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Career story: studying retirement planning as a financial adviser

18 July, 2022Juno Baker
judson henry

Judson Henry is a Financial Planning Manager at Nationwide Building Society. He’d already done his Level 6 qualifications with LIBF and was chartered. But when the opportunity to study Financial Planning in Retirement (FPIR) presented itself, he embarked on the course. He tells us about working as a financial adviser, changes in retirement planning and the advantages of being chartered.

Later-life financial planning has changed over the last 20 or 30 years. Semi-retirement has become more popular and 11% of over-50s have vanished from the workforce – because of redundancy or not finding suitable opportunities.

However, according to recent research from Aviva, of those who retire early 47% report that their finances take a hit.

“You’d be surprised how many customers don’t really know what retirement’s going to be like,” says Judson.

He says the move away from defined benefit schemes has changed the nature of retirement planning significantly.

“Now that people don’t have a guaranteed income and are more responsible for planning their retirement, they’re going to need a lot more help. A customer asked me the other day, ‘Do I have enough in my pension to retire?’ And you need to be able to say to them, ‘Well maybe’.”

The FPIR assessment is intended to replicate the customer-facing experience. Judson says that in that respect, the final exam was “the most useful and most real-life exam I’ve done”.

He points out that when someone comes into your office and tells you their circumstances, you don’t have the solutions immediately to hand.

“You may give them an idea on say drawdowns from pension pots. You’ll talk about investment growth. But what you do is you go away and you research and look up alternatives. With this exam, it wasn’t a case of regurgitating stuff from memory, it was testing your ability to find information.”

How being chartered can help your career

“The reason I got chartered was because I wanted to give a lot more complex advice,” says Judson.

“With Nationwide, it means that I’m at the forefront of things they’re putting forward, for example, rolling out pensions which is good. So it’s definitely helping my career.”

Looking to the future, Judson says that being able to talk to clients remotely is having an impact on the whole industry.

“Advisers are a lot more successful and companies are growing their financial adviser base because now that you work from home you can see more clients. Your demographic is huge. One of the things we’re doing is expanding our proposition.”

And for himself?

“Hopefully just moving up to a more senior level, looking to do more in pensions and inheritance tax planning. Just looking to expand in the role.”

A career in financial advice

Asked what the best thing is about being a financial adviser, Judson Henry gives two main reasons.

“When you see the effect! Your customer comes in and you’ve made a difference to their savings and what they can buy with their money. The income they can get, the house they can move to! I’d say that’s probably one of the most rewarding things.”

And the other?

“Just spending time and getting to know your clients! It’s that relationship that you build, that trust. It’s that year-on-year support when you see them and talk about how things are going and how their family is. You’re the person they come to, the one they trust with information.”

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