Respected financial planner Carolyn Gowen, a former branch principal and founder at Bloomsbury Wealth, has died at the age of 58 after a battle with cancer.
Gowen, who recently retired from her role at the London-based firm, was a highly respected and "passionate CFP professional", Bloomsbury said in a tribute.
Branch principal Robert Lockie said: "In this profession, there are many giants who quietly strive to improve their clients' lives and help build a more inclusive profession. Carolyn was just such a person, known professionally throughout the world as a passionate CFP professional.
"Behind the individual who built fantastic relationships with clients was a steely determination to do the right thing and to ensure that they were in the best position they could be to live their lives to the full. From the many moving tributes that we have received from clients and others, it is clear that she was held in very high regard."
Gowen moved to France in 2007 with her husband Eddie and a menagerie of animals and continued to work for Bloomsbury, which is part of Raymond James, until earlier this year.
Lockie said of his colleague and friend: "She read prolifically in her efforts to understand more about the world, often getting up an hour early to read while looking over the countryside and she also started a local book group in her village to encourage others to read more too."
"Carolyn also loved Liverpool Football Club and her enthusiasm for all things LFC was an important part of her life, with Thursday morning team calls often starting with a discussion of the previous night's match," he added. "Carolyn, you'll never walk alone."
Gowen worked in the theatre before joining Hargreaves Lansdown as an administrator. She then progressed through various financial services firms in the South West on her journey to becoming an adviser.
She joined the previous incarnation of Bloomsbury Wealth in the early 2000s. She was a director at the business and remained with the firm until her retirement. She regularly featured in the financial press and blogged at the firm's Financial Bodyguard website.
Lockie explained Gowen was one of the four people who founded the current entity, Bloomsbury Wealth Management, which was subsequently renamed Bloomsbury Wealth, in late 2004 when it bought back part of the business of the original entity (Bloomsbury Financial Planning). It had been sold to Destini a year or two earlier.
Last blog post
Gowen's last blog for Bloomsbury was posted on 24 June and gave insight into her decision to retire and poignant insight on the fragility of "normal life".
It read: "My job for the last 30-odd years has been helping people to achieve their financial goals and reach financial independence - the point where paid work becomes optional. I found myself in the position of having reached that milestone myself a couple of years ago but while it didn't seem the right time to ‘bow out' then, it does now.
"Whether the pandemic has had a bearing on my decision is hard to say but I believe on balance that it probably has. I have certainly felt as though a massive ‘reset' has taken place over the last 15 months, even though on a day to day basis I have rarely felt too badly affected by the various lockdowns and restrictions we have all had to deal with. Apart from not having seen my mum for nearly two years (when you feel as though you can see someone whenever you want, there is little urgency to do so. And then suddenly you can't) the only thing I have really missed is the freedom to travel, something my husband Eddie and I have been fortunate enough to do a lot of in recent years.
"So, it seems a case of if not now, then when? What this pandemic has taught me is just how fragile ‘normal' life is. Having spent years helping clients make this same decision I now face, it would be wrong not to take the advice I have always given them. So, the time feels right to hang up my boots and spend more time doing all the things I love doing outside of work."
She added: "I am delighted that my leaving Bloomsbury provides the opportunity for our wealth planning manager, Charles, to become an equity owner of the business. It is a wonderful opportunity for him and very well deserved. I must also thank Rob for being the best business partner one could hope for.
"Whilst, as with any close relationship there have been times we've driven each other up the wall, our ethics and values have always been aligned and I have always felt that I have his total support - as he has had mine. I am sure that between them Rob and Charles will take Bloomsbury on to bigger and better things and will ensure that the reputational standing we have built in the financial planning profession will continue."