Tel: 01308 425962

Financial Planning Advice

Gillinghams Independent Financial Advisers Limited

At Gillinghams Independent Financial Advisers, we believe that great financial advice begins with an understanding of our clients’ lives and what is important to them.

We are a well-established firm with many years’ experience in Financial Planning. We work with clients who require financial solutions for their investments and retirement plans and are committed to delivering exceptional results for our clients.

As a company, Gillinghams places great importance in developing our team members and giving them the opportunity to be the best that they can so our personal service is something that is at the heart of all our staff.

James Hewitt
Director and Chartered Financial Planner

Originally I trained and worked as an Accountant. I started to work for myself in 2001, managing the financial affairs and preparation of accounts for several firms in Somerset and Dorset. This provided me with valuable experience and an insight into the day-to-day running of many different businesses. One of my clients was a local Financial Advisers firm, and over time I became more and more interested in the work the advisers were doing and could see a synergy between my work and theirs. I decided to train as an adviser and achieved my qualification by the beginning of 2008. I then worked on a full-time basis as a Financial Adviser whilst still providing support for some of the local businesses I worked for.

In 2011 Jon and I formed Gillinghams Independent Financial Advisers as a result of taking over the financial advising arm of RM Gillingham & Son.


Chartered Financial Planner (APFS)
Diploma in Financial Planning (DipPFS)
Certificate in Financial Planning (CertPFS)
Mortgages (CF6)
Long Term Care (CF8)
Personal Tax (J01)
Trusts (J02)
Pension Income Options (J05)
Investment Principles & Risk (R02)
Personal Tax and Trust Planning (AF1)
Business Financial Planning (AF2)
Pension Planning (AF3)
Financial Planning Process (AF5)
Fellow Member of the Association of Accounting Technicians (FMAAT)

Jonathon Sear

I have accumulated over 25 years experience in Financial Services. Much of this was within the banking and mortgage Industry with companies such as Nat West, Royal Bank of Scotland and ING Direct where I was involved in a number of different management roles.

Having decided that Banking was no longer the fulfilling career I had chosen, I joined a local Financial Adviser in 2006 following a family move to the ‘sunny’ South West. In 2011 James and I took over the client management and financial advice for RM Gillingham & Son. I am a qualified Financial Adviser who can advise in most areas of financial planning and always aim to combine both technical and life experience skills to find the right solutions.


Certificate for Financial Advisers (CeFA)
Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA)
Mortgage Advice and Practice (CEMAP)
Lifetime Mortgages (CF7)
Home Reversion (HR1)
Long Term Care (CF8)
BSc(Econ) Economics
DipDM Marketing Diploma

Claire Keepax

Claire Keepax

I graduated from Cardiff University in 2010 with a degree in Law and have been working in the Financial Services industry for over 10 years. I joined Gillinghams Independent Financial Advisers as an Administrator in November 2015 and obtained my Diploma in Financial Planning and certificate in Equity Release in March 2021.

I am a qualified Financial Planner working in my role as Paraplanner, providing technical and research support to James and the team. I enjoy the variation my job role brings, and love being able to support our clients throughout their evolving financial planning journey.


Diploma in Financial Planning (DipPFS)
Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Equity Release (Certs CII MP & ER)
Certificate in Financial Services (CertCII FS)
Cardiff University Law Degree (LLB)
AAT Accountancy Level 2

Claire Keepax

Courtney Tuck

I graduated from Cardiff University in 2018 with a degree in Politics and International Relations. After university, I worked within various departments within law firms, both in Cardiff and Dorset. My interests took me in a different direction, and I joined Gillinghams in 2021 as an Administrator. My role here allows me to gain in-depth knowledge about the Financial Services Industry and develop my administrative skills whilst providing support to all my colleagues. I am currently studying for a Diploma in Regulated Financial Services.


Undergraduate Degree - BSc Politics and International Relations (L290)
Certificate in Financial Services (CertCII FS)

Sharon Donovan
Office Manager

Originally, I worked as a Client Services Manager for an International Mail Company in Bristol. I moved to Dorset in 2016 and joined Gillinghams in 2022 finally giving up commuting to Bristol in exchange for a new challenge and new industry to work in where I can fully utilise my management, organisational and administrative skills to the full.


DipDM Marketing Diploma
BTEC Diploma in Business Studies
Mental Health First Aider

Jackie Glynn
Accounts Manager

Jackie is responsible for all things Accounts within the office.

Lucy Shergold

Originally, I worked as an Employment Adviser for the Careers Service in Hampshire and moved to Dorset in 2001. Having started a family, I continued my career in Administration. I joined Gillinghams Administration team in March 2023 providing support to my colleagues whilst expanding my knowledge in the world of Financial Services.


BTEC National in Business Administration.

Joseph Hanson-Kahn

Having graduated with a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of East Anglia in 2023, I found myself interested in pursuing a career in financial planning, I joined Gillinghams as an Administrator at the beginning of 2024, and I am currently studying towards the Diploma in regulated financial planning, with aspirations of becoming a Financial Adviser.

I enjoy being part of the Gillinghams family providing professional personalised solutions for our clients.


BA (Bachelor of Arts): Philosophy, Politics and Economics (2:1) at the University of East Anglia.
Financial Protection (R05) completed.