Thomas Symss didn’t make the team the first time he applied – but his determination got him through in the end. And we’re delighted to have him on the team. Here, he talks about that unconventional path and his appetite for professional growth.
You’re joining us as a Client Relationship Manager; what about the role appealed to you?
It’s all about building that solid platform.
In a client facing role, I can learn and understand how both the company and the financial planning profession work from the ground up.
There’s also a lot of scope for responsibility and activity. I believe this will provide me with that solid foundation to explore further opportunities down the line, like moving to a Technical Analyst role.
You mentioned building a solid platform, could you tell us what that looks like for you?
It’s hard to define that, I think knowing what that solid platform looks like won’t be fully possible until I have it.
I think it’s about understanding and carrying out all the tasks that we Client Relationship Managers (CRMs) do. Like valuations, and being able to keep a client focus throughout. That’s the ultimate goal of providing good service, so I guess that’s the foundation for the platform.
At the moment, I’m focusing on understanding the needs of our clients and taking valuable time in the beginning to get into the nitty gritty of the detail. Hopefully I’ll progress into a more technical role, where I can use my experience to lead future Client Relationship Managers.
The fact that the team at First Wealth takes this time to get to know each role so closely is what makes our team dynamic so great – there’s an understanding here.
Some might say that you’ve had an unconventional journey to working here. Could you tell us about that?
Thanks! Yes, before I came to First Wealth I was in accountancy. It’s a great grounding but I always knew it wasn’t my long-term plan.
What really changed things for me though, was listening to the Meaningful Money Podcast. It sparked my interest in the advice profession; particularly the episode ‘How to Become a Financial Adviser’.
I’ve always been interested in personal finance – I enjoy budgeting and learning about investments etc. But it wasn’t until that podcast where I heard about what is actually involved in being a financial planner/adviser that I thought: “that’s what I want to do”.
I was halfway through my accountancy qualification when I first reached out to First Wealth and applied. I didn’t quite make it the first time so I stuck out my accountancy qualification – because I’m determined and persistent – and reached out again when I was finally finished. And here I am!
So, I was in touch with First Wealth for a long time before the right opportunity come along. I think that probably made me more passionate about it.
So, in that long period between first contacting First Wealth and actually joining the team, what kept you motivated?
I have a big passion for personal finance. One of my long-term goals is to improve people’s relationships with money. That is what drives my ambition and motivation. I wanted to become a financial adviser and First Wealth was the place for me to do that.
I’d also eventually like to produce YouTube videos to help people with their personal finances, so I just really wanted to join an environment where I’d be able to learn as much as possible for me to start working on that.
During that time, I also wrote a personal finance blog, and I suppose that helped things stay ticking over.
You can find Tom’s thoughts here.
Now you’ve joined the team, what are you most interested in/excited to get going with?
Well first off, I’d love to learn how to survive Barry’s fitness Class – everyone loves them here, but they’re hard!
But seriously, I’m really excited to start seeing first-hand how advisers create tailored financial plans. Something the First Wealth planners are great at is making sure each plan is different and personal to every client, I think this takes real creativity and it’s something I really admire.
You’ve spent some time in multiple professions now – what’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
“Don’t stop giving things a go until you find the thing that is right for you.”
I think there’s sometimes pressure to stick at something even if you know it isn’t right, but that’s just unproductive. It’s better to try things out than get stuck in something that doesn’t give you any purpose.
I suppose that’s how I stayed so motivated in the two years before finally joining the First Wealth team – I gave myself the opportunity to try things out and found what was right for me.
I also heard something on a podcast that said, “think about what you love doing and allocate money towards that”.
That was good advice for me because I realised that you don’t need to cut out the things you love doing, and if you’re lucky and determined enough, you might even be able to turn what you love doing into your job.
Do you have any advice for people who, like you, might want to change professions or redirect their career path?
It’s short and sweet but try and speak to as many people as possible in the profession or field that you’re considering. Really try to understand the details of what’s involved in that job. And from there you can figure out if this thing is a good fit or not.
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