Letter to a trainee adviser

Search supported by
Letter to a trainee adviser

You will soon be entrusted with the financial affairs of a client and all the burdens that brings.

The purpose is to convince the client to appoint you to a charge on their assets, only for you to return them greater value than otherwise would have occurred.

You are a demon on a jet ski and an angel with a briefcase; you can lose a life’s savings or win the life of dreams.

You will be treated as an expert, but you should not recommend whatever suits you.

The client will be willing to pay, but you should not overcharge. Your target must be met, or you may be redundant, but overcharging will lead to complaint and bad repute.

Sell you must, but you and your service, not just new products. Yet judgement may follow, not of your service but your product sales – this is the regulator's paradox.

Thoroughness is required, as is flexibility of process. Confidence will be welcome though over- confidence not so. Be well informed but offer only what is required to be understood.

You must listen carefully and talk confidently; say too little and rapport may be tough, say too much and eyes will glaze over.

Know key information but admit when you don’t. Be open and honest but do not over share: should the client like and trust you, don’t blow it. In this way you must control the dialogue, the collaboration – the sale, if you will – but woe betide those who lead the client, since the ombudsman will find you.

The devil of greed must be followed for the good of your family: bills must be paid and food set on the table. Yet the angel of compliance will guide you to righteous evils for your firm: pre-approvals, long letters, excessive paper and high fees.

This is the tight rope of advice, dear trainee, and it will teach you the truth of life and money. They are not a perfect fit, and you must now travail in no man’s land twixt the moral conflict of the two.