1898 – 1910

Our origins

Our founder Thomas Hallett Fry was born in London in 1873. An extremely clever, capable and energetic man, he was educated at Oxford and London Universities, before working as a Barrister at Law and then Secretary of Kodak Limited. While there Thomas rearranged Kodak’s shareholdings in America and England, saving over £1million in British Income Tax – an impressive feat for someone so young, especially considering that tax was then only 8d in the £.

His ambition and accomplishment grew and Thomas became a fellow of the Royal Statistical Society and Chartered Institute of Secretaries, as well as a prominent Income Tax expert. In 1898 he launched The Income Tax Reclamation Association, an Income Tax Agency that charged 10% of all gains achieved.

The business grew and in 1908 Thomas employed his younger brother, Wilfred Thorman Fry, promoting him to Secretary after a year. The brothers worked together to develop the business and set it on the road to success.

Thomas was also an accomplished author of numerous publications including “Income Tax Anomalies” and “Income Tax Burden”, both of which were published by the Law Times Office.

Sadly, his life and career were cut short in July 1910 when he died aged 37, following an operation for appendicitis.

1910 – 1946

The figurehead of the Company

Following Thomas Fry’s death in 1910, Wilfred Thorman Fry took over the reins.

Wilfred excelled throughout his school years, receiving a Marlborough College Scholarship where he was a keen scholar and great athlete.

In 1908 Wilfred joined his brother’s firm The Income Tax Reclamation Association and at 20, following his brother’s death, took over the Company.

When the First World War broke out in 1914 Wilfred joined the Honourable Artillery Company, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Wilfred actively encouraged his staff to join the war efforts, and to much success – the entire staff enlisted! It was not until he was back from the war, after years of the business being managed by various partners, that he was finally able to focus on growing the firm. By 1926, Wilfred was the sole owner and incorporated the business renaming it “Wilfred T Fry Limited”. He also authored numerous texts on tax including ‘Income Tax’, ‘A Handy Guide for Income Taxpayers’ and ‘Rating Appeals’.

Wilfred was a particularly keen boater and became extremely well known in the field for his passion. In 1927 he completed his first crossing of the English Channel in an outboard driven boat crossing from Dover to Calais in just 1 hour 39 minutes at a cost of three shillings – a huge feat for the time.

Wilfred resigned as Managing Director in 1946 but took up the role of Chairman, remaining an integral part of the growth of Wilfred T Fry Limited until he stepped away in 1956, aged 66, leaving an impressive legacy.

Wilfred spent his later years on the French Riviera. On 2 April 1967 he passed away in France and was buried there. He had taken French citizenship, as a tax-planning measure.

1946 – 1962

A new chapter

In 1946, the day-to-day running of the business was handed to Thomas McColl-Smith – a retired army sergeant. Staff numbers had hit 20, and the Company worked hard to ensure a fair working environment.

Ahead of many of its contemporaries the business had introduced a staff pension fund, profit sharing scheme and five-day working week.  

Thomas acted as MD for a decade, steering the business ahead in the post-war years. Through this period many expatriates began coming back to the UK and required help in planning their re-entry into the British tax system.

In 1956, George Raynor took up the position of MD, and reviewed the practice of helping expatriates with their return to the UK, before closing their case files. After declaring this practice as somewhat ill-informed, he established a UK resident team, helping people with their tax affairs once they were home.

More innovation followed and in 1957 the Personal Financial Planning Department was formed to offer specialist advice on a wide variety of financial subjects.

With air travel becoming more accessible in the 1960s the Company embarked upon a programme of visits to the main expatriate areas of the world to meet with clients face-to-face. The first tours were somewhat all-consuming – a six-week stint to the Far East (albeit once a year) was not unusual!

The late 1960s bought about more change with Frank Fryer leading the firm from 1967 to 1969. During his tenure the Company was forced to address the impact of high inflation and the growing costs associated with running a London office. As a result, a period of de-centralisation began with two new branch offices established in Worthing in 1967 and in Exeter in 1968.

1962 – 1999

Expansion

John Elkin was appointed to the Board in 1962 as Financial Director, taking over as Managing Director and Chairman in 1970.

The next decade brought about some significant changes. In January 1975 the London office closed although a foothold in London was felt important and a small office was kept in Mayfair. In later years this moved to Fleet Street until the decision was taken to complete the move to Worthing.

Touring continued with trips to the Far East proving successful, both for the purpose of meeting existing clients and securing new ones. From the mid-1970s there was acknowledgment that the frequency of tours needed to be increased to help ensure that the opportunity to meet face-to-face with clients was maximised. From this platform the Company helped solidify its reputation around the world for exceptional personal service.

With the efforts of the Financial Planning team starting to bear fruit, the Board began looking for other opportunities to help better service clients.

An Executor and Trustee Department was formed in 1976 to help clients with any estate planning issues, from Wills and Trusts to offshore trustee services. Its introduction helped ensure a unique footing in the sector to offer tax, financial and estate planning under one roof.

In 1978, Gordon Rogers took over the position of Managing Director from John Elkin.

The concept of a holistic approach to financial planning began to develop during this period. As client affairs became more complex the need for a co-ordinated approach meant that tax-led financial planning became a much more relevant concept. This was prompted by the increase in the need to properly manage UK properties whilst clients worked overseas. With business travel, career secondments and international working becoming more commonplace, the need to rent out the UK home whilst living or working abroad offered an opportunity for clients to consider both their tax and financial planning needs.

