Cork financial services company eyes future growth for business

Cork financial services company eyes future growth for business

The team at Provest, Financial Services, Douglas: Kieran McAuliffe, director; Sinead Cuffe, pensions administrator; Una Jennings, office manager; Olive Walsh, pensions administrator; Mark O'Sullivan, managing director, and Martina Dolan, financial manager. Picture: Brian Lougheed

A CORK financial services firm is anticipating growth in terms of both its own business and across Cork as a wider region.

Provest is a financial services firm offering personalised financial advice and high-quality customer service to those looking towards their retirement.

It was founded in 2017 by Mark O’Sullivan, who is currently managing director. The company manages and advises private and corporate clients on a range of items from pensions and life cover to investments and retirement planning.

The Douglas-based company prides itself on experience and the personal touch.

Retirement planning is a big focus for the team at Provest, which works with its client base to ensure they meet their needs in all aspects of investing.

A focus for Provest in the coming years will be growing its SME business and pension planning for SME clients.

The Provest team is led by Mark O’Sullivan and also comprises industry experts such as Kieran McAuliffe and Una Jennings.

Mark has more than 40 years’ experience in the industry, while Kieran has 17 years of experience. Office manager Una Jennings, meanwhile, has more than 20 years of experience in the industry.

The majority of Provest clients are based in Cork and the wider Munster area but also in Dublin.

The company now has more than 500 clients and is managing around 2,000 pension plans. It has funds to the value of over €200m currently under management.

There are also plans to grow the business over the coming years and increase staff numbers from seven to 20 people.

Speaking to The Echo, managing director Mr O’Sullivan said he loves what he does but he will never slack on what he describes as the “old touch”.

“It’s the simple things like please and thank you. A cup of tea and turning up on time if you have a meeting. These are basic manners and form the basis of all of our relationships with our clients.”

Mr O’Sullivan explained that Provest is currently spending a considerable amount of time concentrating on two areas.

“The first relates to clients who are entering their retirement phase and are obliged to draw down income from their post retirement pension funds,” he said.

“This entails tax and investment consideration along with the relevant paperwork.

“The second area involves preparing for our corporate pension clients’ pre-renewal meetings, many of which take place in December and January each year,” he added.

“This year in particular there is an additional body of work to be addressed with the transposition of the IORP II regulations.”

Mark O'Sullivan, Managing Director, Provest, Financial Services Firm, Douglas. Picture: Brian Lougheed
Mark O'Sullivan, Managing Director, Provest, Financial Services Firm, Douglas. Picture: Brian Lougheed

Looking to the future, Mr O’Sullivan said: “Our primary focus is on expanding our corporate pension and financial planning units.

“We anticipate that fee-based, impartial financial planning will become more and more relevant as we are all, thankfully, living longer.

“Additionally the Government has been sidestepping the area of auto enrolment, however with the likelihood that the State pension will increase in the years ahead, there will be a greater onus on people and employers to plan early with professional input,” he added.

Given Ireland’s ageing population, retirement planning is an obvious sector for expansion, but clients still have some concerns, Mr O’Sullivan explained.

“The full state pension is currently just less than €13,000 per year, with inflation picking up and the inevitability that the state pension age will increase at some stage in the future, a big concern for our clients is whether they will have enough money to live a comfortable lifestyle in retirement,” he said.

“Our retirement planning service addresses the most important financial needs for individuals,” added Mr O’Sullivan, highlighting how Provest assist in areas of forecasting income and expenditure, determining the best investment courses, tax, and estate planning and social welfare considerations.

As well as growth within Provest, Mr O’Sullivan said he anticipates a period of sustained growth for Cork as a region on the rise.

“For sure, Cork is growing, because of the investment by corporates and Government through education and infrastructure here,” he explained.

“As the second city in the State, there was a lack of committed progress in these areas for many years, flagged by employer bodies and the Cork Chamber.

“The areas outside of Dublin have for many years been hampered by a lack of progress at Government level in supporting the development of areas like the extensive land bank in the Cork docklands, coupled with the adjacent river facility with its vast opportunities for people to prosper and benefit in this part of Ireland,” he added.

“Perhaps, in recent times, as remote working became the norm, it got many to rethink what is really important and what Cork and the greater county has on offer to them.

“We are fortunate to have some high-profile Cabinet ministers presently,” he added, “which should help to bring further investment to the county.”

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