What was your role in the military?
I was a Marine Engineering Officer and served on HM Ships Mermaid, Ark Royal, London Plymouth and Edinburgh. I also had the privilege of serving in the Royal Navy Schools Presentation Team in 1980 and the experience of being in the direct firing line of The Falklands campaign in 1982.
Why did becoming a financial adviser appeal to you?
I wanted to have my own business dealing directly with the public and have a financial relationship that would last for several years. I wanted to be rewarded for my own personal effort and not rely on the merits of others.
How did you become a qualified financial adviser?
For 12 months prior to leaving the Royal Navy I followed pre contract training. I made appointments and business was supervised by a qualified adviser. I then left the RN in 1992 and joined the Quezal Group which was part of AXA Equity and Law. As an appointed representative of AXA, we had direct training from them.
What transferable skills were you able to take from the military into being an adviser?
- Discipline: Working on your own requires personal discipline to undertake multi-tasking in short timescales.
- Analytical skills: To formulate clients’ personal goals and propose solutions to meet their objectives requires considerable analysis of data extracted from the client’s fact find.
- Social Skills: You need to adapt to people of all levels and interact with them to make them feel comfortable so that a fact finding exercise can be easily undertaken.
Which skills did you need to develop when you became an adviser?
I needed to develop my selling skills so I could not only do business with a client but extract details of referrals so that the business could continue with momentum. This was particularly relevant after the first six months when I had used up all my own ‘hot leads’.
What is the most enjoyable part of your role?
Meeting people in all different situations and being able to help them to buy their house, save for their futures and retirements, and protect their families, is the most rewarding part of the role. To have a relationship with your client spanning several years is the ultimate goal.
What is the best advice you have personally been given?
I was trained by an accountant during my early years as an adviser. He told me that at all times I must:
- act with integrity
- be absolutely honest at all times and admit your mistakes
- clients decide to ‘buy’ from you within 5 -10 minutes of meeting you. It was absolutely essential that I presented myself correctly and introduced my background and the service that I could offer in a concise and professional manner. This meant I had to learn a proper script which I used on every single occasion for the last 23 years. The script was only updated to take into account changes in legislation etc. This has always worked. The introductory presentation was such that the clients never felt they were being sold to or pressurised to buy a product.