What is your name?
What is your occupation?
Independent Financial Planner
Where do you live?
When did you start your career in finance? How did you get into it?
I began working in finance shortly after graduating (Law & German LLB Hons from Edinburgh University) when I worked as a trainee Investment Manager for a venture capital fund investing in insurance companies in Central Eastern Europe. I found it really exciting to be involved in investment decisions, which required so many factors to be considered – political and economic climate, consumer behaviour, strength of management team, etc. It was then that I realised “finance” is not just maths. It is a multi-disciplinary career and needs a very analytical but human approach. After that I joined the RBS graduate programme and spent the majority of my career in the City with the bank’s Infrastructure and Renewables project finance team.
What would be your biggest piece of advice to someone coming into the financial planning profession?
It sounds corny and it’s a phrase that get bandied around a lot these days but the best advice is to “Know Thyself”. It really helps to be grounded in your own values, but also to have the maturity and empathy that will allow you to put yourself in other’s shoes. It is hard to do this when you are young and just starting out in your career. I didn’t have this outlook when I began working in Banking and I made decisions about my career based on what I felt my idea of success was i.e. making money. A career in financial planning can be so rewarding but it’s a get rich slow career when you are self-employed, so the rewards come from knowing you are helping people to change their lives and reduce their stress levels caused by worry over financial matters.
How would you define your personal mission?
I want to educate and motivate my clients to achieve their personal goals and achieve financial wellbeing. It is my mission that my clients find their “enough”.
How would you define your personal vision?
My vision is that all my clients start to view money differently. That they see it as a means to achieving wellbeing, but to do this they have to let go of some distorted beliefs that they have about money. I want to help them find their Middle Path, a place where they are content with what they have, and that they feel comfortable in using surplus wealth to enrich the lives of others be in through philanthropy or through helping family members because having a significant net worth is pointless unless it has a purpose.
How would you define your personal values?
That’s a tough one. I would have to say that throughout my career I have always had integrity. This has sometimes put me at a disadvantage in the corporate world that is so profit driven. If some things feels wrong you feel it in your gut and I have never been able to do anything that didn’t sit right in my gut.
What is your greatest achievement outside of work?
My children of course. What parent wouldn’t say the same? Being a parent is the most difficult job in the world but also the most rewarding. I am ever conscious that as parents we are our children’s biggest role models and it is a responsibility that I take very seriously. I am by no means perfect, but I tell my children every day that the goal should be improvement and not perfection!
What is the greatest book you have ever read that helped you in your career?
I love anything by Brene Brown – Daring Greatly was inspirational, and if I am allowed to mention a few others I would say that 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and Start With Why are also revolutionary reads.
What is your most valuable asset of being a NextGen Planners member?
I love that it is a group of people you can call on for advice on business matters, technical queries, careers advice, customer issues – anything, and you know you’ll get several honest and helpful answers. We are all working in the same profession but there is no competitive feel to the group, we all have each other’s back and that’s a massive support.