We’re aware that a lot of the time, the person whom you as a client come into regular contact with at Emery Little is your own financial planner; the personal face of your investment plans and aspirations. But behind this knowledgeable face is a whole team of other specialists, applying their expertise and experience to inform, manage and support your financial plans. We thought we’d get you to ‘meet’ these people through our blog, giving you more of a sense of Emery Little as a whole.
This month we’re talking to Woods Mullan, one of our talented team of Financial Planners with whom you may have contact (and yes, he’s also Alfie’s brother). Woods gives us a glimpse into life at Emery Little, what brought him here, why he’s stuck around, and what gets him out of bed in the mornings.
In his own words…
I really enjoyed education, but had no idea what to do next. I didn’t want to go to university, but wasn’t sure what career path to go down either. After A Levels I took a job working for a company selling steel wire rope, but it was just a salary, not a career. Feeling unfulfilled, I was just about to embark on an Open University degree when a job opportunity came up at Emery Little. I got the role, starting with the team as an administrator in September 2013.
My brother Alfie had worked at Emery Little for several years, and I had picked up from him bits and pieces about the financial planning world. I saw how hard he had to work, but also how much enjoyment he was getting out of it. Alfie and I are very different people, but we have the same work ethic, and I could tell that this was a lifelong career for him rather than a stop-gap job. I realised I was looking for the same.
I’ve always loved numbers, but what attracted me more to financial planning were the stories Alfie brought home about his clients and how he had really helped them – guiding them to retirement, showing people what is possible, helping them live the most wonderful lives. He seemed to be changing peoples’ lives for the better, and I loved the idea of that.
I carried out my admin role with Emery Little for several years, but would take any opportunity that came up to progress, and got stuck into my exams. Then when one of the paraplanners left I was offered the chance to learn that role, mastering report writing and technical analysis, and included in more meetings. It was a steep learning curve but I loved getting my teeth into it. I did about three years of pure paraplanning, then started to work alongside the financial planners in their meetings, shadowing them and carrying out follow-up work. From there, it was inevitable I’d make the move into financial planning, working towards and becoming a Chartered Financial Planner and taking of my own review meetings.
I love the ‘realness’ of what we do as financial planners. If people ask why I love what I do, I say it’s because I get to be my true self, and build wonderful relationships with wonderful people who have experienced things I never have or ever will. I get to be there alongside those people, helping and encouraging them at massive crossroads in their lives. Showing them how they can use that one pound in a way they might never have thought of. Holding their hand through life changes and reassuring them things are going to be great, and that we are there to assist and encourage and be a shoulder to lean on throughout.
I’m a very empathetic person; it’s a personality trait I’m really proud of. The technical knowledge of a financial planner should be a given – I’ve done the exams, got the qualifications. But it’s the human side that makes a great financial planner. I love that clients feel they can be at their most open and even vulnerable with us, as that ultimately enables us to help effect change in their lives in the purist way that we can, and enables great things to happen.
I find Emery Little an inspiring environment to work in, and it always has been, but especially with Jo [Joanna Little] now at the helm. She walks the walk as well as talking the talk, living and breathing the company ethos and our values. Which means in turn they flow down through the rest of us. It feels like we are building a team of leaders in their own right – genuine leaders, not just in job title but in character and how they carry themselves. I am big on working with colleagues who are more experienced and confident than me, as they inspire me every day to do even better. In time I see myself as a confident leader myself, at which point I will make sure I take the time to drive anyone else to become a leader and the best version of themselves.
While work is important to me I also get very passionate about the other key things in my life .I like working on my self-improvement, both physically and mentally, this has become increasingly important to me. Over the lockdown, I’ve prioritised exercise as the personal benefits for me stretch beyond my physical wellbeing. I ran a combined 550km in 2020, which, considering I had never really run outside of a sports field before, is something I was quite proud of.
Enjoying experiences with my friends and family is also very important for me. Whether its a trip to Stamford Bridge, a break at my Aunt’s in Hove or a simple meal with some friends, its these experiences with those closest to me that is all I really long for.
People are surprised when I tell them that Woods is actually my first name (well, Woodrow, but I’ve always been known as Woods). Growing up with being called Woods certainly had some challenges, but they helped make me who I am today and it’s a name I have (eventually) grown to love.
That aside, I feel like I have tried my hand at pretty much every sport there is. From Shotokan karate to cricket, diving to rugby, yoga to Brazilian jiu-jitsu, I’ve tried it. I can also play the drums quite well, although it’s been some years since I have picked up the sticks (and I can’t play the guitar, but many of my clients know that already 😊!).