CAREER CHANGE: Stephanie Smith
Submitted by Ambitious PR
A Leicestershire Pilates and wellness expert who moved into the role after a riding accident has launched a new career in financial advice.
Stephanie Smith, 54, a business development and communications professional, had to rethink her career after the accident and start a business as a Pilates practitioner and wellness coach.
But with “poor financial health” at the heart of her clients’ challenges, Stephanie has moved on and is now self-employed as part of the firm St. James’ Place Partner, offering holistic wellness services to the market. companies.
Stephanie said: “I had a knack for communicating complex ideas in simple language.
“As a result, I was able to evolve in my role, moving from a rather dry position to one where I was more in contact with the client.”
Stephanie started her career in IT, writing back-office systems for the City of London futures and options market.
With a talent as an “interpretation geek”, Stephanie possessed a wide range of technical and communication skills.
The experience of client relations led Stephanie to work in business development in the IT sector.
This opened up an opportunity to get involved in marketing communications and live events, incentive travel, internal communications and employee engagement.
In 2003, Stephanie had a serious riding accident but had time to take a step back and reevaluate her priorities in life.
She hoped to start a family and pondered what that might mean for her career.
Part of Stephanie’s rehabilitation was to practice Pilates. It was a practice in which she became increasingly involved and interested.
She then decided to convert into a Pilates practitioner and set up a business.
She said: “During my recovery, I learned a lot about my own body – not just physically, but how physical and mental health work together.
“I felt passionate about wanting to help people better understand their bodies, in every way.
“I trained as an NLP coach and took a stress management course that would help me advise clients better.”
What struck Stephanie was that at the root of many of her clients’ challenges were worries about their finances.
She saw an increasingly common thread between physical and mental health and financial health.
She said: “I’ve met people who stayed in jobs they hated because they needed retirement, and I’ve met self-employed people who were worried about how to cope. they had an accident or a chronic illness.
“I could see the real impacts of poor financial health.”
Stephanie became frustrated at not being able to help her clients with this aspect of their lives.
She said: “I was ready for a new challenge. I wanted to help people make a difference for themselves.
“He was a friend who planted the seed of taking financial advice as a career choice.
“I thought about it, and it all made sense – by training as a financial advisor, I could provide a much more holistic service to clients.”
She spoke to a partner at St. James’ Place, who recommended the St. James’s Place Financial Adviser Academy.
After meeting the team at an open house, she decided to apply.
Stephanie said: “I originally signed up for the April 2020 intake just as we were hitting lockdown.
“In October 2020, I was fully enrolled and studying at SJP Academy during the COVID 19 pandemic.
“I was a little nervous to retrain remotely. But I received great support from my academy mentor and continued to stay in touch with my peers in the course.
“There are some I haven’t met in person yet, but we keep in touch, and it’s a valuable network.
“We have a shared learning experience at that time and under those conditions.”
According to Globedata, there is a demand from people looking for reliable financial advice, with a growing number of “very well off” people in the UK.
Mass affluent applies to individuals in the UK with between £50,000 and £5 million in investable assets. The population could increase from 11 million in 2021 to 13 million by 2024.
But the number of qualified counselors is declining.
St James’s Place Financial Adviser Academy alumni have left a number of positions.
Stephanie demonstrates that there are transferable skills from previous roles that benefit people in their financial advisory business.
The average age of a financial adviser is 57 in the UK and as these people begin to retire, this creates an advice gap.
There are several ways to meet the growing need for more qualified professionals, such as career advice for young people.
But the industry is seeing a growing number of aspiring ‘career switches’ into the profession and filling this gap.
Stephanie said: “I want to grow the business, focusing on well-being, supporting women in particular.
“My goal is to create a truly holistic financial planning service that encompasses some of my previous experience.
“I feel like I can make a bigger impact than before. And the sense of belonging that the SJP umbrella offers means I’m not entirely alone.
“This vision I have for my business feels achievable to me.”
“It’s a steep learning curve, but at the end of the day, it’s a people thing.
“We all bring something new, offer a different perspective and make a difference.”
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