Here’s What I Learned Working for a Fortune 500 Financial Services Company
It varies by company and by the segment within the industry, but the finance sector is well-known for its fast-paced, rigorous and lucrative culture.
Being in financial services can provide a decent living for most individuals, but it comes at the expense of competitive work environments and strict upper management. Nevertheless, it’s an industry that will develop your character and teach you the principles of money management, both essentials for a profitable lifestyle.
Financial services revolve around services related to money management that can create a valuable financial plan for an individual or company.
Finance can be a foreign language to some people. But I’m not exactly writing here to teach you about finance, but rather to illustrate core life-learning experiences I was able to extract from working for such a company.
During my time at the firm, my role was to manage Financial Advisor’s clients’ investment accounts while also performing financial market research. It required me to work all day on the computer and the phone before, during and after the stock market hours of 6:30am-1:00pm PST.
Let the lessons I learned be a catalyst to decide whether or not you desire to venture into the industry or just to acquire meaningful skills that you can apply to your life.
Here’s what I learned from my time as an Associate at a Financial Services Firm.
Communication and Dealing with People
The industry is not only a numbers game but a people’s game. You have to be prepared to talk to clients, upper management, and your manager in meetings or on a daily basis at any given time.
The phone was my best friend, and I used it no less than 90% of my day. Incoming call candidates ranged from clients who wondered why their stock wasn’t making any money to my back office telling me a simple change to a client's account couldn’t be made until a week later.
I realized what you say is not as important as how you say it. I learned to professionally assuage clients and mitigate their worries. I was able to shift conversations with my back office into my favor in order to obtain the maximum amount of information I needed and wanted.
Communication is key in the industry, and it’s crucial to be able to depict an articulate picture of what you’re trying to say in conversations in a way that’s simple yet effective.
Knowledge in Financial Planning and Investing
Some positions within finance require Licenses or Certifications. Mine required two securities-related licenses that not only provided me with a gateway into the industry but with an opportunity to grow my knowledge of industry laws/regulations, types of securities and accounts and best money management practices.
Working alongside a Senior Vice President of Investments and long-time Financial Advisor with over 30 years of industry experience taught me far more than textbooks could ever teach me.
The way he spoke to clients, the way he analyzed people, and how he formed ideas intrigued me and triggered me to hone in on and focus on his interactions with clients.
It’s one thing to know the tax benefits of an IRA or what a stock dividend is, but it’s equally as important to be able to completely understand a person’s financial situation to design a roadmap for their future.
That is what financial planning is. The process of understanding the client’s current financial situation, finding out their financial goals and then implementing a plan that aligns with their situation and goals.
Just like how other service professions work, I learned the importance of processes. There’s a process to almost anything, so learn to trust the working processes within your niche.
Investing is just one component within financial planning, but I find it to be the most significant.
It’s the reason why people seek financial help in the first place since they want to learn to increase their wealth alongside learning how to save their money.
Being in an environment where the stock market is a bedrock for wealth creation, I was able to learn important investing practices as well as being able to form my own investment strategies and opinions.
This then led me to listen to news podcasts and read financial-related articles daily in order to keep me in the loop of the financial markets and where the economy stands.
Working in finance can be a noble profession. The whole financial services industry revolves around providing money management services in order to create a less stressful lifestyle for individuals and companies by fulfilling their money goals.
Money can be a sensitive topic for most. It’s not easy to discuss how much money you make, how much money you have in debt, etc. to another individual.
Nevertheless, the industry’s purpose is to provide financial advice and manage your money for you so that you don’t have to.
Between my friends and family, I was the only person who ventured into the industry. This made me the person that they all turned to when they had any financial-related questions.
Teaching them to manage their money and having them tell me how much they appreciated someone like me helping them grow their knowledge in finance went a long way and reassured the happiness I had knowing that I’m able to provide value in multiple people’s lives.
Although I wasn’t exactly in a money manager position at the firm, I had the ability to take the knowledge and experiences and apply them to my personal life.
Doing my own research within finance before working at the firm allowed me to acquire valuable technical skills, but physically being in the environment allowed me to accumulate core soft skills that go hand-in-hand with each other.
Working in the industry also solidified my goals of seeking a vocation that makes a positive impact on people’s lives and has allowed me to smoothly transition into my next journey.
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Disclaimer: The information provided is solely for educational purposes and is not to be considered as investment advice. To seek investment advice, reach out to a financial professional such as a Financial Advisor. Perform your own due diligence and invest at your own risk.
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