1 August 2022
We recently caught up with Eleanor Shaw, Trainee Wealth Advisor to find out what she enjoyed most about her year-long internship placement at Walker Crips Wealth Management. Eleanor shares some insight into the valuable lessons she learned, and talks about how this experience has shaped her approach to work. Scott Palmer, Chartered Financial Planner and internship supervisor discusses the programme as well as Eleanor's progress and achievements in the last year.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your role
ES: I started my Trainee Wealth Adviser Internship with Walker Crips a year ago now. Since I started, my role has definitely evolved and day-to-day involves implementing business for clients, working with product providers, and helping my supervisor, Scott, with other pieces of work. Once my placement year is complete, I will be returning to University for the final year of my Philosophy, Politics and Economics degree which I am really looking forward to.
What do you think was your most significant accomplishment during your internship?
ES: There are so many events that have been significant to me, and it’s difficult to pick just one. I have been really pleased with some of the client-based work I have done, especially technical work involving multiple third parties; being able to get hands-on and get those longer, more difficult cases has been significant to me, and I think I have learned the most from them. It’s really valuable especially as a placement student to work on implementing these technical reports, and these pieces of work are almost like case studies that reflect what being a financial adviser would be like.
Are there any new skills that you developed and if so, what are they?
ES: Definitely! Whilst studying for a degree does help you to develop skills that you use in the world of work, lots of skills have to be learnt on the job. I think a really valuable skill I have learned at Walker Crips is paying attention to detail. Especially when you’re implementing a recommendation, it is so important to work slowly and to make sure everything is checked and double-checked against the official recommendation. Compared to university where my work goes towards my degree, my work at Walker Crips has real-life implications on our clients, and I think being aware of this causes you to pay attention to the details in everything you do.
Did you face any obstacles or difficulties?
ES: I don’t think I have faced any difficulties outside of the norm. In terms of day-to-day challenges, I have been lucky enough to be a part of a really supportive team, and I know I can turn to absolutely anyone and they will be more than happy to help me out. Starting a brand new role is always going to be a learning curve, and learning to use back-office systems was definitely a challenge for me initially and something I didn’t have any experience in. Luckily, I have become confident in this, but I am definitely still learning more every day about how all of the teams at Walker Crips use the systems and the best practices for using them. Another challenge I had was coming from university, where you have a really flexible schedule and into the world of full-time working hours - it was definitely a shock to the system at first, but one which I think definitely makes you more productive!
Tell us about some of the most enjoyable aspects of the experience.
ES: Working on the bigger cases for clients has been what I have enjoyed the most looking back. Prior to starting this role, I never realised how much goes on behind the scenes in financial advice and even watching the whole reporting process from adviser to admin, paraplanning and compliance has been really eye-opening and makes you really understand all of the work that goes into the final report. I have also really enjoyed the exposure I have received to what the life of a financial adviser is like - getting to attend client meetings, and networking events have been really enjoyable.
What is the most valuable lesson you feel you’ve learned since starting your internship?
ES: Probably to make sure that the commitments I make are definitely achievable. For example, with client-based work, it’s important not to commit to timescales that aren’t achievable. Especially when a lot of the work we do is dependent on policy providers and other third parties.
What advice would you give to fellow students? For anyone looking to take on a similar role, can you explain what the Trainee Wealth Advisor position entails?
ES: I think the main piece of advice I would give to other students considering a placement year would be to consider what you want to do, and to try not to be influenced by people around you. My year has made me realise that you spend a long time working in life, so it’s important that you enjoy that time by following your ambitions. The position I have been doing this year has been really varied, but primarily I make sure that we have all the information we need about a client's policies, before writing a financial recommendation. After the recommendation has been agreed upon, I then implement it, which can involve absolutely anything! I think this is a really great role to gain exposure to the financial sector.
What skills will you take forward with you into the world of work?
ES: This internship has helped me to develop skills and tools that I will take forward with me. I think the type of work I do has meant my organisation skills have really improved this year. Not only will this help with completing my degree next year, but I think this is transferable to any role. I think I have gone from being independently organised, to being able to stay organised in a collaborative work environment.
What are your plans following graduation? How has this experience shaped your future career goals and aspirations?
ES: After graduation, I definitely want to continue working in the financial sector. I think the exposure I have had at Walker Crips this year has shown me that the day-to-day work of a Financial Advisor is something that I could enjoy. This opportunity has also exposed me to the range of other roles that there are within finance, and for me has reaffirmed that I want to work in Finance and Investments in some capacity.
How did Eleanor’s internship come about?
SP: Eleanor joined through our internship programme which looks to provide invaluable experience of working in financial services for university students. It also allows us to secure the future success of our business by providing a career path for young talent, an issue that has been in the industry in recent years. In recent years, we’ve partnered up with York University so we advertised the position through them. We interviewed several candidates that applied for the role and Eleanor stood out to us very quickly.
What was it like supervising Eleanor this past year? What did the internship programme entail?
SP: Mentoring Eleanor has been a rewarding experience personally, as not only have I been able to bestow my experience of joining financial services as a graduate, but she's also become a second set of eyes and ears when working through projects. This has allowed her to learn the role of a financial adviser, but also allowed me to see things from a different perspective. The programme is set to show interns the functioning of a Wealth Management firm from administration to advising clients. Initial work is primarily within the administration function, and this then builds to give the experience of paraplanning through to an insight into the life of a financial adviser. The latter part has involved attending client meetings, building a business plan for the financial year, networking, managing the new business pipeline and generating new leads.
Was Eleanor able to achieve her goals and objectives?
SP: Eleanor has achieved her goals and objectives and more. She has learnt the role incredibly fast and taken on work that would normally be a little beyond her experience. Her attitude has been first class, and she is never afraid to ask questions where appropriate. This led to her participation in client meetings, where she engaged with clients and talked through their financial plan, and networking events. Eleanor was comfortable in each setting, and I have no reservations about her becoming a successful financial adviser in the future.
How did Eleanor integrate and contribute to the rest of the team?
SP: Eleanor’s communication and organisational skills are first-class. She is easy to work with and has contributed enormously to the team. Her understanding of processes and the relationship between each department within the company has been invaluable in ensuring a smooth transition of work between business functions, liaising with people at all levels. This has allowed her to integrate seamlessly into Walker Crips.
Why is bringing on graduate interns important? Does the WM department hope to expand this programme in the future?
SP: The programme is invaluable in getting younger people into financial services, which has been an issue for the industry in recent years. The number of Financial Advisers has dwindled over time, which has only added to the ‘financial advice gap’ that is becoming an increasingly important problem. In addition to this, getting younger people into Walker Crips, as well as the industry as a whole, allows the next generation to push us forward into the digital age as well as understand the mindset of the next generation of clients and what they are looking for from Financial Advisers. Walker Crips Wealth Management hopes to continue with our internship programme in the hope that the interns we select will return once their university course has completed so that we can continue to grow the business organically.
If you are interested in a graduate placement role with Walker Crips, please upload your cover letter and your CV here and we will contact you if a suitable opportunity arises.
No news or research content is a recommendation to deal. It is important to remember that the value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up, so you could get back less than you invest. If you have any doubts about the suitability of any investment for your circumstances, you should contact your financial advisor.