Tips from the top: career advice for the young professional

We ask seven inspirational leaders about how to succeed when you’re just starting out 
by Bethan Rees

When starting out on a career in financial services, you may be seeking some tips on how to get ahead from those with more experience. Below, ordered from most recent publication date in The Review, seven successful professionals share their experiences for the road ahead. 
Michael Cole-Fontayn MCSI, chair of the CISI“As early as possible in life, commit to lifelong learning and be relentlessly curious. Try to have a new insight or learn a new fact every day. Our sector is about helping to improve lives through saving and investing. Part of the expectation that our clients will have is that we continue to invest in our own knowledge and professional development.” 

Sir Alan Yarrow Chartered FCSI(Hon), former chair of the CISI and former Lord Mayor of the City of London
“First, be enthusiastic, because if you are enthusiastic, you’re allowed to make mistakes. If you’re a cynic and constantly criticising, people won’t give you a lot of slack. Second, try and find a mentor in an organisation. If you want to progress, having someone who is above you, directing you as to where things are happening in the organisation, gives you a third dimension. Third, talk to senior management and find somebody you have an affinity with who can offer you thoughts and suggestions that you might not have thought of. Last, make sure you take a lot of exercise and are not sitting down all day. Get out there and play some sport.” 
Marshall Bailey OBE, chair of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme 

“Prepare yourself to work really hard. The financial services sector is competitive. Find people that you like, that you find rewarding to be around and that can provide you with the challenges to make you a better person. Look for mentors who want to believe in you and who will give you the chance that you need to break out of the crowd. When you find those people, they will be the most powerful allies and supporters that you can find. Finally, don’t doubt yourself.”

Antony Jenkins
, former chief executive of Barclays and founder of fintech firm 10X Banking 
“Focus on the customer, because at the end of the day, the customer is the person who pays the bills. From a personal and leadership point of view, I always believe that the most important thing is to have an impact and make a difference in the business, but also to do business in a way that is consistent and with a strong sense of integrity.”

Martin Ruskin CFPTM Chartered MCSI, head of business development at Paradigm Norton Financial Planning and chair of the CISI’s Financial Planning Forum Committee
“Find what makes you come alive and pursue that. I believe financial planning can be an incredibly rewarding career, where you have the privilege and responsibility to become intricately involved in the lives of a diverse range of people; they come from every walk of life, often with incredible stories to tell and, because of you and your skills and knowledge, they are able to entrust their financial future – and that of their children – into your hands.” 

Keri Carter CFPTM Chartered MCSI, managing director at Broadway Financial Planning
“Practice what you preach. If you are a financial planner and that’s what you’re telling the clients to do, then make sure you’re doing that yourself as well.”

Gemma Godfrey, CEO of online wealth manager Moola
“Start small and do every little thing that comes your way. You get up at 5am, you [write] stuff no one reads, you hone your media skills, you build a network – which changes because people in media move around a lot – and ten years later, bam! It’s true it takes years to be an overnight success.”

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Published: 22 Mar 2019
  • Training, Competence and Culture
  • The Review
  • Career Development
  • Sir Alan Yarrow
  • Michael Cole-Fontayn
  • mentoring
  • Martin Ruskin
  • Marshall Bailey
  • Keri Carter
  • CISI
  • CFP
  • Antony Jenkins

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