My Journey

Alice showing graph on tablet to a client over tea and biscuits

How I came to be an IFA

I haven't met many Financial Advisers who knew that this was what they had always wanted to do. Like many, my journey to becoming an IFA has involved a few twists and turns.

At school, like many, I didn't really know what I wanted to do "when I grew up". Following my A Levels, I took a year out, initially working for 6 months to save money, then travelling - mainly around Asia and South America. It was an incredible life experience and one I will never forget.

Prior to travelling I had been accepted to study Geography at Manchester University, so upon my return I completed my degree, graduated with a 2:1 and made some lifelong friends along the way. Despite gaining my degree I was still unsure of where this might take me. So having always had an interest in fashion, I decided to do a Masters in International Fashion Retailing and completed the course with distinction.

Following this I worked for a short time in marketing and merchandise but quickly realised that this wasn’t really for me. So, I returned to Nottingham to gather my thoughts and during this time worked "temporarily" at the family business – a small/medium sized IFA firm. It was then that I began to think that I might one day become a financial adviser and take over the business. Days turned into weeks and I decided to stay.

Although having worked at the company almost all of my life, in summer holidays and prior to travelling, I knew very little about financial services and on my first day I still remember one of the Director’s telling me to go and find out what a gilt was! And so began my career.

During my 5 years at the company, I progressed from administrator to Paraplanner to adviser – mainly working in the area of pensions (personal and corporate). During this time I took the Financial Services qualifications including AF3 - the highest pension’s qualification from the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII).

In 2007, the directors (including my father) decided to sell the company and we moved from our beautiful Victorian offices to a modern building in the centre of Nottingham. My dreams of taking over the business had been shattered. As with many take-overs, I didn't feel that I shared the same values as the new company and in 2010, I started looking to move to pastures new away from Nottingham. I applied and was successful for a role with Standard Life as Implementation Manager for their Wrap Platform.

I enjoyed and learnt a lot during my time at Standard Life and had no intention of leaving. However, I was approached by a recruitment consultant looking for individuals for a similar role at Zurich however their platform was yet to be launched. The idea of being able to shape a platform spiked my interest and I started with Zurich in October 2011. The platform launched in 2012 during this time I spent most of my time in Bristol with the developers testing the platform before it went live. It was hard work and lots of fun. After the platform had launched, a new job opportunity arose at Zurich Head Office in Swindon which was again varied and interesting.

I often thought of returning to my roots as an IFA and it was almost now or never. I applied for a role as an IFA in Swindon (having now moved to Highworth) which turned out to be 200m from my home - I started the next chapter in my career with Grosvenor Consultancy Ltd in April 2015 and haven’t looked back