Firing line  

‘Young advisers reassure clients because we’re up-to-date’

‘Young advisers reassure clients because we’re up-to-date’
Unique Financial Planning adviser Lois Furlong. [Photo by Carmen Reichman]

Younger advisers have found that a combination of their recently qualified status, and a willingness to admit they don’t know everything, can actually put clients at ease.

Lois Furlong, a 30-year-old adviser based in Unique Financial Planning’s Watford office, is in the process of building up her client book.

She said the fact she has recently qualified can not only put clients at ease, but also assure them that they are getting the right information.

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“Clients don’t always expect to have a young female financial adviser, though in my experience the industry is very supportive as a whole,” said Furlong.

“Yes, I might not have as many years of experience as someone who has been in the industry a lot longer. But I am a lot more recently qualified, so clients feel reassured knowing what I’ve done is completely up-to-date."

She said: “If I’m not sure of something, I’ll say to a client ‘I’m not 100 per cent sure, let me go away and find out for you’.

"It shows to them that they’re not getting the wrong information and that the information I’m providing - I know - is accurate. That gives them reassurance.”

From dentistry to law and then to advice 

When she was doing her A Levels, Furlong wanted to be a dentist. But she soon realised - despite patients’ mouths being open the majority of the time - it was a profession lacking in client interaction.

This led her to a law degree. But after joining a solicitor practice, she found herself knee-deep in administration and not enough client-facing experience.

So in 2016, she moved down south to London from her then-home, the Wirral, to become a paraplanner. For the past three years, she has been a qualified financial adviser.

Women of all ages, both advisers and paraplanners, have cited imposter syndrome as a key barrier to progressing in their advice careers.

Paraplanner Sarah Lees said the syndrome made her feel like she was failing and caused her sleepless night filled with dread she might get sacked.

For Furlong, this is just the start of her career. She said she has battled through imposter syndrome “quite easily”.

She added: “I’m not too worried about what people think. If I want to be a financial adviser, regardless of what people might expect, I’m just going to go for it.

“For me, it [imposter syndrome] hasn’t been an issue. But I can see how it potentially could be for some people.”

Finding young clients on a night out

Having just turned 30, many of Furlong’s friends don’t see the value in financial advice. Though she is trying to change that.

“They often say ‘well we can get that online for a lot cheaper’,” she said. “And so it’s not just about the products. There’s a lot more going on behind the scenes.”