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Fresh faces: Chami leading the way at Bristol IFA

It took a round-the-world trip but Charles Chami found his calling was to come back home to Glamis IFA in Bristol.

Charles Chami, director, Glamis IFA

It took a round-the-world trip but Charles Chami found his calling was to come back home.

After studying business and economics at Swansea University, Chami, now director of Bristol-based Glamis IFA, completed the post-uni rite of passage by signing up to recruiters that specialised in graduates. Through this, he landed a role at software company Citrix. ‘I was doing an internal sales support role and basically saving to go travelling,’ he says.

But Chami had started laying the groundwork for his future career before he stepped on a plane. ‘I thought to myself, while I was saving to go travelling I might as well start the financial advisory exams,’ he said. ‘I did the first two of them: CF1 and CF2.’

After travelling for eight months around Asia, Australasia, Canada and the US, Chami returned to look for trainee advice roles. He interviewed with Lloyds but ended up bagging a role with Morgan Stanley.

‘At the time, most economic graduates would have given their left arm to work at an institution like that or other global investment banks,’ he says. ‘It was too good to pass up on.’

In his five years at Morgan Stanley and six-month secondment at the Budapest office, Chami completed his diploma in financial planning in his own time.

Charles Chami, director, Glamis IFA

It took a round-the-world trip but Charles Chami found his calling was to come back home.

After studying business and economics at Swansea University, Chami, now director of Bristol-based Glamis IFA, completed the post-uni rite of passage by signing up to recruiters that specialised in graduates. Through this, he landed a role at software company Citrix. ‘I was doing an internal sales support role and basically saving to go travelling,’ he says.

But Chami had started laying the groundwork for his future career before he stepped on a plane. ‘I thought to myself, while I was saving to go travelling I might as well start the financial advisory exams,’ he said. ‘I did the first two of them: CF1 and CF2.’

After travelling for eight months around Asia, Australasia, Canada and the US, Chami returned to look for trainee advice roles. He interviewed with Lloyds but ended up bagging a role with Morgan Stanley.

‘At the time, most economic graduates would have given their left arm to work at an institution like that or other global investment banks,’ he says. ‘It was too good to pass up on.’

In his five years at Morgan Stanley and six-month secondment at the Budapest office, Chami completed his diploma in financial planning in his own time.

Prodigal son

It was over a Christmas chat with his father Samir Chami, managing director at Glamis IFA, in 2011, that the urgency to join financial advice picked up.

‘My dad said: ‘’Look, I am going to want to slow down and retire at some point in the future – if you don’t want to do the IFA thing that’s fine, just let me know.’’’ And so Chami agreed to stay in London until after the Olympics, and returned to Bristol in September 2012 at the age of 29.

There was a little adjustment to be made though. ‘I came back retail distribution review-qualified from an exam point of view, although I think I had some gap-fill I needed to work through,’ says Chami.

‘But most of the work we were doing was systems improvements, learning the business, understanding how an IFA firm works day-to-day and getting to know our clients.’

Network connection

Chami completed his first chartered exam last year and has become involved in various networking groups in Bristol. In 2013 he became a member of Bristol Junior Chamber (BJC), a networking group for people under 40, and has this year been elected president.

After meeting two peers at BJC, Chami also co-founded Bristol Private Clients, after struggling to find a networking group that brought together professionals in the private client industry.

It was great to catch up with Chami at our Next Generation Forum event last month and it is great to see advisers reaching out to other young entrants.

Charity work

‘In 2011 I ran the London Marathon, raising more than £4,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK,’ says Chami. ‘I give monthly to Save the Children and I also raise funds for charity through the BJC.’

First job

‘My first job was at 14 years old as a waiter at a local pub,’ says Chami. ‘I was actually demoted to washer-upper, so it was a poor start to my working life.’

Long-term plans

‘I am really keen to expand my family IFA business,’ says Chami. ‘If I can one day hand over a bigger, better version of it to my own children that would be great.’

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