Meet Ian Cook


Ian Cook

What was your role in the military?

I joined the army straight from school so they did all of my secondary education. Initially I did an apprenticeship as an aircraft technician, but I also qualified as an army physical training instructor and was helicopter co-pilot flying Lynx. I was the youngest sergeant in the army at the time when I was 23. My original corps was the REME, but I was attached to the Army Air Corps in the main, and finally to the Royal Marines and Special Forces. I served a total of 11 years.

Why did becoming a financial adviser appeal to you?

After leaving the army I was a very unhappy recruitment consultant for the first year. My next door neighbour was a director at Zurich Financial Services and encouraged me to become an adviser. I’d always had an interest in financial matters and markets, so it was a natural progression.

How did you become a qualified financial adviser?

I studied for FPC1 (the former financial services starting qualification) on the train whilst I was working as a recruitment consultant, and took the exam off my own back. Santander then took me on and I completed the rest of my training.

What transferable skills were you able to take from the military into being an adviser?

The ability to learn and not to get too flustered when things change rapidly. Also to deal with situations and people calmly when they are irrational. It also helped that I was able to plan and think through a strategy.

What is the most enjoyable part of being a financial adviser?

Having a flexible lifestyle where I control my own diary, giving great advice, and feeling a sense of achievement when I am the ‘go-to’ person, knowing that my opinion and skills are highly valued.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever given a client?

I helped a new client of mine whose daughter had had a liver transplant a few years previously. The client had critical illness cover for children on the policy, but was past the statutory time limits to claim by around two years. Her other financial adviser did not advise her that she could have made a claim. I contacted the product provider and lobbied them to pay the claim. A few months later they paid out £25,000 to my client and she took her children on holiday to Florida and managed to save some extra money. She said she was eternally grateful for what I did.