Q&A: Adrian Batchelor head of St. James’s Place Academy explains what it takes to become a successful partner

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Adrian Batchelor

While all else in financial services is shrinking, St James’s Place isn’t. Surprisingly perhaps, St. James’s Place is expanding: in the six months to June 30th, it increased its net income by 30%.

With this in mind, we’ve asked Adrian Batchelor, head of the St. James’s Place Academy which trains future partners, what it takes to get out of investment banking and into the world of financial advice.

Q: So, let's get straight to the point....what distinguishes a successful candidate for your Academy from an unsuccessful candidate?

A:  A successful candidate for the St James's Place Academy wants to run their own business, have more control over work-life balance and

earnings, and to create a business with capital value.

You will be good with people. You'll enjoy forming long term relationships and helping clients both to achieve financial and personal goals. You'll also enjoy doing your own personal financial planning and may be often approached for practical personal finance tips by friends and family.

Q: Is there anything you look for in particular?

A: Yes. We want candidates who can demonstrate an ability to form positive and effective working relationships.

Q: Anything else?

A: They need sufficient financial resources to support themselves through the first year of the Academy. Also, a desire to build a business over a 10-15 year period in order to maintain a stable financial base for themselves and their family. And they need a sufficiently large network from which to build a client base.

Q: How can people impress you in an interview?

A: Good candidates will express the desire to build their own business and control their own destiny. We also look for evidence of aptitude to create a business relationship, coupled with drive, determination, loyalty, thoroughness, and a desire to satisfy clients' needs.

We want candidates to want to work with us, therefore interest in wealth management/the financial world and in turn a desire to do something they can be passionate about is really important. Finally, we think that a desire to maintain a good lifestyle and secure their future is a strong consideration.

Q: Are there any tell-tale signs that someone's not right for you?

A: We always think of the impression a candidate will make when they first meet a client. Therefore, good first impressions are vital in forming new relationships and establishing trust. If candidates don't make a good first impression, it's a sign that they might have the same problem with clients.

Q: So, you don't want someone who's scruffy and lacks charisma? Are there any other early indicators of unsuitability?

Attention to detail, being a team player, and open to new ideas are all strong considerations for potential candidates. If they are closed minded and reluctant to be a team member then this would be considered counter-productive for both clients and the firm.

For further information about St. James's Place's Academy, click here. 

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