With 30 years of experience in the financial industry, Andy Payne is still excited and enthusiastic about his role. He is the Head of the St. James’s Place Financial Adviser Academy. St. James’s Place is the UK’s largest provider of face-to-face financial advice.
St. James’s Place is a FTSE 100 wealth management group that aims to create a world where finance is easy to understand and more rewarding. Helping its clients, employees and shareholders have the confidence to create the futures they want.
They are a home for people who care about the future – financially, environmentally, and socially – with a firm commitment for embracing diversity and cultivating inclusion.
Payne shares the company’s passion for nurturing future talent and giving candidates the confidence to chart their own career path. He emphasises that you don’t need to be great at maths or have knowledge of the financial sector to become a successful financial adviser. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, the desire to learn and strong interpersonal skills, the SJP Academy will support you in developing the skills and achieving the qualifications important to successful career in the industry.
His vigor for bringing others up behind him further proves why he is the best fit for his role. He is responsible for upskilling new talent, from the young and enthusiastic to those who have decades of experience.
Learn more about what drives Payne and how he keeps an upbeat disposition in the wide world of financial advice.
BYP: What does changing the narrative for Black professionals look like?
Payne: There are some societal tropes around Black people and education, that we are not committed to higher education and a career. In the workplace, Black people need to succeed and have less licence to fail. Changing the narrative is about breaking down these barriers and providing equal opportunities and equity. We are all responsible for creating and contributing to change now, and for the next generation.
BYP: Have you seen change in your younger colleagues?
Payne: I see more confidence. There are more role models now for the younger generation. There is more demand for what a company will give an individual. Also, being more prepared to make career changes if progression feels challenging, and the idea of taking what you can and giving what you can, works both ways.
BYP: How important is role model visibility?
Payne: It is hugely important. People need to see their own faces reflected, particularly in financial services because it is an industry where there are fewer Black success stories. Breaking those barriers helps the feeling that there is a relatable role model that people can admire and aspire to replicate.
BYP: How can companies support and retain Black talent?
Payne: At St. James’s Place, we have a public commitment to reach 10% minority and ethnic representation across the company’s employees by September 2023. We are reviewing how we recruit, our stakeholder relationships, offering reverse mentoring, and continuing to look at how we can make better connections with groups that aspire to be part of this industry. Challenging unconscious bias is important as well. SJP values the importance of the Inclusion part of I&D, having hosted educational webinars about BLM, hearing from our own people. We also have active internal networks for a range of diverse groups including race and ethnicity. It’s important for people to have a safe place to be listened to, understood and to drive change.
BYP: What kind of world do you hope to leave your children?
Payne: Hopefully talking about inclusion and diversity and challenging norms will make life a lot easier for them. The part we play today will shape the future, so acting now is important to me.
BYP: What are key takeaways for those that want to follow in your footsteps?
Payne: Personal confidence in this industry, regardless of background, will help you excel. I’ve got this thing about endless curiosity. Being curious about how people work, and how industry and society work will get you far.
SJP has never been shy of leading the way and I am super proud of what we do and how our Academy has evolved. We are invested in creating the advisers of the future. As a profession we spend a good deal of time talking to clients about their futures, the legacy they wish to leave. Our Academy creates Financial Advisers and business owners, what legacy do you / they want to leave. Imagine the change each one creates who in turn can positively change the lives of 150-250 clients. If you’re interested in finance, we encourage you to come and have a conversation with SJP.
To learn more about St. James’s Place or to apply for their available roles please visit their BYP jobs board here.