Financial Advisers – How to become the best at what you do

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How do you become the best at what you do?  Here at Expert Pensions, we’ve been delving deep into critical skills and how these skills will help you develop your thinking, your advice, and your business.

By developing a framework from which you can develop logical and analytical thinking, you will better understand how to build robust advice. Your Financial Planning will be more precise, more powerful and will stand up to the challenge from your clients, the FCA and FOS adjudicators.

What is critical thinking?

Critical thinking fosters creativity and out-of-the-box thinking that can be applied to any area of your life. It gives you a process you can rely on, ensures your opinions are well-informed and are based on the best available facts. Critical thinking is considered a soft skill and a core attribute required to succeed in the workplace and also when taking professional exams.

Critical thinking fosters creativity and out-of-the-box thinking that can be applied to any area of your life

Financial Advisers are expected to be able to communicate their findings to the clients’ they work with and that’s why critical thinking is an absolute must for you, your clients’, and your business.  You need to be able to:

  • analyse information
  • systematically solve problems
  • generate solutions
  • plan strategically
  • present your work or ideas to others in a way that can be clearly and easily understood

3 Reasons why you need to start working on your critical thinking skills

Preparing for and taking exams

Memorising information is not enough when it comes to exams. Most exams will engage you in using your critical thinking because critical thinking is a process. Your exam paper will present some information or a scenario of some kind and then ask questions about it, but the questions will invite you to analyse or interpret the information presented, or to draw a reasonable conclusion based on that information. It’s about being able to understand a variety of arguments from different points of view, how they are structured, and the supporting evidence being presented. Students with good thinking skills are likely to do well in exams as they can:

  • understand and evaluate
  • draw conclusions based on evidence
  • have improved logical thinking
  • think creatively and systematically to problem solve

Collaborate and communicate effectively

Clear communication is critical to a financial advice business and personal success, but is often fraught with difficulties. There is an increasing need for Financial Advisers to be able to collaborate and communicate effectively. You need to demonstrate an ability to explain the information behind the numbers in a clear and easy to understand way. This means that you need to be able to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing.

By applying your critical thinking skills, you are able to interpret the story behind the numbers to find solutions and working strategies that are right for your clients.

Strong critical thinking skills matter in the workplace

Employers value workers who know how to think critically. Critical thinkers bring creative solutions to the table and help businesses to innovate and remain competitive. In the Financial Services industry, there are guidelines and principles for you to follow and by using and developing your critical thinking skills you can help others understand information clearly and concisely, increasing trust whilst facilitating you in being more effective in the work you do. Giving you the power to make positive contributions to your business.

Expert Pensions can help you develop your critical thinking skills. Protecting you and your business for those situations where solid decision-making skills are a MUST.  We are launching a new series named ‘Think like an Adviser’ in the New Year which will focus on developing robust logical thinking, to strengthen your DB transfer advice and help it stand up to external interrogation. We will be highlighting this through real FOS cases and establishing a process and structure to use. This won’t be to earn structured CPD hours but will be part of our guidance and best practice for all Financial Advisers.

Developing a solid framework for your thinking, will make you the best at what you do. Make 2022 the year to learn, develop and improve your critical skills.

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Gayle Conway is Managing Director of Expert Pensions

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