My first six months in Financial Services

A new career path

Leo DennisI joined Consilium Asset Management in September 2020 and have now completed my first 6 months with the company.

This has been my first taste of working in the Financial Services industry, and I have learned a great deal. For many years, I knew that my dream was to become a Financial Planner, but due to career progression elsewhere, I had not managed to make the step into the industry until last year.

There are six core exams to pass before one qualifies as a Financial Planner, and I started my journey through these in 2017. Having taken 3 exams before joining Consilium Asset Management, I had a fairly good understanding of the industry and some of the terminology used but zero practical experience.

Even though I was somewhat aware of this before, starting work in Financial Services opened my eyes to how much there is that exams simply cannot teach. And on the contrary, how much is learned from the exams but never used in real life. However, my biggest lesson so far has been how much time and effort is spent making sure that recommendations are suitable, and that the client is receiving the best possible advice. This is fantastic to see, because I know the industry has had a bad reputation in the past due to advisers taking advantage of high commission rates in certain investments.

A family member of mine was a victim of this back in 2012, and this was one factor that drove me to become a Financial Planner with the aim of turning that reputation around.

It seems clear to me that the industry would have looked very different 10 years ago due to vast changes in regulation, but the progression is, without doubt, benefitting the clients. Helping clients understand and feel happier about their finances is the ultimate aim, and that is what will bring me the most joy when I am eventually qualified to give advice.

I have been surprised and impressed with the extent to which modern technology is being utilised to improve the provided service. For example, cash flow planning software can take some basic inputs and then offer fantastic graphics to simulate future financial situations. Financial modelling takes this a step further, helping clients achieve their financial goals. We can stress test the plans against past market scenarios, such as the financial crash back in 2008. I find this an interesting aspect of the role, and it creates a fascinating discussion point as it is easy to assume that assets will continue to grow into perpetuity.

Having waited so long to work in the Financial Planning industry, I can confidently say that it has exceeded all expectations. I have been lucky enough to find a company that shares my passion for giving the best possible outcomes for clients, and the industry as a whole is learning constantly. I hope to become fully qualified in 2021 and am very excited about what my future holds as a Financial Planner.

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