LawDeb learner experience

What made you choose to take PMI qualifications?

As I gained experience in the pensions industry, first as a scheme secretary in the Lloyds Banking Group in-house pensions team and then as a Pensions Executive at LawDeb, I quickly realised that there was a lot of pensions history (legislative, regulatory and previous best practice), that I needed to understand in order to do my job effectively and deliver a quality  service to my clients. There’s a wide range of topics covered by the PMI’s qualifications regime
which was really appealing to someone just starting out in the industry.

How have PMI qualifications helped your career to date?

Passing the Award in Pension Trusteeship (APT) exam last year has really boosted my confidence in my own abilities and knowledge. It has also helped me to apply a lot of what I studied and learned in my day-to-day job which has enhanced my capabilities, service offering and profile.

It has also been welcomed by clients and prospects who recognise the value of the qualification.

What was your first impression of pensions when you started? Has this changed?

Well, it has to be said, my first impression of the pensions industry in the UK was very PMS: pale, male and stale. But this was replaced, within a short space of time, by a more well  rounded view as I was exposed to broader aspects of the industry including pensions  actuaries, scheme administration, DC consultancy and professional trustee firms. I have found, in my short time in the industry, a concerted effort to include and support females in all aspects of the pensions industry, in particular on trustee boards.
I’m now finding that the focus is shifting to including and supporting the younger generation in pensions careers, which is right as they will inherit the unavoidable complexity of delivering
pensions in the future!

Do you have any words of wisdom, tips or suggestions that might help current students to succeed?

There’s a lot of reading involved so definitely start early. And don’t seek to memorise everything but instead to really understand it as a lot of pensions concepts and law can be technical and nuanced. For this I was able to turn to a number of mentors and colleagues at
LawDeb for assistance. Having conversations with them about the topics really cemented the details in my memory. Our trustee directors and pensions executives have experience in all aspects of the industry so it was really helpful to be able to tap into that experience and
they were incredibly generous with their time. Don’t be afraid to ask colleagues lots of questions!

How should the PMI be engaging with younger members in future?

I think the PMI is already doing a fantastic job engaging with those new to the industry, in particular by supporting NextGen which is an industry wide committee focused on diversifying our thinking in the industry and encouraging inclusive debate. More events targeting those younger in the industry or just starting out would really raise the profile of the PMI qualifications programme, which I wish I’d learned about sooner!

First published in PMI’s Pensions Aspects Magazine June 2019 www.pensionsaspects.com

Meet the author

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Saadia Ahmed

Pensions Executive

United Kingdom

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