What was your first job within financial services?
Mortgage administration. I worked with an entire team of women who used to mother me. I was keen to learn and soon moved to one of the specialist teams, providing support to the managers and the underwriting team, which gave me the confidence to buy my first home with the aid of a low employee mortgage interest rate.
Describe your current role.
I am a retirement and financial planning specialist with expertise in the design, implementation and management of innovative retirement solutions. My aim is to generate the best outcome for pension members. As director of the wealth management division of JLT Employee Benefits and a member of the senior leadership group, I provide recommendations in the strategic development of the business across all divisions. In addition, I manage The Annuity Bureau, one of the UK’s top-four retirement specialists, which is part of JLT Wealth Management.
What is your biggest challenge?
Undoubtedly the profound changes to the retirement market brought about by the 2014 Budget. While it has proved popular with those nearing retirement, there is no certainty the prosperity of pensioners will be enhanced as a result. The new flexibility has presented retirees with even more options, creating a huge need for guidance/advice. Our challenge, as consultants, will be to dovetail the education of pension scheme members while the likes of TPAS and the MAS start to dripfeed this through from as early as age 50. We have responded to this challenge by developing our tailored Road to Retirement service.
What is the highlight of your career to date?
A great source of pride was setting up my own business and becoming an independent financial planner back in 1992, aged 23. Qualifying as a chartered financial planner after a lot of hard work and studying was another one. Finally, becoming director of wealth management for JLT and building a leading retirement service – working with my team in The Annuity Bureau – is my greatest achievement to date.
What is your career ambition?
I work daily with some very influential people in financial services, including Mark Wood, chief executive of JLT Employee Benefits, and Margaret Snowdon, director, who have both been instrumental in developing our industry. I hope likewise to be able to contribute something back.
How would you advise someone starting out in the industry?
Decide which part excites you most then go and work with the key providers to develop your personal skills and confidence in that area. This, coupled with completion of professional qualifications and constant effort to provide the best service and value to your clients, will stand you in good stead.