CBCC member interview - Filip Ślipaczek, Senior Partner, Ślipaczek Chartered Financial Planners

On his roots and being a cosmopolitan citizen, his numerous philanthropic activities, family business, ‘the Ślipaczek brand’, how he copes with adversity and so much more…

Please briefly introduce yourself…

I come from a poor working-class background – I was born on a council estate in Winchester, Hampshire to an Irish mother and a Polish father. With my Polish surname, school life in Winchester came with daily bullying but on the other hand, as my sons often remind me, my background made me who I am, a self-made man.

Despite failing elementary education 'the 11 plus', I went to a top UK university to study politics and then obtained a scholarship at the Jagiellonian University of Krakow to learn Polish. In 1981 I returned to the UK, completed graduate management training in retail management, building society and banking management and then moved into financial services. I am a chartered financial planner and also hold chartered designation, by examination, in insurance and banking. I’ve been self-employed for 29 years running my family business. My two sons Alex and Max, also chartered financial planners, now work with me – we look after about 400 clients. In 2019 our new purchased offices were opened by the-then Cabinet Minister Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Theresa Villiers MP, which was really special for someone with my background. Thank G”d the business has prospered but what matters to me most are our philanthropic activities.

Can you say more about these activities?

My guiding belief is that it is not someone else’s responsibility to help others, but all have to help those in need. And we get engaged in many activities. As a business we give away £10-15K a year. In addition, we sponsor Bal Polski, the largest Polish ball and philanthropic event for the Polish community in the UK. We also support local charities in North London as well as a residential care centre in Barnet for elderly people, contribute to food banks and have funded daily food supplies at a Catholic charity in Poland.

I myself am engaged in a lot of other activities as well. In 2014 I was awarded the Silver Cross of Merit by president Komorowski for supporting Polish Jewish relations in the UK and Poland. That was probably the highlight of my life. Moreover, as a patron of Faith Matters, the country’s leading inter faith charity, I have the opportunity to promote an intercommunity dialogue. In addition, I am partially still involved in the Polish Jewish Studies Institute as a media officer.

As I am always up to something, I am currently working on a couple of other projects. For example, I am organising donations of Irish language books to a girl’s school in Ireland in memory of my late mother.

You seem to have a big affiliation to Poland and Ireland.

Yes, because of my parents. When you are told at the age of three you don’t belong to this country, it affects your life. I am who I am, not because of this country, despite this country. My father was a great role model. He survived a Soviet labour camp and served in North Africa and Italy under British command. He told me: “If an Englishman needs one piece of paper/qualification you as a Pole or a foreigner need 10.” Unfortunately, I still see discrimination nowadays which poses obstacles for many. But my philosophy is: if someone puts a barrier up, I just knock it down.

Where does your impeccable and flamboyant dress code come from?

Well, I was a fashion model at the university. But setting that aside, I go to a lot of functions and am worse than a lady: I don’t want to be seen in the same outfit twice. In addition, nowadays, men in particular don’t make much effort when it comes to dressing up but they expect women to make it. It shows a lack of respect.

Do you often go to Poland?

I do. I have a flat in Krakow and a house in the Tatra Mountains where we have had up to 23 Ukrainians living who fled the country. In addition, we as a business funded their food and utilities in Poland and as I am a member of the Rotary Club in London, the Club kindly matched every contribution we made. The Rotary motto “Service before Self” was truly demonstrated. I am a very good networker and I like bringing people together for worthwhile causes.

What’s important to you in life?

I have a very good income but I’m careful with money; I don’t have an ostentatious lifestyle. I care about my health and my wardrobe, and my sons who are everything to me. I feel it’s time for me to give back. I am blessed and lucky that my sons followed in my footsteps. We call it ‘the Ślipaczek brand’ and together we decide where we provide our support.

Do you plan to remain in the UK?

I love living in London – it’s probably the best place in the world, it’s international, and you can be who you like. It’s an amazing place. You don’t feel you don’t belong there. Outside of M25 it can be a different story though.

My DNA is from all over Europe and contains traces of Irish Celts, Vikings, Ashkenazy Jews, Southern European Balkans. My great grandfather originated from Moravia. I am cosmopolitan but 100% European. I don’t belong anywhere but I belong everywhere.

Please define yourself in three words.

Extrovert, approachable, open-hearted.

Last word?

I’ve mainly joined the CBBC for network opportunities when it comes to philanthropic activities. I said I can easily help bring people together, which may be also useful for the CBCC.

I am now trying to organise an event in the House of Commons with Theresa Villiers and representatives from five countries that have supported Ukraine, so Poland, Slovakia, Czechia, Romania, and perhaps Hungary. That’s something CBCC could get involved in.

More information about Ślipaczek Chartered Financial Planners is available here.

By Tereza Urbankova, member of the CBCC Executive Committee

We are looking for more CBCC members to be interviewed! Please email tereza@cbcc.org.uk if you are interested.

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