Back to School – Financial Planning at the Career Fair

by Adam on April 11, 2016, no comments

FINANCIAL PLANNING CAREER FAIRBob Dylan once sang “Don’t criticise what you can’t understand”.  This is one reason financial planners and paraplanners have been reading and digesting the recent Budget, to gain understanding of the implications for our clients.

As financial planners we have to know our stuff.

As a client you need the person putting your financial plan together to know the impact of taxes; the ever-changing pension and investing rules and allowances; and which provider is most suitable. You also need your planner to understand YOU; to know the most appropriate solution for your circumstances; to really understand your goals; and ensure the strategy recommended will allow you to sleep well at night. That’s a lot of questions to ask and learning to do.

This was the message I was impressing to students last month when I attended a local school career fair, representing the financial planning profession.

I didn’t have sweets or chocolates on my table like some of the other representatives but I did have a strategically placed £20 note in front of me to attract attention and curiosity and represent working with money. Suffice to say, the strategy worked and I had a steady stream of students to talk with. Once I had their attention I tried to keep it by talking about the ways I have seen financial planning have a positive impact.

After I’d said my piece, the students often wanted to get to the practicalities: what Uni should I go to? Is the studying hard?

The most frequently asked questions were about how to enter the profession, and the exams needed to qualify. I explained that exams certainly are important to start, but even the most qualified adviser needs to keep up with the latest innovations and planning opportunities that come around each year.

With Pension Freedom announcements last April, the surprise Summer Budget last July, the Autumn Statement last November, and most recently the Budget this March, we’ve certainly been kept on our toes as financial planners.

But this should come as no surprise because as this new season of spring (and Bob Dylan) reminds us, the times, they are a-changin’.

*******************************


Can you add anything to this? Be sure to join the discussion by leaving a comment below this post.

*******************************
Adam

This post was written by Adam, a Financial Services Apprentice (and aspiring financial planner) based in York, UK. Read more here. To follow his progress just put your name and email in the boxes below and join the Financial Planning Academy




Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning Achieved

by Adam on July 5, 2015, no comments

I did it.

I achieved a pass in my final exam, R06 Financial Planning Practices, so I have been awarded my Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning!

R06 Pass

How Long Does It Take To Achieve Diploma?

When I first heard about the Diploma I was told it could be achieved in as quick as 9 months. In fact, a reader of this site managed to do the full diploma in 6 months. My plan was to get the exams done within a year. My journey took a little longer, passing R01 in summer 2013, and sitting and passing the final exam R06 in April 2015, just a couple of months shy of the 2 year mark.

Here’s how it went down.

R01 – Financial services, regulation & ethics

This module is to develop knowledge and understanding of the financial services industry, including regulation, legislation and the Code of Ethics. I was new to financial services when I began reading the text book, and treated the exam as a big quiz. It was all new information and I simply concentrated on recall of legislation and facts. I managed to pass the exam with just reading the book, no revision aids or extra study. Give yourself a month of evenings reading through the book and you’ll be in the same position as I was when I passed the exam first time.

R02 – Investment principles and risk

This module is to develop knowledge and understanding of investment products and the application of the investment advice process. At first glance the textbook is intimidating, as it has quite a few formulae and mathematical concepts to get your head around. It’s not too difficult though – it certainly does not require any better competency in maths than GCSE level. I had worked in a quantitative field in my previous career but I wouldn’t say I’m particularly gifted at maths. I still managed to pass this exam on my first attempt by learning the formulae and, as in R01, learning the facts by rote. Give yourself a little more time to prepare compared with R01. I gave myself a month off in July, and then revised in August and September before feeling ready to give the exam a go. The consensus online says this is the hardest exam of the R0s but I found the subject matter interesting so perhaps my enthusiasm for the content made studying easier and got me over the line.

R03 – Personal taxation

This module is deceptively difficult. It’s only 10 credits towards the Diploma, but don’t let that fool you – you will need to prepare for this exam, just as hard as you would have done for R02. In my case I needed to prepare more. The textbook is written to inform exam candidates about the UK taxation system, and give readers the ability to analyse the taxation treatment of individuals and trusts during the investment advice process.

