corporate academy
Sophia Bhatti, front left, with the eight graduates undergoing training at the academy. Image Credit: Supplied

A new graduate programme academy has been launched in Dubai to support aspiring financial planning professionals to establish a career in the investment advisory sector. Developed by an industry expert, Sophia Bhatti, the Academy aims to nurture the next generation of industry talent through a two-year programme of training, mentoring and accredited learning.

The initiative has commenced with a cohort of eight recent graduates from UK universities. The trainees are to benefit from a broad range of learning resources to develop their technical and consulting skills in a professional, client-facing environment. Led by Bhatti, Director of Learning Development at Hoxton Capital Management, participants will also have the opportunity to work closely with senior advisors at the firm.

Speaking about the thinking behind the initiative, Bhatti said, “The financial planning sector needs a constant supply of qualified, knowledgeable and experienced professionals to deliver the best advice to clients, with transparency and integrity. This programme combines our commitment to the highest standards of industry practice with our passion to develop the next generation of talent in the finance profession.”

Speaking about his motivation to apply for the programme, 21 year-old first class financial economics graduate, Ali Hassan, said, “My main objective was to develop the skills I had attained at university into a working environment. With the resources to achieve further financial qualifications and the direct support on how to interact with clients professionally, this is the perfect opportunity to kickstart my career in the financial world.”

He continued, “My personal goal is to become Level 6 Chartered as a financial advisor, and then explore the Series 65 qualification that would allow me to advise clients in the United States, all whilst building up the clients under my management. With multiple new offices opening up all around the world, there is a sense of flexibility.”

With a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, fellow graduate trainee, Connor Hardcastle, came to the programme from an entirely different perspective. The 24 year-old revealed, “From being around 17 years old, one of my ambitions was to be a financial advisor, but I didn’t follow that path initially. After studying Chemistry, I realised I still wanted to have an entry point into financial services and I enjoy the idea of being fast-tracked to the financial advisor role, so I was ready to take the leap.

“After coming from a non-finance background to being able to have an in-depth conversation about financial products with family who have been in the industry for 30 years, I’ve learned a great deal about the industry already. The programme also focusses on the business development manager role, which we undertake daily to ensure that we have meaningful and sustainable conversations with clients that will help me develop into a successful financial advisor once I take that step up.”

Already a recipient of an Outstanding Leadership Award for her work in finance, Bhatti is spearheading this initiative to prepare for the growing demand that is anticipated in the industry. She remarked, “With the new visa regulations being implemented this year, we anticipate a fresh influx of expatriates coming to live and work in the UAE and this programme aims to help meet the demand for skilled financial planning professionals that we expect to emerge as the country’s expat population grows.”