The History Of Our Founder

Roger O'Shea


Roger was born in November 1946, to Fred and Winifred O’Shea, the younger brother of Maureen and older brother of Angela. Together they lived in an end of terrace house on Sturry Road, Canterbury.

He graduated from Simon Langton Boys School, with teachers believing that he would not achieve much in life. His ambition was to train as a supermarket store manager, unfortunately the interview did not run smoothly and he was unsuccessful. As a result of the setback he interviewed for and was successful in securing a job with insurance company Equity & Law (now part of the giant AXA) at their Canterbury office in Watling Street, just round the corner from his old school.

Through hard work and dedication, he progressed to the role of broker consultant, a position in which he excelled and was soon asked to head up their largest branch in Birmingham. This was not ideal as with a young son Andrew and pregnant wife Claire living in Upstreet, Canterbury he was separated from them from Sunday afternoon to Friday evening every week.

He used this enforced absence productively and identified that the future of financial services lay not in the sale of products but in the advice surrounding the use of them and therefore the Blueprint of Pharon began germinating. With a small family and a new baby on the way, he was in a secure job, with a good salary and thought discretion was the better part of valour and filed his Pharon idea for a later date. Although he registered the company name, just in case.

The long-distance relationship was upsetting for him and his family, therefore he relocated his family from Upstreet near Canterbury to Hollywood near Birmingham so that a better work life balance could be had.

In 1973 his second son Nicholas arrived and shortly after this Equity & Law wished Roger to spearhead a new area which would have resulted in another long-distance relationship with his family.

It was at this point that Roger decided the gamble was now worth taking. Being Canterbury born and bred and where his and Claire’s families lived, he decided that Pharon would have to be based in or around Canterbury. He had remained friends with some Insurance Brokers he used to call on in his Equity & Law role and one in particular was very close and co-incidentally based in Herne Bay.

Roger approached him and discussed the possibility of renting his spare basement room and hiring one of his typists on a part time basis on a Friday morning. The deal was struck and so Pharon was born in 1973.

Pharon began in a rented basement room at 45 William Street and grew to occupy the whole top floor, before expanding again and acquiring their own building at 39 William Street. As more clients placed their faith and trust in the Pharon team, the need for a greater number of staff to provide the level of service clients deserve grew and so in 1994 Pharon moved from William Street, Herne Bay to their Summer Hill, Harbledown address.

Their office was previously known as Odsal House and owned by Southern Water, although on its acquisition Roger renamed it Lawrence House and in so doing kept a childhood promise to his mother that one day he would own that building and name it after her.

From humble beginnings of a man with a dream in a basement room, to a team of 35 people, who are pleased to have the trust of clients to advise on over £700 million of their assets and help them achieve their financials aims and security.