Kajal Dhingra, Client Relationship Manager (CRM) at First Wealth, specialises in delivering excellent service to our clients and is currently working towards her CII qualification in Financial Planning.
We caught up with Kajal to find out more about her journey so far, what she has learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and her advice to anyone who wants a career in the financial services industry.
Can you tell us more about your role and what you do?
My job involves being in charge of a lot of areas of the business, many of which are ad hoc tasks that support the financial planning team in working with their clients. From confirming letters of authorisation to preparing client meetings to follow up and securing paperwork after the relationship is established, the role is always changing.
I only started three months ago, so my role is getting bigger all the time. There’s a lot to get involved in, such as training, which I’m pursuing right now.
I’m new to financial services, and I’m so happy it has already opened a lot of doors for me. As a CRM, I recognise that my role is important; as a business, we can’t spend budgets and advise properly without everyone doing their part for the bigger picture.
What are your specialities?
I would say my greatest skill is organisation. As a CRM, you have to be very organised. You’ve got to keep on top of things and keep the ball rolling day to day.
There’s a lot of fulfilment found in knowing that my work makes such a huge difference, as I mentioned before. I do feel like having an organised person around is one key thing that everybody needs in a professional space.
Next, what sets me apart is my passion. That’s one of the reasons I got the role in the first place. You can always tell a candidate who’s really good at their job but lacks motivation versus someone who’s maybe not as experienced but has that thirst for knowledge.
I’m proud that that’s what set me apart. For me, passion is about going above and beyond your day-to-day tasks and providing the clients with an unbeatable service. You’ve got to have a real passion for what you do to make it worthwhile.
What is the most valuable piece of financial advice anyone ever gave you?
“Start saving young.”
I feel as if from a young age, we are not always taught about the importance of savings, or how to budget. I’ve learned that the younger you start, the more options you have later on.
I also think that there’s no lower limit on how much you can save – even if it’s £1, that £1 could be the difference between you getting your dream home or not. The little savings can help massively in the long run, so for me, listening to the experts and making small contributions where I can is essential.
What is your favourite part of your role?
One of my favourite things about being a CRM is meeting new clients. I feel that with our clients, we are really getting to know them and helping make their dreams come true. Watching people tick things off their bucket list and achieve their goals – like buying a house they’ve been saving up for over a period of years – is amazing.
One thing that really taught me to appreciate what each client has been through is the impact of Covid-19. We go through highs and lows with each client, including bereavements, illnesses, promotions, and bonuses – we’re with them every step of the way. Getting to know them is a privilege.
First Wealth is a B-Corp and a very innovative, multi-award-winning company. What does the future hold?
First Wealth are always evolving, especially by listening to all voices and implementing change. I’ve already pitched some ideas to the managing directors, who are always looking for ways to make a difference inside and outside of the company.
Especially as a B-Corp, the values the company holds help keep them on track, whether it’s through environmentally friendly initiatives or the way they treat people at work.
We adopt the “be the change you want to see in the world” mentality, and I observe from working in the team that everyone is striving to become better in all areas of our communication, ethics, sustainability, and culture.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in the financial services industry?
For me, seeking out mentorship is a really important step.
By working closely with someone you respect, you are introduced to a wealth of knowledge, opening more doors for you as a young person in the industry.
I feel I am mentored on a smaller scale, in terms of the team I work with who are teaching me how the industry works. Plus, they’ve taught me that networking is one of the most important aspects of working in financial services – there are so many contacts to gain, and each one can bring something to the table.
Through networking, you can learn more about entrepreneurs – what they’re doing, how they’re spending their time, what tips and tricks they use, or even what their goals are.
Finally, it’s important to remember that people are trusting you with their money – so confidence is key. You’ve got to speak the language, develop your soft skills, and add emotional value to the equation.
So, three things: find a mentor, network, and remember that you must be confident.
What did the pandemic teach you about financial planning?
That there’s no right or wrong time to start financial planning.
If there’s anything that Covid showed me, it is that the world really can stop moving for a time. It taught me the importance of, as I said before, saving young – there are always going to be rainy days, so protecting your money is key from an early age.
Another essential lesson Covid brought is the knowledge that if you have a financial foundation, you can be more in control of your future.
The uncertainty of the pandemic meant that we lost some control over how our lives were, but I know I’m in a better position now because I saved carefully for years before. I was living off my savings for some of the pandemic, as I didn’t have a job – and now I’m in this role, I have a renewed sense of why managing my finances carefully is so important.
Ultimately, it reminded me to live life as if there’s no tomorrow. We all lost loved ones, which can help you realise what you really value in life.
What do you think the future of financial planning looks like?
I definitely feel like the future of financial planning will be digital. In my mind, everything will be online, and the audience won’t necessarily be the typical “rich man” that we normally see in financial planning. I feel like taking financial planning digital will introduce a lot more entrepreneurs, and younger people, with fresh ideas and new perspectives on saving.
I get the sense that, when it comes to financial planning, a lot of people think it is only for the super-rich. But actually, financial planning can be making little changes to everyday life that will make a difference down the line.
All in all, I believe there will be a greater focus on people, not just people’s money. We will continue to focus on people’s dreams and goals, and how their money can fund that, rather than putting the “money” conversation first.
This document is marketing material for a retail audience and does not constitute advice or recommendations. Past performance is not a guide to future performance and may not be repeated. The value of investments and the income from them may go down as well as up and investors may not get back the amount originally invested.