As part of our blog schedule, periodically we will be providing interesting updates from the wider team at DB Wood. In our first issue we sat down with Kat Armeanu, a Loughborough University student who was previously an intern, and is now currently completing her placement year with us. Here is what she had to say…
Q: When did you first come across DB Wood and what was your initial impression?
A: Oh, I remember it very vividly. It was in the first couple of months of my first year at uni, at a careers fair, that I forced some friends to come to with me. The event was more targeted at second year students looking for a placement or those looking for graduate jobs so not many offered any work experience or internships for the novices!
So, I was strolling around from stand to stand, stocking up on freebies… until I came across a particularly purple stand with eye-catching investment performance graphs on roll up banners.
At the time, I was quite interested in the investment world, so that pulled me in. I had a chat with 2 very friendly, yet professional looking men -yes, they were none other than Alex and Dom (who both came through the DB Wood internship program themselves) and whom I was to sit in front of for an interview a few weeks later for a summer internship position.
My first impression was that they were part of a respectable business. From the way they described it, I was able to tell that the firm was very close-knit and put customer experience ahead of anything. They weren’t looking for a big batch of new trainees as bigger firms do at these events, they were looking for a few high quality individuals that resonated with the business’ principles.
Q: Fast forward then; now that you’ve been here for a while, what is it about your role that you enjoy most and why?
A: Hmm, hard to pick just one aspect! I think the process of creating a financial plan for a new client. It is such a lovely experience to go from being strangers with someone to having a strong and trusting relationship with the client and being able to tailor a plan to help them achieve their goals. I was recently in one of these initial discovery meetings with Ashley, the MD and a new referral client. As he was comforting the client and offering solutions to all their concerns, I could see how their worries just disappeared one by one and they left feeling relieved and happy that they came in.
Being able to help progress this relationship by staying in touch with them, creating cashflow scenarios and putting Ashley’s advice into a clear and understandable report for the client is a part that I really enjoy and makes me feel very determined.
Q: Compared to other professions (accountants and solicitors in particular), what differentiates financial planning in your view?
A: I’ve not worked with either professionals exclusively, but from my time here so far, I realised that a Financial Planner has some knowledge of both! I’ve seen many cases where we build and improve on the client’s accountant’s advice, especially around pension contributions…and remuneration structure if they are business owners. We also tackle some legal aspects, such as Wills and LPAs. So, I think FP is different because it encapsulates both, to a degree.
Q: Slightly more general now – if you weren’t at work, where would you be spending your time?
A: Either of the following 2 places: in the gym lifting weights, or at the cinema for the latest blockbuster.
Q: And finally, for a bit of fun, if you could pick one famous person to be for a day, who would it be and why?
A: Keanu Reeves. He is a very self-less, funny and overall just heart-warming guy. Despite his fame and money, he just seems to behave like a normal person, taking the bus and often travelling around without any security. No matter what role he plays, he is always himself somehow. There are stories out there that he often takes a good chunk of his pay and gives it to other people on set, such as make-up artists and special effects, because he appreciates the importance of teamwork.
He’s just enjoying life in the purest way possible, and, honestly, I think that’s the whole point.