The military instilled in our founder Sam, that life isn’t a rehearsal.
It's about being the best version of yourself and making your life count.
Discovering traditional financial services was outdated, he set out to disrupt, transform and innovate within this market.
This approach combines science with technology to help you make more informed and effective financial decisions... to feel relieved, confident, self-assured and empowered about your future.
As far back as he remembers, Sam wanted to serve.
After graduating, he was commissioned from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst into the British Army.
Sam loved the military and its strong core values.
He ended up protecting The Queen at Buckingham Palace.
On starting a family, Sam reluctantly left the Army and joined a traditional 'wealth manager'. It took just a few days to realise stark differences... Gone were the core values, integrity and sense of service.
He quickly learnt that self-interested firms and conflicted salespeople couldn’t be trusted. So he resolved to create a new way to help people make important decisions…
“Science and technology will be our weapons to help people get better results.”
On a beautiful spring afternoon, way back when in 2004… AES International was born.
At first, it was just one man, his laptop – and a missionary idea.
But within a few months, other military veterans joined.
Together, they poured their hearts and souls into making the idea a success… Soon, the seeds began to sprout…
AES initially focused on helping veterans... But over time, they discovered more about a global financial services industry intent upon rewarding itself, not clients.
Banks, fund companies, asset managers, insurance companies and salespeople created and sold products designed to confuse.
Opaque, expensive, inflexible products – scientifically proven not to work. Spotting an opportunity to help clients who didn’t know where to turn, they decided to challenge the status quo.
To transform this outdated industry and pioneer a better way.
Their mission – to create 'Positive Change' for their clients and their profession...
By 2011, AES was the 4th fastest growing business in Britain, a top 50 financial firm by size and had won many accolades.
Richard Branson, Barclays Bank, Ernst and Young all awarded them.
The Economist Magazine called Sam ‘The Field Marshal of Finance'.
The team now numbered in the hundreds and AES held over 67 licences worldwide.
But something at the core was still not as good as it could be…
AES wanted to be at the forefront – but the industry wasn’t adaptable.
Traditional advisers resisted the introduction of higher standards. Product providers resisted technologies, improvements and any form of change.
Even clients often didn’t understand that far better options had now become available...
A battle commenced, between a self-interested financial services industry of the past...
And believers in a new, better way for the future.
It was a fight between the last generation and the next, mercenaries and missionaries, and firms that want to be big vs. ones that want to be the best.
We knew our mission depended on our ability to enable much needed change. But when change came, it was painful because it meant dramatic cuts.
AES said farewell to colleagues who didn’t share our passion for educating by sharing information, and who wouldn’t embrace new ways to help get clients better results.
We had to explain to clients why we believed past products were now out of date.
Despite the challenges, this period proved to be our making.
Helping pivot us from big to best – from follower to leader and accepted practice to best practice…
Ultimately setting us on a new course for what AES International would become.
We made three critical promises designed to help our clients feel relieved, confident, self-assured, empowered and good about their futures.
To challenge the ‘traditional industry’ - committing to thinking, acting and advising entirely differently to them.
To focus relentlessly on getting our clients much better results. Results not based on opinion, sales or spin… but results on scientific, academic and factually proven evidence.
To educate and inform, freely sharing our collective wisdom and expertise with clients (and competitors) to fuel change.
This encapsulates our driving vision since inception…
An ever-evolving vision based upon military values and helping people be all they can be.
Relentlessly focused on getting the best for others.
Today, we aspire to be the best, the most innovative and most educational international wealth and benefits business in the world
One that "makes the world, healthy, wealthy and wise"...
And we’re still just getting started.