Kick-Start Your Career

I know first-hand, thanks to the many years I spent in the industry (before TV), that a career in financial services is exciting, dynamic and rewarding. That’s why I am so happy to announce that we have teamed up with AMP Horizons to support their career training programs. What I love most about this is that AMP are especially focused on supporting women who are aspiring to enter into the financial planning industry.

We recently sat down with Kylie Maslin who completed the Horizons Career-Changer Program and Claude El Hachem who completed the Horizons Flex Program. Their stories hit me personally as they shared with swiish not only their experiences of the program but also what drove them to apply in the first place. Like many of us, their stories involve motherhood, commitments and in Kylie's case, the struggles and heartbreaks of cancer.

Q&A with Kylie Maslin:

What made you decide to apply for AMP Horizons Career Changer Program?
My decision to apply was because I wanted to assist others in building assets on a solid financial foundation, and to ensure the ability to overcome life’s roadblocks.

Personal experience has taught me not just the value but the necessity of ensuring a solid financial foundation to provide for yourself and your family. My husband was diagnosed with cancer aged 36 and passed away three weeks after his 39th birthday. That was eight years ago and our daughter was just seven when he passed away.

I became the sole income earner for the family. Less than a year later my father was diagnosed with cancer aged 62, and we had to shut down the family business that he had run for 40 years and that I had worked in for 20 years. Even though we had been building assets over the years, ill health very quickly had us moving backwards financially, which took a toll emotionally and physically on all of us.

Money enables choice – the choice to spend time with loved ones. This was the driving force in considering financial planning to ensure others had the choice to plan for unseen future events that may inhibit their earning ability.

Describe for us the application and selection process – how did you find it?
I saw the program advertised on I applied online, was contacted the next day and provided with information for online testing. I participated in a Skype interview, then interviewed at my local Adelaide office and received an offer to start training in Sydney a short time later.

The whole process was professional and seamless, and everyone was positive and friendly.

Describe for us the training that you undertook as part of the Program.
I relocated from Adelaide to Sydney for the ten-week training program in January 2012. After completing the ten weeks in Sydney I was placed in the Adelaide office for seven months.

In Adelaide I took part in mentoring by local and interstate coaches, in-house and online training, professional development training, hands-on provision of financial planning to existing AMP clients, peer group mentoring, industry updates, legislation updates and training, professional and personal development with financial planning and client interaction.

What have you enjoyed the most about the Program?
The aspect of the program I’ve enjoyed most is the professional and personal growth. When you’re a wife, a mum, a carer, a daughter and the sole income earner for the family it is rare for someone to ask “who are you?”, “what do you like?” and “what is important to you and why?”. I’d gotten lost in caring for others and just surviving.

With the help of the Horizons program I am once again thriving and am not just passionate about wanting to help families have a secure financial future but optimistic about the potential to make that a reality for a lot of my clients and friends with the help of AMP.

I have gained friends for life from my ten weeks in Sydney. Even though we were all from different age brackets and from all states of Australia, lifelong friendships and support networks were forged and are still maintained today.

I also gained a sense of self and a re-setting of inner strength and confidence in my ability not only as a financial planner but as a person and, most importantly, a mum. I have also been overwhelmed from the support available from peers in the industry.

What’s next for you? 
I started my own financial planning practice under one of the AMP licensees in November 2012. Three months after this I became involved in the AMP Pro Bono Cancer Council program and worked with the Council to help those with a cancer diagnosis than are unable to afford financial planning assistance.

I have also started writing a financial planning column in my local monthly newspaper and I sponsor local sports clubs to support my community.

Since finishing Horizons I have completed Self-Managed Super Fund Accreditation, Certificate IV in Mortgage Broking and am becoming an Accredited Mortgage Consultant. I will complete my Advanced Financial Planning Diploma by the end of this year. I am continually undergoing training and keeping up-to-date with legislation and licensee requirements along with looking after my clients – all of which means my diary is reasonably full.

What advice would you give to other women who may be considering a career in financial planning?
Don’t underestimate your existing life skills applicable to financial planning, such as multitasking, planning, budgeting, educating, time-management, caring for others and – most importantly – listening.

If you would like to empower people to ask financial questions and search for answers, encourage families to talk to each other about money and estate planning, encourage people to dream, be optimistic, plan and achieve their financial dreams step by step, then financial planning may be the right career choice for you.

Q&A with Claude El Hachem

What made you decide to apply for the AMP Horizons Flex Program?
The reputation of AMP as a company and the success that AMP Horizons achieved as an academy were decisive factors. 

Also, I'm married with two children so I found it very convenient to join the program on a part-time basis, where I can maintain a work-life balance.

What are the benefits of the Flex Program? The flexibility, especially for a mum: it helped me achieve my dream of becoming a financial planner while being near my kids and doing a lot of the work from home.

It’s also a very friendly environment where information is shared and whenever someone needs help, it’s provided to help us excel in the industry - from tutors, financial planners and expert coaches.

Describe for us the training that you undertook as part of the Program.
It is a full-on program, which has lot of challenges, but it was very well-prepared: the first two weeks were a full-time induction comprising of lots of interesting sessions with tutors.

After the first two weeks we had the opportunity to work in the Horizons financial planning practice, working flexible part-time hours, which was great. We had the chance to sit with other financial planners and their clients to learn from them. We were also given clients’ cases to work on, where we could share strategies with peers to help us learn.

The exams we took to assess our ability on the technical side were very important to check if we were confident about the information we were to provide to clients.

What have you enjoyed the most about the Program?
The opportunity to join the best academy, and doing the same sessions as the full-time program, but in a flexible time-frame.

I have also enjoyed meeting lots of people from all walks of life with different experiences, and being able to socialize with lots of people within AMP and outside.

What advice would you give to other women who may be considering a career in financial planning?
I would recommend it to any woman who is ambitious, determined, who loves this industry and would like to excel in it, who wants to work in an educational and practical environment on a part-time basis, and who wants a work-life balance.

What do you see as being the big benefits of a career in financial planning for women?
Women can act as role models and mentors. They can make a significant difference to people’s lives and are good at listening and understanding people's needs and goals. They can make a big difference to people’s financial wellbeing.

For more information or to apply now visit the AMP Horizons website or contact 1300 30 75 44.

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