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Mail on Sunday’s Stephen Womack quits to become IFA

Stephen Womack 200
Stephen Womack

Mail on Sunday personal finance correspondent Stephen Womack is leaving the newspaper to become an IFA.

Womack, who has been with the Mail since 1997, will leave at the end of January to finish his QCF level 4 qualifications.

Womack says: “I have been watching the way the financial advice sector has been developing over the last 15 to 20 years and have seen it becoming increasingly professional and well organised and it looks an attractive place to be.”

Leicester-based Womack says he is looking to join an advice firm but has not yet decided whether that will be as part of a network.

He adds: “I would aspire to be an independent financial adviser as that is what the Mail on Sunday has been a huge supporter of and I would hope that is the sector I will work in.”

Womack hopes to have received his statement of professional standing by the end of next year.

PMI Independent Financial Advisers director John Stewart says: “I think he is going to find a world of difference between his old job and his new one. There is also a big difference between knowing the theory behind financial advice and applying it.”


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There are 22 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. I look forward to reading his blog when he has had to deal with the insanity of this industry after a few months..Maybe he coud knock some sense into the FSA!!!.

  2. He won’t know what’s hit him !!!

  3. Mate, please, please please don’t.

  4. Womack says: “I have been watching the way the financial advice sector has been developing over the last 15 to 20 years and have seen it becoming increasingly professional and well organised and it looks an attractive place to be.”

    Give me some of whatever he’s been taking….???

  5. I don’t know him and don’t wish him any harm but this must be the biggest wind up since April Fools day……
    A person who writes about something ( and expects absolute perfection ) now going to actually do it….sorry…… unbelievable…

  6. john kilburn-toppin 19th November 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Good for him.
    I would( and will) welcome him and provide support.

  7. Getting to QCF Level 4 by proving under exam conditions that you can regurgitate the technicalities and the theory of financial planning will be just the start of your journey, Mr Womack.

    When you see just how much of your revenues are confiscated by the FCA, the FOS, the FSCS (plus one-off additional levies) and the MAS (whose representatives commonly rubbish us as a bunch of over-charging rip-off merchants), you may just wonder if becoming an IFA was such a good idea after all.

  8. I have a degree in economics. I started as an adviser on commission only yellow pages and door knocking. It was tough and I think it was too hard but it made me get a very fast grip on the real world of advise. I have seen guys leave the industry within the first few months because they actually expected people to be ringing up to make an appointment to do a financial plan ( hahaha). One guy burnt all his client bank he was given in the first month- he phoned them all up to introduce himself and make a time to start planning their finances 🙂 🙂 He couldn’t understand why they all declined. When I was given a client bank I got 90% appointment rate – then I would call them again and start sifting the wheat from the chaff. That’s pro selling 🙂 But who knows these newbies maybe right although I tend to think his office will be awfully quite.
    I remember clerical medical went along the professionals (new breed- teachers,lawyers,accountants as advisers) experienced advisers need not apply route and they blew millions. This my friends is a selling game dress it up all you like but it’s still selling.

  9. former bank adviser 20th November 2012 at 11:25 am

    good luck to him. I moved into financial services from another industry 5 years ago. the biggest change was dealing with members of the public. you will find that clients in the real world behave differently to what you would expect, especially when it comes to their own money. having all the qualifications won’t help you deal with a client who says ‘…i could have put that in a bank account and got a better return…’
    i agree that the industry is becoming more professional and rdr is the start of this. paul is right, it is still a sales job because as an adviser you have to identify planning issues with clients and then disturb them enough to act. you won’t get clients calling you for advice, if you do let me know
    good luck

  10. maybe nic cicutti and tony hazel could also become IFAs .

    clients could then rush to thier door and get the perfect advise for next to nothing every time, as they always seem to have the answer for everything,and always knew something was going to be a mis-selling scandal or a bad investment.

    just a thought, thats all.

  11. Anon@5.12
    You had better let him know who you are then.
    I think he needs his head examined. If I could turn back the clock I would do ANYTHING except FS.

  12. Perhaps this shows how our industry is becoming a profession. Those of us who work with accountants and solicitors certainly hope so. Gone are the days when it was a “selling game”. It was always far too serious to be a “game” and it’s about providing an added value service for which we get paid. Not “selling”!

  13. Good for him – the industry needs new blood. If he works hard, accepts that you never stop learning, remains flexible and joins an ethical firm who put their clients first, then I am sure he will do well.

    There are as many things to be positive about in this industry as there are negative.

  14. Timbo, you are plain wrong. All opf us sell – even if we don’t realise it.

    You may sell your advice or your financial planning and sit smugly in your highchair thinking that you are above the rest of the plebs’re not.

    If I didn’t sell protection my cliebts would die leaving widows and orphans destined for the street.

    You ‘professionals’ make me vomit with your puerile attempts to elevate yourselves above the rest of us.

  15. He’s joining at the worst time, the commission boat is about to set sail, no more easy money.

  16. Unless he can drum up some HNW clients using his contacts from the Mail on Sunday I’m afraid he’ll find the reality is much darker than the fantasy. Good luck, but don’t burn your bridges at the newspaper!!!

  17. Good grief there are some smug people on here, and Timbo………….YOU’RE A SALESMAN!!!!!! Get over it!

  18. Would he call his Firm ?? can’t help myself, sorry.

    Womack and Womack

    hopefully no Teardrops for him and he can Celebrate the World.

    sorry mate, good luck.

    its a very strange business and its getting tougher by the day. a healthy dose of cynicism, lots of hard work and the ability to sell concepts are much needed IMHO.

  19. Former bank adviser, please, please, please wake up and smell the beans!

    Having a string of qualifications doesn’t make the industry more professional for goodness sake, I will agree that maintaining and increasing your knowledge is beneficial both personally and to clients, but seriously it isn’t about to make you a brilliant IFA, you get that through experience!

    Most practitioners are small businesses, and small businesses thrive through reputation, otherwise you don’t have a business.

  20. As an Adviser of 24 years I deauthorised for investment biz last month due to being fed up with the whole RDR. Reducing Distribution by Regulation, fiasco.
    Good luck and I am glad to see somebody is optomistic.

  21. So, a respected journalist is seeking to become an IFA, does he realise that the lack of a long stop, the unlimited liability, an ever increasing cost of regulation out of control and PI insurance escalating beyond all reason will probably see him leave the industry with his tail between his legs and unable to earn a living.

    Is he just plain daft or quite mad?

    Anyone who comes into this industry has got to have a screw loose.

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