Meet Phil Clarke

Research & Development Director
Phil Clarke

Phil’s Story

In a nutshell…

The best thing about my job is dealing with people who are facing different issues, positive and negative, and finding a solution or the best way forward.Research and problem solving are what make me tick. How do we get X, Y or Z? That gives me a buzz.

My life in financial services…

My introduction into financial services was pretty accidental.I studied management at college and ended up on the Isle of Man. The financial sector is the main industry there, so inevitably I ended up being drawn in.Initially in marketing, but eventually, after getting my professional qualifications, I started working in external sales positions, introducing financial products to independent financial advisors (IFAs) face-to-face dealing with IFAs was really enjoyable. I think because I understood their point of view. Sales people can have big egos. I never saw myself that way. I had to believe that what I was offering was the best answer.I also learned that personal relationships count. Companies often think people are buying from the company. It’s not true. People buy from people.Eventually, I was seen as a cost rather than as a wealth of experience. You know how it is.Companies think they can replace you with people who cost less. They discount the experience and relationships you’ve built up. So I was booted out. It worked out, though.I was asked to develop financial products for an Asian company that wanted to break into Europe. They were good products suited to a highly regulated environment. But the Asian company didn’t see the rewards as being high enough, so they pulled out. That was all right by me. I’d effectively written my own new company. So I went out on my own, creating products that I believe have integrity and are the best solution. It makes the job harder, but I believe in doing things properly. The bloodyminded Yorkshireman in me.

Outside of financial services…


Travel is a passion.I have bought an RV to experiment driving longer distances and being away from home for longer, while still being able to work. I like the challenge of something new.

My favourite place…


Let’s be clear that Yorkshire is the best place on Earth. North Yorkshire even more so.Outside of that, I do like France. The food, the wine, the nature—it’s spectacular.

The best thing I ever did…

I learned to scuba dive because my son wanted to. I’m not a swimmer and I will avoid the water if I can. My idea of hell is a small boat on a big sea. But I was curious. Could I do it? Was I up to the challenge? I was over the moon when I did it. Mind you, it was a one-off. I won’t be doing it again.

My advice…

Be as honest as you can with everyone. Be honest, or walk away.

I can’t stand…

Breach of trust. There has to be trust in everything. In business. In relationships. In friendships. If you break my trust once, it’s once too many.

If money were no object…

Route 66 on a Harley or a classic 1950’s fintail car. The route is living history. It has a sense of time about it, a sense of era. There’s poignancy. People travelled it from hard times to success. But it’s also a symbol of how the world has moved on. Officially, it doesn’t exist anymore. I think driving or riding it now would be an experience between what is real and what is fantasy.