Written by Robyn Davies 15th August 2014
Robyn Davies has impressively passed a number of financial planning exams already and is well on her way to becoming an independent financial planner.
If I am honest, I was pretty nervous to start my work experience here at Bartholomew Hawkins. I was invited into the office, (my first thoughts before walking in being why is there a massive bowl of chocolate éclairs outside the boardroom?) and was introduced to the team, (thinking I’m not going to remember these names!)
I had no time to stay nervous though as Tracey Daniel (Tracey D), Financial Planning Manager, had organised a thorough timetable for me. I attended a presentation on passive tracking for funds in the boardroom from Vanguard, the second biggest global asset management company.
After that, Tracey D gave me a ‘Treating Customer’s Fairly Analysis’ and ‘Action Plan’ that the company had to produce as part of Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) compliance and to prove that the company is always doing what’s best for the customer. I read through and made notes to give outside guidance from a customer’s point of view.
The next day I was with the Client Relationship Coordinators, Nuala Sutton and Kathryn Tomlinson. It was interesting to see financial planning from this side of the business as they are a key help to the advisers. They handle all the documentation the advisers receive, thoroughly check them and ensure all data and information is stored on the internal system.
I particularly noticed how committed they were to ensuring that everything was done for the client and how professional they were with keeping FCA standards. I also was shown how to create a new investment portfolio for the clients and contacting clients to have permission to update them to this.
In the afternoon I was with Adam Fox, the Business and Finance Manager, which I found interesting to see the business side of the company such as how the company is succeeding and analysis of profits for budgeting for things like marketing. I found out about how the advisers have set targets to meet each month and how, from Adam’s analysis, frequency of business varied throughout the year.
Marketing is an area here which I found out is particularly important to the company. The Marketing Manager, Tracey, is in charge of social media such as daily blogs, writing editorials to advertise in brochures and branding for the company such as a new logo, new business cards an new stationery, to name a few things. I was particularly interested in discussing with her events she has/planning to organise such as charity events, functions, auctions but also we discussed trying to broaden the events to seminars on relevant financial planning issues.
Another part of marketing, which is key, is the fact that Tracey meets with each adviser and comes up with a plan and budget for them to target different areas throughout Wales and the South West to bring in a new client base and to promote the need for professional and suitable advice.
Wednesday was the day I talked with the Mortgages and Protection Specialist, Deborah. I have just passed my exam in Mortgage Advice so this was interesting to see in practice. I found out how the adviser who meets with the clients will bring back client information to Debbie who researches the best options for them and produces a report of her results. I was also shown the different tools used to research these options.
On Thursday I was fortunate enough to leave the office and go to client meetings with one of the advisers, David Hulse. I had the chance to see what I’ve been studying being put into practice in real life situations. There was a wide range of clients and locations as I was in Caerphilly in the morning and Chepstow in the afternoon. It was interesting to see the rapport and trust built up between client and adviser and seeing the starting process of the fact find of the client’s needs and circumstances.
Friday was my last day. I was shown by the Investment Specialist, Chris Jarvis, an overview of the business investment process and strategy. The investment committee researches the best funds available in different sectors and client money is then invested in different amounts depending on their attitude to risk. The business is also moving towards discretionary fund management, where the investment committee will have the authorisation to change the funds and what people are invested in without the need to keep writing to clients the plan and gain consent before a switch.
In the afternoon I was with Craig Bates, the Pension Specialist who specialises in occupational pension schemes and defined benefit pension schemes. He showed me the tools used when researching to calculate whether it would be advantageous to transfer a pension or not. I was also shown the reporting and the minutes documented from phone calls explaining recommendations to clients. It can be a very long and complicated process but I found it interesting investigating the documents and noting the relevant information to shape the final decision, such as personal facts not just figures.
My week at Bartholomew Hawkins has been such a good opportunity and experience for me. I appreciate all the time the team has given me to show me how the whole company works and links together. It is a well organised company with a friendly atmosphere and I thank everyone for making me feel part of the team. I have learned a lot (including the mystery of the éclairs!) and I think this is a business to be proud of.
This article is for information only and does not constitute financial advice. Please contact your usual adviser at Bartholomew Hawkins Chartered Financial Planners if you have any questions relating to your own personal circumstances. Contact details can be found on our Meet the Team page on our website http://www.bhifa.co.uk/meet-team/
The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax advice.
Bartholomew Hawkins Ltd is authorised and registered by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England & Wales No. 5345179