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IFA View: 2013 is a year of change

If you are planning a fresh start or a life-changing career move, now is the time for you to act – 2013 is the Chinese year of the snake that promises profound, dramatic change and major progress

Lisa Winnard Sesame Bankhall 2012

s we flick the calendar over to another year, we often use January as a time for reflection of the past 12 months, the achievements we have made, progress we have seen and those things we have learnt along the way.

For many, the new year is a time to consider a new start and for those all important resolutions! Being an HR director, I am inundated with CVs and letters from those who have come back from the Christmas break and are starting a journey to look for a new start.

This year is also the Chinese year of ‘The Snake’. It is said that the year of the snake is often dramatic and profound, a year of change and a time of major progress.

At a personal level, snake years tend to favour innovation and offer potential in terms of learning and personal growth. Whether by reading or studying, taking up a new skill or setting personal objectives, whatever you decide to do, this is a year for action.

The financial services industry is moving into 2013 in major change mode as a result of the RDR. Many advisers in the industry are now operating with new business models and approaches to charging clients for their advice and, having now passed the RDR deadline, many advisers are looking to the new year to drive their businesses forward in a newly regulated landscape.

Last week, I spent two days at conferences with over 1,000 financial advisers and the mood was that of understanding the new challenges ahead, but that they were moving forward with a sense of optimism for the industry.

For those looking for a future in financial services, it could be said there is no better time to make a career change, with a new approach, and an industry desperate to attract new blood into its succession pipeline. It is certainly worth some serious consideration of making the move in 2013.

This month sees our first cohort of students graduating from the Financial Adviser School. The students, having completed their 18 months of part-time study, are to emerge as qualified financial advisers and I was very proud of the team as they collected their graduation awards.

For many graduating – and indeed, for many of the 60 students still studying through the Financial Adviser School – it has been an opportunity to change career, commence a study programme and gain experience that will result in them becoming a professional financial adviser in the future.

For those who are giving thought to a career in financial services, whether you have that entrepreneurial flair and want to set up your own business, or you are looking to move out of a corporate environment to a more flexible and rewarding career, then the role of the financial adviser is something you may be interested in.

There are plenty of actions you can take to make sure you make an informed decision on the career options you wish to pursue and here are some quick tips to get you started:

  • Consider your existing skills and identify those which are transferable – conduct a skills review on yourself.

  • Research the types of industries and roles in which you are interested, review vacancy adverts and look at the skills they are seeking to understand your gaps.

  • Research, using networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook, businesses and sector groups to find out what is happening in the sector you are interested in.

  • Research and learn about how you can develop new skills and contact your local university or college.

By taking these small initial steps, you can ensure that you progress in the year ahead and take charge of controlling the future of your career. Happy new year!

Lisa Winnard is HR director at Sesame Bankhall Group

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