Changing firms


For some of us there comes a time when we make the decision, or the decision is made for us, to move to another firm. Whatever the reason, we need to really explore who the next role will be and exactly what the role will entail. It goes without saying that there is always the possibility that the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side.

Not all T&C roles are the same, at least in the actual execution of the role. This is often directed by the culture of the firm and its own interpretation of the role by the senior management. Whatever your reasons for moving, consider what your primary objective is and try to understand whether the firm you are considering joining fits with your experience, your goals, and your personal beliefs. Of course, you may be looking because you need the income, since you do not want to end up in a position where you are considering exactly why you took on the role.

Hopefully, you are, or have in the past, considered the following thoughts:

It goes without saying that there is always the possibility that the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side.

Firstly, why are the firm looking for somebody for this role. This information may of course have already been given however what you may want to establish is, for example, if it is a replacement, why did the previous incumbent leave. If it is a new role, who has been covering the work up to this point and what is the current position. And why do they now need somebody to take on the role. What would you do if you were told the existing Compliance Manager had been undertaking the role, but now needs to take on additional responsibilities and move the T&C work to somebody else. Plausible, but on further examination it transpired that one senior manager had retained some of the compliance work through the need to retain control and not trust others, and not because the Compliance Manager was inexperienced or overloaded.

Should you move forward in the interview process, consider asking for a copy of the firm’s T&C Scheme. This document will give you a huge insight into both how the firm has interpreted the role as well as the culture of the firm. How would you feel if you discovered that the T&C Scheme only covered the advisers from a competency perspective, excluding all else including the senior management and the first line of defence, the para-planning team. The latter were later identified as being the primary cause of several failed external file checks. What if live or recorded competency assessments were excluded as an Adviser key performance indicator. And should the firm refuse to provide a copy of the T&C Scheme you should ask why. You may get an interesting response.

You should also ask the firm how they feel about change. Not all firms are good at embracing change and some will do as little as possible and only because they need to. The senior management may also be very set in their beliefs as to how the firm should function. What if you were to identify a significant oversight in a fundamental requirement, such as the way the firm deals in Continuous Personal Development? For example, if the firm had Pension Transfer Specialists who had only logged a third of the required CPD with just a couple of months remaining of their personal CPD year, what would be the firm’s view on a T&C Supervisor assisting them catch up and put in place something to avoid a reoccurrence? You might also want to ask for an example of a typical repetitive issue and what steps they have taken to identify the root cause and eliminate it. Again, this could be an interesting insight.

Two further thoughts: Firstly, it takes time to get up to speed with a new firm’s culture, processes, procedures, and people. Does the firm expect you to get stuck in straight away or would they allow some time, say at least a couple of weeks, for you to understand these so you can carry out the role effectively? Secondly, consider negotiating an early exit clause, for example within the first month either side can give a week’s notice, irrespective of the trial period. In the same way as you form an impression about somebody you have just met within the first few minutes, or your level of attention may reduce during a long and uninteresting webinar, sometimes what you are told at interview and the harsh reality may be completely different.

In as much as the firm is looking for the right fit in a candidate, likewise you should be looking for the right fit for you.


About Author

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I am a highly-versatile and forward thinking management professional with a history of successful delivery across more than thirty years’ in the Financial Services Industry. Core skills include assessing, training, coaching, process design and implementation, specialising in people, processes, and procedures within a Training & Competence or Learning & Development framework. Periodic writer for T-C

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