Nominated for the Women in Financial Advice Awards 2020 (WIFA) Adviser of the Year – south west, Role Model of the Year and Most Inspiring Returner, Joy Wisniewski certainly has a lot to offer. She speaks to Professional Adviser's Sophie King about moving to the UK and striving to make her children financially aware...
Born in Australia, Hartsfield Planning head of advice Joy Wisniewski (pictured) says she always knew she wanted to work in financial services. Leaving university in 2008 was, of course, a very interesting time to be entering the sector.
She started at a small advisory firm, before moving to a larger one and then onto the Westpac Banking Corporation in Sydney, one of the biggest banks in the country. Here, Wisniewski says, she was blessed to work with many talented people who taught her a lot and gave her good grounding for her career.
After six years working in Australian financial services, Wisniewski fancied herself some time in the UK and made the big move across the globe in 2014. Frustratingly, the degree, diploma and advanced diploma she gained in Australia were not valid in the UK and so she had to take her qualifications again. She describes that year as an "interesting" summer, filled with lots of stress, but, despite the hurdles, became a qualified financial adviser within seven months.
Driven by a passion for financial advice, Wisniewski quickly became head of financial advice at Hartsfield and was promoted around a year and a half ago, only a few years after joining the firm. Since taking on the leadership role, Wisniewski has worked hard to ensure the employee's work lives are better as well as their clients.
"Since then, we've rebranded and since Covid-19 we've relaunched our news website," she says. "It has been quite a speedy journey, I guess it's been everything I've really dreamed of. I'm quite blessed to work with a company that's recognised the growth I aimed for and is aligned to my morals and values."
Lifestyle planning and self-awareness
A focus Wisniewski has pressed for is awareness of lifestyle planning - understanding what matters most to clients before making recommendations - and it is her belief that advisers should not be giving any advice without that knowledge.
To improve awareness around the client's lifestyle and goals, she says the firm annually conducts value testing, asking clients questions about their relationship with money, how they making decisions and how their childhood impacts choices they make as adults.
Overcoming nuances people have when it comes to saving for the future is a big focus for the business. Wisniewski also ensures employees are tested themselves, to show they have the best soft skills to be able to work with different types of clients. This is something they conduct yearly. "How can you decide the best options [for a client] unless you really understand what matters most to people?" She asks. "Their goals, what makes them tick - how can you ascertain what's best?"
Turning her advice on soft skills to those looking to get into financial advice, Wisniewski says that while the qualifications are important, people skills are crucial. "If you're not aware of how a client is going to react to something you might say, then you might get a completely different response had you known otherwise.
"We've found that once they [trainees] move into financial advice, they tend to become a lot more technical, sometimes that can bring a long some really good traits, but if it's just focused on that and they forget about the people skills, then they tend to move towards more technical skills. If you develop their soft skills then that changes their ability to interact not just with clients but with other employees."
Everything is for my children
With two children both very young - aged two and 10 months - Wisniewski says it has been a learning curve learning to juggle family life and the financial advice side of a business. Nevertheless, in her return to work after giving birth, she completed the same amount of business that she was targeted to complete in a year in just eight months, aptly explaining why she has been nominated for WIFA's Returner of the Year.
Finding quality time with her family, she says, just needs to be done with a bit of "ruthless efficiency" and multi-tasking but her passion for work comes from wanting to inspire her children.
This drive for financial awareness comes from her own relationship with her grandmother who was not able to have control over her own money. Despite this, Wisniewski says her grandmother always taught her to make her own money and have financial control. Therefore, not only does she aim to inspire financial awareness onto her employees, but also her children. "It's interesting I am not teaching that kind of thing to not only myself, but my kids," she muses.
"Everything is for them really, I'm blessed to work for a company that allows me to have flexible working. They're [children] absolute dreams, it's all for them. I want to instill on [them], my daughter especially, how important it is to be financial independent and to have your own career."
The Women in Financial Advice Awards 2020 will virtually kick off at the end of Day 2 of PA360 on 8 October. To find out more about the awards please click here. To find out more about PA360 please follow this link.
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