Technical analyst, Peter Slot joined the First Wealth team in November 2021 and helps to provide technical expertise to the client journey.
Encouraged to change his career path and pursue a role in financial services by his girlfriend (now wife), Peter’s main focus is on helping to improve people’s financial wellbeing and their relationship with money.
We caught up with Peter to find out more about his journey so far, what he has learnt from the Pandemic, and his advice to anyone who wants a career in the financial services profession.
Can you tell us more about your role and what you do?
Although, I am not authorised to give advice, my role includes carrying out research and analysis for our new and existing client’s financial plans, finding solutions to problems, and working out how to explain often complex arrangements in a way that is easy for clients to understand.
You need to have a good level of technical knowledge to be able to do the analysis and research. Because you come across wide and varying problems, you need to have the confidence to go out and research specialist areas and products to be sure you’re finding the best solution to meet client needs.
Claire and I will sit down to discuss the possibilities and work together to decide on the best course of action. Then we put a plan together ready for Claire to present to the client.
What are your specialties?
My primary focus is on supporting Claire in giving people peace of mind around their finances. This is one of the main reasons I wanted to move into the profession.
A lot of the work we do is to help people understand what their financial situation is. We work with clients so that they come away from meetings with a clearer picture of where they are and where they’re going to.
I think a lot of people have anxiety and stress around their finances, regardless of their situation. Hopefully, we leave them feeling a lot calmer and with peace of mind. The question I always keep in the back of my mind is how are we going to explain and present this to the client, so they know they can meet their goals?
One reason people feel a lot of anxiety around money and finances is because they don’t understand the jargon. So, a large part of my role is to translate financial jargon and find ways to turn complex financial topics into easily relatable formats for the client to be able to understand.
What is the most valuable piece of financial advice anyone ever gave you?
Start early and budget.
I don’t remember exactly when I was given this advice. I’m sure it must have been my parents because I’ve done this my entire life.
In my opinion, I think people often delay taking action, particularly with saving and investing, because they think that’s something I’ll do once they’ve established their career, or when they are earning better money.
There are a few problems with this.
The first is that you could be sacrificing many years of compound growth – the earlier you start, the sooner you can start seeing that compound-growth machine working for you.
It’s also about establishing good habits early on in your career and in your earning life. By starting to save early, you may not be earning that much but if you begin a habit of saving even a small amount from your salary, you’ll be making sound progress.
By establishing a savings habit, this will help to protect you from your lifestyle costs creeping up as you start to earn more money, encouraging you to save rather than spend the available cash. By always making sure you’re putting some money away, you’ll never feel like you’re sacrificing anything, simply investing in your future self.
On the other hand, if you put it off and start later, you’re more likely to find that you have to give up certain lifestyle choices in order to make the savings you need to.
Budgets are really important, too. Perhaps it’s a bit more geeky, but a lot of people don’t think about what they’re spending.
Having a budget isn’t necessarily about always sticking to it exactly. But having one means that when you spend over your budget, it triggers your awareness. This helps ensure that you don’t just spend willy-nilly, without thinking about what you’re spending on.
Over the long term, this level of awareness and control can have a really positive benefit on your financial wellbeing and overall wealth.
What is your favourite part of your role?
Feeling like I’ve helped make a difference and made someone feel better about their situation.
If someone’s come to you and they’re looking for financial advice, the chances are it’s because they’re worried about something.
When people come to us, it’s almost always with some level of anxiety or worry. Being able to let them talk things through and give them a bit of coaching helps them step away from that interaction feeling better, which is definitely my favourite part.
First Wealth is a B-Corp and a very innovative, multi-award-winning company. What does the future hold?
First Wealth are constantly looking at ways to move the profession forward and thinking about how we can be doing things differently.
While that doesn’t mean we’re coming up with a new idea every single day, having a culture of constantly thinking about where we can do things better is great.
That First Wealth is also a B-Corp was one of the reasons I decided to join the business.
It isn’t just about maximising the amount of money you’re going to have; we’re going to make sure we’re looking after your financial wellbeing. And we’re also going to consider the impact we’re having on the planet, and on society.
Hopefully, the future will continue in that vein.
Change happens fast at First Wealth. We’re all encouraged to share ideas about how we can improve things and if someone raises something that is important, it’s actioned quickly. It’s amazing how fast things can change, and opportunity can come out of nowhere.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in the financial services profession?
I was in a software sales and management position when I decided to switch careers. So, from my own experience, I would say get stuck in and start learning.
There’s a lot to learn! When I started to think it might be the career I wanted to pursue, I started listening to podcasts and reading websites and books – there’s loads of resources out there that provide really useful information and give you a flavour of the profession.
Sometimes you can think you want to enter a career, but there’s no way of really understanding what it will be like until you start doing it. Whereas I think in financial services, you can get a good picture because there’s so much content out there.
Whilst I was still in my last job, I also started doing my financial exams. I felt that would give me an insight into what the change would entail.
I felt coming into the profession completely fresh, if I could say at the first interview, I don’t have any experience, but I’m about to complete the first exam of my level four qualification that shows that you’re committed. You’ve done it off your own back, you’ve paid for and worked on something. You’ll also have a bit of knowledge to bring to the company before you start.
The other thing I’d say is that all firms are not made equal. So, think about your values and what you want from the company you work for and the people you work with. And make sure you do your research.
What did the pandemic teach you about financial planning?
I think everyone learned that they could do a lot of stuff remotely and that’s good.
Making a financial plan in the good times really helps when the bad times hit.
Having that plan and having the coaching and the right mindset in relation to your money and investments is really important.
When it all starts going wrong, you’re going to panic and feel stressed and that’s definitely not the right time to be having a call and trying to set up a financial plan.
Having a plan and sticking to it and being able to stay calm makes a real difference to people.
What do you think the future of financial planning looks like?
I hope it will become more accessible to a wider variety of people.
At the moment, financial advice is definitely seen as accessible to people with a certain amount of money or income. The reality is that every single person, regardless of how much money they have got, could benefit from financial planning and coaching.
In many ways, the coaching side is even more important because it looks at your relationship with money.
With technology, we’re going to start seeing that the wider market will have more access to good advice, without having to spend vast sums of money. So, I’m hoping that more and more people will gain access to education and financial guidance, and it will be easier to deliver advice and support a larger audience.
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.