Matthew Thomas

Matthew Thomas

Matt is the founder and Managing Director of Haven Financial Solutions.

His passion leads the protection side of the business and he shares his time between seeing clients and developing the business.

Having lost his father to an aggressive brain-tumour, Matt sees clearly the huge protection gap in the
UK. He believes that all families and business owners who are reliant upon their own ability to work, to generate the income needed by them and their families, should ensure they have the protection in place to ensure that should something happen they will have the financial support to carry them through difficult times.

Matt lives in Poole with his wife Gemma, their three-year-old daughter and a cat called Rambo. In his spare time (the little he can get with a two-year-old), Matt is often messing around with his cars or, busy getting in trouble with Gemma for returning to the office in the evening.

Matt is well known in the office for his unique singing voice. It’s akin to a cat in pain and it prompted
the immediate purchase of a surround-sound stereo to compete with his erm…. talent.

He is also an active Ambassador for the Dorset Cancer Foundation which is a small Dorset-based
charity that provides financial support to anyone suffering with cancer. The charity fills a void that is not covered by local or national government by providing help to cover costs such as rent or mortgage arrears, food, clothing, and travel costs to cancer treatments. You can find out more at about this charity here.

Richard Bragg

Richard heads up Haven Mortgage Specialists and is responsible for looking after mortgage clients and developing the mortgage side of the business.

Having initially set out on a career in the City where Richard was a stockbroker and in investment banking, he decided to change paths after speaking to his own mortgage adviser. Richard realised that helping people achieve their dreams of property ownership and dealing in a tangible commodity could be more fulfilling.

After a number of years working as a Mortgage & Protection adviser for other firms, Richard met Matt at a mutual friends’ daughters second birthday party(!) Although many advisers do both mortgages and protection, Richard and Matt shared the view that it was very difficult to truly specialise in both, and that each area deserved to be the sole focus of an advisor. Several months later, Haven Financial Solutions was born, and the two departments set up: Haven Mortgage Specialists & Haven Life Insurance Specialists.

Richard likes the fact that no two mortgage cases are the same and enjoys building long-term relationships with his clients that has now seen some of his clients move from being single First Time Buyers to Home Movers with families moving into their forever homes. He still gets a thrill from helping people that previously felt a move was out of their reach and also helping others realise their goals as a property investor or landlord.

Richard originally grew up in Bromley but, having moved to Dorset in 2016, he now splits his time between the Beckenham and the Poole offices.

Away from work, Richard likes spending time with his wife Toni, and their young sons James and Harry. He does his best to keep in some sort of shape (that’s not round) by visiting the gym, although that often ends up being a visit to the sauna instead. Richard likes to make regular trips to the local beaches and also frequents the second largest natural harbour in the world in Poole, where he enjoys boating and water sports.

Michael Greenaway

Mike comes from an investment banking background where he spent 22 years working for various banks in the City, the last being Bank of America Merrill Lynch. It was in the City where he and Richard originally met and became friends. They remained in touch after Richard left to become part of Haven and, when Mike sought a new challenge along with an improved work-life balance, Richard’s enthusiasm for the job and for Haven inspired Mike to accept the offer of joining the team.

Despite it being a bold decision to leave investment banking and pursue a new career in mortgage advice, Mike has never regretted it because the new role provides all the fulfilment and variation that he has craved. Working closely alongside Richard has enabled Mike to tap into Richard’s vast wealth of experience, knowledge, and expertise. No mortgage case is the same, as everyone’s circumstances are individual, and each requires tailored solutions to fit the increasingly complex criteria demanded by lenders. Mike loves the variety this brings and gets immense satisfaction from helping clients achieve their ultimate goal.