So a lot to cover.

Unsurprisingly, the book is almost as long as R02, despite being worth only half the credits, and also includes formulae and calculations. This is the exam that took me off course for getting the Diploma within a year, which was my original time-scale. Failing an exam is disheartening and deciding when to go in for a resit is challenging. On reflection I went in for the resit too soon, without giving myself time to review the module content again to fix the holes in my understanding. I was worried about leaving it too long and forgetting all the facts I had built up in my short-term memory. Certainly I don’t recommend leaving it too long though…if you find yourself stuck on an exam for several months, the act of revising can become torturous and the content starts to become boring (if it wasn’t boring to begin with!). Working to get this exam passed tested my resolve but also made me more sure than ever that this path was what I wanted, and I got there in the end. Allow at least 2 months of evenings to study. In my case I was reading, learning, and revising this content for 6 months, and paid for tutoring when I needed specific answers. If you’re working in a financial planning firm you can always ask your colleagues!

R04 – Pensions and retirement planning

Another 10 credit module, this exam tests knowledge and understanding of and ability to analyse pension and retirement planning issues. After the full-on R02 and R03 experiences, this module seemed much easier, and the textbook was an interesting read, too. As with all the exams, revision should still be treated seriously. I ordered the R04 textbook whilst still stuck on R03 to maintain momentum.

The CII recommends the modules are done in order because they build on one another. Having listened to their advice, I don’t think others need to necessarily!  Certain concepts do link well together – pensions are simply a tax-planning strategy so R03 and and R04 do complement one another, but if you’d like to mix it up for any reason, perhaps so you can have a study-buddy in the office, then doing the exams in a different order shouldn’t be a handicap.

It was around the time of sitting R04 that I finally found a financial planning business to join, to learn the practical side of financial planning. Having 50% of the qualification when I was interviewing made me a stronger candidate, but I admit I’m jealous of those who were already working in a financial planning practice before beginning on the journey. As I was self-employed at the time, my studying impacted on the amount of time I could commit to earning money, and the exams and learning resources were also expensive. If your employer wants you to do exams and are funding them, be grateful!

R05 – Protection

I felt I was on the final straight. After passing R04 in the summer of 2014, and an entry-level role in a financial planning business, my new employer wanted me to concentrate on settling into my new role rather than exams. But I was still set on getting my diploma. The next module on insurance is a popular one to do 2nd after R01 and it’s easier than the rest – it is a ‘Certificate’ level unit rather than Diploma level, but its 10 credits still counts towards the Diploma. What makes it easier is there are no multi-response questions, unlike modules R01-R04, which each have a difficult set of multi-response questions towards the end. Multi-response questions are difficult because there’s no room for guessing. Out of 5 responses, you could be sure that 2 of them are relevant to the question, but if you don’t know if each of the 5 is true or false, then one incorrect answer could result in getting the whole question wrong. Thankfully in R05 there is only one correct answer for each question and this made the exam seem like a breeze.

R06 – Financial Planning

The first 5 R0 exams are computer based, selecting answers on a screen with your mouse. R06, in contrast is a 3 hour written exam. I hadn’t written for 3 hours straight since my A-Level English exam back in 2004. I did a history and politics degree after that but I’m pretty sure none of my university exams were 3 hours. I was more nervous about my writing hand giving out than the actual exam content! If you’re weird like me you can try my technique of writing out notes and passages from the textbook for hours on end…all in the name of hand strength conditioning….I wanted to ensure my handwriting didn’t descend into a scrawl either due to exam-room fatigue.

The exam is limited to 4 sittings a year but if I wanted to avoid travelling out of York where I live there are only 2 sittings a year: April and October. I felt I was ready to sit the exam in October which would have reduced the time to reaching Diploma level to under a year and a half. However being only a few months into my new role in a financial planning firm, my employer felt it would best to continue getting settled into the business and pick up more real-world financial planning knowledge that would help achieve a more convincing R06 pass in the next sitting.