Buoyed on by the success in this area, more strategic changes to the shape of the firm were undertaken and another pioneering idea developed by Gordon Rogers gathered momentum. With increasing competition globally, and the need to sharpen the focus of the offering, an International team was created by Graham Barnes. Graham, together with Steve Travis, led a team of Executives who each had specific responsibility for an area of the world, providing clients with the consistency of regular visits by the same individual.

In 1988 to echo the diversity of services the company was renamed The Fry Group.

Graham Jacobs, who had joined the Company from school in 1964 rose through the ranks to take over as Chairman and Managing Director in 1994, until his retirement in 2008.

Towards the end of the 1990s a millennium project was embarked upon in order to review the business and maintain its relevance into the new century. The outcome was a decision to develop an international presence in four key areas: Belgium, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Middle East.

In 1998 The Fry Group celebrated its centenary with a number of events including a client celebration at Goodwood House in Chichester, West Sussex.

1999-2019

Millennium to date

The new century heralded an exciting new era for The Fry Group. After touring to the Far East regularly since the 1960s the decision was taken to create a permanent presence in the region with Tim Rainsford and David Goodman heading up new offices in Hong Kong and Singapore. Both offices opened in 2001, with full support from the International team based back in the UK.

In 2007, the Peter Ruddy financial planning firm was acquired, re-establishing a presence back in London after a number of years. 

Stephen Tucker stepped into the role of Chairman and Managing Director in 2008, following Graham Jacobs’ retirement.

In 2009 the acquisition of local financial planning firm in Brussels, Fulcra International, was completed.

Further expansion was also seen back in the UK, with a number of satellite offices opening around the country; an office in York opened in 2009 and one in Cheltenham followed in 2011.

The Company maintained its focus on offering the very best service to clients and demonstrating this through its accreditations; in 2013 the Personal Financial Planning arm was awarded Chartered Financial Planner status.

Jeremy Woodley became Chairman and Managing Director in 2018, following Stephen Tucker’s retirement.  

To consolidate the company’s international presence, Stuart McCulloch joined the firm to head up a new office in Dubai,  servicing the needs of British expatriates in the Middle East.

2020

The rebrand

In 2020, The Fry Group undertook a re-branding exercise to support its long-term vision and to modernise its visual identity. The new brand encapsulates the rich heritage, global reach and purpose of the firm; to help clients achieve financial freedom. The identity strikes a balance between corporate style, strong aesthetic and contemporary design, to resonate with clients. A new website supports the brand, designed to help communicate the company’s range of services and provide informative and educational insights.

Today, with eight offices across the world, The Fry Group is proud to work with thousands of clients helping them achieve financial freedom.

1898 – 1910
1898 – 1910 Our origins

The origins of our story date back over a century

1910 – 1946
1910 – 1946 The figurehead of the Company

‘the company was left in the hands of a retired tax surveyor’

1946 – 1962
1946 – 1962 A new chapter

‘the business had introduced a staff pension fund, profit sharing scheme and five-day working week’

1962 – 1999
1962 – 1999 Expansion

‘a number of expatriates were making their way back to Britain’

1999-2019
1999-2019 Millennium to date

‘solidifying the company’s reputation’

2020
2020 The rebrand

‘breaking ground in tax led financial planning’

1898 – 1910
1910 – 1946
1946 – 1962
1962 – 1999
1999-2019
2020

Global reach

  • Belgium
  • Cheltenham
  • Dubai
  • Exeter
  • Hong Kong
  • London
  • Singapore
  • Worthing
  • UK

Belgium

Belgium

Avenue de Tervurenlaan 168, bte 14,
1150 Brussels, Belgium

– View on Google Maps Contact our Belgium office

Cheltenham

Cheltenham

Pure Offices, Cheltenham Office Park,
Hatherley Lane, Cheltenham,
Gloucestershire, GL51 6SH

– View on Google Maps

Dubai

Dubai

Emirates Financial Towers, Level 3,
North Tower, Office 310, PO Box 507290,
DIFC, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

– View on Google Maps Contact our Dubai office

Exeter

Exeter

The Senate, Southernhay Gardens,
Exeter, Devon, EX1 1UG

– View on Google Maps

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Room 2603B, Tower 1,
Lippo Centre, 89 Queensway,
Admiralty, Hong Kong

– View on Google Maps Contact our Hong Kong office

London

London

First Floor,
8-10 Grosvenor Gardens,
London, SW1W 0DH

– View on Google Maps

Singapore

Singapore

6 Battery Road #16-04/05,
Singapore 049909

– View on Google Maps Contact our Singapore office

Worthing

Worthing

Crescent House, Crescent Road,
Worthing, West Sussex BN11 1RN
(Use BN11 1RL for Sat-Nav )

– View on Google Maps Contact our UK office

United Kingdom

Worthing (Head Office)

Crescent House, Crescent Road,
Worthing, West Sussex BN11 1RN
(Use BN11 1RL for Sat-Nav )
– View on Google Maps Contact our UK office
8

Dedicated offices worldwide providing financial advice across the globe

Contact

Contact us

For more information on tax and financial planning, contact us on:

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