Ella Davies joined LIFT-Financial in 2010, achieved Chartered status in 2013 and Fellowship of the PFS the same month. To celebrate Ella achieving 9 years’ service with us we decided to find out a bit more about her.
1. What motivated you to become a Chartered Financial Planner?
I used to work for a building society in the branch, and part of my role was to book appointments for their tied representative who would then advise individuals on investing their money they held on deposit. It didn’t sit right with me as I soon recognised this wasn’t a service we were providing, it was a sales role, and I didn’t feel comfortable referring customers to someone that I knew could only advise on the restricted products on offer, especially to some of our older clients who may have needed more relevant choices.
2. A personal highlight of your career at LIFT?
The first time I told a client they never had to work again, I could physically see a weight being lifted from his shoulders. Many individuals are so used to working that they may not have thoroughly considered what age they can or want to retire.
3. What are your areas of specialism?
Whilst I provide holistic advice, I do specialise in pensions and retirement planning. This is in addition to cash flow planning, as we have a number of clients who use our services for this alone, which is completely unrelated to the level of assets under management
4. What advice would you give to anyone who is just starting their career in financial services?
Work for a firm that you would feel comfortable referring to a friend or family member to. Whilst the financial services sector has become more professional in recent years, some firms are further along with this transition than others. I would advise working for a firm which will support your career progression (through a graduate programme perhaps) and where you can learn the role of a financial planner inside and out.
Also, be prepared to work hard! Long gone are the days where you simply need three exams to become regulated. Today the career of a financial planner is much more in line with other professionals such as a Chartered Accountant or a Solicitor, the training and qualifications, therefore, take a number of years to complete but it is worthwhile in the end.
5. You are a Fellow of the PFS. Are there any other qualifications you are striving towards and/or do you have any other personal development goals?
I am working towards Accredited status with Resolution (A Family Law Association made up of family lawyers and other professionals). This isn’t a quick process though as I need to demonstrate 3 years of appropriate CPD before I am able to actually sit the qualification. I am aiming to complete this in 2021. I am keen to collaborate with other professional services to promote the benefit of holistic financial planning and move the focus away from assets under management in favour of providing bespoke advice in all areas of financial planning.
6. What has been your biggest lesson over the past 9 years here at LIFT?
Not to be complacent. We have a very responsible job dealing with people’s finances and we shouldn’t take this for granted.
7. What do you believe must be done to increase awareness of the benefits of good financial planning?
The key here is education. We need to tell people about the diverse range of services we offer and how engaging with a financial planner early on can really benefit (and protect) your family’s finances.
We must also continue promoting the role of a truly holistic financial planner, promoting the service as a professional one.
8. Changes you want to see in the industry over the next 9 years?
A shift in demographics with more female financial planners joining the industry with a younger, forward-thinking approach being adopted. Rather than the stereotypical demographic of ‘male, pale and stale’ our industry is historically perceived to have…no offence to my male peers!
9. Talk about the challenge women in the industry face.
I was once mistaken for a PA whilst working with one of my male colleagues. It was interesting when the client realised I was a Chartered Financial Planner too and not just there to take the notes. I am proud to work with clients who benefit from the advice of a female adviser. It is also important to me that 50% of the LIFT-Financial Group workforce are females. This gives me confidence that more young women want a career in our industry.
10. What drives you in life?
To keep improving and striving forward. The thought of remaining stagnant in life doesn’t appeal to me.
11. Stuck in a LIFT, which colleague would you choose to help you out?
Colette Noble, our Head of Business Change – she is fierce! And a little pocket rocket!