Samuel Kahn resides with his family in Manchester, United Kingdom, where he makes a living running a regulated claims management business. A self-described workaholic and ‘family-holic’, Samuel is also devoutly religious, attending synagogue three times daily. In his spare time, he conducts learning sessions in Jewish studies for local youth and young married couples who face certain challenges in life and require a little extra spiritual leadership and guidance. A community-minded man, Samuel is also well known throughout his neighbourhood for hosting disadvantaged families in his home every Sunday to dispense both counsel and financial aid. In the past, Samuel Kahn has served as a board member and trustee for various schools and charities.
Tell us a little bit about your industry and why you chose to be in it.
My industry is assisting people who have lost money due to the faults of others, specifically financial advisors who were either greedy, misguided, gave wrong advice, or are only interested in their own commission rather than what’s best for the client. The amount of damage done to people’s pensions and lifetime savings is horrendous. In many cases, people’s retirement money has been wiped out. I’ve become quite an expert in this area over the last ten years and have become quite successful, as well. I get a kick out of seeing a vulnerable or elderly person who is living on borrowed money, relying on their family—which is a terrible feeling—who is suddenly able to achieve, from the government pot or from an industry pot, redress or compensation in the tens of thousands of pounds. It’s life changing. We don’t charge up-front fees and we don’t charge for our time, we only charge a result fee. Now the fact that I’ve done very well out of it, out of the commission that I get from the result, simply means that the more I get for the client, the more I earn. But the feeling, the kick, the ecstasy of seeing people receive these payments is more exciting than the money I earn by doing it.
What surprised you the most when you started your career? What lessons did you learn?
The biggest surprise was how trusted people in uniform, be it a banker, a lawyer, men of the clergy—people who children are taught they can trust in business and in life—can act in ways that are unworthy of trust. You find out very quickly it’s not the clothes that maketh the man, contrary to what the famous poet said. The world has become a dog-eat-dog place. There’s so much nastiness out there, and some people are just concerned with satisfying their own ego or grabbing all the money they can. But even if they succeed, they’re not achieving real or long-lasting happiness. Really, they’re just hurting others. So, in response to that, one of the primary lessons I’ve learned is that it’s incredibly important to bear in mind that the other person—no matter who they are or what they’ve done—is a human being, a creation of god, has a family, has feelings, does good things, makes mistakes, and may be better than you and may be worse than you in many different respects.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone starting in your industry?
Have lots of patience. Don’t expect things to happen overnight. Be aware that you’re dealing with people’s life savings and therefore tread very carefully and be extremely respectful because a lot of damage has been done along the way.
If you could change anything about your industry what would it be and why?
I would relax a lot of the data protection rules which I feel stifle business. Whilst I understand that people need to have financial and medical records super protected for obvious reasons, the amount of googling around and finger scrolling that people do, and then they complain when they get followed by cookies—that’s the new world. There used to be a concept of free market. In the olden days when there was a market stall, nobody told the town criers as they were selling their wares what they could say and what they couldn’t say. You were a free person. If you don’t like that stall and the way that guy was shouting and screaming, you moved on. You went home. You walked to the next stall. You did something else. But now that everything is online, it’s much more controllable by the government and by the regulators. That’s stifling a lot of business and stifling opportunities for people. So I think that should be freed up more.
How would your colleagues describe you?
A passionate, learned, gentlemanly, scholarly, kind, caring, thoughtful person who listens very well. A person who’s happy to share.
How do you maintain a solid work/life balance?
I don’t believe there is one. There are plenty of ideals and you can beat yourself up trying to balance work and life, but I recommend just going with the flow and making sure you have priorities and making sure you have time for family and yourself. Don’t let work just completely overwhelm you, otherwise if you’re the type of person who is a workaholic, it will. But to try and actually give a formula… it’s so individual. Everybody’s got to find their own balance. I don’t believe there should be one formula that people should try and follow. We’re not robots.
What is one piece of technology that helps you in your daily routine?
Very good CRM software. Client relationship management software. It enables me to be on top of the business, the clients, the staff, without imposing micromanagement and without people feeling they’re in a police state. At the same time, it still gives me the management information I need at my fingertips.
What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome?
Having patience is a thing I’m still working on. I don’t have patience.
Who has been a role model to you and why?
You’re going to love this: Donald Trump. Now, I’m not signing off on his character or any mistakes he’s made or certain comments any normal person would disagree with. Having given that caveat, he is a serial entrepreneur who has been knocked down many times, either by his own mistakes, or by government, or by banks, or by the market, who has got up and rebuilt his businesses again and again. He’s not shy about saying his feelings even if they are unpopular. He’s not shy about making decisions. He’s not shy about doing what he feels is right. He believes in himself and his convictions. He’s a man of passion. You don’t need to love him or his bad deeds—he’s a human being. But boy, look what he has achieved in his life. For himself, for his families, for the country, and for Israel. He’s not shy. If he wants to achieve something, he’s going for it. That is something to be respected, in my opinion.
What does success look like to you?
The right amount of money, which is a very subjective and individualistic figure depending on the person, with the health and intellect to use it wisely.
What is one piece of advice you would like to leave our readers with?
Never be shy to ask. Be inquisitive. There’s always something new to learn. Never give up.