A high-flying investor has given up life in the city to help get Chorley on the map.
Steve Conley, who has head of investments at HSBC until last month, has moved to the town to help Chorleans realise their entrepreneurial dreams.
His new venture, Chorley Financial Services, coaches people through what they want to achieve with a new concept called ‘financial life planning’.
Steve, 50, who moved to Chorley with wife Liz six months ago, said it’s all about giving people the confidence to be their own boss - a move that he hopes will help fill Chorley’s empty shops.
He said: “I’m bringing my knowledge of money and experience of planning to Chorley, to help Chorleans realise their dreams.
“For example, dreams of being shopkeepers, business owners, and factory owners, or of living goals of making a contribution.
“My plans include creating businesses and jobs in the area but not by bringing in big brands threatening the character of the town, but by planning local people into more interesting and meaningful lives.”
Steve’s impressive CV includes top-ranking jobs at HSBC, becoming head of investment at RBS, as well as winning top awards for his financial services innovations.
He has set up his new business in Oak House on High Street just two months after a massive blaze razed the Amalfi restaurant and Cash Converters store.
The business block has undergone refurbishment and Steve is now the first occupant.
He said: “I looked at the Government statistics before I came to Chorley and it’s no different from anywhere else - it’s as good a place as any. “I love how friendly people are here but I really feel for the town with the empty shops. It’s got such history and character.
“To me with all the success I have had in the past and all the big things I have done, I really passionately believe in this.
“There’s a lot of people with their eyes on me with this.
“I want people seeing what is happening in Chorley with empty shops filling up and thinking why is Chorley such a success, and then seeing it’s financial planning done properly.”
Steve has followed his own advice in quitting his high-pressured job in London and setting up his own business to be closer to family.
He said: “In Canary Wharf we didn’t have friends and family close by. In life planning I ask the question ‘what would make a meaningful life’. Friends and family come up a lot.
“Chorley is a lovely place and I love the nab and the canal. There’s not much greenery down in London.”
Steve, who is set to receive his FSA license in the coming days, said he hopes to restore faith in the industry after a tough few years for the banking world.
He said: “When I was at HSBC I was trying to get them to adopt my approach. I’m setting up what I think is the perfect business, with a great product, great service, and a real face-to-face experience.
“The people who will walk through my doors might be successful, but they feel unfulfilled. They might be classed by the outside world as successful, but they don’t feel happy in themselves and are ready to give themselves a little bit more.
“I believe this could restore Chorley as well as trust and confidence in an industry with a reputation in tatters.”