: “A lot of people, who had never dealt with stocks and shares before, had share certificates and they didn’t know what to do with them. So they came to see the chap in the bookshop!”

Now based in its own office in Victoria Avenue, the branch is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Although Redmayne-Bentley had been established in Leeds since 1875, the new Harrogate branch was the first to be opened outside the firm’s head office.

Before setting up the new branch, Mr Meyrick had been working at British chemical company ICI – back then, an established constituent of the FTSE 100 - before being made redundant.

After working as a marketing consultant for around three years, Paul sought a change in direction. He said: “I had always been interested in the stock market.

“I sat opposite a chap at ICI who kept making calls and I couldn’t understand why. He said he was trying to make some money on the stock market, had been given £500 and asked to turn it into £5000.

“I thought: ‘Why don’t I switch over to something I am interested in?’ I listened to him and took a range of tips from him.”

After taking a series of financial industry exams in London, Paul set about trying to find a space in Harrogate to set up his own stockbroking business, before meeting a woman who had taken a Redmayne-Bentley course on buying shares.

The woman spoke to her manager, who agreed to allow Paul some space in the bookshop.

Through the new business, Paul met people from all walks of life, interested in becoming shareholders. Paul said: “They just wanted to know what the price of their shares were. They wanted advice and most of them wanted their money! They would tell their friends and family about their shares and they would come into the shop too.”

All this was in the midst of the privatisation boom, and in the months that followed, the public was invited to gain a piece of various companies. The privatisation of British Gas was advertised through the famous ‘Tell Sid’ campaign later that year. Not long afterwards, investors were able to gain shares in organisations including British Airways, British Airports Authority, Rolls Royce, Royal Ordnance and British Steel. 

Paul said: “When there was a special announcement about a privatised company, there would be a queue outside the door.”

As the business grew, the branch moved into a space in the travel department of the Co-op in Albert Street. Paul added: “People came in to book holidays and see me about their shares while they were there! Because it was a new challenge, I enjoyed dealing with people, and very few were ever unpleasant or difficult.”

However, eventually the time came to move on. He said: “In 1997, I had already decided to retire when one of my clients, who came back to Harrogate twice a year, asked if there was any chance of joining.”

The client was chartered meteorologist Nigel Bottomley, who, at the time, was based in the Middle East. Nigel recalled: “I had reached a point where I wanted to do something different. The opportunity was there and I decided it was now or never.”

Gradually, Paul began to reduce his hours until he finally left the business and it was taken over by Nigel and his brother Colin, following the successful completion of their qualifications.

Like Paul, Nigel also saw a busy period after joining the firm, thanks to the dotcom boom of 1999 - 2000.

Paul added: “Life presents many challenges, but you have to do your best to deal with them. There will be hiccups, the markets will fall back, it always has done. The challenges will always go on.”

Nigel said: “It’s been a fantastic journey. The reason I think Redmayne-Bentley has been successful is the way we treat our clients, and that’s where our new business comes from. Our business is about people. We’ve evolved from a single desk to where we are now. That’s a credit to people at the firm, without whom it would not be possible.”

Notes to Editor

Photographs are available on request.

A novel approach to new business
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