What was your first job within financial services?
I joined Friends Provident in 1990 and spent six months in Salisbury before moving to its London West End office. I worked with Friends for a year before jumping the metaphorical fence to join a small IFA practice in the City.
Describe your current role.
Multifaceted! I joined FundsNetwork officially in June 2013, having spent six months prior to that working on developing the five-year strategy plan for the business. The role is about delivering the plan, along with my colleagues in the senior team. My responsibilities are very much focused around the adviser businesses who use the platform although not exclusively. I also have responsibility for the fund partner relationships for the UK platform business as a whole, along with our premium customer service team.
What is the biggest challenge in your current role?
Keeping pace with change. Platforms need to ensure they remain focused on the challenges here as well as the opportunities. We continue to make significant investments into the technology and infrastructure to support the business. This will help us manage and deliver future change in a cost-effective and efficient way, supporting our desire to continue delivering innovative products at great prices. The one thing that is certain is that there will be more change, driven not only by regulation but also by consumers themselves, whether advisers or end clients. The world has changed and will continue to do so. The platform world needs to ensure it can keep up.
What is the highlight of your career to date?
Without a doubt the highlight was becoming president of the Personal Finance Society in September 2011. Leading the organisation and membership into the new RDR world was a privilege and an honour. The organisation does so much good for the advice profession. I’m delighted to see it continuing to flourish post-RDR and in particular the attitude of so many advisers who are pushing on with the professionalism agenda and becoming chartered; quite an accolade.
What is your career ambition?
I love what I do. My ambition is to simply keep doing more of it. I am very lucky to be working for such a forward thinking organisation as Fidelity. Its commitment to the future of the advised platform market is unequivocal.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?
Firstly, it’s worth stating I would definitely recommend a career in the industry to my son. Looking back on some of the surveys I have seen over the years, not everyone would agree with me. I hope this is changing, whether as a result of the RDR or in spite of it. My advice to anyone starting out would be trust and believe in yourself, think differently, don’t be afraid to fail, don’t listen to negative people, work your backside off and give something back.