Naz Riasat went from British Army captain to
associate partner with wealth management
company, St James’s Place. Find out why
it’s been a great career move for him and
his tips on how to make the leap.
How many years did you serve? What was your final rank and which Service were you in?
I served for 22 years in the AGC and retired in the rank of Late Entry Captain.
What were the biggest achievements and highlights of your military career?
I applied for a commission as Senior Staff Sergeant and being selected was undoubtedly my biggest achievement in the Army. I had accomplished a long-held ambition.
What industries and specific roles were you interested in pursuing during resettlement? And, what roles did you think would suit your skills?
I had made my mind up early, and a fair time before I signed off, that I would pursue a career in the Finance sector but at this point, I wasn’t sure exactly what role I wanted to do.
ST. JAMES'S PLACE ACADEMY
How did you find out about the St. James's Place Academy and why was it of interest?
A good friend of mine and former Army Officer is a successful Partner of St. James’s Place, and he introduced me to the company and also gave me an in-depth briefing about what the role entailed and what I could expect working for this company. I was attracted to the idea of running my own Practice whilst at the same time being associated with a well-respected brand like St. James’s Place.
How did you find the training?
The training with the St. James’s Place Academy was intense and full-on, there was no getting away from that. There are a number of exams and a fair measure of learning material to get through in the first six months. As this is a heavily regulated industry, there is no ability to ‘cut corners’. There was not much scope to fall behind in my training whilst I was on the Academy programme.
YOUR ROLE NOW
What are your main responsibilities in your current role?
My role is to adopt a client-centred holistic approach to managing the finances for my private clients and businesses. We achieve this by reviewing all their current assets, investments, retirement provisions and savings and then consider how best they will all work together in order to achieve the client’s goals, now as well as in the future.
What does a normal day look like for you?
No two days are the same in any given week. A typical day could mean a meeting with a prospect or a client or attending a networking event. On the other hand, it could just be a day in the office completing paperwork. Often it is a combination of more than one of these activities but either way, the clients’ needs are front and centre of what I do and how my day is planned.
Are there are any similarities between your Service role and your current job? Do you feel you are using skills and aptitudes you gained while in the military?
Army officers have the skills to deal with different situations and adapt where necessary but most importantly they are, on the whole, charismatic individuals with the ability to speak with people they have never met before, both with ease and confidence. It is an invaluable skill to have in this role. If you can connect with prospective new clients in this way, you stand a good chance of running a successful financial planning and wealth management Practice within the St. James’s Place Partnership.
Why do you think ex-military people are suited to a career in financial planning and wealth management? What transferable skills makes them successful?
Military personnel are disciplined and resourceful. These are valuable attributes to have when running your own Practice.
Why would you recommend the Academy to other Service leavers?
The training and development programme will not only equip you with the necessary qualifications but also give you the knowledge and confidence to gain clients and grow your own business. It is a great way of forging a new and successful career in the Finance Services sector.
mAKING A SEAMLESS TRANSITION INTO CIVILIAN LIFE
What advice would you give to other Service leavers going through resettlement who want to forge a career in financial planning and wealth management?
Speak to as many people in the industry as possible and arrange to spend a day or two in one of the St. James’s Place Practices. Start going through the process as early as is feasible, then begin to get your head into the learning material. That will make the transition feel as seamless as possible rather than going over a cliff edge when you hand in your uniform.
What are your ambitions for the future?
To run my own large Practice with a team of Advisers and a Paraplanner. Delegates on the Academy training programme may decide to join one of the many St. James’s Place Practices as an Adviser in preference to setting up and running their own businesses.
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.