SFE YP Blog: Window of Opportunity

Fraser Kerr is a Customer Solutions and Strategy Lead at 1825 Financial Planning and SFE Young Professionals Committee member. 

Since September 2020 I have been in the fortunate position to sit on the Scottish Financial Enterprise Young Professionals Committee with the aim of helping to support the growth of Scotland’s financial services industry and support and inspire the next generation of leaders.

From the off, the experience has been a hugely positive one. Working alongside likeminded individuals from various backgrounds and organisations has been the main take away for me. I am a firm believer in the concept that “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”, whilst the time commitment is not too onerous, I am pleased to say the committee are the people I spend the most time with. They are a hugely positive group of people who are looking to make constructive and positive change across our industry through engagement at the core.

What benefits have I seen so far

One of the main benefits has been the opportunity to get involved and  work through challenges and opportunities facing  the industry however, I have seen a real opportunity for personal growth as well.

Through my involvement in the SFE Strategy refresh that is being lead by SFE’s Chief Executive Sandy Begbie and facilitated by PwC I was able to gain exposure to the SFE Wealth Management Group, a specific sub section I have particular interest in given my current role as Strategy Lead at 1825 Financial Planning from Standard Life Aberdeen. Being involved with key stakeholders who are looking to affect change across our industry was hugely rewarding and an experience I was incredibly grateful to have. As a result , I was able to speak with Donald Gateley, Chair of the SFE Wealth Management Group, and Jonathan Couto, who invited me join the group with a view to deepen my involvement and share my experiences with the committee.

It’s not just me who has achieved personal and professional growth through our network. Stephen Friel, SFE YP Communications Lead, has enjoyed similar success and recently gained a promotion to Employee Communications Manager for HSBC UK, and cites the experience and exposure gained in his YP role as a significant contributing factor.

Involvement with SFE YP has brought many positives and will continue to do so as I look to grow my involvement and participation with the organisation.  The ability for your voice to be heard, the opportunity to be involved in meetings with some of the most experienced professionals in our industry and to broaden my own learning and understanding as well has been great. I would encourage anyone thinking about getting involved to do so and speaking from my own experiences, the relationships and personal development that is on offer is a huge incentive.

What is next for SFE YP

SFE YP Chair Milly Dent is   driving forward an exciting  agenda to connect, inspire and support  young professionals across our industry in Scotland. We also have plans to expand our presence in Glasgow under Deputy Chair Neil Scott.

I would really encourage anyone to get involved and come along to the activities that we run regularly, it’s a strong community of like-minded individuals with interesting topics covered. I think just now more than ever, building new connections and having shared experiences is so important. These events range from more informal coffee networking events, the first one being a discussion around burnout through the changes to the world of work because of Covid, to the SFE Climate Series, which started last week with a session on achieving a net-zero economy. The next event is tomorrow providing an introduction to COP 26. Details can be found on our LinkedIn page and the SFE website.

Diversity and Inclusion is one of the key topics we've asked our members about in our inaugural membership survey as we want to be an inclusive network to everyone working in financial services. If you have five minutes, please fill in the survey here to make your voice heard and ensure that our strategy is truly reflective of who we are.

My six months on the SFE YP Committee has opened my eyes and widened my network. It’s also strengthened reach out directly. I would be more than happy to talk through my own experiences so far. 

If you want to be part of the SFE YP Network, sign up to receive our latest news and event invites here. All SFE members are welcome.

Published 2 April 2021