In the first of our new series giving an insight into the roles and career paths of our experts, Emily Marland talks about how she became a Financial Planner.
What is your title at Progeny and what does your role entail?
I am a Financial Planner. My aim is to implement financial solutions to help clients achieve their goals and objectives, including pensions, investments and Inheritance Tax planning solutions.
I look after around 100 client households. Over the years I have built a close relationship with my clients and feel a great personal responsibility towards them.
How long have you worked in your field?
I have worked in the financial services industry for over 20 years.
Why did you choose this profession?
I have always been interested in people and thought when younger, a profession in psychology or similar may suit me. However, I wanted to work and earn as soon as I could leave education, so I took my first full time job as an Admin Assistant with Norwich Union (now Aviva) at age 18 and have never looked back!
Have you always known (ie, since childhood, school) this was the area for you or did this develop over time?
When I first started in the industry, I did not know what an ‘IFA’ (Independent Financial Adviser) was, so my career has definitely developed over time.
Tell us a bit about the education and qualifications you need to do your job.
To become a Financial Planner you need the Diploma in Financial Planning, as a minimum. Having left the formal education system relatively early, I have since passed 15 financial planning exams.
I currently hold the following qualifications: Diploma in Financial Planning; Certificate in Financial Planning; Certificate in Life & Pensions.
In addition to the qualifications, what further skills, experience and attributes do you think make for a good financial adviser?
I believe relationships are key, be that with your clients or peers. Honesty and being yourself plays a big part in building and maintaining relationships over the long term.
I continue to learn every day. As areas like regulation or tax rules change, we need to understand how it may affect our clients’ circumstances. I happily admit, now I am in my forties, I listen to BBC Radio 4 regularly, which also helps me to keep up with the world and economics in general.
What other routes through education/experience might people take to reach your role?
Many people come into the industry via graduate roles, however I am happy to say this is not the only way. You can still work your way up by starting in an admin or other similar role, learn about the industry and take the relevant exams.
I am passionate about the next generation having the same or better chances than myself, to further their careers. I wholly expect and support my Personal Assistant, Joanne, to successfully climb the same ladder as me over the next few years!
What advice would you give to anyone wishing to follow in your career footsteps?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Pass your exams to gain a base of knowledge and then shadow and get involved with as many client cases and different advisors as possible.
What do you see as the next steps in your career?
To become a Chartered Financial Planner. I am still studying towards this, with two more exams to go.
Any last words of wisdom you’d like to add?
Preparation is key!