love my job...
Financial research is good for people and places...
- The international travel - 45 countries and still counting!
- The sheer range and spectrum of people that I deal with day to day - from industry gurus, financial sophisticates right through to the man on the street. Fascinating!
- Working cooperatively with other financial researchers - they're a great bunch of people!
I'm constantly surprised by what I find...
- Most millionaires are very nice people (although some are deeply rotten inside!)
- No two people think about and organise their money in the same way!
- Often the mismatch between the industry and their consumers is so wide. But this offers real opportunity for research to be used effectively and actively to shape the activity.
- Hearing how high-net-worth customers use their credit cards (eg. £1m per annum, largely on fine wine and exotic holidays).
- Customers trust us enough to discuss intricate details about their financial affairs.
- The variety: no 2 projects are ever the same.
And of course, if I'm helping financial services companies develop something which genuinely benefits clients, there's a real buzz - be it a product, communication approach or brand.
- The basic dichotomy of financial services. In the developed world, money is fundamental to us all and how we live, but is often given little or no time or effort because 'life' is more interesting
- The intellectual stimulation of getting to grips with new thinking / technicalities of a product / service proposition
- The challenge of'translating' industry speak (full of acronyms and initials, often with several versions describing the same thing) into English. I am convinced it is a totally different language – marginally better than IT (but only just).
hate my job...
Well, all of my peers think that financial research is 'boring' – not sexy.
I don't really agree – the subject matter can be very interesting indeed - but there are plenty of negatives. For a start, the travel gets me down - most of it sadly in the UK:
- Trains... London / Manchester / Bristol / Liverpool / London, all in one day...
- The cab ride after the group. The driver inevitably asks you what you have been doing, and (if you are honest) you are then treated to his/ her experience of banks / credit cards / mortgages / insurance (delete as appropriate) - as if you hadn't just been talking about it for 4 hours!
It's a job that constantly reminds me how small my own pension fund is compared with many. And that I am the most
disorganised person ever, with my own finances, and I really should do something about it.
But it's the clients that contribute most to the downside of the job. Their attitude to us is wrong for starters:
- Banks take 60+ days credit when my terms are 15.
- We are squeezed on project cost when the client has billions of pounds just sitting there waiting to be spent!
Most of all it's their attitude to research that gets me:
- Financial institutions 'reinterpret' survey results to prove they are Treating Customers Fairly (even they're not)
- They often rely on guesswork not experience. And...
- On occasion, clients say respondents 'have got wrong and don't understand how the market / product works' – in preparation for disregarding their views. Nothing more guaranteed to get my goat - no, many consumers don't know how it works but whose fault is that?! Arrogant ***s.