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Following our first piece on our 2023 annual award winners, which looks at those who achieved excellence in the risk and compliance categories, this piece looks at three winners in wealth management and financial planning.
They have juggled much in their personal and professional lives to further their careers. One candidate moved from the aviation industry to pursue the paraplanning profession. Another candidate has a full-time role in corporate business finance but is taking our qualifications to further his investing skills. They all made extensive use of our past papers on MyCISI to prepare for what they could expect heading into the exam, as we detail below.
Study tips from the winners
Our level 6 Certificate in Pension Transfers & Planning Advice winner Jessica Rooney MCSI created a 'potential questions' document based on what questions she thought might be asked in each chapter and “relentlessly” asked her colleagues at Hoxton Capital Management to test her, she says. She found that her colleagues’ feedback helped solidify her learning and show her how the theory could be applied in the real world.
Level 3 International Certificate in Wealth & Investment Management winner Wojciech Poznański balanced his full-time role and his family life by setting aside time to study our workbook in the evenings after work and when his children were asleep: “I marked the most important definitions and fragments of the text. I read it a second time focusing only on what I marked and then started doing tests from the book and the ones available online.”
Emmad Hashmi, one of the winners of our level 3 International Introduction to Investment award, engaged in discussions with his colleagues who are also taking the same qualification with us. He says they helped him “understand the crux of the topics” by unpacking the theoretical concepts and clearing up any misconceptions, and that this was “a major help in securing full marks in my exam”.
Read on for more about our winners' career trajectories.
Financial adviser, Hoxton Capital Management
Winner: level 6 Certificate in Pension Transfers & Planning Advice
Jessica changed careers in 2020, leaving her role as a cabin crew member with Emirates Airlines during the pandemic as travel was suspended. Since then, Jessica has progressed, with the help of our qualifications, from paraplanner to pension transfer specialist with Retirement Solution Services alongside her full-time role at Hoxton. However, her career change in 2020 wasn’t her first introduction to the finance sector. Before working for Emirates, she was a bank teller and customer service representative for Permanent TSB in Ireland. “I wanted to re-enter the financial services industry with the aim of becoming a financial planner,” she says.
Jessica thoroughly enjoys her current role full-time role as a financial adviser in Dubai. She has flexibility over where she can be based so she feels lucky that she is able to combine her dream of travelling and financial planning. This is not to say that the transition was without its difficulties. “It was overwhelming to move into a completely different career,” she says.
Furthermore, she immediately noticed the gender disparity when she first entered the paraplanning profession. There were many more male colleagues compared to female, she says, especially in senior positions. However, this has inspired her to aim high and she loves “having the opportunity to continuously grow and learn within the role.” To continue to build her knowledge, Jessica reads trade magazines and attends conferences.
Jessica has witnessed an acceleration in her progression over the past three years after obtaining our certificates. “The qualifications have given me the knowledge and confidence to fulfil my role successfully,” she says. She is currently working towards our level 7 Diploma in Advanced Financial Planning as she plans to become a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional by the year’s end.
Finance controller, Cisco Systems
Winner: level 3 International Certificate in Wealth & Investment Management
Wojciech has been in the financial services sector for over 20 years. Currently, he works in corporate business finance in Krakow but he is also an investor in his spare time, operating mostly on the social investing platform eToro. He started doing this in 2021 because he was “fascinated by the concepts of owning companies and compounding” within investment.
Balancing studying for the exam with his day job and his investing was no easy feat, although he did appreciate the CISI workbook which he says is well structured and provides great examples. He says taking this qualification was “definitely a great refresh in learning more about financial markets and very educational for information around wealth management.”
He graduated with a master’s degree in management and marketing from the AGH University of Science and Technology in 2002, then gained a postgraduate degree in finance and accounting at Krakow University of Economics in 2005. He started his career as a junior financial analyst in 2004 and has worked his way up covering a wealth of financial services roles across multiple industries including food and beverage, telecommunications, and technology.
Wojciech’s dream is to become a finance director in business or sales finance. He plans to achieve our level 4 Certificate in International Advanced Wealth Management to help him in this goal, and looks forward to building generational wealth and securing his retirement fund.
Treasury manager, Habib Bank AG Zurich in Dubai
Winner: level 3 International Introduction to Investment
Emmad has over 17 years of global financial market experience. His day job involves assisting high-net-worth clients on their ever-changing needs, which range from financial product promotion to execution. He specifically deals in equities, global bonds, and derivative products. One challenge in this role is ensuring the advice he gives is compliant with evolving regulations.
He graduated with an MBA in 2005 after earning a BBA in accounting and finance, both from Bahria University in Pakistan. In his current role, Emmad wanted to create a niche for himself in global financial services so he took the level 3 qualification in September 2022 to work his way up in wealth management. He has also taken our level 3 International Certificate in Wealth & Investment Management as a step closer to this pursuit.
Emmad sees the knowledge he has gained from studying with the CISI informing his conversations with current and prospective clients. “The study helps you to identify the intricacies and complexities in investment, and you get to know the smaller technicalities which help to explain a concept in a much more refined way,” he says. He has found that he now applies this knowledge more broadly when responding to client queries and during senior management meetings at work.
His aim, with the help of our qualification, is to achieve a senior executive role in an investment or a fintech advisory firm over the next few years.
Congratulations to all of our award winners for their extraordinary accomplishments.