I started in April 2021 as a Client Services Assistant and moved into my current role as a Client Services Executive in July last year.
Did you want to go into finance after university?
No, my main goal at university was to stay in sports—I was cycling competitively and doing a degree in sport and exercise sciences. After racing in Belgium for a season and a half, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic hitting, my goals in life were starting to shift and the training and dedication required to be competitive on the hope of getting a break were becoming less appealing than they previously had been. So, I decided to have a look and see what I could start a career in and would enjoy. I spoke to my uncle’s brother who is a financial advisor, attended some webinars and met lots of great people on LinkedIn. The main attraction of becoming a financial advisor was being able to mix finance and numbers with helping people. As a profession, it seemed more practical and more interesting than just accountancy or corporate banking.
How did you feel about making the change away from cycling?
It was a massive change but looking back now, kind of weirdly, it feels like it relates to the job in a way, because I have an idea of what it must be like for people to retire from their job and the massive change that is as you try and figure out what the next chapter of your life is going to involve. I think a large part of the change was that a large portion of your identity is caught up in what you do or what your goal is: i.e. “I’m a cyclist”. So then, when you’re not focusing on that day in day out, what do you do? Who are you? Before, the pie chart of what I was focusing on in my life would have looked very single-section and cycling-heavy. But now with this job, there are now a lot more sections to myp ie chart, and things are a bit more balanced.
How is your career progressing?
I’ve completed five out of the six exams required to obtain my Level 4 Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning, and just have the R02, Investment Principles and Risk, to study for. I try to do two exams a year, and this one is scheduled for the end of June.
It’s always a choice between going technical or advisory for people at my career stage. I’m working with Kay on the path I’ll take, so I have a lot of support, but I feel that I want to start to develop a few more of the soft skills required to be an advisor one day. I work closely with David Smith, and he is great with the clients and very knowledgeable. I would like to tag along and attend more client meetings with him to learn more about that side of the job. Also, there is a lot of information and advice from groups like NextGen Planners, the CISI and people on LinkedIn, so I
am learning a lot about development and career progression there.
What attracted you to working at Citywide?
I was struck by the emphasis on the style of the advising where the focus is more fully on the client as a person rather than just the numbers. I wanted to work at a firm that valued holistic planning and Citywide was a good match for that.
What is a normal workday like for Matt?
I work closely with and help David directly quite a lot of the time on reports and meeting actions. A typical day involves liaising with clients to make sure their records are updated and doing some of the analysis ahead of the meeting. I try to anticipate all the things required or what might have happened so far this year, so David is prepared. After meetings, I work with the Client Service Assistants Tomos and Megan to get reports written and action points completed.
Maybe this is more of a personal challenge, but managing the workload and prioritising what needs to be done and in what order.
What’s the coolest thing about the job?
We have a good team of people in the office, and there is a nice mix of clients who are genuinely nice. So that’s fun and keeps the work varied.
What do you do outside work?
After cycling, I started doing CrossFit and recently took part in the CrossFit Open. It’s an international competition with hundreds of thousands of participants, each week a workout is revealed on the Thursday evening, and you then have until the following Monday to submit your score. It was my first time doing it, and I managed to sneak inside the top half which I was pleased enough with.
Will you do it again next year?
What is your proudest achievement?
It would have to be qualifying for and racing at the Age Group Triathlon World Champs in Chicago in 2015.
What is your favourite food?
Lamb Biryani, I got a Curry Spice Kit from a company called “Spice Pots” for Christmas and they taste amazing and are super easy to make. The Lamb Biryani has to be my favourite one so far!
What’s the last book you read?
A finance book by George Kinder. He is the one who really ties life planning with financial planning.
What is your favourite film
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