April soon came around and I felt ready, having learnt that exam technique is important as well as knowledge to get the all important pass. Writing in quick bullet points is the only way to get as many marks as possible in this exam, which despite being 3 hours, is tight for time. I was writing from the very first moment to the last second. The format is two case studies of families that need financial planning. Candidates get the case studies two weeks before the exam so you can prepare. Think about what additional information you might need to provide financial advice, and think back to all the different areas of financial planning topics from the previous exams. I recommend purchasing a ‘solution’ from one of the many providers of exam support. They can’t guarantee anything but the questions they predict will come up will help enormously in your revision. I used Brand Financial Training and was very happy with the output.

I left the exam with a smile on my face which is always a good sign, and I was thankful for the pass which concluded my journey to Diploma level.

This isn’t the end though, but the end of the beginning: next up is achieving enough credits to be awarded the Advanced Diploma, the path towards Chartered Status!

Will you join me?

 

 

 

 

 

*******************************


Can you add anything to this? Be sure to join the discussion by leaving a comment below this post.

*******************************
Adam

This post was written by Adam, a Financial Services Apprentice (and aspiring financial planner) based in York, UK. Read more here. To follow his progress just put your name and email in the boxes below and join the Financial Planning Academy




Pathways – A Career Guide for Financial Planning

by Adam on March 18, 2015, no comments

When I set up this site two years ago, I really struggled to find information about how to enter financial advising as a profession. I found some information here and there, mostly on internet forums but as an outsider to financial services it was very confusing. I’m sure Google had indexed a lot of great content, somewhere, but I didn’t know what search terms I needed to use.

I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

It was only once I had spoken to some financial advisers that I even came across the CII -the Chartered Insurance Institute, which administers the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning, the benchmark Level 4 Qualification needed to give financial advice in the UK.

Now that I have been given the opportunity to work in a Chartered Financial Planning business, I know a lot more about the profession and the path I need to take to reach my goals, but I’m determined that others wishing to follow this path have an easier time getting up to speed with how to go about building a career in financial planning.

Tonight I found a document with many of the answers, and I had to share it here. It’s created by the Personal Financial Society – which is actually the Financial Planning-branded version of the CII. It took me an embarrassingly long time to learn the PFS and the CII are the same organisation -they don’t make it that clear in my opinion. But they’ve done a great job at showing how to develop a career in financial planning.

Give it a read if you’re thinking of following me in this journey into the most meaningful career in financial services.

Click the image to View and Download

Career in financial planning guide

 

 

*******************************


Can you add anything to this? Be sure to join the discussion by leaving a comment below this post.

*******************************
Adam

This post was written by Adam, a Financial Services Apprentice (and aspiring financial planner) based in York, UK. Read more here. To follow his progress just put your name and email in the boxes below and join the Financial Planning Academy




The Journey to R06 | A Study Journal

by Adam on January 19, 2015, no comments

Today was the January sitting of the R06 Financial Planning exam. I plan on sitting the exam for the April 2015 sitting so today is a good day to get serious about learning the content and preparing for the exam.

R06 is the final exam I need to pass to achieve a Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning. It’s 30 Diploma credits, which combined with the 70 credits I have earned by passing R01 to R05, will take me to 100 credits.

Rather than concentrating on one part of the financial planning progress, like the other R0 exams do, this unit has been developed to help advisers develop and demonstrate their financial planning capabilities – taking lots of different things into account, as would be required as a real financial planning professional. The exam tests the practical application of technical knowledge and planning skills already gained.

It is a case-study exam, meaning you are given 2 case studies two weeks before the examination. To get January’s case studies as a guide, just put in your email below and I’ll send them over to you straight away.

I’d love for you to get in touch and let me know how you’re getting on. Let’s help each get this exam passed in April 2015!

*******************************


Can you add anything to this? Be sure to join the discussion by leaving a comment below this post.

*******************************
Adam

This post was written by Adam, a Financial Services Apprentice (and aspiring financial planner) based in York, UK. Read more here. To follow his progress just put your name and email in the boxes below and join the Financial Planning Academy




One Exam Away from Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning

by Adam on December 31, 2014, no comments

IFA YorkI hope you have had a good 2014, and if not, that 2015 is set to be a better year.

This time last year I had a clear vision of the job I was looking for: a small financial advising firm, ideally in or around York, working with families to help them grow and manage their wealth.

