In the two years since graduating from the Bachelor of Applied Financial Services program at Mount Royal University in Calgary in 2009, 26-year-old Ryan Alexander has already earned his Certified Financial Planner designation and started a promising career as a Financial Advisor with Sun Life Financial in Calgary, where he won the “Recruit of the Year” award for the Financial Centre where he works.
TalentEgg Tip: Sun Life Financial calls the approximately 90 offices across Canada where their advisors work Financial Centres.
“It’s also easier to work for a well-known company like Sun Life Financial. Entering this industry with a company that promotes its brand goes a long way!”
—Ryan Alexander, Financial Advisor, Sun Life Financial
Ryan began exploring the idea of a career as an advisor with Sun Life Financial prior to graduating and says his degree and designation have helped him earn the trust and compliments of his clients, boosting his earning potential and even allowing him to take three months off work to travel.
Q. What kind of work do you do as a Financial Advisor with Sun Life Financial?
A. All of my work is exclusively with clients who range in age from their twenties up to their sixties. There’s a holistic approach with an emphasis on wealth management and a focus on a back-up plan.
Q. Why did you choose to start your career as an advisor with Sun Life Financial?
A. My Bachelor of Applied Financial Services degree is designed specifically to get into a financial advisor role. I stayed away from working at banks or smaller firms because of their focus on selling stock. I sent my resumé in to Sun Life Financial and they called me immediately. I like the independence and that there’s no limit on income potential.
Q. What was your “onboarding” experience like when you first joined Sun Life Financial as an advisor?
A. I was the only new grad hired at the time, so the training was all one-on-one. Others have come in since then and have received group training. In a group setting, people get the opportunity to bond together, however being by myself allowed me to learn at my own pace and figure things out. The training was exceptional – I was shown how to use everything and given the chance to try it on my own as well.
Q. What has surprised you the most (in a good way!) about working as an advisor with Sun Life Financial?
A. The rewarding part – I took three months off to travel and still maintained my income.
Q. What has been your most valuable experience as a new grad so far?
A. Working on the risk management side, such as doing death claims and critical illness claims. The first claim I handled came along quickly: I sold the policy and shortly after was able to present the family with a cheque. It was very rewarding to help that family. I was able to see the positive outcome and how it impacted them. Also, a prominent client saw the Financial Centre “Recruit of the Year” plaque in my office and commented on it – that was a very proud moment for me!
Q. What do you think it takes to be successful as an advisor with Sun Life Financial?
A. I think you have to have a good knack for handling clients with unique challenges, such as being able to talk to people and relate to them while understanding their concerns. Education is also important. I have made sales without speaking when cilents see the plaques on my wall. People feel they can trust me and that I know what I’m talking about because of the education behind me.
Q. What advice do you have for students and recent grads?
A. Financial planning is a good industry to enter, but you must be really motivated and willing to accept the ups and downs and roll with it. It’s also easier to work for a well-known company like Sun Life Financial. Entering this industry with a company that promotes its brand goes a long way!