We spoke to MPA’s Administrator Julia about life after teaching, a love of learning and enjoying freedom from term time timetables.

How did you get into Financial Services?

“Completely by accident to be honest and it’s more of a surprise to me than anyone else. I didn’t expect it at all.

“After a long and successful career in teaching, I decided it was time for a new challenge. I left the school I had been at for 25 years; I had a month off to travel and think about what I might want to do next.

“I’ve been friends with Phil McGovern’s wife Emma for more than 30 years, we were chatting about future plans and she mentioned there might be an opportunity with MPA. Phil got in touch, asked me in for an interview and a tour to see if I would like to give it a try. I joined the team in March 2020 and it’s gone from there.”

What is your background before joining MPA?

“Prior to joining MPA, I was a teacher for 27 years, spending 25 years at a large inner city primary school in Birmingham. I was part of the senior leadership team and the role was very demanding, often stressful yet incredibly rewarding.”

Why did you make the change from Primary School teaching?

“After 25 years at the same school, the children that I had taught were coming in with their kids. They were lovely families and it was a lovely school, but it felt like it was time for a change. As my family was growing up it was time for a change of pace and to have more flexibility away from the school timetable.”

What transferable skills can you bring from your previous career?

“Teaching builds up so many skills that are transferrable into other jobs. I’ve benefitted from good written and oral communications skills with both team members and clients. This helps with everything from proofreading reports, interacting with clients, managing emails and taking calls. You develop a real sense of teamwork and an ability to work under pressure. I’m also very organised, can manage a diverse workload and I’m used to absorbing and processing information quickly, which helps with research and reporting.

What is your area of expertise? How do you support IFAs and Paraplanners?

“I provide administration support for Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs) Ross Bennett and Chris Wheeler. This includes new business applications, pension withdrawal processing, lots of communicating with providers, drafting and issuing letters of authority and other admin support. It’s really varied, I work on executor communication for deceased clients and help advisors analyse information, work through checklists, assist advisers with new business illustrations, putting together fund fact sheets and documentation, proofread reports, communicate with clients and submit new business. I get involved with clients from start to finish and it’s really interesting.

“Communicating with clients is a strength and I think that by being fairly new to the industry I can empathise with how customers feel and keep them informed at each stage. I’ve had really good feedback from people stating that they feel that things are well communicated and explained. I seem to be able to translate jargon and break things down into understandable terms.”

What do you enjoy about working at MPA?

“The lovely team. I knew nothing when I arrived, the whole admin team were amazing in taking time to teach me and make things easy. Learning everything from scratch, all the acronyms, the team were gentle with me and I’m ever so grateful for that.

“I enjoy working with the advisers too and have good relationship with all colleagues. The variety of working with different providers is great too, getting to know who works in what way and how they require information in different formats, as well as getting to know the clients and being helpful to them.

“Everyone has been really supportive. MPA is always looking for ways to help people develop professionally. I wanted to do a job which didn’t cause the same level of stress as teaching. I have no plans to be an IFA, but I do love constantly learning and I’m enjoying doing what I’m and doing it to the best of my ability.”

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?

“Travelling is a big deal for me. It’s wonderful to be able to get back out into the world after Covid. This summer we did just that and planned ourselves a multi-city trip to Croatia.

IFA Ross Bennett jokes that I’m “Jet set Jules” as we are always planning trips both in the UK and further afield as we love hill walking, hiking and we can go to so many more places for half the cost now we don’t have to consider term times. The novelty of not having to go away during School holidays will never wear off!”

“I’m also a huge sports fan and passionate spectator from a big sporting family. I love to be active and walk our Labrador Riley as often as possible around Curdworth near the canal at the edge of our village and into the countryside.”

For more information about MPA’s range of financial advice services, visit www.mpafm.co.uk/services