I started in our industry straight out of school with no degree. I joined Crusader Insurance at aged 17. At this time Pensions A Day reforms were beginning to kick-in, and the industry was on the cusp of considerable change. Joining on the administration front, my days were spent knee deep in manual processing, dealing with reams of paper in-trays and out-trays as well as stamping letters and documents.
From there I moved to a local IFA firm where, beginning in general administration, I worked my way up the corporate ladder. The focus in those days was on commission and selling by product, there was less of a consolidated wealth view of a client than we would have today. From a client perspective there was exceptional trust in the advisers supplying the advice for their clients, the office for example had a huge fireproof cabinet where clients entrusted us with their Wills, original documents and even their front door keys!
A stint at a London adviser brokerage firm followed. Becoming Head of Operations and Compliance this period saw me dip my toes deep into the world of technology and platforms, who were just emerging at this time. Wealth Management became important and it began to sit firmly alongside Protection and Pension sales.
Just as the RDR was approaching I decided to change gear and move into the world of consultancy and became employee number 3 at The Platforum. Holly (Mackay) and I had some eventful roadshows across the UK drumming up adviser sentiment and confidence in picking the most appropriate platform. A number of people still talk to me about PAT (Platform Analysis Tool) – the first of its kind.
Fast-forwarding, it was during my tenure at Platforum and latterly True Potential that I “found my voice” and became really passionate about change in the industry. In both these firms, I lived and breathed my role and really learnt the importance of delivering results to those that matter, the end customer. Leaning on the experiences I had gained from working with industry giants Michelle Cracknell and Holly Mackay I learnt that to succeed I had to be bold and speak from the heart.
By changing direction once more and moving to Bravura this provided me with the ability to continue to pave the way for innovation – adding my experience from the sharp end of platform technology. It was important for me to join a technology company that understood this crucial need to support change and adapt to growing market conditions. Bravura is at the heart of the current fintech revolution, as well as powering the underlying technology for leading brands by successfully meeting the ever-increasing demands with delivery excellence.
Working with Bravura on the evolution of the latest AI microservice has been an eye-opening experience and offers up huge opportunities. Believing as I do that AI and configurable technology will absolutely transform the industry, these systems, rather than to be feared as a threat to jobs and people’s livelihoods, in fact will offer significant new opportunities, speeding up and improving customer services and ultimately improving customer outcomes. I have seen first-hand how automation is revolutionary.
I am excited to be part of this technology revolution and as a woman in fintech I am keen to support inclusivity any way that I can. As an industry we are beginning see more women in our businesses, but it has been somewhat of an uphill struggle so far.
On 8th March, it’s International Women’s Day. Why is this important? My career journey has been less than conventional, and I am frequently the only woman in the room, but I’m pleased to say it’s a trend which is fading fast. I have been lucky enough to have some amazing supporting women guide my career decisions and I’d like to think I continue to do the same by mentoring a number of young women entering our industry. International Women’s Day is time to reflect on things that have changed and it’s a huge pat on the back to the pioneers addressing any remaining imbalance. With nurture and supporting each other and striving from the heart in “doing the right thing” for the industry, the success of our future boards and the women on it will thrive.