Walking into the Viridian office on the first day of my internship, I was unsure of what to expect. Within minutes I was welcomed by everyone in the office and could already see the strong culture that Viridian nurtures. I was instantly made to feel like part of the team and was encouraged to pose any and all questions that I may have, leaving me eager to come into the office each week.
At Viridian, I’ve found that no one person is above the other; all employee’s thoughts and ideas are respected and considered in discussions around the office. During my time as an intern, even I was encouraged to participate in discussions and apply my learnings from university on how to improve client outcomes and experiences.
Understanding the role
It was easy to see how Viridian prioritises the development of every individual, encouraging up-skilling of employees and movement between positions within the company. It’s clear that every person working here has a drive for excellence.
As my time with the team in Perth progressed, I was given great exposure to several areas of the advice industry. Many advisors welcomed me into client meetings almost daily, allowing me to shadow them and learn from their skills and expertise. Similarly, I was able to work alongside Client Services Managers to understand the range of tasks they complete.
Consolidating and Expanding on my Studies
It has been a privilege to be able to discuss a number of exciting topics with Viridian employees that really consolidated and expanded on my studies at university so far. I was able to spend some time with former Advisor and Chief Brand Officer, Stephen Earp to discuss the behavioural side of financial advice. These soft skills Stephen talked about, which are difficult to learn in the classroom, are extremely important in any client facing role and was something I was able to witness in the client meetings I attended.
To further expand on some of my university studies, Chief Investment Officer, Piers Bolger also spoke with me about his role, investment philosophy, and the research process including the ‘Four P’s’. I really enjoyed being able to discuss with Piers the importance of both quantitative and qualitative analysis in investment research.
While interning, I was also given the opportunity to discuss some areas of advice that had not been touched on at university, such as charitable giving and philanthropic trusts. Director of the Viridian Foundation, Ian Granter led me through how the Foundation provides clients with a way to achieve philanthropic goals with reduced barriers to entry, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
A great opportunity
Over the past eight weeks, I have been privileged to intern with David Pitt and the team at Viridian Advisory in Perth. This incredible experience has allowed me to develop not only my technical knowledge but also my interpersonal and soft skills. I was not expecting everyone within the firm to be so giving with their time and am grateful to have had the opportunity to learn more about the technical and behavioural aspects of financial advice.
Ally McKay is a Financial Planning Intern at Viridian Advisory.