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How I got into financial planning: Advisers share their stories

Every financial adviser will have a unique tale of how they entered the profession. Money Marketing spoke to six financial planning talents to see how each of them rose to the challenge of finding a career in the sector.

Read Money Marketing’s article on how to become a financial adviser. 

Susan Hill, director, Susan Hill Financial Planning

I graduated with an economics degree but was told women were only back office not investment managers, so I joined the Royal Air Force where gender didn’t matter, getting the job done to the best ability was all that mattered. When I finished my short service commission, I realised that I had the confidence and skills to succeed in any male-dominated industry, so I went back to finance, first as an investment manager, and then eventually moving to become a financial adviser.

Claire Phillips, partner, First Wealth

I worked as a civil servant after graduating university then, wanting a new challenge, I saw a job in the internal job bulletin for a new government agency –now The Pensions Regulator – with no qualifications or experience required. I then worked as a transfer analyst. Part of the job spec was that I had to pass G60. I then wanted to work for a fee-based IFA, rather than just stick to pensions.  I worked for various firms and continued to take exams to get chartered and then fellowship.


Petronella West, director, Investment Quorum

I joined financial services when I was only 18 and I had no idea what I wanted to do. I saw an advertisment for mortgage advisers and after only three days training I started giving advice to customers. It’s quite shocking really. No wonder the industry came in for such a rough ride. I am proud to now be double chartered [as an adviser and wealth manager]. The exams are tough though, and it does take a determined individual to get them all done – then you need a good few years of experience in the field.

How to get a foot on the financial planning ladder

Nigel McTearNigel McTear, director, Signpost Financial Planning

My first job was with NatWest as an accelerated trainee back in 1980. I had three jobs working for different life offices. I then worked at Scottish Provident for nine years.  I came through the life office route, which of course doesn’t exist these days. I took every exam known to mankind when I was working for those companies, and I’ve ended up as a fellow of the PFS, the CISI and a chartered and certified adviser.

Jeannie Boyle, executive director, EQ Investors

I started with a small local firm and they had an amazing lady running it who gave me a chance because I had zero experience in anything to do with financial services. I started in a  junior administration role doing valuations. It quickly progressed; I took some exams, and moved to a report writing role. I spent a long time as a technical consultant, heading up the  team at EQ Investors for years. I then decided to go into a client-facing role.

Sam SlomaSam Sloma, managing director, Engage Financial

I started out after finishing playing professional football. I was looking to go in a different direction. A friend of mine was recruiting for a sportsman to be “the face” of London and Capital, a DFM that was starting a sports division. They were looking for an ex-professional of some standing. I said I would be interested as I was prepared to learn and retrain. I started out in a business development role and took the IMC units 1 and 2 and then began my Diploma.



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