This Thursday I was offered a permanent contract with Century Financial Planning after my probationary 6 month period, an opportunity I did not wait to seize. Far from my student days of early 11am lectures, a sparse social life consisting of a mere few nights out a week, and summer holidays that apparently never ended. I traded it in for scraping ice off my windscreen first thing in the morning, evenings spent studying in my bedroom and a sudden interest in the two shortest days of the week people refer to as “the weekend”. So why was it I was so happy to put the past behind me and leap at the chance of becoming part of the team at Century Financial Planning and a future in financial planning advice?
I joined Century Financial Planning after a rigorous selection process, responding to an advertisement for a Graduate Scheme in the Windsor & Eton Express in September. From day one I wanted to impress, and despite my science and law academic background, tried to keep up with the industry jargon. This lasted until halfway through day one. By lunchtime I had realised that this was not just a specialised subject, this was an area of about fifteen to twenty specialised subjects, built on a foundation of compliance and client interaction.
My first couple of months were spent learning administrative processes and installing these good habits to ensure no “t” is left uncrossed. This was under the supervision of my colleague Cheryl, her experience proved invaluable as she taught me the importance of executing any administrative task in a logical and logged process. Mistakes do not go unnoticed in a small office. I was taught to get things right first time and to understand what things were before accepting a task from an advisor. But most off all she was using these administrative task’s to give me an insight into what I would be advising myself in a couple of years time.
The vast majority of my days were spent processing mortgage and protection applications as well as answering incoming calls from clients. It was my first real experience in both of these areas. I had done a little mortgage law at university but not the finance side of things. It is very satisfying when a mortgage is offered to a client, enabling them to buy their dream home and the joy this brings.
After a few weeks it was time to start studying again. For every area in financial advice it seems there are at least two exams, and the directors of Century Financial Planning like their staff to do all of them! Suitably too may I add, both have the highest calibre of qualifications amounting to Chartered Status, one of the reasons I was so keen to join the firm in the first place. It gives me great inspiration to glance at the various certificates from the CII awarded to staff members at Century Financial Planning in the board room. Studying to get there though is tough, but done in bite size chunks while on the job experience is a great way to learn. I will be sitting my first exam in June.
One of my favourite experiences so far has to be the investment side of dealings. Clients are able to log in through our website to access information on their investments, with the added benefit of independent financial advice supporting their decisions. From General Investment Accounts to ISAs clients are broadening their investment knowledge and want advice to go with it. I have been to two different seminars presented by Fund Managers, debating economic forecasts and investment strategy at the Williams’ F1 HQ and Mercedes Benz World. Both days left me with a hunger to learn more, and the desire to keep up with economic affairs.
So when asked why I was so keen to sign a permanent contract, I can now say it’s because I have far more questions than when I started, which I want to find out the answer to. With the supervision of a brilliant team here at Century Financial Planning I now know this is where I want to be and thoroughly look forward to a future growing with the firm.