WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO BE A FINANCIAL ADVISER?
During the early days of my career working for banks and building societies I gained great job satisfaction from being able to make a real difference to a client, either by improving their financial situation or helping them with key life events, like purchasing their first home. I felt passionate about wanting to put clients’ needs first, which naturally led me down the independent route.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST LESSON OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE?
When I joined Hoyl ten years ago my mentor advised me to begin each day by identifying the task I least wanted to do – and complete it first! Some tasks that advisers have to execute are difficult, such as telling a client that his mortgage application has been declined or helping him to deal with sad events, such as death or divorce. It was only a small change to my routine, but has made an enormous difference to the enjoyment of my working day.
WHAT PLANS DO YOU HAVE FOR ADAPTING YOUR BUSINESS MODEL AND WHY?
The key to successfully adapting our business model, while continuing to compete and grow, lies in our willingness to be flexible. The financial marketplace is continuously changing, so it’s vital that we regularly review and adjust our business plan. Several factors need constant consideration: technology (to keep up with innovation); regulatory changes (to remain compliant); and efficiency (to streamline processes while ensuring client outcomes remain our number one priority).
IS THIS A GOOD TIME TO BE A FINANCIAL ADVISER?
With the recent mortgage review and pension reforms, financial advice is more important than ever. The reputation of financial advisers has been marred by the actions of a few in recent years. This is such a shame, but greater transparency of fees and our ability to deliver significantly improved client outcomes will repair our reputation until it ultimately reflects the true value and professionalism we offer.
WHO HAS INSPIRED YOU THE MOST?
Cheesy as it might sound, I admire the passion of Hoyl’s directors, Paul Wreford, Paul Burgess and Mick Ramage, to create a business model that has ethics and morals at its core. Not only does this help to achieve high client satisfaction levels, but our employees are proud to work here.
WHAT ARE YOU READING, LISTENING TO OR GLUED TO ON TV?
My four-year-old granddaughter is learning to read and I wanted to help – an easy task for a level 4 qualified professional I hear you say. Not so! Schools now use phonics – the 44 sounds in the English language – to teach children how to read and write rather than the simple letters of the alphabet, so I’m doing a crash course courtesy of The Phonics Handbook. I don’t get a lot of time to watch TV, but I enjoy a good drama like Happy Valley or Torchwood.
WHAT THREE THINGS DO YOU REQUIRE FROM A PLATFORM?
A good platform will offer many benefits, but the three must-haves for me are the quality of the tools and information available; the breadth of products and functionality; and help and support. Having a dedicated support team has been invaluable in enabling us to seamlessly introduce the Zurich platform into our business model.
HOW DOES IT MAKE YOU FEEL WHEN YOU SEE YOUR ADVICE HAS MADE A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE TO YOUR CLIENTS?
I’m always overjoyed to see the positive effect of my advice, whether it is as basic as creating a budget or sharing the excitement of your first-time buyer clients or the milestone of starting a family. Receiving an email with a picture of a new baby or new house is so rewarding. Such events often result in longstanding relationships that in time become as important as personal friendships.
WHAT’S THE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’D GIVE TO SOMEONE CONSIDERING A CAREER AS A FINANCIAL ADVISER?
Don’t expect to know all the answers from gaining your Diploma. Updating your knowledge is a perpetual necessity to be able to give the best advice. No-one can teach you the insight that comes from the experience of sourcing products and creating solutions to meet clients’ needs.
WOULD YOU DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN?
I’d certainly choose the same career; if anything, I’d start the journey much earlier. You couldn’t study for a degree in financial services when I left school. Many companies, including ours, now offer graduate schemes for those leaving university, so the career path is available from a much earlier age.