It was a clear vision but I didn’t know how long it would take to come to fruition. I just knew I wasn’t going to compromise, however difficult it got, and it was getting difficult.

I had originally set a target of employment at a financial advising company of Easter 2014. That target date was then moved on to my birthday at the end of May.

I missed it, but only just. Thankfully my opportunity came in July 2014 when I started at Beaufort Financial Planning (Yorkshire).

I have written an article for Professional Paraplanner Magazine with more of my thoughts about my journey that you can read here:

Filling the Void

Since I last updated this site, I have passed 2 more financial exams, R04 Pensions, and R05 Protection, and have just one final exam, R06 Financial Planning, to pass my Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning.

I’m intending to sit the 3 hour written paper in April 2015 so I will be spending the first quarter of 2015 in study alongside my day job.

Thanks for visiting here. I love receiving emails from those pursuing this path so do get in touch: adam@piplica.com

*******************************


Can you add anything to this? Be sure to join the discussion by leaving a comment below this post.

*******************************
Adam

This post was written by Adam, a Financial Services Apprentice (and aspiring financial planner) based in York, UK. Read more here. To follow his progress just put your name and email in the boxes below and join the Financial Planning Academy




What qualities are most important as a financial adviser

by Adam on September 28, 2014, no comments

what-matters-most-to-your-clients-1024x584This picture shows the answer to the following question: “What Are The Qualities of Your Financial Advisor That Are Most Important To You”.

It’s part of a client experience survey (white paper) that is powered by Beddoes Institute’s Leading Practices Program (Australia)

Something to remember.

*******************************


Can you add anything to this? Be sure to join the discussion by leaving a comment below this post.

*******************************
Adam

This post was written by Adam, a Financial Services Apprentice (and aspiring financial planner) based in York, UK. Read more here. To follow his progress just put your name and email in the boxes below and join the Financial Planning Academy




Securing a position in Financial Planning

by Adam on September 21, 2014, no comments

I’ve got great news.

Earlier this summer I finally secured a position as a Financial Services Apprentice. I’m forever grateful for being given an opportunity to enter the financial planning profession.

I’m currently learning the basics in a financial planning business and am taking steps towards becoming a financial adviser in the next two to three years. The company has mapped out a development plan to help me achieve this, which means that at the moment I have a lot of studying to do, but I don’t mind at all. In fact I’m relishing the opportunity.

For more information you can view my new biography here.

At this stage I’m not sure about the future of this site but thanks for following along so far, and I hope this post serves as inspiration for others who are also pursuing this path.

 

 

 

*******************************


Can you add anything to this? Be sure to join the discussion by leaving a comment below this post.

*******************************
Adam

This post was written by Adam, a Financial Services Apprentice (and aspiring financial planner) based in York, UK. Read more here. To follow his progress just put your name and email in the boxes below and join the Financial Planning Academy




How To Become a Trainee Financial Planner | What do you bring?

by Adam on June 17, 2014, no comments

I have found financial planning firms much more interested in seeing me for informal interviews since becoming 50% qualified in my pursuit of the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning. Talks are still ongoing, but as part of the process I have put together a list of reasons why I would make a great candidate for a financial planning firm.

Perhaps others will find this list helpful who are also on this path. Ask yourself, what are you bringing to the position?

Reasons to Employ Adam Piplica as a Trainee Financial Planner:

Adam is a 28 year old professional…

formerly working in market research with entrepreneurial experience running his own web publishing business. Research clients have included Tesco Bank to help track their brand and advertising impact; AXA as they optimised their processes with financial advisors as they changed business structures; and Lloyds Banking Group, testing a range of new product propositions. Advertisers in Adam’s web business, which aims to empower financially its online readers, include MoneySupermarket, Lloyds, and Ipswich Building Society.

Adam wishes to embark on a financial planning career after being inspired by his own investing journey…

which started after graduating from university. He is looking to join a Chartered Firm who are ambitious for growth, ethics-led, and create meaningful value for it’s clients.

He is clear on his career goals.

