Paul Burnside talks us through his career journey to becoming a Chartered Financial Planner…

1. Where did you grow up/go to school/university?

I was born and bred in Ballymena attending Ballymena Academy before studying Finance at Queens University Belfast.

2. What was your first ever job?

I have been involved in my father’s Electrical Contracting business from a very young age. I gained a lot of experience and knowledge working with him which I have applied throughout my career.

3. What made you choose Financial Services as a career?

I always had an interest in people and numbers, finding solutions and helping, so being a Financial Planner allows me to combine these interests.

4. How did you start your career journey?

After university I started to sit some of the industry exams whilst working for my father’s firm. At this stage I met with Jim at βerrisford Associates and he was able advise me and to actively approach firms to see if they were willing to take on an enthusiastic graduate.

5. What personal qualities have helped you to succeed?

In my opinion the biggest skills in financial advice is being personable and approachable. This helps me translate my technical knowledge of financial services into solutions. The integrity that is essential has enabled me to sustain a career in this industry.

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6. What advice would you give anyone looking at Financial Services as a career?

Financial Planning is a difficult industry to get started in as there are few graduate jobs available at the minute. That being said there is a great opportunity for younger people to join the industry due to the ageing advisor population. My advice would be – get advice from a good consultant like Jim who you can chat to throughout your career and knows the market, and attempt to find a good mentor or firm who will help you to build a client bank.

7. What do you define as your greatest success?

My greatest success so far would be gaining Chartered Financial Planner status whilst working full time. This involves passing numerous exams and adhering to a strict code of ethics and shows my commitment to providing the best financial advice to my clients.

Paul Burnside

8. How do you switch off when not working?

I enjoy attending sporting events and concerts whilst endeavouring to travel as often as possible to experience different cultures.

9. What would you be doing if not in your current job?

After completing my degree in Finance the natural route may have been to move into accountancy. If it wasn’t for my desire to be a Financial Planner I probably would have pursued accountancy, or if I was blessed with a bit more talent I would’ve loved to have played full time football.

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