This month saw Connor Flood join the First Wealth team as our newest technical analyst.
Having been a paraplanner for two years, Connor came to First Wealth wanting to be part of our forward-looking and values-based approach. We sat down with him to find out more about his journey to us, his ambitions in the finance profession, and the best financial advice he’s ever received.
Can you tell us more about your role at First Wealth?
I am a Technical Analyst here at First Wealth.
That means, day to day, you can find me compiling research, writing reports, and providing support to our clients. The other Technical Analysts and I also play a role of support for our financial planners. We help them hold client meetings, discuss cashflow planning with clients, and create financial plans based on those clients’ circumstances.
But the most important part of my role is understanding that no two clients are the same, and therefore being flexible with how we approach clients. We are there to listen to their successes, their concerns, and their future goals, tailoring the way we do this to the individual.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
My favourite bit, really, is working directly with clients. I get to help identify clients’ shortfalls (both financially and emotionally) and work to make things easier, less stressful, and watertight for them.
I then get to think freely and creatively to support our financial planners in creating a plan to address each clients’ shortfalls and opportunities.
Tell us about how you came to work at First Wealth. What was your journey?
I left university, and like so many young people, I felt like I was standing at a crossroads when it came to my future.
I have always had in interest in personal finance, and the wider economy in general. And I have always loved speaking with people. So, I thought finance was suited to my soft skills and interests.
Eventually, I found a job in tax. I’m sure no one will be surprised when I say I hated it.
So, with a view to move away from tax, I started my Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning during the COVID-19 lockdowns. I finished all of my exams, and joined a company where I worked in an admin role. I was keen to push myself further and fought to be more involved in the technical side of things, as well as client meetings.
From there, I became a paraplanner (this is what other firms call their Technical Analysts) and racked up more client-facing experience.
I had been in contact with Kerry (our People Operations Director) previously about my interest in joining First Wealth. I wanted to join the team because I believe in their values and wanted to be a part of the firm’s forward-looking approach. But it was about finding the right time to join so I could really fulfil my own ambitions, and help the company grow.
What valuable things did you learn on that journey?
Achieving my Advanced Diploma was a good achievement, but it’s just the start of the journey.
From a knowledge perspective, the journey taught me a lot about the nuances of financial planning – completing exams naturally broadens your knowledge, but taking part in the practical side was just as helpful.
There’s also the soft-skill perspective. Though my goal is to become a fulltime financial planner, speaking to others in the profession made me appreciate that things need to be nailed down first. So, my journey taught me patience. It’s good to be ambitious and use your goals as fuel, but you can’t do everything at once.
It also taught me some things from the human perspective. We all know everyone is different, but knowledge and practice can be a very different thing. It was great to dedicate some time to proactively work out how to tailor my work on a client by client basis to really optimise those human differences.
You mentioned being ambitious; what are your aspirations in finance?
One of the main reasons I joined First Wealth is that I fully believe in our approach to financial planning. It is because of this that I believe that this is the place for me to fine tune the skills and knowledge I have already acquired as well as those I am yet to develop.
First Wealth has a proven track record of progressing talent. And that’s what I want to do: progress.
My aspirations are to transition from the Technical Analyst role to that of a fulltime financial planner role. I want to be the first port of call for clients and build long-term relationships built on trust.
In all of this, what career advice helped you?
This one is simple.
As someone who is very ambitious, always setting the highest standards for myself, it is very easy to move like a steam train. That’s where surrounding yourself with more experienced people is so helpful. They can help you to slow down, look around, see how far you have come already, and recognise that there is still a long way to go. Through all of that, the most important thing you can have is patience.
So, what do you think the future of the financial services holds?
It is hard to say, especially having only been in the profession for two and a half years.
But even in my short time, I can see the industry has become more technically focused whilst retaining the human element. Already the industry has moved away from a transactional approach to a technically informed servicing or coach-like approach.
I would envisage this to continue well into the future, with more people having financial planning needs now than they did before as we start to see some intergenerational wealth transfers.
What’s the best financial advice anyone ever gave you?
There are two things really. First, make your money work for you.
Some say save a little, some say invest, some say buy tangible assets. But there is no right or wrong answer because everyone has different situations with different objectives.
And second, enjoy your wealth while you have it.
Some get caught up on stockpiling or sitting on assets. But life is about living; I don’t want to spend it watching my bank balance creep up.
Finally, do you have any finance book recommendations?
Embarrassingly, I don’t read much.
But I’m trying to, so send any recommendations my way!
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