How I Fell Into A Career In Financial Services

Our Technical Administrator, Lauren Thompson, has reflected on how she never imagined a career in financial services would be for her, until she joined Informed Financial Planning (IFP).

Leaving school

I’m going to be honest; I didn’t really know what I wanted to do as a career. Even at sixth form when I got the chance to do work experience, I almost turned it down as I thought ‘financial services is definitely not for me’ but nevertheless, I was offered the opportunity to do work experience at Informed Financial Planning and I remember people asking me what it was that I would be doing… Truth be told it was all very unknown to me. I knew I was going to work for a local independent financial advisers, and I knew the team I would be joining were called paraplanners, but when asked what an adviser or a paraplanner did, I couldn’t answer. In a nutshell, I just didn’t know what the finance industry was all about!

Finance was a subject that was only taught in the last year of Sixth Form at my school, and even then, it was a one hour a fortnight brief overview. I did not know anybody that worked in the finance industry, and it had never really been promoted as a career choice in school.

Work experience

So, when I first went on work experience, I had very little knowledge of a pension, beyond it being somewhere to save for retirement. The concept of there being different types and different choices, was not something I had ever really considered. Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised at what my work experience taught me and I must have had some impact on the team as they asked me to come back after I had finished my A-Levels!

So fast forward to September 2019 and despite the fact that I knew the team and I now had a brief overview of what IFP did, joining the finance industry still seemed very daunting. There were lots of specialist terms and abbreviations, that everyone would use, and it felt like I would never be able to remember the meaning of them all.

Look at me now!

Lo and behold, I am now 15 months down the line and the abbreviations are now something I too use in conversation every day (my friends still have no idea what I’m talking about!). Over the past year and a half, I have expanded my knowledge which has helped me move from my apprenticeship to becoming a permanent member of the team and allowed me to begin to develop my career in financial services, something I’d never thought I would be doing but I wouldn’t change it for the world now! I am excited to see what my next chapter at IFP will bring!

The most useful things that have helped me get to where I am today are:

Going back to the books!
I recently passed my first Financial Services Exam (CF1) and studying for this made me feel more at ease and not as lost. I was able to understand different industry terms and know more about the products that we advise on.

Getting involved in conversation!
Being part of my team’s conversations helped me understand their role and allowed me to join in and give my own input. This has really made me feel like I am part of the team.

Having a supportive team!
At IFP, we are all one big team. There is always someone around to answer questions that I have, even if it is just out of pure curiosity! This was a huge part of me learning more about the process as a whole and the work that our Financial Planners do.

Training our new apprentice!

In October of this year, our new team member Tom joined us! Being able to answer his questions and show him all of the things that I had been shown, opened my eyes to just how much I have learnt over the past year of working at IFP.

I think the main thing I want readers to take from this article is to learn you do not have to back away from things that scare you, just because you don’t know much about them. For school leavers, university leavers, or people looking for a new career, just because you don’t know what an industry involves, doesn’t mean it’s not the right path for you!

If you wish to talk to a member of our team about the best way to get involved in the financial services industry, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected].

Please be aware that we do not currently have any vacancies available, however, you can keep your eyes peeled on our website should any come up in the near future.

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