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Five minutes with…Cathi Harrison

Before she takes to the stage at Money Marketing Interactive, paraplanning champion Harrison takes on advice’s “trying time” and how listening skills can guide us through.

What is the most encouraging advice market trend you are seeing at the moment?

Advisers changing their mindset from being advisers, to being business owners who happen to give financial advice. Not only does this mean more professionalism, it means more robust, long-term business. It also means better client outcomes and advisers embracing things like technology, outsourcing and implementing compliance frameworks – not because they have to, but because they can see sound business logic in it. This shift will escalate in coming years and turn financial services into a true profession.

Who else is speaking at MMI?

What one word or phrase do you think sums up the state of the financial planning profession today?

Trying. Both in the sense of regulation and market conditions making it a very trying time for advisers, but also that all the advisers I speak to and work with are trying so hard to navigate through all of this, to support their clients, to give them piece of mind and to build sustainable profitable businesses. It feels like there’s a huge amount of effort from all angles at the moment, and I think that bodes really well for the future of finance.

What do we need to do to improve financial literacy in the UK?

It simply needs to start earlier. It was hearing about someone receiving an inheritance, when I was 22, that made me question what they would do with that inheritance, and realise I literally had no idea about the world of finance whatsoever.  Not even what an ISA was. Or how a pension worked (despite being in a GPP).

Realising there was this huge gap in my knowledge of something so fundamental is what drove me to begin a career in finance. But I was already 22 and had made some poor financial decisions in life. It’s been said a million times before, but the fundamentals should really be taught in school – as a minimum.

What is the one key skill all aspiring advisers should learn?

It always has been, and always will be, about people, about building their trust, connecting with them to a level that they feel comfortable talking about their money, something that doesn’t come easily to most people.

Having knowledge is important. But listening skills, empathy, and being able to explain the complex in simple terms will always be the mark of a truly great adviser.

Why do you think it is important to attend Money Marketing Interactive?

It’s important to attend Money Marketing Interactive because as we know, with financial services being such a fast-paced profession, events such as this are crucial for knowledge transfer and understanding.

It’s also a fantastic way to meet like-minded people and really be part of a closer community – sharing tips, best practice and overall having fun with others who are in the same industry as yourself.

Cathi is speaking on a panel looking at the paraplanning dilemma and finding the best support for your firm at MMI London. Register for your free place here.

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