Achieving the CF30 status in September 2017 made me the first female graduate to become a Financial Conduct Authority-authorised independent financial adviser at Mazars, and I have since developed my experience advising a wide range of private clients.
I joined Mazars in 2013 as a graduate trainee, and alongside studying for the Personal Finance Society level 3, 4, and 6 qualifications, I progressed through paraplanning and assistant planner roles.
In May 2018 I was named the overall Birmingham Young Professional of the Year, alongside being named sixth on Accountancy Age’s 35 under 35. Birmingham recognising an IFA as the young professional of the year, alongside established professions of solicitors, accountants, and marketers, is a big step forward in the credibility of our profession in the eyes of the Birmingham professional community.
I will spend the next year as an ambassador for young professionals in Birmingham, and strive to make a real difference to the financial education of my city. It is my aim that every child in the city has access to financial education, and that they leave schools and colleges with as much understanding of budgets, bills and interest rates as they have of history, geography and maths.
Tips for success
Looking back, it wasn’t as easy as I have made it sound, and there were moments when I really struggled with confidence and self-belief. The position I find myself in is due, in part, to my peers and the mentors I surrounded myself with. They encouraged me to keep going and pointed out my strengths when I was struggling to see them myself.
To anyone else that finds themselves in the same position, I would say the following:
1. Learn What Your Strengths Are.
Often referred to as ‘nice’, I always viewed this as implying weakness and fragility. Over time I have learnt to rephrase this. Being ‘nice’ actually means I am empathetic and approachable, important traits when advising individuals during sensitive times.
Take some time to really evaluate where your strengths lie, and how you can use them to your advantage.
2. Be Kind to Yourself.
Take the time to look back and give yourself credit for how far you have come. In today’s fast paced world, it is easy to measure yourself by the goals you have yet to achieve.
However, it is a lot harder to give yourself credit for those goals that have been achieved, no matter how big or small. As well as doing this to yourself, take the time to do this for others. You never know, one day they might be the ones who step in and remind you how far you have come just when you need it.
Ask for help when you are not sure, ask for a mentor, ask to go to that meeting, ask do that terrifying presentation. It is only through experience that we develop, and you will be surprised by the number of people who will be willing to help you if you show you want to better yourself.