For Toby Carmichael-Jack, IFA at Surrey-based Fish Financial, the number 23 appears to hold a particular relevance. At 23 years of age, the rising star personally advises £23 million assets.
As I chat with him at Fish Financial’s plush London office near Chancery Lane, it becomes clear how he has been able to achieve so much so quickly. ‘Client interaction is my favourite part of the job,’ he says, in an assured manner you might not expect from someone so young.
Prior to choosing a career in financial advice, Carmichael-Jack left his options open. Rather than going to university after school, he took on work experience across a range of firms in accountancy, law and financial advice. With insight into each profession, he made an active choice to become a planner.
‘You get the most client interaction in this role,’ he says. ‘You get a better understanding of the person you’re talking with.’ Having joined Fish Financial from national advice firm Chase de Vere in 2016, he now offers advice to a range of business owners and private clients, many of whom are retirees.
Carmichael-Jack does not believe the age gap between him and his clients is a problem. ‘I don’t find it hard to build rapport with older clients,’ he says. ‘If anything I find it a little easier. They usually have had better experiences with financial services, and are often more trusting because of that. They’re happier to give you the relevant information and let you run with it.’
Carmichael-Jack has also been heading up Fish Financial’s side of a joint venture with accountancy firm Wise Financial, which began in May 2017. For this to work, he needs to communicate the value of financial advice. ‘The key is getting people to work towards a goal,’ he says. ‘You can give people numbers, but they might not necessarily understand what those numbers mean.
‘That’s why cashflow modelling is so important,’ he adds. ‘The value we add is far beyond investment returns. Our aim is helping clients achieve the lifestyle they want.’
With one eye on the future, he has also joined the Guildford Young Professionals Group, which meets every three months. He hopes the connections he makes and conversations he has will stand him in good stead. ‘It’s not useful for business yet, but it’s more of a slow burner,’ he notes.
And, speaking of the future, he is relatively confident his choice of career is suitably future-proofed.
‘A lot of the key things we do aren’t computerised,’ he says. ‘In that respect, I don’t think the role will be seriously threatened by robo-advice. Advice is one of the best career paths available within financial services.’
He says his next step is to continue growing his client bank organically, and to boost Fish Financial’s assets under management. Considering his affable and confident disposition, and his successful start as an IFA, it is likely he will do so with great success.