Every profession has different rules and traditions. It is important to investigate the discourse community and find out how it works before joining a certain profession. I am interested in the discourse community of financial planning. I had a chance to interview a financial planning manager in one of the blue chip companies who has over six years of experience in the field of financial planning. Financial planning is among the fastest growing occupations with the labour department projecting a 27% growth rate between 2012 and 2022. Although, the majority of financial planners are employed in finance and insurance companies, there is also quite a number of those who are self-employed. Furthermore, a major in economics lays a foundation of financial planning career. Before the interview, I expected to find out how the interviewee started his career, what is his education background for the profession, and what skills are required for a successful career as a financial planner. Another objective was to find out the main challenges one should be prepared for in this field. It was worth noting the reading and writing requirements for the profession. In every profession, there is a typical day, as well as duties and responsibilities.
Background & Career Path
I had a chance to interview the person employed at blue chip company that deals with automobiles and has market shares all over the world. The person has been working in the company for the past seven years. He started as a graduate trainee and over the years, he has been promoted to a senior financial officer in charge of one State operation. After the interview, I realized that he was conversant with the career path of a financial planner, as well as knowledgeable of the information I was seeking for.
I always assumed that financial planning was a career that one could join directly out of college, but the interviewee was quick to clarify the assumption. He noted that besides a bachelor’s degree, one also required to be a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). He emphasized that being a financial planner partially depends on relevant education background. In addition, working with a financial planner is vital in gaining the experience required, as well as an opportunity to put the theory learnt in school into practice. According to Toten, a typical career path for financial planners in a large organisation starts from the entry level and pursue certifications required in financial planning (12). An organisation may promote them to para planners or financial planners. Alternatively, one can join a small financial planning company, but after some time, majority opt for self-employment. The interviewee clarified that some financial planners may join a small firm right out of college on an administrative role, as they pursue necessary certification. A firm provides a financial planner with the experience, as well as social network to become an independent financial planner.
Though the interviewee had worked in the medium size company, he noted that he preferred working in the current company. He cited reasons for this; blue chip companies have a clear career path, great job security and a variety of choices due to its presence around the world. The interviewee’s interest developed at a tender age when he used to assist his parents in the family business. He was particularly keen on calculations that his father would compile at the end of the day. His father used to share his business life experiences and give out advice to upcoming businessmen in town. It was satisfying to see people succeed and excel in business after following my father’s advice. The interviewee noted that he was interested to work as a financial planner, since there was a huge job market. One could work in insurance, private and public sector, as well as financial and lending institutions. The projection growth of financial planning is estimated at 27% by 2022. Although there are various business courses that can lead to financial planning career, the interviewee had a Bachelor of Commerce (finance major). As a graduate trainee, he further sought certification in financial planning (CPF).
A degree is important to start off as a financial planner. For a career preparation, a bachelor degree in finance, economics, accounting and other business related courses is fundamental in becoming a successful financial planner. It is equally important for the financial planner to possess right skills besides education and financial skills. Financial planners are required to have a good interpersonal, communication and listening skills, since they work with people a lot. It is essential to have numeracy skills, as well as customer services skills required in the interaction with clients. Moreover, every profession has its own professional ethics which a financial planner is expected to adhere to. In most organizations, financial planners work within a team of other professionals and, in some instances, at the management level. Therefore, it is paramount for financial planners to be a good time manager and be self-motivated. The ability to understand various documents is an important aspect for the financial planners, since they deal with a variety of documents such as wills, financial statements, as well as insurance policies.
Roles & Responsibilities
It is a common practice for financial planners to be self-employed or run their own business. However, there are some who are employed in financial and lending institutions, private companies, investment companies, banks, and insurance companies. In this profession, opportunities are available in small, medium and blue chip companies. Though, most graduates prefer working in blue chip companies due to the glorified advantages – medium size and small companies are good working environments to start a career. The advantages include enormous experience in different tasks and learning platform on how to deal with different clientele.
Financial planners are responsible for providing information and making recommendations to clients on the current market trends. Financial planners require conducting research and preparing financial and business analysis, as well as reports. They also develop financial review templates and forecasts on issues related to revenue, capital expenditure and expenses. The interviewee stated that financial planners may be responsible in designing financial strategies and assist clients in making informed decisions. A financial planner assists clients in creating budgets and setting goals for investment in accumulating wealth.
Financial planners are sometimes known as financial advisors. The interviewee named a few of jobs available for financial planners, such as a bank manager, financial analyst, research financial analyst, personal financial planner and insurance underwriters. Most of the financial planning employers seek candidates with bachelor’s degree in economics, finance, accounting and mathematics. Other financial planners enter in the profession after establishing the right networks and working in related profession, such as auditors, lawyers and other professions offering financial services.
The education required for financial planning career include a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics and accounting. Furthermore, professional certification required in the field of financial planning include the Certified Financial Planner (CFP), the Certified Financial Analyst and the Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC). Sometimes, a strong A-level in a numerate subject, such as mathematics is an advantage in financial planning career. A financial planner required entrepreneurial, interpretation and evaluation skills. The broad and up to date financial information is necessary to give clients an honest advice.
In the field of financial planning, there are changes in regulation. The interviewee observed that regulatory changes require a financial planner to be up to date, hence consume time and energy. The new regulation in most cases requires updated certification that involves examination. Financial planning is a challenging career that requires education, skills and experience from a financial planner. The interviewee created an opportunity to gain insights and information in preparing for my career.
According to Rattiner, financial planners deal directly with clients on behalf of an organization (13). The interaction between financial planners and clients might be verbal or in a writing form. It is important to communicate with clients clearly. I assumed that financial planners deal with numbers, figures and money with minimal interaction with clients. The interviewee explained that one must have negotiation and listening skills that can easily convince clients to invest in a particular venture and follow the leads provided. Financial planners must also be in a position to explain complex ideas and financial information in a layman’s language that people understand easily, as postulated by Toten (153). Financial planners communicate in most cases verbally with clients either face-to-face or over the phone. They also communicate frequently with other co-workers in written form, mainly through emails. The interviewee provide reports on speculation and projection in the automobile industry and give advices what steps the company should take in order to be more profitable.
What surprised me was that financial knowledge, as well as mathematical skills, are not enough in order to be a successful financial planner. Other skills needed include communication and interpersonal skills. The interview gave insight on the interaction with clients, as well as other co-workers. As a profession, financial planners require solid knowledge of financial concepts, and this may take time. It is, therefore, not a profession to join immediately after college. The interviewee suggested that in order to be a successful financial planner, one need to gain experience from someone who have been in the profession for a long period of time. One can work as a junior financial planner or para planner.
It is essential to read financial materials to gain strong analytical and clear perspective of the market. The financial information enables financial planners to give solid advice to clients on investment opportunities. Financial planning requires strong numerate and communication skills. Self-employment is an option in financial planning career. The job market for financial planning is also wide. This interested me to pursue a career in financial planning.
Statement of Consent
Good morning, my name is…………………..I am conducting a discipline investigation on your profession. I am interested in financial planning career, and I hope you are free to engage in the discussion. You are free to withdraw from this discussion at any particular time. The anonymity and confidentiality is guaranteed by using pseudonyms in report writing.
- Why did you decide to work for this company?
- What are the skills and qualifications required for this profession?
- What are the duties and responsibilities of your job?
- How did you get started and why did this type of work interest you?
- What are the reading and writing required in this profession?
- What is the typical career path in this profession?
- What are the main challenges you face in this job?