Five Minutes with Danielle Sissons

Danielle Sissons, Technical Analyst, and newest addition to the First Wealth team, has had quite the journey. She is a fantastic addition to the team, and we are really excited to welcome her!

We caught up with Danielle to find out more about her role at First Wealth, her journey so far, financial advice, motivators, and more.

Tell us about your journey; why did you join First Wealth?

I have been working in finance for nine years now…

I started straight out of school and have worked my way up over the years, learning all of the roles as I went.

To me, after working in the profession for so long, First Wealth was the loudest in a very crowded market. The values held by First Wealth and its team are strong and clearly valued in every project. It just so happened that these projects, and the values represented in them, related to my passions.

For instance, First Wealth is a committed member of the Women in Finance Charter, and I am passionate about bringing more women into the finance space. First Wealth uses an Evidence Based Investing and ESG approach for clients, and I am also passionate about using evidence to improve personal finances. And, First Wealth’s newest projects (Thrive Money and Open Advice), give me space to work on my passion of increasing the accessibility of professional financial advice and financial education.

Our values clearly aligned.

These are the things I want to achieve during my time in the finance profession; it just made sense to join First Wealth and get started in an environment that wants to achieve the same things.

As a Technical Analyst, what does your role consist of?

There are two sides to the Technical Analyst (TA) role.

First, we provide technical and practical support to the advisers – meaning that we are also a port of call for clients. Second, we give the Client Relationship Managers (CRM’s) support in developing into the TA role – if that’s what they wish to do.

Day to day, though, we innovate solutions to client problems. They shouldn’t need to rely solely on their adviser; with us there, they don’t! If a client has a money team, for example, the TA is the key contact to bring the professionals of that team together.

In short, we work to ensure advisers and clients both have a much more manageable plate.

What are you most passionate about within the finance profession?

Trying to use the profession for good, not just profit.

The TA role is one which gives you a lot of insight into the most sensitive areas of people’s lives. For instance, we can be the first line to flag financial abuse, provide education, or highlight pension and pay gaps. We recognise and try to resolve these intimate areas as best we can.

I am most passionate about using my time as a TA to tackle those issues – about seeing the role as a social position, rather than a sales one.

And what do you think the future of the financial services holds?

I think the future of the financial services has more empathy to it.

It’s already starting to move this way, but we’re likely to get more financial planning firms adopting holistic financial-wellbeing perspectives.

And I think people who are clients now will be clients for the next ten to fifteen years. Because that’s what we are advising on – the long term – not snapshots.

Finance is an old profession with a lot of stigma attached to it; there are a lot of predetermined views of what the financial services looks like. Once the next generation of financial planners come in, there is some potential for real change to be made.

What is the most valuable thing you have learnt about the profession?

That you should never want to stop learning – if you work in this profession, you will always be learning!

You will constantly be forced to keep up with changes and shifts. Not just in the job itself, but in society, biases, and behaviours.

The second you stop learning; you stop bringing value to your clients and your team. That value should be multifaceted – you will never be just one thing for someone – learning facilitates that.

It is also really helpful to learn from your colleagues. We all have different strengths and recognising that can help us all progress.

You’ve been in the profession for nine years now; what career advice has helped you on your journey?

Someone once told me that everyone starts their journey with a long way to go.

So, it’s important to have a plan, but don’t be afraid to be bad at something or get things wrong.

If you don’t accept the inevitability of getting something wrong, you will never do anything new or challenging. And, ultimately, you will never progress.

And what is the best piece of financial advice you have received?

To keep it simple; little things build up.

These are things like:

  • Save first, spend next (put money into your savings account or investments on pay day so that you don’t reach the end of the month and have nothing to save or invest).
  • Don’t tap until your card tells you not to tap anymore. Avoiding your bank balance just makes you anxious. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ should not apply to your finances.
  • And know your five-year plan! This one is an absolute necessity and is something I have been doing since I was fifteen.

What gives you purpose? What motivates you?

Positive impact gives me purpose.

When something I have done positively impacts someone (a client, a colleague, a friend, or family member) it feels good, and it helps me maintain a drive for certain values. That is what gives me purpose.

Lists are what motivate me! I am a sucker for a to do list – seeing my progress physically ticked off – really motivates me to do more. The lists must be bite size, though. They need to break big things down into smaller, more achievable, and measurable ones.

Did our B Corp status factor into your decision to work with us then?

Yes! I think a B Corp certification helps to differentiate between companies willing to go the extra mile to make a difference, and those who say they will but ultimately never do.

There is so much greenwashing at the minute, so it is nice to have something like B Corp certifications to help you know who is dedicated to change.

It is certainly a way for potential employees to decide if their values align with the business they are considering working for.

Can you recommend a financial planning book or resource for us?

I am currently reading ‘The Client-Centred Financial Adviser’.

I would really recommend reading it if you want to join the financial planning profession. It talks a lot about the future of the financial services, including how the client attitude is shifting towards a need for holistic, objective, and intrinsic goal focused planning. There is also a lot about active listening and being present; so, it is often applicable to your personal life as well as work.

Lastly, who inspires you?

My mum. She is incredibly strong.

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.

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