I asked him 10 Questions so he could share some of his youthful wisdom with the FP Advance community.
1. How did you get into financial services?
A friend of mine ran the coffee shop at Axa Wealth’s headquarters in Bristol. He volunteered to hand my CV to the HR manager, as he knew I was looking to start a career and that they were hiring. I successfully completed their interview process and was placed in their IFA telephone support unit.
I quickly progressed internally and within the first 3 months of employment I was working on what became a strong commercial relationship with Barclays Private Bank and HSBC Private Bank.
After a few years, I was headhunted by Metlife, where I worked as a Business Development Manager in London and Buckinghamshire. One of my clients eventually hired me to join their financial planning team, where I became an adviser on the first day of the implementation of the Retail Distribution Review (31 December 2012).
In November 2017, I was invited to join Holland Hahn & Wills, a financial planning practice based in Kingston upon Thames that specialises in retirement planning.
2. Who is your business role model?
Jiro Ono, owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a 10-seat sushi-only restaurant inauspiciously located in a Tokyo subway station.
Despite its humble appearances, it is the first restaurant of its kind to be awarded a prestigious 3-star Michelin review, and sushi lovers from around the globe make the pilgrimage, calling months in advance and shelling out top dollar for a coveted seat at Jiro’s sushi bar.
Jiro is a shokunin – a person who embodies the artisan spirit of the relentless pursuit of perfection through his craft. Considered by many to be the world’s greatest sushi chef, dedicated to the pursuit of constant and never-ending improvement, at the age of ninety-three he still says: “All I want to do is make better sushi.”
You can hear all about Jiro’s story through David Gelb’s incredible movie, “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”.
If you think you’ve dedicated yourself to your craft, watch this movie. Malcolm Gladwell‘s concept of 10,000 hours of practice doesn’t even come close to Jiro’s “lifelong apprenticeship” in his craft.
3. What’s the one thing you’d love to achieve in your career?
I would love to have the best financial planning and wealth management business in Kingston upon Thames, with a great reputation for being stewards of our client’s money.
4. What’s one thing no one reading this will know about you?
I used the phrase “it’s a doggy dogg world” for far too long before I realised what Snoop Dog had done to my vocabulary.
5. Have you ever made a big mistake in your career?
I’ve made many mistakes in my career.
An instance that stands out was when I was interviewing for my first true financial planning role. I was offered the chance to apply for a “junior financial planner” position with a company in London, and I declined it, before even interviewing for the role, as I didn’t think I was a “junior” in our profession any longer.
Why was that a mistake?
Well, today that firm happens to be one of the best financial planning firms in the country.
Good things take time to happen, and whilst I feel that I have found my place in this great profession, more than ever, I believe that I’ll always be a lifelong learner.
6. What do you love about Financial Planning?
I get to spend my time helping people explore, discover and achieve their retirement plans – matching their money to their ideal lifestyle. What could possibly be better than that?
7. What’s one threat to our profession that you genuinely fear?
As a profession we can’t take our eye off the ball, striving to achieve a very high level of public trust. Without this, we simply won’t be able to reach the professional status that we seek in the eyes of the wider community. I’m a firm believer in getting involved with our professional bodies, as every little positive ripple on a local level will help to create a wave around the benefits of seeking financial planning on a national scale.
8. Is there one piece of advice you’d give to younger people considering joining our profession?
Firstly, if you’re reading Brett’s blog, congratulations – you are already taking proactive steps towards achieving a great career in this profession!
At the beginning of your career, it’s tempting to deep-dive into all sorts of weird and wonderful training courses. However, I would suggest that at this stage it’s better to focus on building up your knowledge through professional qualifications. On this front, check out both the CISI’s CFP™ qualification and the CII’s Chartered Financial Planner qualification.
By the time you have completed either (or ideally both) of these qualifications, I would suggest you look into the soft-skills side of our profession, and in my opinion, there is no better place to start than looking at the courses offered by the Kinder Institute of Life Planning. Brett has written about this in his blog before. Do your own research, talk to people who have attended these courses in the past, get yourself booked into one and embrace the fact that we, as a profession, need to double-down on being human. After all, personal finance is as much “personal” as it is “finance”.
9.Favourite movie of all time?
The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain.
10. Excluding spending time with your family, what are your hobbies outside of work?
I’m a keen traveler, I have a passion for world cinema and I can often be found in one of London’s eclectic array of restaurants.