Your IndustrySep 25 2014

Learn through charity

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This column is about learning and development, and how we all need to take ownership of opportunities presented to us.

While these can be academic­ally based, they can also be practical. In my case, over the past two years I have been on my own ‘learning by doing curve’ as a non-executive director of a new IFA network (Beaufort).

Prior to Beaufort, I had built up board experience and completed two Institute of Director courses for non-executive directors. But neither had prepared me for the variety of issues I would have to tackle.

I am pleased to say that business is doing well and is profitable (how many start-ups in our sector can say the same?). We have also achieved chartered firm status and are looking forward to announcing the successful investment record of our investment management business, which will shortly celebrate its 10th anniversary.

In autumn, I expect to help the executive team develop the network and build on our 10-year investment record. It will be good to talk business again.

One of the nice things about financial services is our support for others. The LIA (a forerunner of the Personal Finance Society) even had its own charitable foundation, and I know that many advisory firms continue to raise money for charities.

This is not restricted to organisations, many advisers and business colleagues are involved in local or national charities. Hardly a week goes by without a request for sponsorship, but surprisingly The Insurance Charities is hardly ever mentioned, despite the tremendous job it does in helping disadvantaged individuals who have connections with the insurance sector.

Over the summer, my local Leeds Insurance Institute did its yearly round of selling raffle tickets to insurance and advisory firms and brokers in Leeds to raise funds for The Insurance Charities.

As an elected council member, I volunteered to be a fundraiser for our charity day. As this coincided with the Tour de France passing through Yorkshire, we adopted a French cycling theme and dressed accordingly. It was great fun and we had a successful day; even with my odd attire and appalling French accent, we raised more than £800.

As you may know, the Leeds Institute is one of more than 50 local institutes that make up the CII. It is run on a voluntary basis by local members from across the insurance and financial services market. All PFS members are automatically members of a local Institute and many are active in their local Institute.