Quick questions: Suffolk Life’s Will Self

In today’s quick questions, Will Self, managing director of Suffolk Life, tells MM about the most significant change product producers have seen over the last ten years.

What was your first job in financial services?

In 2003, my first role within financial services and Suffolk Life as an administrator looking after pension contributions. It was a very manual process and I remember my first tax year end with hundreds of cheques arriving in the post every day, thank goodness automated payments have moved forward!

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What drew you to the profession?

I have always enjoyed structured progression and opportunities for on-going development. Suffolk Life offered training from day one and have subsequently supported me through a number of qualifications including an MBA. This mirrors the industry, with high levels of regulation and competency required at all levels.

What is the most important thing advisers (or a company) can do for their clients?

Truly understand their client’s needs, both short and longer term, and then act to meet them.

What is the most important decision you have ever made?

One of my most recent ones – to accept the role of MD at Suffolk Life. It gives me and my team the platform to drive through our ideas, and then see the positive changes as a direct result.

How do you think the industry has changed since you started working in it?

The relentless year-on-year increase in regulatory impact. Most significantly the shift in product provider responsibilities not allowing product providers to rely on intermediaries ensuring on-going suitability.

Other than property, what is the most expensive thing you have bought?

Beyond the boring essentials such as a car, probably my wife’s engagement ring. Although having a child continues to cost more than I thought!

What is your perfect day off?

A lazy breakfast in the garden with my wife and daughter, brilliant blue sky (or course!) and then a trip to the coast in the afternoon for some good sea air. My daughter is only two so once we have negotiated her bed time you can’t beat a great summer evening barbecue and a good pint of Adnams.

What would you tell your 10-year-old self?

Make sure you can look back over the last month or year with a sense of achievement. For me, happiness and motivation come from a sense of achievement, when you stop feeling you are achieving anything it is time to take stock and re-focus.

Who would you recommend as a must-follow person on Twitter?

Richard Branson. He is witty, insightful and sometimes very random. Clearly someone that takes a much wider interest in social entrepreneurship and he comes across as having genuine feeling being accountable for his actions and how they impact on generations to come.

What do you have set as your homepage in your internet browser?

I have two – our Intranet and the BBC. Instant news first thing in the morning from within the company and from outside in the world.