Every month or so, we’ll share some highlights of what’s been happening in and around Blue Wealth.
This month, meet Naomi, who has joined us as our new trainee paraplanner, hear about Adrian Thorley’s exam success, and find out about Mason Harrison’s promotion to financial planner.
Meet new trainee paraplanner, Naomi Davidson
Naomi is our new trainee paraplanner. Arriving from another firm in Bristol, here she tells us a bit more about what she’s been up to since joining the team at Blue Wealth.
What is your job title and who do you work alongside?
I am a trainee paraplanner and I mostly work alongside Nathan, Sarah, and Mason.
What were you doing before you joined Blue Wealth?
I worked in a similar role for a large financial advice firm called Close Brothers. I was responsible for researching and analysing clients’ existing policies.
I enjoyed the role but missed getting involved in the whole advice process, which I’d done more of in previous roles.
Tell us a bit about your new role.
Day to day, I mostly prepare client files and reports, and anything else that comes up. At the moment, Nathan is training me, so I’m learning a lot every day too.
How was your first day at Blue Wealth?
I was really nervous at first, but I had a really good day. I got a card and some chocolates from everyone, which was a nice surprise.
So far, what do you enjoy most about your new role?
Working with my new colleagues – they’ve been really welcoming and make coming to work enjoyable.
I also like that this role is more involved in the process from start to finish. I love that I have more interaction with clients, especially since my old role was entirely back office.
What are you looking forward to in the coming months?
Getting to know my colleagues better and meeting more of our clients.
I’m also looking forward to continuing with my qualifications and exams. I’m currently working towards my CII diploma, which I’ve part-completed.
Adrian Thorley passed the first stage of CII AF8, advanced retirement income planning
Adrian, one of Blue Wealth’s four financial planners, has recently passed the CII AF8 exam.
Having joined Blue Wealth in September 2019, Adrian looks after a number of clients previously taken care of by Rob (Bowers) and Dan (Britton), to help them make time for other necessary tasks.
Adrian is keen to engage with new clients to help grow the business. This latest qualification focuses on advanced retirement income planning to enhance the skills needed for advising on income planning to those in and approaching retirement.
Here’s what Adrian had to say…
How long have you been working towards this qualification, and did you have to pass other exams to reach this one?
I’m working towards Chartered financial planner status and am now within touching distance.
I started work on this qualification soon after joining Blue Wealth but took my first three CII exams in 1984 – to that extent, the answer to the question is 38 years!
How are you at exams, generally?
I failed the first three exams I took when my career in financial services started. I’d only just left school and wasn’t in the right frame of mind to undertake more study.
Fortunately, since then, my performance has improved considerably, although I have had to re-sit one exam (which I passed second time) and the final coursework I am currently undertaking is also a second attempt.
What was the hardest part of preparing for the exam?
Re-acquainting myself with a much-changed pension landscape, having spent 13 years in the Channel Islands (where things are very different), followed by eight years concentrating solely on protection products as a regional account manager for a product provider.
And the easiest?
The protection-based exam, in which I scored 98%!
How did you prepare for the exam? Do you have a revision technique or are you a natural at learning new stuff?
I’m certainly not a “natural”. I had to make sure that I set time aside to read the texts. At the same time, I also tried to expand my reading into wider relevant publications.
With other demands on my time at work, having the discipline to study was sometimes difficult, but a looming exam date tended to focus the mind.
38 years in financial services does, at least, mean that some things come fairly easily.
What does this qualification mean for you professionally?
Being recognised as a Chartered financial planner will mean a lot to me professionally, as there is no doubt that the qualification is well-regarded.
I hope my qualification will help give Blue Wealth a justified advantage when it comes to attracting new clients. We are very fortunate to have a technical manager who is also Chartered, so the pressure is definitely on.
Are you now working towards another qualification, or are you taking a break before diving into your next challenge?
This will be it for me – at least until the CII does its usual and introduces another level of qualification.
Mason Harrison has been promoted to financial planner
Mason has recently passed his CII J10 exam, a qualification that develops knowledge and understanding of the role of the discretionary investment manager, and the ability to analyse and apply financial information and portfolio management skills.
We caught up with Mason to find out more.
What is your background, can you tell us a bit about your journey to becoming a financial planner?
I joined Blue Wealth in May 2018. I started in a client services coordinator role, supporting advisers and paraplanners in administration tasks and serving as a point of contact for our clients to help answer and re-direct any questions or queries they had.
Soon after joining I was inducted on the NextGen Level 4 training course where I began working towards my diploma to enhance my technical knowledge in the field.
There’s so much information to soak up when beginning a career in financial advice and I was very fortunate to have a great team within Blue Wealth and at NextGen to help me through the process.
After 18 months, I had completed the diploma in regulated financial planning and moved into a paraplanning role. This allowed me to work more closely with the advisers at the firm and manage the back-office tasks for the full client journey, from initial meetings and recommendations all the way through to annual reviews.
As I progressed, I began taking part in client meetings and having more interaction with clients. So, I was able to learn our key principles as a firm. We take a holistic approach, focusing on the lifestyle of our clients and what they want to get out of life, with the investments used as the vehicles that help get them there.
It was this work that made it clear to me that financial planning was the direction I wanted to develop. I felt it was important to continue with my studies and align with Blue Wealth’s Chartered firm status. So, I immediately started working towards achieving my Chartered status.
Fast forward to today and I have completed my last Chartered exam, with results due in July, and have now moved into a full financial planning role.
Do you have a specialist area, or is there a particular aspect of financial planning that you enjoy most?
Without doubt the most enjoyable aspect of financial planning is helping clients understand their current position and what exactly is achievable for them to both build towards and aim for in retirement.
Giving clients the peace of mind that they have the option to retire early, go on that round-the-world trip they have dreamed of, or that they can afford to help their family financially is the best part of lifestyle financial planning.
What do you find most rewarding in your work as a financial planner?
The best things about financial planning are often the simplest.
Seeing the client gain an understanding of their position and having clarity on what the future looks like is massively comforting for everyone that walks through the door.
We get great feedback from the people we work with. Many clients start by saying how pleased they are to have a grip on their financial position and find great satisfaction in knowing everything is now working towards one common objective.
Seeing the weight come off someone’s shoulders is a great part of the work we do.
What’s your main focus right now and what are you most excited about in the coming months?
Much of my career to date has been geared towards financial planning, whether it be building my own knowledge or embedding myself into the culture we set at Blue Wealth.
Everything has been focused on the end goal of helping people take control of their financial affairs. So, I’m really looking forward to meeting new people in a variety of circumstances to help them build towards the lifestyle they want and take away the dark cloud of uncertainty when it comes to planning for their future.
With time, I hope to build long-lasting, strong relationships with clients who are all looking to get the most out of life.
Come and join us for a round of golf at Bristol and Clifton Golf Club
On Thursday 22 September, we are holding a client golf day at Bristol and Clifton Golf Club.
If you’re interested and would like to come along, please get in touch with your planner for more details.
It would be great to see you there.