Former RAF Flight Lieutenant swaps fast jets - for career in finance

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Jonathan Shingles, a former Flight Lieutenant, left the RAF after almost 11 years’ Service. He has gone from flying fast jets to becoming a Partner at St. James's Place Wealth Management and has welcomed the change.

Transitioning into Civvy Street

Jonathan had a number of highlights in his career in the RAF, including flying and instructing on fast jets, being a Tucano aerobatic display pilot and representing downhill skiing and cresta run inter-service teams, to name but a few! On leaving, he was interested in a number of roles including business development and trading roles. He went on to do a MBA at the London Business School, as he was unsure about what area he wanted to specialise in.

St. James’s Place Academy

Jonathan found out about the St. James’s Place Academy when he was looking to start his own business. The Academy’s career change training programme provides people with an unrivalled opportunity to build a career in wealth management and they can choose whether they want to create their own financial planning and wealth management business or join an established St. James’s Place Practice as an Adviser.  The training, Jonathan said, “was a great balance between required technical skill and knowledge and focusing on how to develop your own business”.

His role now involves generating new clients and ensuring existing clients are well looked after. Day-to-day, Jonathan’s responsibilities vary from dealing with client queries to generating new opportunities. He said: “this is quite a change from flying fast jets. To me, this is a good thing and I am pleased that I have had the chance to have a variety of careers.” He feels like he is utilising the skills he gained in the RAF. “This is definitely a people-oriented business like the Services.” He is confident that ex-military people are suited to a career in wealth management because of their unique, transferable skills. “Trust, reliability, resilience and willingness to learn. I was always learning new skills in the RAF so the taking exams and the Academy training programme did not put me off.”  

Jonathan would recommend the Academy to other Service leavers: “You are entering a new company, industry and role all at once however the Academy provides a soft launch to support the changing of so much at the same time.”

He offers this valuable advice to Service leavers who want to follow in his career change footsteps: “Do not sell yourself short and make sure you network to do your own research. People will help because of the service you have given.”

Jonathan has strong ambitions for the future and hopes to be the go-to person for financial advice within his network.

Find Out More About A Career In Financial Services

A series of Insight events have been organised to allow interested parties to discover more about moving into a career in wealth management.  Events are regularly held across the UK and details about the dates and venues can be found on the St. James’s Place Academy website.

These events are an initiative run by the St. James’s Place Academy, which offers training and development for individuals looking to become qualified financial planning and wealth advice professionals. Upon graduation, they have the opportunity to establish their own financial advice and wealth management business or join an established St. James's Place Practice as a qualified Adviser.  Attendees are given the opportunity to hear first-hand how individuals have made the transition, what it is like to be a wealth manager including what a wealth manager does, and how they can retrain to do this with the St. James’s Place Academy.