Mike lives in Surrey with his fiancé Samantha and their two rescue dogs Buddy and Betty. They can often all be found exploring the beautiful surrounding countryside and pubs. Occasionally, Mike can be seen on his road bike, wearing unflattering Lycra, and out of breath while tackling the infamous Box Hill. Mike also likes to try his hand at DIY and can spend hours locked away in the garage ‘tinkering’ on the latest project. One day there will be enough room amongst all the tools for a project car. Well, that’s the dream anyway…

Rachel Isles

With over 20 years’ experience in financial services, Rachel has recently joined Haven as a personal and business protection specialist.

Rachel worked as a protection specialist for a mortgage firm before joining us. Prior to this she spent many years in the corporate world at Barclays bank.

Having gained a Diploma in Financial Planning, with an impeccable financial services record to match, Rachel’s ethics align perfectly with the team at Haven. She is driven and committed to providing the best advice to her clients. Over the years Rachel has covered all aspects of financial planning and has realised that her passion lies within the protection role

Originally from Yorkshire, Rachel moved with her two boys, now aged 14 & 17, to the South over 20yrs ago (with no regrets!).  She still makes regular trips back to visit family and watch football.

When Rachel isn’t working or a football match with her boys, she is usually on the move somewhere… either running, cycling or booking her next holiday.

As Rachel joined us just as Covid-19 joined the world…we unfortunately (or fortunately) have yet to find out what she is like to live with in the office…watch this space…


Cheri-Lin Johnson

Cheri joined Haven as a Protection Specialist. With many years’ experience in both customer and business facing roles, covering the mortgage, protection and property industry. With a comprehensive understanding of the products and she is passionate about matching people with the best solution.

Cheri lives in Corfe Mullen with her husband Chris and 4yr old son Shaun. They have two beautiful kittens called Cookie and Mocha.

Sadly, Cheri has had both first-hand experience with protection, having had to claim on her own income protection policy following crippling morning sickness, and having witnessed friends pass away from cancer with no life cover in place to look after their families. She has also seen a close family member diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully they had a critical illness policy in place and so received a lump sum payment which then helped them purchase a family house and secure their future.

Cheri loves to be creative and if she’s not spending time with her family, she can be found painting or making a keepsake present for a loved one’s new baby arrivals or children’s birthdays.

At work, we certainly know when Cheri is in the office. We have at times wondered whether Cheri even needs a phone for her clients to hear her.

With an evident passion for what she does, anyone who meets Cheri can tell she has their best interests at heart and will go above and beyond to ensure their loved ones are taken care of.

Pete Thompson

Pete is a professional Will writer and estate planning consultant, specialising in Wills, Trusts and Lasting Powers of Attorney. He is a member of the Society of Will Writers and is studying for the STEP Certificate in Trusts and Estates. Pete is excited to join the Haven team and add to the outstanding level of care and professionalism that Haven offers its clients.

Pete is originally from Suffolk and now lives in Wimborne with his wife and twin daughters, Grace and Lucy. It’s fair to say that having twins was a bit of a shock and Pete may well be much younger than he looks! Following his move to Dorset, Pete trained as a teacher and taught in local secondary and special schools, mostly in pastoral roles.

After 10 years working with some of the most vulnerable and challenging young people in the County, Pete embarked upon a change of career, which saw him move into the family Will Writing business. Talking about what will happen if we loose mental capacity or pass away can be difficult, but we are all aware of how important it is to have the correct advice and plans in place. Pete’s clients have commented that his compassion, sense of humour and supportive approach puts them at ease, making the process of getting their affairs in order as straightforward and stress-free as possible.

Outside of work, Pete is Secretary and 2nd Team Captain of Broadstone Cricket Club. Pete lists his cricketing achievements as only falling over on his own stumps once and narrowly avoiding his bowling being smashed for 100 runs in one match! He also plays squash, golf and loves to take his children camping in the wonderful Dorset countryside.

Pete Thompson

Gemma Thomas

As the business has grown Gemma has joined the firm alongside her husband (Matt) on a part-time basis, to support with some of the finance and operational demands that come with running a growing firm.