Some Trainee financial planning candidates may be searching for any opportunity to see if the industry is for them. Not so for Adam, who has dedicated a lot of time to find clarity in his career aspirations. He became passionate about financial planning during his Research career and is ready to take the first step into this profession.

He has drive and ambition.

After becoming passionate about investing and the empowerment that comes with laying down a financial plan, he was inspired to set up his own internet publishing and freelance writing business, writing finance articles. After leaving his Research career he continued to grow this business, but after years of personal investing and fielding questions about the stock market from his friends, and later, hundreds of readers of his online properties, he decided to pursue financial planning as a career.

He has complementary skills in technology.

Although he has not worked in financial services before, he has always been interested in marketing and sales which is the life-force of any financial planning practice. Having built web properties from nothing to domains with thousands of unique visitors a month within a few short years he understands the web and the still huge potential of running online properties for lead-generation and brand awareness, important in this industry.

He is already 50% Level 4 qualified.

Adam has already demonstrated a proficiency and commitment to financial planning by self-funding and completing 50% of the CII Level 4 Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning, with passes in R01 (Regulation); R02 (Investments); and R03 (Personal Taxation) with the remaining modules (R04-R06) planned in the coming months of 2014. This saves the company money on examination costs and reduces the risks involved in employing a trainee.

I love hearing from others on this path so do get in touch by emailing Adam AT Piplica.com

*******************************


Can you add anything to this? Be sure to join the discussion by leaving a comment below this post.

*******************************
Adam

This post was written by Adam, a Financial Services Apprentice (and aspiring financial planner) based in York, UK. Read more here. To follow his progress just put your name and email in the boxes below and join the Financial Planning Academy




How I Passed R03 Personal Taxation | CII Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning

by Adam on April 25, 2014, no comments

 passing R03 CII taxationI’m delighted to be able to share that I successfully passed R03.

Passing R03 Personal Taxation was a result of a lot of work and I thought it worth sharing some thoughts about the exam in case the exam is in your future.

Do Not Underestimate The Size

The R03 Module on Personal Taxation is only 10 credits of the 100 credit Diploma. But don’t be fooled. If you’re fresh to the subject, as I was, then it will take just as long as R02 Investments, if not longer, despite R02 being worth double the credits.

 

After passing R02 quite comfortably back in October 2014, I thought I could squeeze in R03 before Christmas. Although I got very close to passing (missing out by one mark), it would take a few more months of learning to really understand the content enough to answer complex questions that combined various tax topics.

Learning Outcomes

There are 4 learning outcomes for the module:

  1. Understanding the Tax System as relevant to the needs and circumstances of individuals and trusts
  2. Analyse the taxation of investments as relevant to the needs and circumstances of individuals and trusts
  3. Analyse the role and relevance of tax in the financial affairs of individuals and trusts
  4. Apply the knowledge of personal taxation to the provision of investment advice

 

The exam is similar to R02 in that you will be using your calculator frequently. Personal tax computations are not too difficult but NI requires going over a few times given the difference that contracting in and out can make, and the tax implications for employers and employees differ.

Capital Gains tax is relatively straightforward but you must remember to consider chattels; wasting assets and the implications of being absent from your primary residence amongst other things.

In my experience, Inheritance Tax was featured a lot in the questions, especially how domicile-status can affect it. An understanding of how trusts are treated is another hot topic that came up time and again.

Whilst you can’t ignore it, in my experience I wasn’t tested much on corporation tax or self assessment.

 

 

 

 

*******************************


Can you add anything to this? Be sure to join the discussion by leaving a comment below this post.

*******************************
Adam

This post was written by Adam, a Financial Services Apprentice (and aspiring financial planner) based in York, UK. Read more here. To follow his progress just put your name and email in the boxes below and join the Financial Planning Academy




Thinking of doing the CII Diploma of Regulated Financial Planning?

by Adam on March 17, 2014, no comments

Give your plan some wiggle room.

plan

You might need it!

 

*******************************


Can you add anything to this? Be sure to join the discussion by leaving a comment below this post.

*******************************
Adam

This post was written by Adam, a Financial Services Apprentice (and aspiring financial planner) based in York, UK. Read more here. To follow his progress just put your name and email in the boxes below and join the Financial Planning Academy