Jon has over 10 years’ experience in the Insurance and Financial Sectors where his roles have ranged from Administrator to Data Analyst.
For the last 3 years, he has worked as a Paraplanner for a large wealth management Group. He currently holds the Certificate for Financial Advisers and is halfway through his level 4 diploma, which he hopes to complete early next year before commencing the journey to become chartered. Jon’s diverse range of skills make him a valuable addition to the expanding team at SMC.
Hi Jon, how are you finding working at SMC Financial so far?
So far so good! It’s really refreshing to work within such a modern and holistic environment. We have quite a young team and we are all pushed towards studying for further exams. I’ve just passed my R04 pensions exam and now have 2 more units to complete to finish my diploma. There is plenty of help and experience on hand to assist with these studies as well which is good!
Tell me a bit about your background, where did you grow up and what schools, colleges and/or Universities did you attend?
I went to Manor High School in Crosby and left school when I was 16, as I was eager to get into work and begin earning. I had no desire whatsoever to go on to Uni. After a year or so in retail, I started my career at Swiss Life insurance in Waterloo which later moved to the Albert Dock. I begin as a temporary Administrator and after around 7 years I ended up a Data Analyst which was a role I really enjoyed. It was quite analytical and gave me a great deal of I.T experience. After we were all made redundant, I worked in a number of roles before returning to the financial sector as a Trainee Paraplanner at a practise of St. James’s Place where I stayed until this summer when I moved to SMC.
What does a typical day in the office for you at SMC entail?
Typical day begins with a short 5-minute walk to work. When I get in, it’s the obligatory check of outstanding emails. There is usually something in the Financial Press each morning that creates a talking point! I then go through the relevant paraplanning cases and discuss the best course of action for each client before compiling the necessary research for each case before finalising the suitability report. Sean Doherty has recently passed his last Administration exam and is looking to become a Paraplanner so part of my role now is to assist with this process.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the Financial services industry?
The industry is always changing and you need to continue studying throughout your career so get the bulk of your exams out the way as early as possible.
What is your favourite thing about your working in the financial services sector?
Personally, I like dealing with the retirement side of pension planning. It’s great to be able to contribute to an individual’s retirement! Having worked all your life, it must be greatly satisfying to finally put down tools for good and I’d like to think that my input in the process helps an individual to enjoy their new found spare time whether it be spent travelling, on the golf course or simply relaxing!
Outside of work, what are your interests? Do you have any hobbies?
I’m a big fan of Liverpool FC and get to the game when I can, although I don’t watch much other football. I’m also a fan of cycling and often go and watch stages of the Tour de France. My wife and I like to travel, and we try to get a city break or 2 into our busy schedules. Our family holidays are spent in Ibiza where we have been going for 20 years now.
Liverpool is a city famous for its music, assuming you’re a music guy what’s the best gig or concert you’ve been to and why?
I come from a very musical background. My dad has been in the music industry all his life and still tours as the lead singer of the Merseybeats. He has passed down his love of rock of roll to me, although when I was younger I preferred house music and used to DJ at weekends. Best gig to date is a close contest. Bon Jovi at Anfield was a good one in the summer just gone and I had a great night at Edinburgh Castle a couple of years ago where we saw the Stereophonics. For family reasons though, I’ll have to go for a concert I went to, again at Anfield, when I was 15. It was the last night of the standing Kop and I was lucky enough to go with my Dad who was performing that day. Demolition of the stand began the next day.
Cats or dogs?
Both! We have 2 cats called Dolly and Charlie and 2 Cockerpoos named Bella and Maggie who keep us busy!
If you could have lunch with one famous person, dead or alive who would it be and where would you take them?
It would have to be Bill Murray. Some of the stories I have read about him are hilarious! I’d take him to my favourite tapas restaurant in Ibiza called Sa Vida Sana.
Now the very important question. Are you fonder of the footballing skills of Sadio Mané or Gylfi Sigurðsson?
Sadio... when he’s not rolling around!
Bon Jovi photo by ScouseScene