As a nineteen-year-old studying Economics at the University of Bath I was delighted to be offered the opportunity to undertake work experience this summer at Matthew Douglas Ltd.
My Time at Matthew Douglas
During my time at Matthew Douglas, I undertook a wide range of tasks and shadowed a number of employees. I really enjoyed attending meetings with the financial advisers, it was interesting to see how they would first understand the client’s needs and then develop their advice to meet these objectives. I enjoyed listening to the advice given and the wide-ranging expertise of the advisers.
It was also good to gain an understanding of the back-office side of the business, for example how client information is processed and documents are created. While at Matthew Douglas, I learnt a lot about the financial services industry and the day to day running of a busy business.
One of the most interesting things I learnt was the different risk profiles that clients can have, based on a number of personal factors, such as age and attitude to risk. These factors would then lead the advisor to recommend a certain type of portfolio that was ideal for the client’s situation. Furthermore, it was great to see how the business incorporates the many rules from the Financial Conduct Authority (the industry regulator) as this linked directly to what I had learnt at university.
Young People and Finance
I believe it is very important that young people are engaged with their personal finance. Through research and guidance given to me I have found the following pieces of financial advice useful in my adult life so far:
- Budgeting – Learn to have self-control when spending your money. Set yourself budgets for your different expenses, such as food and entertainment, at reasonable levels and try not to exceed them. This will allow you to more easily track your different expenses and will highlight when you start to spend more on one single thing as you will exceed your allotted allowance.
- ISA/Junior ISA –If possible, try to set up an ISA (or get one set up for you). Although the tax benefits may not be relevant until you start earning an income, it is important to get into the habit of regular saving and you’ll get a higher rate of return than in a savings account.
- Bills – familiarise yourself with the different bills that a household needs to pay. This will help you when you leave home, for example renting while at university, and will allow you to have a greater understanding of the kind of expenses you will need to pay.
I gained valuable experience and learnt a lot of useful information during my time at Matthew Douglas Ltd. I’d like to say a huge thank you to Matthew, Mark and all of the team for giving me the opportunity to work at the company and making me feel so welcome. I hope to follow a career in finance or business but in the meantime, I am back to university this month and with the lifting of lockdown restrictions I am looking forward to having my first in-person lecture…
Our thoughts (Mark – HR Director)
Tom came for a week of work experience/internship at Matthew Douglas. Tom is studying Economics at Bath university and wanted to have a look at the workings of an independent financial advisory firm. It was interesting for me to get back to basics with some of the financial concepts whilst being mindful of Tom’s economic knowledge.
In asking Tom to provide some feedback on his experience with us, it was clear that certain financial skills are lacking in students, thanks to being let down by secondary school education. However, I know there are currently a number of initiatives set up by schools to improve pupils improve their understanding re Personal finance.
We all hope that his time here has given him the insight to help him either consider a career in personal finance or at least to consider using the services of an IFA in the future.
It just remains for us to wish Tom well for his next year of studies.