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Professionalising financial planning, one graduate at a time

David Ramsay has been hiring Deakin graduates for years, now he is one.

David is a financial adviser with 33 years of experience. He’s principal and CEO of a successful financial planning business, Income Solutions, with offices in Melbourne Geelong, Colac and Hamilton.

He has also recently been a Deakin student, just graduating from his Bachelor of Commerce (Financial Planning) in March this year.

How is it that only now, as truly established practitioner, he’s qualified for his field?

Becoming a true profession

“I felt financial planning was going to become a profession and I wanted to be considered a professional in a true sense,” says David, “I decided I would like to have a formal qualification for my chosen career.”

It’s a matter David feels strongly about. “I feel it must be a prerequisite for a financial planner to have a university degree aligned to the profession,” he says. “This is the same for all professions, like accountants, doctors and lawyers. Why should financial planning be any different?“

Hiring the next generation

Not only has he applied his principle by committing to a significant period of study while running a demanding business, but as an employer he’s doing the same.

“We would have hired approximately 15 graduates from Deakin to be associates in our firm”, he says. “Two of these are now equity partners, so I have nothing but the highest of praise for the graduates Deakin produces.”

He’s also keen to contribute to the Deakin students’ practical learning, adding, “we have also had approximately 6 students go through the Work Integrated Learning placement with the firm, which has been a great experience for all concerned.”

And this is all for the good because, David says, the profession “can provide tremendous benefit for individuals and their families, helping them to achieve financial security which has wonderful health benefits for the community.”

The benefits of studying as an experienced financial planner

His view from inside the course is equally positive and he was particularly inspired by the unit he completed on Business Intelligence which “was a real stretch to learn, but I was able to pretty much use this knowledge straight away in the business.”

In fact, this learning had quite an impact, as he says, “we built some proprietary analytics software, so I was able to work with the developers to produce very powerful business insights.”

David has no doubts about the value of this, “I honestly feel if a business doesn’t have a system of analysing its performance through business intelligence, then I question its sustainability.“

A course that brings benefits to individuals and communities

Even as an established practitioner, the financial planning components of his degree were beneficial.

“The course content and teachings were very aligned and relevant to my normal activities as a financial planner. I am a much-improved financial planner today because of the learning from the course.”

So, with such a comprehensive perspective on Deakin, David’s advice to aspiring planners carries real weight. “If you want to be a financial planner it is an amazing course that will provide you with lifelong benefits and help you to be of great service to your communities, in a very powerful way.”