The first thing I’ll do in the morning is check my diary and start preparing for the customer consultations that have been booked in.
I’ll already know quite a bit about each customer from the details they’ve entered online, but it’s important to be a good listener and not presume anything.
There’s no such thing as a typical enquiry – I’ve spoken with people aged from 18 to 79!
Some haven’t taken advice before as they thought it was too expensive, or they’ve been overlooked by advisers as they had relatively small amounts or money.
To me, that’s unacceptable. I really believe in OpenMoney’s ethos of making financial advice accessible and affordable for all, but only if it’s right for them.
We write everyone who receives advice an individual suitability report, that explains what we have recommended and why.
Some people then want to talk through their recommendation so they’re confident they understand it.
It’s understandable to be cautious and we welcome everyone’s questions. We want them to feel absolutely comfortable with whatever decision they make, which is why we have qualified advisers on hand and don’t charge extra for consultations.
Often, they already have a pension – or more than one – and they want to see if they could get a better deal by transferring their products to us.
There’s then a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes sourcing the information we need from their current providers, reviewing their products and working out whether transferring is in their best interests.
We don’t charge for advice, and there’s no sales targets or financial incentives for me to sell products, so the right outcome for the customer is the only outcome that matters to me.
For example, today I took a call from a self-employed man who was looking to invest, but because he has an unpredictable income, and is in the process of buying a new home, I advised him that investing just wasn’t right for him at this time, which he really appreciated.
Then I spoke to a lady who had taken voluntary redundancy and retired, and she wanted to know what to do with her pension allowance.
We went through her existing products and talked through all the options we could offer her, and she went away with a much better understanding, which was great.
Speaking with customers and knowing that they are grateful for my honesty is rewarding, and it reminds me why I became a financial adviser in the first place.
Getting my Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) Level Four qualification, which is the minimum requirement to be able to issue advice, while also working a full-time job was tough, but the learning never stops in this job.
It’s a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) requirement that all advisers complete 35 hours of continuing professional development every year to maintain and improve your knowledge, and I’m also studying to be a chartered financial adviser.
OpenMoney is still a young business and things are moving very fast.
We’ve recently moved to a very cool, bright, modern office in Manchester city centre, which is really sociable and collaborative, and the team is growing quickly.
Every day we’re discussing ways that we can enhance our proposition and new features we are adding to the website.
When I leave the office on a Friday, I’m already excited about what next week may bring!