A step into the world of investment

The pros outweigh the cons in the world of investment says Chris Dowling but be realistic about the world outside before you leave the Services – you’ll need to do some hard work before you can step straight into it.

To utilise his Farsi and Dari linguist skills, Chris briefly contemplated working in NGOs while still serving, but decided a life of globe-trotting wasn’t conducive to spending more time with his family.

After a stint in security, combining what he knew about risk analysis with a grounding in commercial skills, he knew he wanted his next step to be investment. He started studying for the essential qualifications – among them CISI Investment Advice Diploma, and a CISI Chartered Wealth Manager qualification. In total, he spent three years studying.

Chris explains: “There really is no shortcut with qualifications as they’re an absolute must for the industry. We have people applying for admin roles who have a Masters in Finance so it really is imperative you’re as ahead of the competition as you can be.”

He adds: “Historically, it has been a relatively easy transfer for officers into Financial Services. There’s still a number who assume they can tap into an ‘old school network’ that loves public school boys and will provide a lucrative role, just like that. High paying positions are a reality but it takes a period of hard work.”

The desire not to work in London led to Chris’ decision to work in Bristol and take a role at Rathbones, employed in front office work as Assistant Investment Manager. A typical day in the life can be relatively peripatetic – travelling around the country speaking to clients about their portfolios, discussing investment reports with analysts and going to industry events in the City. “There is certainly a social aspect to the work.”

Pros and Cons

Chris says: “In the Services, you can change career every two years, whereas this industry requires longer term commitment and persistence. Also, in contrast to the Services, the team is a looser set-up and I do miss the camaraderie as a result.”

However, the pros far outweigh the cons. “I really enjoy the work, which is not that dissimilar to what I did as an intelligence officer, analysing complex risks. My colleagues are a stimulating and intelligent group of people to work with. And most importantly, I get to spend quality time with my family.”