Guest Lectures

On Tuesday 10th March students from the University of Gloucestershire undertaking Financial Planning and Wealth Management modules were treated to a golden opportunity. A guest speaker event from esteemed professionals passing on their wealth of knowledge and experience to prospective members of the financial planning industry.

Through the event organised by our module lecturer Clair Vincent we welcomed:

Chartered Institute Insurance (CII) – Vivine Cameron

Openwork –  Laurence Shanks

St James’s Place Wealth Management –  Christopher Catchpole and Paul Matthews

Zurich –  Neil Watson

For two hours we heard about the fantastic opportunity we have as students, how important it is to find a mentor to provide us with professional guidance and support; also, not forgetting the first step towards professional examinations. The University of Gloucestershire has recently added professional exam R01 as part of the level six wealth management module, increasing students’ chances of employment post-graduation. It was clearly evident from the well informed and passionate talks that as future insurance or financial planning professionals we, as individuals, would be supported in our professional development as a member of the CII. With companies such as St James’s Place Wealth Management holding three avenues of employment through either an apprenticeship, a Paraplanner or an adviser role or in a graduate position where candidates are expected to complete the professional exams R01 – R06. Chris and Paul both emphasised the difficulty of full-time employment whilst studying for professional exams.

Vivine went into more detail about the varied types of careers the CII qualification could open you to, from actuarial to underwriting careers. There are so many different choices in which direction you could take that your options would never be limited, holding such a prestigious professional qualification would provide you with a world of opportunities. Mid way through Vivine spoke of the CII Step Forward website where students could register for free membership, where members can gain an advantage with inside knowledge and connections in the industry.

Next, we heard from Neil, an account manager with Zurich who passed on his experience of how he entered into the profession. Explaining it wasn’t originally his first choice, although he could see the true value of how essential financial security was to everyone’s future. Neil also believes that automation of client facing roles will not be threatened as robots lack emotional intelligence, automation would overlook the personal aspect of client needs. Therefore, the sustainability of a career in insurance or financial planning is promising against automation.

Lastly, we heard from Laurence who spoke of the importance of training with the Openwork Academy, a company that provides a unique network supporting each stage towards achieving professional credentials for a successful career as a Financial Adviser.

All guest speakers happily answered questions from students regarding their careers, professional exams and what they enjoy most about their role. It was a very insightful and motivating day. I have benefitted from the event as it has provided me with opportunities I didn’t know of before. I have already registered and activated my free CII Discover membership, providing access to a network with those already in the career I wish to work towards. It is important to learn from people who have already ‘been there, done that and got the t-shirt’ as they can give you real advice and guidance on any questions you may have.

I would like to end by thanking the guest speakers for giving up their free time, the information picked up has been invaluable towards planning for my career.

Jess Morgan

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