Caption: Photo by Steven Houston
Out of 10 what score would you give our reputation? Hold that thought until the end...
During the year we enter a few awards, not many as the applications are very time consuming. One we are doing at the moment asks the question: how have we contributed to improving the reputation of the financial services industry as a whole?
Reputation is important to all businesses and big companies spend thousands monitoring their brand using systems such as Reptrak to keep a close eye on how they are perceived. After all, investors are fickle and share prices can be seriously affected by one false move. Brand reputation can affect a company’s valuation for good or bad.
We all know that constant instances of unethical behaviour have undermined the public’s trust in financial services, but what can a small family owned business like FMB do? In the past some of the big banks could be blamed and we can disassociate ourselves from them, but last year the pension’s scandal which saw Tata steel workers given shoddy advice by nothing short of sharks, tarnished all our reputations.
Obviously we have to carry on doing what we have always done; give good advice in the best interests of our clients, at a fair price with excellent customer service.
But there are many other things we can do, one of which is to make sure our team has the highest possible degree of professionalism. One way to achieve this is through the knowledge and skills learned by undertaking professional courses and exams.
This is not just our Financial Planners who are tasked with actually giving advice to clients, but the whole team. There are professional exams for every role in the company and we would always encourage people to go for them. So although the majority undertaken will be through the Chartered Institute of Insurance and the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments (formally the Institute of Financial Planning), we also have team members who have gained qualifications from the Chartered Institute of Marketing and the Association of Accounting Technicians.
Members of our team have passed 26 professional exams since the beginning of 2016,
Yes you heard right!
Can you imagine the time spent reading, doing test papers, attending courses, watching webinars, listening to podcasts and the amount of nervous energy and adrenaline our team has used up to achieve these amazing results?!
Of course, there is always the argument against exams; you don’t use everything you learn in real life, there is no substitute for experience. Then, there is the cost to FMB and the chance that people would move on taking their knowledge with them.
We would disagree, having a broad knowledge helps you understand the bigger picture and what is important and why. It helps you understand other people’s role as well. It gives our team confidence and kudos and it helps them set career goals and celebrate achievement. Nothing really worthwhile in life is easy and this is one of those situations where real satisfaction is achieved. People might move on, but while we have them we want them to be the best they can be.
To the outside worId professional qualifications are one way of demonstrating how good we are and help people make comparisons. I hope if you have taken the time to read this and if I asked you to score our reputation again you might think a little better of us than you did at the beginning!