Pamela Hallitt is a graduate of the Stella Careers Programme, where women interested in financial planning as a career are given support and practical tips on working towards this achievement. Run by Esther Angrisano, Regional Manager at St George Financial Planning, the women on the course are given insight on what it takes to be a planner, how to get through the studies and training, and some financial planning skills such as using the Financial Services Guide as a sales tool. They also learn different techniques to present to clients – how to behave and assure clients of your ability as a young woman.
Pamela’s interest in financial planning was driven by her family. Pamela says her mother was a single mother and had no super, and no career and so had to just work where she could to raise the kids which meant working many hours to send them to to good schools and putting aside nothing for herself for when the kids were grown.
What interested Pamela in financial planning?
“I want to give people the choice when they are making decisions - let them have options on how to live their futures. I don’t want to tell people what to do just but rather show them what their options are,” Pamela says.
“If I can see one person that I deal with is positively affected - saving money, having their kids married or being able to take the ultimate honeymoon - that’s great. It’s an amazing feeling and if that person feels they have been helped they will tell five people, and those people will tell people and the ripple effect will be that more people get financial advice.
“I made it clear from day 1 that I wanted to be a financial planner. And then I met someone at the BT Christmas Party – Diana Saad (a senior financial planner at Westpac) and I found out how she got to what she does now, and asked her what she enjoys, her trials and tribulations.”
Pamela’s first job out of high school was administration in a financial planning firm where she saw the everyday side of financial planning. “There were a few millionaires but the majority were retail clients and retirees. It made financial planning more normal when you could see they weren’t just rich people but just people who worked hard all their lives to save for their retirement,” she says.
“For these people not to be advised and to rely on the internet is a little bit like people relying solely on the internet for medical advice.”
The road to planning
Good fortune for Pamela came in the form of a spot opening in the Stella Careers Programme earlier this year because someone dropped out and she was managed to be interviewed and then placed in the programme.
The course runs for eight months and focuses on what women in financial planning need help with – including learning what it takes to become a financial planner, how to get through the training, and learning some financial planning skills such as what the affluent client looks like and how to use the FSG as a sales tool.
Pamela started advising clients in a limited advice role at BT and would like to move into full advice. Learning on the job, Pamela learns from planners around her, pays attention to the questions clients ask and is currently undertaking her Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning and her Bachelor of Business degree majoring in Finance at Charles Stuart University.
Pamela says one of the most difficult things for her is as such a young woman, having the confidence to approach clients much older and convince them that there are reasons why they should trust in her knowledge to look after their financial future. “Compared to a 50-year-old who might be retiring in 10 years, I can say to them, I’ll still be here and able to look after you,” Pamela says.