For PR man Tom Desborough, ‘financial services' meant ‘current account'. Now he's on his way to becoming a fully-fledged adviser. He'll be sharing his story in Professional Adviser, starting here...
"Prior to my current role at media company MRM, my knowledge and understanding of the financial services sector barely extended past the workings of my current account and mobile phone insurance.
But spending more than two years providing public relations solutions to financial services companies has truly invigorated the way I look at the sector, and the benefits it provides to consumers.
In fact, my appreciation of the industry has grown to such an extent that, earlier this year, I took the plunge and decided to start the journey to become a financial adviser.
People question why I've done it
I was in the fortunate position of already being aware of The Financial Adviser School, a specialist training provider established by Sesame Bankhall Group.
After a lengthy conversation with one of its recruitment advisers and a previous student, I decided it sounded like the perfect organisation to help me achieve what I wanted.
Fast forward a few months and I'm now just under four weeks away from my first exam as part of the Chartered Insurance Institute's Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning - R01 Financial Services, Regulation & Ethics.
Am I nervous? Well, yes, a bit, but I think that's only natural when you've spent hours studying and learning new material for it to all culminate in a few hours spent under exam conditions.
I know I'm less nervous than I would have been had I had to go through this on my own.
Every Tuesday evening, I attend a virtual classroom along with 20 or so other students, where Duncan, our trainer, goes through a structured programme of learning with us.
As well as the virtual classrooms, I've just come back from my first face-to-face study weekend in Slough.
As a group, we picked out the areas we felt weakest or most unsure on and went through practical examples to help explain and understand what we were learning.
For the first time, I feel I'm ready to tackle everything these exams can throw at me.
People have questioned why I've decided to go down this route with my life at a time of great regulatory change in financial services.
But, with consumer finances in their current state, access to professional financial advice is of the utmost importance to everyone.
I relish and take great pride in helping make a positive difference to someone else's life. Knowing that I could make a career out of doing just that makes it all worthwhile.
Tom Desborough will be writing about his journey from PR to pensions in Professional Adviser magazine in the coming months. For more information on the Financial Adviser School, visit http://www.thefaschool.co.uk/Pages/Home.aspx
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