LITTLE STAR: Dave Gardiner, founder of Evergreen Insurance

Written by Rebecca O'Connor on 28th March 2017

How would you rate your own personal finances for goodness, on a scale of 1 to 10? Why?

Throughout my life I have always tried to save a little and spend a little, because you never know what is around the corner.

I review my banking needs and have remained with my current provider, which in 2015, financed £50m bilateral renewable energy and other energy efficiencies, making them one of the largest UK renewable energy market financiers. 

My partner and I invested in a second home which we let out. We hope this will help support a pension fund later in life – or help us release equity to improve our home in Surrey.

I would rate myself around 6-7. I am sure there is more I can do.

What bit of your finances would you most like to change for the better?

I would like to spend more time reviewing my choices before making decisions and ensure I am using more ethical businesses.  This is purely down to managing my own time better!

Which provider are you most impressed by? Why?

I am impressed by Santander, nothing seems too much trouble for them. I once had my account cloned and all my savings were taken, Santander security team were on it before me! The money was returned to me very quickly and I didn’t actual notice what had happened at the time. I do everything with them online, I don’t get paper which I really like, with easy to use online system. On a recent visit to their branch the lady that served me was so polite and friendly and made recommendations to me on the best use of my accounts and money, which I really appreciated. I also like their investments into renewable energy and sustainability.

Which provider would you like to see hoisted by their own petard? Why?

My biggest bug bare is energy companies (particularly Npower), they seem to try and make life as complicated as possible and don’t explain things in plain English. When changing suppliers recently they actually started the process but by trying to change my next door neighbours supply rather than mine, the amount of hassle this caused was awful, particularly as my neighbours were out of the country for 3 months and we had only met once! The pricing for services is beyond comprehension and we tend to just give up! Speaking with their contact centres is always a challenge and have to build yourself up to making the call.  This year our aim is to switch to a more ethical brand, one that is obtaining their energy from sustainable sources and have a strong environmental policy.

Do you think you have lost out financially by making sustainable choices?

No and I will be making more sustainable choices moving forward.  I, like I suspect a lot of people, want value for money, it isn’t always about the cheapest price its goes deeper than this for me.  Sustainability, environmental policy, ethics, great value products backed up with excellent service – easy to do business with!

What personal finance headline would you most like to read in the next year, and why?

“BUSINESSES ARE REDUCING CLIMATE CHANGE”

We can all make different choices, choices are sometimes made because of speed and convenience rather than being able to fully review their ethics.  We can all do our bit by choosing companies that are trying to make a difference, whether it is insurance, banking or energy.

Customers are taking more time to work with companies that can demonstrate their own ethics and environmental policy – working together to reduce climate change and support our natural world.