So you want a career in financial services and to run your own business? Read on…
St. James’s Place is a well-known and respected wealth management company whose Piccadilly office seminars have always been something to look forward to.
The St. James’s Place Academy is a laudable educational initiative that offers an interesting option: rather than being harnessed to an employer, a post-graduate, or those who are already well-established in their career can set up their own business in association with, and as an affiliate of a prestigious and established name.
The academy started operating in 2007 and was re-launched in 2012. It provides a two year training and development programme for individuals interested in, not so much an office job, but an autonomous career in wealth management.
What this means in practice is that the academy program, described by Academy Director Adrian Batchelor as ‘unrivalled’, makes it possible for students to acquire the tools – and the coveted FCA certification – to build a successful, long-term business.
St. James’s Place Academy has tapped into a generational trend, says Batchelor:
“Our research reveals a clear appetite amongst millennials to start their own business, partly due to the frustrations felt within the workplace. As young workers have been hardest hit by the wage squeeze since the financial crisis, it’s no surprise they yearn for greater autonomy and reward for their hard work.”
The academy trains carefully selected students ‘from scratch’. No previous finance background is required or even necessary and interestingly, applicants’ ages range from early 20s to early 50s – as do their educational standards.
It is fair to say that University graduates are most likely to make it through the rigorous selection process and exams, but beyond that, the St. James’s Place Academy looks for more intangible yet all-important attributes such as outstanding people and face to face engagement skills. An existing network of contacts within the HNW bracket is also helpful.
There are intakes in four different cities, 2 per year around the country and 3 per year in London itself. The lucky 20 finalists are as diverse a group as St. James’s Place’s client base. Students go through a 6 month foundation course followed by in-depth training in the technical side of business, marketing and compliance. Tutors come from within the St. James’s Place group, but also include a variety of speakers from the wealth management industry at large.
Interestingly, and appealingly, St. James’s Place provides the educational program free of charge, and can also offering financial assistance as part of their Academy support programme to help students in their first year whilst they are training and starting to build and plan their future.
BBeyond’s verdict: a phenomenal opportunity to join the financial services industry at no cost and with the added advantage of being able to run a high value business as an affiliate of a venerable firm.
Learn more about St. James’s Place Academy here.