bdhSterling win prestigious industry award

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Within a busy financial adviser office, paraplanners are very often the unsung heroes. Advisers themselves are the outward face of the organisation in their meetings with clients – either in person, or online during the current Covid pandemic. But behind them, paraplanners do a vitally important job.

The Professional Adviser New Talent Awards are focused on celebrating and recognising the achievements of those at the start of their career in financial services. As well as recognising and identifying the sector’s future leaders, the awards also shine the spotlight on the organisations and individuals that are helping develop and foster new talent in the industry.

So, bdhSterling are absolutely delighted to announce that Jordan Yardley, Paraplanner Manager in our Epsom office in the UK, has been named the 2020 Paraplanner of the Year.

We caught up with Jordan after the award ceremony – held online due to the Covid-19 pandemic – and asked him a few questions about being a paraplanner and how he feels about being recognised with this major award.

Hi Jordan – tell us a bit about yourself!

I grew up in the Epsom area where the UK bdhSterling office is, so there was an early connection!

I always knew that I wanted to work in a finance-based industry. I studied Accountancy & Law at Bournemouth University on the south coast, and I’m very technically minded.

I actually have strong family links to Australia as my brother emigrated there several years ago. I’ve loved visiting Australia and made several trips during and after university, including three months camping through the Outback.

Joining bdhSterling was quite fortuitous then!

Yes! During the interview I learned about the background of the company and became intrigued by the technical, logistical, and financial complexity required to meet clients’ needs while adhering to the legislative requirements in both countries.

Having literally just returned from a visit to Australia, the role really resonated. I found myself thinking ‘I really want to work here’ and, in January 2017, I started working at bdhSterling.

How has your career at bdhSterling progressed?

I started as an administrator, and within five months I was enrolled in the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) Aspire Apprenticeship scheme that was set up to help develop new recruits in the financial services industry. Then, later in 2017, I was offered a role as a paraplanner.

After a couple of years as a paraplanner I was appointed Paraplanning Manager in April 2020, managing a team of four fantastic paraplanners.

Tell us what a paraplanner does

It’s a very varied role and can differ slightly from company to company. I In a nutshell, paraplanners provide essential technical and research support to financial advisers and their clients.

We do this by researching investment funds and financial products such as pensions and making recommendations based on that detailed research. We put together suitability reports for the adviser to present to the client, and then respond to any queries the client may have.

We also deal with technical issues. We help clients with queries about their contracts and funds, and then provide the same support material and information when the client has an annual review meeting with the adviser.

How important are financial qualifications in your job?

Financial qualifications are important across the whole financial services industry as a demonstration of the professionalism and drive for high business standards, and it’s no different for paraplanners.

I achieved the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning in December 2018 and then the Pension Transfer Specialist qualification in December 2019.

My big target is achieving Chartered status. It takes time but, so far, I’m on track.

How involved are you with the Australian side of the business?

Given the set up here at bdhSterling, it’s difficult not to be involved! I started arranging Australian QROPS transfers within the first few months of joining, and I now oversee all pension transfers to Australia – and have done for the last two years.

I was lucky enough to spend some time in the Sydney office in 2019/2020. This gave me a real insight into how they work, and helped me develop my knowledge of financial services in Australia. I was also able to help the Australian admin team with their UK training.

What do you see as your biggest achievement at bdhSterling?

That’s probably the development of our in-house pension transfer analysis system. It’s the key ‘behind the scenes’ system, and the output of it is a crucial first step in determining whether we believe it is suitable for a client to transfer a pension to Australia.

After using it for a time, I started wondering how we could make the results much more robust, consistent, and meaningful to clients.

It took a lot of hard work and several late nights to get it to the level it is now and I am delighted that this tool is used in every Australian Pension Transfer Analysis Report and that clients can have the assurance that our recommendations are based on a fair and thorough analysis of their UK pensions.

How did you feel when you heard you’d won Paraplanner of the Year?

My immediate reaction was one of shock, and then enormous pride. It’s been four years of real hard work, both in the office and studying for qualifications in my spare time.

It hasn’t been easy recently with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as the physical UK office has been closed since March and therefore many of my colleagues have been having to work remotely.

It was therefore so nice that as a bdhSterling family around the world, we were able to tune in to watch the online awards and share a fantastic moment together. So many colleagues have given me guidance throughout my time here and helped me develop – this award is definitely a culmination of that and I share this award with them.