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A Foreign Language, Some Ice Cream Money & One Monthly Subscription

I think it’s fair to say that I’m even more excited about my future in the financial services industry today than when I joined it in 2017.

Having worked in retail, recruitment and law there is no industry, in my experience, quite like financial services.

I have to admit it was daunting when I first joined, although I was used to working in an office environment and had plenty of experience in dealing with people, I was starting all over again whenit came to my knowledgebase. There was so much technical jargon that my colleagues might as well have spoken in a foreign language.However, with time and the required studies it didn’t take long before I felt more comfortable.

Coming into the industry I had no preconceptions, especially when considering pre-RDR days, and like law, I recognised financial services as a profession where qualifications are respected and developing deep and meaningful relationships with clients is what the industry was built on. In my opinion, there are very few professions, if any, that trump the relationship between a financial planner and their client.

For me what really separates this industry from the rest is the level of support available. By this I don’t just mean the support from product providers, our professional body, local institutes and employers; I also refer to the support that planners, from different firms, are willing to give each other and there is no better example of this than the NextGen Planners community. I believe this collaborative attitude is helped by the fact that as an industry we want to showcase our increasing professional standards and services to consumers, and we are better off doing this as one united front. Additionally, as there is such a need for financial advice across the UK, individuals that would normally be competing for work in other industries are instead happy to share ideas and best practices.

I can’t talk about my time in the industry with mentioning exams, which have been a big undertaking when trying to balance them with work and two children under the age of three. For me, gaining the diploma was just the start as it became clear early on that progressing onto the advanced exams to become chartered isn’t a choice, but more of an obligation. This hasn’t just benefited my clients and increased my technical ability, but it’s future-proofing my position in the industry. Assuming the regulator doesn’t raise minimum qualifications to advise clients in the future, the wider public and my professional peers are still becoming more aware of the difference between a chartered planner and diploma qualified planner. I also get the feeling that there is an unspoken accountability that planners are starting to place on each other to obtain chartership and the good news is that there are plenty of resources out there to help.

It doesn’t take long when joining the industry to realise how much opportunity there is for an aspiring planner. With a recent statistic stating that six out of ten advisers are due to leave the industry in the next decade the need for financial advice across the UK will increase even more, and this is further exacerbated by the lack of new blood coming into the industry. After falling into financial services I found that I progressed faster in this industry than any other and with that came the financial advances typically attributed with this industry, which pleased my eldest daughter immensely, as according to her the only reason I go to work is to earn ice cream money. More importantly, I’m not far away from having more autonomy over my day to day role. This for me was important as although there may be evening appointments and breakfast meetings to attend I don’t’ want to ask anyone’s permission to attend my daughters’ school play.

Personally, I found the abundance of financial podcasts very useful and the CII Mentorship programme was invaluable as it allowed me the opportunity to connect with a mentor who was willing to help me improve my skillset by sharing his own experiences, yet again being another example of the support planners are willing to give each other. It was my mentor who advised me to join the NextGen community, which has undoubtedly been one of the best decisions I’ve made so far. Typically, when such groups require a monthly subscription I tend to lose interest, but being a part of this community where so many ideas are discussed and shared is priceless (this is not a sponsored ad).

To round off, there are plenty of people that I have to thank for my success so far in this industry. Without sounding arrogant it also took a lot of personal determination and sacrifice to get to where I am now. Most of all I owe the biggest thanks to my fiancée and children for being so supportive and understanding. I’m excited to see what my future in the industry brings, yet at the same time, it’s important to be present as I have a lot of things going on right now to be grateful for.

In the spirit of paying it forward, if you are interested in joining the industry, or are a new joiner, feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

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