Our Compliance Director, Claire Phillips, shares what a typical day is like in her role and gives advice for those aspiring to work in the profession.
How does your day generally start?
No two days are the same, but I usually begin by having a review of my diary to make sure I am prepared for the day ahead and check to see if anything new has been added overnight. Clients can now book their own meetings, so it is important to regularly check what is coming up. From there I prioritise what needs done throughout the day.
I usually have some meetings which are all online now since the pandemic. It is nice to speak with clients in their home environment and sometimes more convenient because if they need data or paperwork, they usually have it nearby. Longer-term I do not think all meetings will continue to be remote, but I think it will be good to have a mix of both in-person and online meetings.
What is a typical day for you?
The joy of the job is that every day is different, and every client is different. Usually, I am connecting with clients across meetings, emails, calls and having initial meetings with new clients.
I also communicate with the team to make sure everyone knows what is going on and ensure that client needs are always met. I am available for any technical queries from the wider team, and I liaise with Best Practice IFA Group (our outsourced compliance support).
As I am on the management team there are often board meetings and other managerial responsibilities like conducting job interviews for potential candidates.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Helping people achieve their lifelong ambition and plan! It is amazing being able to add value to someone’s life and create plans that will benefit a client’s family as well as themselves. When I am helping someone prepare for the future it makes me happy knowing that the work I do can take away stress and worry.
Another highlight is helping people transition from working to enjoying their dream retirement. I enjoy getting clients involved in the process as it helps me to provide the best service possible.
As well as finding the technical aspect of the role interesting, I also like that things constantly change for the better in terms of legislation and the way we work here at First Wealth to always incorporate new things that will create a better experience for clients and achieve better client outcomes.
What made you want to do this job?
I started off as a civil servant for the Child Support Agency and that experience led me to work at Legal and General working in pensions. I enjoyed it but soon realized that I did not want to specialise in pensions, I wanted to learn more about the wider IFA world.
I had a very clear idea of the type of place I wanted to work; even then I knew I wanted to work for a firm that provided financial planning. I couldn’t have lived with myself morally if I worked somewhere that puts a focus on selling services and commission as opposed to providing a full financial planning service to clients.
What advice would you give to someone that wanted to do this job?
It is a combination of experience, self-belief, and doing your exams. Be clear on the type of place that you want to work for because as desperate as you might be for a job it is important to make sure a company is a good fit for you in terms of personality, morals, and work ethic, or else you’re going to end up unhappy.
It is also important to check that the firm you want to work with is dedicated to your development and mentoring you through your career journey.
What job would you be doing if you were not a Compliance Director?
When I was younger, I wanted to be a Human Rights lawyer as it has always been important to me to help people. Or I would like to do something that involved being outdoors like a forest therapist.
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