After arriving at the office, I was warmly greeted by Clair Davis, Receptionist, before being taken on a quick tour, followed by a briefing on how to use the various facilities and a health and safety induction. Later that day, I met with one of the Client Managers, Ben Holland, who told me about his role specifically. Soon after, he explained to me the qualifications required to become a Client Manager, and the onward qualifications needed to be Chartered. I assisted in preparing a pack for a client meeting the following day, where I learnt what a Proforma, a Policy-in-Force document, and how clients could be advised on different pension schemes. Before leaving the office, I was challenged by Chris Porter to an intense pool match in which I, unfortunately, lost in a “close” game (it was quite a thrashing, but I take it as a pre-season warm-up game) against a former Foresight Pool Tournament Champion.
I spent the next morning with Mark Hughes, Head of Operations, he also explained to me the role of the finance department in managing the funds of the business. I also learnt about the importance of Human Resources, as well as other systems in place in the office, such as EOS and State of the Nation. I was also introduced to their Vision strategy, which highlighted their reflective approach to their progress, as well as the short and long-term targets for the future. We then discussed the work life balance of employees at Foresight, and how everyone maintains a very flexible work-life balance, whilst enjoying team events such as playing pool, or a Christmas Bake-Off whilst in the office.
I also learnt about the Compliance system in place in such a heavily regulated industry, and how heavily a client’s interests are prioritized. Speaking of Client acquisition, he then introduced me to the different approaches advisors take depending on the approach to risk that a client chooses to adopt. Overall, it was a very interesting morning and a useful insight into office life and client interaction as a whole. That afternoon I met with Chris Porter, Client Manager, who taught me the basics of pensions and investments before showing me how financial analytical software is used to advise clients on certain different portfolios for their pensions, based on the risk that they decide.
The next day, I met with Alex Youngs, Client Manager, who told me about the importance of suitability reports and how the compliance system works in detail, before meeting with Joshua Lenihan, Senior Wealth Strategist, who introduced me to all the technical investment strategies that he uses for his clients to be tax efficient, as well as an introduction into how trust funds can be utilized, which proved to be very interesting.
Shortly following this, I met with Greg Blease, Wealth Strategist, who taught me the basics of what ISAs are which led me to conduct market research on the best platforms for opening a Stocks and Shares ISA. In the afternoon, I had a conversation with Ben Dyson, Senior Wealth Strategist, who showed me the different levels of qualifications an advisor can achieve, and how prestigious a CFA or a fellowship qualification is. Then we discussed the importance of Wills in financial planning before he taught me the basics of market research and how risk can be perceived differently by some people, which can lead to different investment strategies, as well as mathematical methods using bonds to determine when to buy a stock. Overall, this day was incredibly insightful and interesting in terms of learning about the technical side of investing.
On my last day, I spent the morning with Greg again, where we went over the structure of a client meeting as per the Quantum Programme, I then had a bit of fun in a mock client meeting, where I learnt how it was to be a client, as well as how to advise a pretend client during the first Exploratory Discussion. He took me through the fact find stage, and how the following meetings lead to a plan for a particular client. Finally, I met with Kat Thanes, Marketing Executive, who taught me the basics of social-media or website marketing and how referrals and events generate leads over time.
Overall, it was an incredibly insightful and interesting week at the Foresight offices, and I met some very friendly people who taught me a lot about what it means to be in this industry. I have definitely taken a lot away from this work experience placement and I am very grateful to Foresight for offering me this opportunity.