Adviser, Nicole Costa shares her career journey and reflects on her in-house training experience at First Financial.
She’s the perfect example of how we foster our in-house talent through our financial adviser training program that provides our staff with mentoring and opportunities to grow.
We asked Nicole to share her journey here at First Financial and talk about how our unique training program has helped her career progress.
“The culture here is great,” says Nicole. “The opportunities that we get here are great. The mentoring system that we have is amazing. I think it comes down to who you work with, and everyone here is like a big family.”
Providing a nurturing and rewarding workplace for our employees ensures that we can deliver the very best results and customer service for our clients.
Nicole came to First Financial fresh out of university and it quickly became apparent that she was a great fit for our team and our clients.
She started with two weeks’ work experience that evolved into a graduate position within the client services team.
“It’s been six years, very fun years, with lots of learning in those years. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” says Nicole.
Now, after those years learning all facets of the business and becoming an associate adviser, Nicole is transitioning to an adviser role.
A familiar path
Nicole’s path is typical of a career at First Financial. Principals Chris Crough and James Wrigley both progressed through our in-house training program. As Managing Director Chris White says, “We don’t hire advisers, we breed them ourselves.”
We recruit the very best fresh talent from university graduates and our on-the-job adviser training program allows them to learn every facet of the business. It’s a long and intensive journey that ensures every adviser has a deep knowledge of the industry.
Mentoring is invaluable
Mentoring is central to our training with every team member being paired with a more senior employee.
As Nicole explains, “From the get-go it’s been a lot of mentoring. When I was in the client services team, we were buddied up with a mentor… When I became an associate adviser I was working one on one with a financial adviser and this gave me in-depth technical training.”
Now as Nicole transitions into her advisor role, the learning and mentoring continue.
“I now work alongside principal Chris Crough,” says Nicole. “He’s an amazing mentor. The vast majority of his clients have different needs so it’s a broad range of knowledge I’ve learnt over the past two years with him.”
Giving our employees the opportunity to grow and progress in their careers has translated into a low staff turnover rate. Our people are fiercely loyal and committed. This sense of longevity makes an enormous difference to our ability to meet your needs as a client.
As Nicole explains:
“Because there is that transition opportunity between client services and adviser, you get people here for years on end rather than in and out between jobs.”
Relationships are key
We pride ourselves on being a client-centric firm that delivers tailor-made plans based on your unique circumstances.
We view our relationship with our clients as a long-term, life-time collaboration.
“I love that it’s not just transactional with our clients. We have a relationship with them from the get-go.” says Nicole, “We get to know all about their families. And you’re helping achieve what they want in life.”
Having a team that is committed to our values is invaluable in fostering those strong client relationships.
Keeping it in the family
Nicole’s identical twin sister, Stefanie Costa is also an adviser at First Financial, but that’s not where the family connection ends.
Nicole’s parents are also clients at the firm.
“My parents are clients of ours,” says Nicole, “and I can see how we’ve helped Mum and Dad and how you can apply that to every mum and dad. It’s a nice feeling.
Looking after our team, looking after you
At First Financial we believe that by looking after our team we’re setting them up in the best possible environment so they can provide the excellent service our clients deserve.
As a client of First Financial you’ll have your own advising team who will be available to you at every meeting and for every communication.
All of our advisers are supported by our highly experienced Paraplanning and Client Services teams.
Whether you are in the wealth building stage, making plans for the future or on the countdown to retirement getting ready to live the dream, we will provide you with a complete end-to-end financial planning solution.