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From bobsleigh youth Olympian to financial adviser

‘Thrill of being self-employed’ and ‘ability to control destiny’ behind decision to join sector


There are more and more stories starting to come out of the industry about how second careerists became financial advisers.

And the story of Oliver Biddulph, partner at St James’s Place (SJP), is another interesting way to prove how valuable attracting people from all backgrounds can be to the sector.

Teacher and Olympian

Biddulph was referred to the SJP Academy by Simon Andrews, academy engagement manager, which led to him joining as a partner in an office in Bristol.

He was previously a PE and games teacher at All Hallows Preparatory School and assistant house parent at Cranmore, after he graduated from University of Bath and University of Buckingham.

He was also a Great Britain bobsleigh pilot for seven years, representing GB all over the world, including in the 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Austria.

Biddulph said to International Adviser: “Since a very young age I have always had a passion for numbers and finance, and this, coupled with a desire to help people, led me to pursue a career as a financial adviser.

“The thrill of being self-employed; and having the ability to control my own destiny, this was something I could not let pass.”

Transferable skills

Being a teacher and a bobsleigher doesn’t seem like a logical and conventional segway to financial advice.

But Biddulph said that there are some areas of overlap which have come in handy.

“My proficiencies in maths and economics, combined with my teaching qualifications and professional sports background, have all led me down this very exciting career path,” he said.

“In particular. I have been able to use the skills and attributes needed to be a professional sportsman and translate these into the business world.

“As a bobsleigh pilot, I had to build trusting relationships with my brakemen, where security and safety were very important with the goal of consistent performance; something I will build into my new career at SJP.”

Outside help

When someone changes careers, it is not a quick or easy process. There needs to be some help from the industry to help advisers’ transition.

So, did Biddulph have any guidance from people in the advice sector?

“When I decided to change career, I was initially worried that my friends and family would see me as ‘a bobsleigher’ and not a wealth manager and, therefore, I was concerned about my network size,” Biddulph added.

Oliver Biddulph

“In this respect, some people may not know that you don’t have to be from a financial background to train as a financial adviser, something which may be preventing new entrants to the sector.

“But after I joined the SJP Academy, I talked to many people about how to expand my professional network and how to grow my reputation as an adviser.

“I have also been lucky enough to have great support throughout my time at SJP, as well as from ex-colleagues and friends.”

Ambitions in the sector

Many people that change careers have ideas of what they want to achieve while being a financial adviser, and Biddulph is no different.

“My aim is to ensure everyone has tailored and bespoke advice to suit their needs and ensure they have sufficient financial planning in place for whatever their dreams and aspirations currently are,” he said.

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