What was your first job in financial services?
As with many people, I fell into financial services rather than choose it. I answered an advert that simply said, “Maths graduates wanted”. As it turns out it was the height of the pension reviews and there was a lot of work to be done calculating the redress to be paid to those caught up in the FSAVC misselling scandal. I learnt a lot about poor advice and final salary schemes, which saw my progression to a pension transfer specialist adviser.
Describe your current role
My current role is varied and includes reading and interpreting legislation, training staff, writing articles, being a media spokesperson for the firm and keeping the website up to date. My favourite part of the job is talking and presenting to advisers, especially discussing interesting and unusual cases we can try and resolve together.
What is your biggest challenge currently?
The pension reforms and dealing with the detail. There are so many implications on the discussions we are having with advisers and that they are having with clients, and the more announcements that come out, the more complex these become. These are particularly focused around death benefits, which have an immediate impact on all money purchase pension schemes, rather than the other reforms only applicable to those who can access their benefits now.
What has been the highlight of your career to date?
Getting mentions in the Taxation of Pensions Bill committee stage. The first was not an actual reference to myself but to the term Flumps (flexible lump sums), which was coined in an interview about the UFPLS, although it appears they were not as keen on the term as many who have to say it over and over again, such as myself. The second was actually in reference to a statement I made to Money Marketing on the fines people would receive if they did not report having flexibly accessed their benefits. This got a more positive response and an amendment.
What is your career ambition?
I want to make sure the Sipp and Ssas industry thrives and this can only be done through knowledge and understanding in the wider pensions market. We believe technical help is key. We deal with them day in, day out and so want to ensure we can help advisers should they have a complex case they may not have dealt with before.
How would you advise someone starting out in the industry?
Go with the flow. Having a predetermined career path may give you some comfort but when things change you cannot control, it is likely to have happened for a reason. You will be better because of it. At the very least, you will have learnt a lesson.