Chloe joined the HFM team in June 2019 as part of The Insurance Institutes’ Life Assurance Practitioner Apprenticeship. This gives the opportunity to work within a Financial Adviser’s office while studying a level 8 degree and become a Qualified Financial Adviser (QFA).
“When we were designing the apprenticeship we wanted to come up with a proposition that would attract candidates who were interested in a career and not just a job. Chloe is a very good example of this and it’s great to hear that the team in HFM hold her in such high regard. It’s very obvious from the Q & A that Chloe really “gets” long term financial planning and there is no doubt that she will have a great future in the business.” Said Dermot Murray, CEO, The Insurance Institute.
As Chloe’s mentor Niamh Hegarty observed the increase in confidence and knowledge that Chloe has gained while being hands on in the office environment and studying alongside. ‘’We were a bit sceptical at first when we heard about the apprenticeship scheme but, now we believe it is a great asset to the Financial Services Industry for both Brokers and Product Providers. As an employer we needed employees with practical skills, not just academic qualifications. The Insurance Institute together with Brokers Ireland and the LIA guided us through the stages of the programme which was a great comfort. The apprenticeship strikes a balance between theory and practice. Chloe has become a strong member of the HFM team, understanding not only our business but our ethos of putting our clients individual financial needs as our priority.”
Chloe has qualified in her APA Savings and Investments in June, with her final theory exam in September. With her QFA insight we ask Chloe what attracted her to the apprenticeship, what advice she’d give and where she sees herself in 5 years’ time.
Chloe, What attracted you to the apprenticeship programme and becoming a Financial Adviser?
The apprenticeship offers the chance to work full time while studying for a level 8 degree with IT Sligo which includes the qualified financial adviser qualification (QFA). The apprenticeship provides the opportunity to stay in full time employment while completing a degree at the same time. If I had attended a full time third level institution and studied for a degree, it may have be financially challenging. At the end of the apprenticeship I will have 3 years’ work experience in the financial industry along with a QFA qualification and a 3rd level degree with IT Sligo.
Is it difficult working full time and studying?
The apprenticeship is structured in a way which makes it easy to balance full time work and study. We are allocated one study day a week to attend our online lectures and complete our continuous assessment and study. We have continuous assessment assignments which are completed each semester. I try and dedicate a lot of my study time to our study day on a Thursday as it can be quite tiring having to fit study in after work during the week. Our assignment deadlines are given to us at the start of each semester which makes it easy to allocate time to get the assignments done while working full time.
Did it meet your expectations?
The apprenticeship has definitely met my expectations. The lectures are completed online but are done in a way which is very interactive. The lectures give us an opportunity to complete group work during the lectures which is a great way to interact with our class mates and learn from each other. The lecturers are always available if we need any help or need to ask questions. I have learned a lot about the programme through my on the job training and a lot of the material we covered in the lectures was like revision as I felt I had picked up on it during my day to day work in the office. It’s great being able to put the material which we learned during our online lectures into practice in the office. I was surprised how quick I was able to it pick up.
What did you learn about Financial Planning and Advice?
I have learned that there is a great value in planning and being prepared for the different life stages and financial needs which each individual will go through. Clients can prioritise their needs and objectives and focus on what is most important to them regarding their financial protection. It provides clients with a better understanding of direction. It allows clients to view the direction their financial decisions are going in and gives them an understanding of why each step is taken in the financial process and how it will be beneficial for them. A holistic approach is provided through financial planning as it gives the client the opportunity to look at their financial requirements as a whole rather than focusing on only one product. An example of this would be a married couple taking out a mortgage but not thinking about income protection or serious illness as they are only focusing on taking out a mortgage. The holistic approach allows the client to plan financially for future change in circumstances.
What have you learned in terms of your own finances?
In relation to my own finances I have learned the importance of planning for the future as there are a number of typical financial needs which a person may have in their lifetime and it is important to plan for these. In relation to my own financial stage I have learned the importance of beginning to save for a car, a home and holidays etc.
What would you recommend to people at your stage of the careers?
For someone in their early 20’s there is a need for putting away savings to be safe, to start saving for a first home, borrowing for a first car etc. Savings plans are key to help with the deposit for a house or having money put away for a rainy day. I would recommend a savings policy which provides an opportunity to put a monthly sum of money away while investing in a fund of your choice. There is no penalty should you wish to withdraw funds from the plan. While investing in the fund it gives the opportunity for the fund value to grow. There is a need for life assurance and serious illness cover to protect yourself against the loss of income. There should be some thought put into starting a pension.
Where do you see yourself in 5/ 10 years’ time?
In the next 5 years I will have completed my QFA with the LIA and my Honours Bachelor Degree in Life Insurance with IT Sligo. I would like to undertake more study and hope to complete the Retirement Planning Advice Exams to become more knowledgeable in pensions, I am also considering completing a master’s degree. I hope to progress in my role in Hegarty’s as I gain more experience and qualifications. I’m excited to see where my career in insurance will take me.
For more information on the apprenticeship programme Email firstname.lastname@example.org