Charles James Financial Planning is managed by CEO Dean Thorpe; who better to introduce the team to you and a little about our heritage?

Charles James Financial Planning was originally founded as an insurance brokers in 1984 by my father, Robert Thorpe, and we have remained a family business developing into a firm of independent financial advisers over the years. We’ve seen thousands of clients through challenging economic seasons and we continue to pride ourselves in the quality, friendly and efficient advice we give to people from all walks of life. Our main office is based in Dronfield, Derbyshire with a presence in Royston, South Yorkshire.

 Dean Thorpe – CEO/Director

Dean Thorpe – CEO/Director

Dean Thorpe – CEO / Director

Dean joined the financial services industry straight from college, beginning his career at Scottish Amicable (now part of Prudential). From there, he joined his father’s insurance brokerage before going into business himself in 1999. As well as being an Executive Director of Charles James, he also holds special permission with the FCA for technical pensions work and regularly receives enquiries for assistance from other advisers in the industry who value his knowledge and expertise.

Dean has developed the organisation to cater for all types of people from all walks of life, so that as well as financial planning advice, the group of companies he is connected with and has interests in can help clients with all types of areas along their life points.  The success of the Charles James business gained him an entry in the 2010 Who’s Who publication of Britain’s Business Elite.

Dean is also a presenter/speaker and has developed a separate company providing business support working with companies of all shapes and sizes, sharing with them the secrets of the success that he and his team have enjoyed and achieved. Becoming a published author provided Dean with a platform to expand and develop his work internationally as well as in the UK.

 Robert Thorpe – Director

Robert Thorpe – Director


Robert Thorpe started in the financial services industry in November 1974 as an agent selling insurance based products. This developed into advising clients, dealing with administration, managing a team with Inter City Investments, before he resigned to set up Charles James and Company on October 1st 1984 as an insurance brokerage.

Robert has over 40 years’ experience in the industry, is still involved in advising, and to an extent the running of Charles James Financial Planning. He passed FPC 1, 2 and 3 in 1993, Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice in March 2000 and achieved level 4 Diploma status on October 1st 2012.

 Steve Unwin – Independent Financial Adviser

Steve Unwin – Independent Financial Adviser

Steve Unwin – Independent Financial Adviser

A chance conversation with (now CEO) Dean Thorpe meant that Steve joined Charles James Financial Planning in 1998 rather than entering financial services through the banking route. Steve has developed into a key member of the team and is a well-established Independent Financial Adviser, providing quality financial advice and planning to clients, both new and existing.

“I enjoy working for this well-established, family-run business. I've continued to build upon my skills, experience, knowledge and qualifications through differing roles since joining the company in 1998.” 

  Ryan Thickett – Independent Financial Adviser

Ryan Thickett – Independent Financial Adviser

Ryan Thickett – Independent Financial Adviser

Ryan joined us at Charles James Financial Planning in December 2007 as an Administrator and quickly progressed to a Paraplanner. Now, as an Independent Financial Adviser at Charles James, Ryan provides quality financial advice and planning in areas such as Retirement Planning, Investments, Mortgages and Insurance. 

“This progression through the company has aided me in gaining experience and knowledge via both real world involvement and study, which enabled me to achieve my current position and qualifications. Outside work I like to socialise whether it be through playing in a weekly five-a-side football league or eating out with friends.”

 John Marshall –  Independent Financial Adviser

John Marshall – Independent Financial Adviser

John Marshall – Independent Financial Adviser

John has worked in the financial services industry continuously since 1986, focusing on the area of Life Assurance, Investments and Pensions. He has also worked as a Financial Adviser and Company Consultant for various large firms including Guardian, Friends Provident and Zurich up to 2007. It was in this same year that John become an Independent Financial Adviser and in 2009 joined Charles James Financial Planning.  In January 2011 John completed his Level 4 Diploma for Financial Advisers and he is also a member of the Personal Finance Society and attends regular meetings.

 Graham Atkin  –  Adviser Support Manager

Graham Atkin Adviser Support Manager

Graham Atkin – Adviser Support Manager

Graham joined us at Charles James Financial Planning in January 2000 as a school-leaver and Office Administrator. Over the years his duties and responsibilities increased and in 2007 he was promoted to Adviser Support Manager. Graham provides support to the Financial Advisers at Charles James and leads a small team of paraplanners and administrators.

