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Derby financial adviser offers help to colleagues across the world after sharing his thoughts on imposter syndrome

Derby financial adviser offers help to colleagues across the world after sharing his thoughts on imposter syndrome

The founder of a Derby financial advice company who gave a talk to fellow professionals online about self-doubt and feeling like he is “winging it” says he has been contacted by people all over the world looking help and support.

James Wallis, who set up his company, Aristotle Financial Planning, based at Friar Gate Studios, last year, says that enquiries have come from places as far afield as South Africa and Australia after he took part in the Next Gen Planners conference last month.

James was one of over 100 speakers from around the world to address the conference, which took place across three days and four continents and covered five different themes, including innovation, leadership and financial wellbeing.

His 15-minute talk – ‘Most of the Time I Feel I’m Winging It, But I Think That’s OK’ – covered his experiences of setting up his company and working with his clients, as well as his feelings of imposter syndrome – which is loosely defined as doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud.

The NextGen Planners is an online community of over 500 financial planners, paraplanners and finance professionals, who share best practice and ideas and offer support to one another.

James is a member of the network and was encouraged to speak at the conference by a tutor on a leadership course he was taking at the time. He broke the talk down into a number of separate topics in order to explore his theme, including techniques on how to counteract feelings of inadequacy and analysing what failure would look like.

Following his appearance, he has since been invited to speak at a high-profile industry conference being held later this year, although he has been sworn to secrecy about the name and date of the event.

He said:

“I really enjoyed the experience of taking part in the conference and since then i have been contacted by quite a few people wanting to talk or know more, which has led to me sharing ideas with advisers from all over the world.

“That feeling of winging it is definitely something I still experience. Although I have worked in this industry for 12 years, I still often question myself about how qualified I am to give advice to high net-worth clients, let alone talk about the experience to my peers.

“However, I tell myself that those feelings are natural and I now know from the conference how they are shared by a great many people, especially younger people in the financial services industry.”

James set up his company just before the coronavirus pandemic hit last year, forcing him to work from home and conduct his business with clients over the internet. This year he took on his first member of staff, Gemma Bailey, and he has now agreed to act as a mentor for a fellow professional.

He said:

“Our industry is unusual in that there is a gap in companies run by people in their 40s at the same time as a host of younger people setting up in business, all of whom are seeking advice and looking for mentoring.

“That split means that they are turning to each other for help, which has created a wonderful community of financial advisors who are supporting each other rather than competing with them.

“I have had some great mentors and am now doing some mentoring, which is wonderful, especially in an industry whose members have traditionally been quite closed-off to one another.”

James founded his company because he saw a need for a financial advice service that is straightforward and personable.

The company has nearly 100 clients all across Derbyshire and further afield and James also holds free drop-in sessions at local firms and councils to offer staff advice on pensions, investments and reducing debt.

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