With almost 10 years combined at LIFT-Financial, Edward Backhouse and James Potter have officially graduated the LIFT-Academy and from the 1st February 2022 will be Chartered Financial Planners for LIFT-Financial. Here is more about their journey and why they decided this career was the one for them.
Did you go to university, and what did you study?
James: I graduated from the University of Manchester in 2011 with high hopes for a career in finance. I joined a Chartered Accountancy Practice, which gave me a good grounding in the sector. However, this fired up a real drive towards pursuing a career within financial planning, as this is something I always wanted to do.
Edward: I graduated from Loughborough University in 2016 with a First-Class Economics degree. I worked for Haines Watts Accountants, where I achieved my Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business and then later Nationwide Building Society before turning to a career in financial planning, joining the LIFT-Academy in 2017.
What made you want to go into financial planning?
James: Financial planning has always been a clear passion of mine, and I have always had an interest in managing my personal finances; it felt the right path to pursue a career in something I enjoyed. Putting this into practice through the full advice process and helping clients meet their objectives is highly rewarding, and I can truly say that I enjoy what I do.
Edward: Having studied Economics, I have always had a keen interest in finance. Although I enjoyed my time working in accountancy, I felt more naturally suited to financial planning. I enjoy understanding the needs of the clients, analysing financial data, and helping clients manage their money and achieve their financial objectives.
How did you hear about the LIFT-Academy, and what is it?
James: To make a commitment to pursuing a career within financial planning, I decided to self-fund my way through the financial exams. Whilst studying for the exams, I met LIFT-Financial, which was a perfect fit, as the LIFT-Academy provides full training and exam support to see you through to becoming a financial planner within the firm. At this point, I set my goals for Chartered status and ultimately Fellowship of the PFS, which meant a long road of exams ahead!
Edward: Whilst working at Nationwide Building Society, I was able to get involved in lots of financial planning meetings, but I wanted to work towards becoming a Chartered Financial Planner on a structured training program. I came across the LIFT-Academy, which provided exactly this and set out a tailored personal development plan for me. My rotational placements helped my practical knowledge, whilst the CII exams enriched my theoretical understanding. I was delighted to achieve the status of both Chartered and Fellowship in December 2020.
What does it mean to be Chartered, and why is it so important?
James: Chartered Financial Planner status is a standard of excellence in qualifications, ethics, business practices and professional development. Spending many early mornings and late nights revising for the advanced exams helped me learn my trade, and working alongside the Chartered Financial Planners at LIFT helped me put that knowledge into practice. I believe becoming Chartered shows that I am committed to high professional standards, and clients can be assured that their adviser is highly qualified and capable with technical ability.
Edward: The Chartered status is recognised and respected by clients as a mark of trust and professionalism. I have strived for the status of becoming a Chartered Financial Planner as it demonstrates a commitment to the highest professional standards, including ethics and technical knowledge. Studying for numerous exams whilst helping clients in my day-to-day role really has highlighted the value which clients place with being a Chartered Financial Planner.
What have you enjoyed most about your journey to becoming Chartered Financial Planners?
James: Learning the role and gaining valuable experience across the whole advice process. Most recently, it has been supporting Dan Cockayne, a Chartered Financial Planner at LIFT-Financial. Whilst working with Dan, I have been involved from the initial client meetings right through to delivering the advice. This has put me in good stead whilst I have been taking on my own clients ahead of officially becoming a Chartered Financial Planner on 1st February. I have particularly enjoyed building relationships with our clients, built on trust, and seeing the value our advice provides.
Edward: I have enjoyed the constant learning and development since joining LIFT-Financial, with no two client meetings being the same. The dedicated training program and support from the company has been invaluable. One of the favourite parts of my journey has been getting involved in the client meetings, preparing the recommendations, and helping the clients to implement a plan. Having worked alongside many advisers, I am now enjoying conducting these meetings independently.
I have also been a key driver of the LIFT-Financial Young Professionals Networking Event. This involves contacts from a variety of professions across the North West. We have had several fantastic events featuring professional speakers, and they have provided great opportunities to network with other like-minded individuals.
We are very proud of Ed and James. The commitment to the LIFT-Academy over the years and all their hard work has now paid off. Well done both; we know you are going to make fantastic financial planners.
If you think the LIFT-Academy is something for you, you can find out more here: https://www.lift-financial.com/join-the-lift-academy.php