“Having left school at 18 years old, I was keen to move straight into a working environment rather than embark on further education. I was fortunate enough to be offered an administrative role with Charles James Financial Planning around 6 months after leaving school and to this day I'm still employed by them. Outside work I have a keen and active interest in sports including football, badminton and tennis.”

 Geoff Thorpe  –  Insurance Adviser

Geoff Thorpe  Insurance Adviser

Geoff Thorpe – Insurance Adviser

Geoff has worked in the financial services sector since 1998. He joined Charles James Financial Planning in 2003 as an Administrator then moved to running our General Insurance side of the business in 2005.

“I enjoy my current role and continue to deal with various insurances from household, travel, business liabilities, motor and life insurance including critical and serious illness cover.”

 Dan Brennan  –  Technical Director

Dan Brennan  Technical Director

Dan Brennan – Technical Director

Dan looks after all things tech relating to Charles James including network administration and security, managing data storage and back-ups and email and software development. Dan’s business, Decode Studios, has been based in the same office as Charles James since 2009.

 Daniel Johnson – Investment Co-ordinator

Daniel Johnson – Investment Co-ordinator

Daniel Johnson – Investment Co-ordinator

Daniel has worked in the financial services industry since 2008, when he joined Charles James Financial Planning as a school-leaver. He progressed from entry level, carrying out general administrative tasks, to co-ordinating the investment proposition for the company.

“I am currently studying for the R02 exam, as part of the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning with an aim of achieving full Diploma status which is required by the Financial Conduct Authority in order to provide Pension and Investment Advice in the future. Outside of work I like to keep myself fit and healthy, I am a member of a local gym and I exercise on a regular basis, often participating in organised events such as charitable runs and playing five-a-side football.’

 Wendy Sowter – Office & HR Manager

Wendy Sowter – Office & HR Manager

Wendy Sowter – Office & HR Manager

Wendy has worked in the insurance industry since 1998 and joined us at Charles James Financial Planning in May 2010. She began as the Office Co-ordinator and was soon promoted to our Office & HR Manager.

Wendy has enjoyed expanding her knowledge of how an Office Manager works and interacts with other members of staff. She passed the Level 3 NVQ Management Course and has more recently completed the Foundation Award of a CIPD course with plans to complete the certificate level in the near future.

I love my role as Office & HR Manager and enjoy working hard as I like to make sure a job is done to the best of my ability. I will push myself if I’m not happy with something and I like to be under pressure as I feel that is when I am at my best. I do however also like to socialise, have a laugh with friends and a bit of banter with my colleagues at work.

 Daniel Cook – Paraplanner

Daniel Cook – Paraplanner

Daniel Cook – Paraplanner

Daniel has worked in the financial services industry since 2005 and joined Charles James Financial Planning as a Paraplanner in March 2012.

Daniel provides a range of services to the Independent Financial Advisers at Charles James. These are varied and include drafting Suitability Reports (personalised letters recommending products or funds) and undertaking research into products, investment funds and pensions legalisation. He holds the Diploma in Financial Planning and is working towards the Advanced Diploma.

“I enjoy working as a Paraplanner and wish to continue developing my skills in this area, as opposed to taking the Financial Adviser career path. In my spare time, I enjoy walking, reading, spending time with my family and long distance running. I am a member of the Hallamshire Harriers Athletics Club (Sheffield) and specialise in 5Ks, 10Ks and half-marathons. (Watch out Mo Farah!)"

Jodie Thorpe – Company Secretary

Jodie is married to Dean and works on a part-time basis carrying out the relevant requirements of Company Secretary. In her absence, the day-to-day duties of Company Secretary are delegated to Wendy Sowter, HR & Office Manager. 

 Jack Cohen – Junior Admin Assistant

Jack Cohen – Junior Admin Assistant

Jack Cohen – Junior Admin Assistant

Jack joined us at Charles James Financial Planning in April 2014 as an apprentice and is now a permanent member of the team as our Office Administrator.

I really enjoy my role and hope to keep developing my knowledge and understanding. Outside of work I have a keen interest in many sports, especially football, which I enjoy watching and playing weekly. I also like to socialise with friends and family whether that be through sport, work or in general.”