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Share your knowledge with the industry

Darren Cooke

Darren Cooke

I recently had a significant birthday. In cricketing terms it warranted a brief and polite ripple of applause from the crowd and a wave of acknowledgement from me

Although I am still younger than the oft quoted average age for an adviser, I can no longer deny that I am, in my 28th year in financial services, one of the elder statesmen of the profession.

When I started out all those years ago I spent some time with the long-serving successful adviser in the office. I listened to his stories, his words of wisdom and I learned.

More recently, when I started on my own, I spoke to lots of people who I respected in the profession, those who had already done it and those who were doing it day-to-day.

Those who did things the way I wanted to do them, full service, full financial planning and those who did not.

I learned from all of them, some of them how not to do it, but I still learned.

I learned from their successes and their failures so that I did not make the same mistakes and I could build my own success.

Never once did anyone turn me down, never once was the help not freely and gladly given, be that on a technical issue, a business issue, coaching, marketing, technology or a whole host of other questions.

I love this about our profession. Good people are so willing to help others.

I am pretty happy with where my business is at now, but I still talk to other advisers at an informal best practice group and at events.

I am always interested in what they do, how they run their businesses; always looking if there is something I can learn from them to improve.

Just as others have helped me, I will pay that forward and try to help others. 

If you need help with something pick up the phone to another adviser, go and talk to them, set up a best practice group with local colleagues, go to events and interact with other advisers.

There are loads of resources available through podcasts – the Financial Planning Training Academy and the NextGen Planners are both specifically aimed at helping new and existing planners get better at what they do, but there are hundreds more.

If you feel you have experience to give back to the profession, The Personal Finance Society has launched a formal mentoring programme. Go and sign up there and help somebody else get along in this great profession.

Darren Cooke is founder and chartered financial planner at Red Circle Financial Planning