Originally from Southampton, Gemma moved to Poole with her family during childhood and has primarily worked in the local travel and leisure industry. Recently attaining level 5 in her HR CIPD (Chartered Institute of Professional Development).

At Haven, Gemma is primarily responsible for managing client fees including invoicing, credit control and commission management. As the business has grown and we are tasked with more client fees to issue and larger commission runs for our introducers, this has become an integral part of keeping the wheels turning and maintaining the fantastic relationships we have all worked so hard to build.

When Gemma isn’t running around after her family, she is usually on the hunt for some shoes or at the hairdressers!

In the office, Gemma is well known for her passion to keep her environment tidy…sometimes a little too enthusiastically…it’s common to lose your drink or stationary half-way through whatever you are doing…only to find it has been tidied away!

Edwina Bawa

Originally from London where she began working life as a Protection advisor, Eddi veered off into the leisure and hospitality industry for a few years before returning to financial services where she assessed mortgage applications with a major high street lender.

Having seen both the lender and advisor side of finance, Eddi now works closely with both at Haven to ensure that client applications are processed efficiently to achieve offers as quickly as possible.

She also works with the compliance department to ensure both our sales and advice processes are consistent and compliant with the financial regulator. Her role ensures that each specialist advisor is able to focus on their area of advice and expertise, minimising time lost on administration and maximising efficiency.

In the office, Eddi keeps the wheels of Haven turning powered by the strongest coffee we have ever tasted. It would sometimes be easier to fill the coffee jar with a spoonful of water than the other way around!

Eddi has been involved in various charity work since she was 14 years old. This has ranged from organising sports tournaments and celebrity events, to offering her complementary therapy services. The charities she gives most of her support to are Julia’s House, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research, and Macmillan.

In her spare time Eddi is an avid follower of American Football, supporting the New York Giants and the Denver Broncos. She also keenly watches Formula One, following Lewis Hamilton and formerly Michael Schumacher and Mario Andretti.

Brady Stead

Brady joined Haven from a background of marketing for a variety of local companies, covering industries from sport to construction. With a solid understanding of social media and other marketing tools, Brady uses his skills to help those businesses and individuals who need a hand with their financial requirements.

Brady completed his Business Degree in Marketing Communications Management in British Columbia, Canada. He holds a dual Canadian-British Citizenship, but after ten seconds of hearing him speak, you will know exactly where he grew up.

Aside from his marketing background, Brady is also a Professional Golfer. He has competed on the PGA Europro Tour, the European Challenge Tour, and recently competed in Final Qualifying for the Open Championship.

Part of what drew Brady to Haven was its charity work in the community. Working for a company who helps those in need is very important to Brady. He has started the #GreenForEveryoneBlue campaign, wearing a Green Ribbon on his hat during golf tournaments to show support for those who suffer from mental illnesses. Brady has also participated in Movember, raising funds for men’s heath, worked in a team as the venue project manager to raise funds for VIDEA, and has volunteered multiple times for charity golf tournaments raising money for cancer research.

Harriet Thomas

Harriet joined the business 3yrs ago (when she was born) and has been involved ever since.

Some say that Harriet is the real boss, and when she isn’t chairing board meetings, she is using her
creativity to improve the office environment…others say she just twirls on the spinny chairs and draws on the walls!

Like most big-shot CEO’s when she isn’t in the office, she is pursuing her dreams. Like Richard Branson, she shares a love of space travel and among her most ambitious projects has been to take “Rambo” the family cat, and her dolly to space (on a rocket made of pillows…obviously!)

As you may expect with so much to do, Harriet is not often in the office. When she does grace us
with her presence, she tends to head straight to the water cooler and works her way through that.
Swiftly followed by trying to make paper aeroplanes out of the shredding pile.

After such a hard day it’s usually straight home (chauffeured of course), to de-stress with a Shaun
the Sheep or Fireman Sam story!

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