My JC Path: From Business Development to Financial Planner

Mark McKenzie

Mark McKenzie

Chartered Financial Planner

After joining Johnston Carmichael back in 2005, Mark McKenzie’s career path has taken him from Business Development to gaining his Chartered Financial Planner status as part of our Wealth team. Here, he tells us why he decided to make the move to Financial Planning and what keeps him busy outside of work (and busy he certainly is!).

When did you join Johnston Carmichael and how has your role developed since then?

I joined JC back in 2005 with my first role being part of the Business Development team. I really enjoyed this role as it involved travelling around all the offices meeting with many colleagues. Then in 2008, I moved over to join the Johnston Carmichael Wealth team.

What led you to change your career path and move towards financial planning?

During an Aberdeen office staff event I was approached by Mike Clark, former Managing Director of Wealth, who asked if I would be interested in a career change and to retrain as a Financial Planner.

At the time, Claire (my wife) and I were expecting our second child and I knew the path to becoming a Financial Planner was going to involve lots of studying so I was hesitant. However, after a little consideration I decided, “nothing ventured, nothing gained”.

How did you settle into life in JCW?

Within a very short period of time, I knew I had made the right decision, and everyone was so welcoming and supportive.

Are you happy that you decided to reroute your career?

Yes! I have never looked back. I’m very passionate about being a Financial Planner.

Are there any transferable skills which you’ve taken with you from working within Business Development?

Communication and people skills are probably the main ones. I have always been a people person and love meeting people and listening to them. Being able to communicate effectively to colleagues and clients is vital for both roles.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

On the client side, it is definitely meeting new clients and helping them with their Financial Planning, and also building a trusted relationship with them. I’ve been advising some of my clients for over 10 years now, where has the time gone!

What is your career highlight to date?

Definitely gaining my Chartered Financial Planner status, which I successfully achieved in 2021 with the support of colleagues and family.

Why is becoming a Chartered Financial Planner so important to you? What does this mean for our clients?

As a business, the aim for all Financial Planners is to gain Chartered status. The additional learning required to gain Chartered status allows Planners to develop specialist planning capabilities and means we can offer a more comprehensive, quality approach to financial planning for our clients.

What’s a typical day in the life for you?

The alarm is usually set for 6:30am and I aim to start work at 7:30am. Although, this largely depends on the dog and if he decides to go on one of his disappearing acts during the morning walk!

No workday is the same. I would typically initially check emails, Teams messages and look at my task list and plan ahead for upcoming client meetings.

I also have line management duties and I am currently supervising the sign off of three new Financial Planners.

Once finished my day job, I then start my evening job at “Dad’s Taxi” ferrying my two children, Hannah and Logan, to their various activities. 

Mark (left) alongside colleague Sandy Manson, preparing for London Marathon in 2010.

What keeps you busy outside of work?

Outside of work, if not spending time with the family, I enjoy playing golf and trying out other sports. I have tried my hand at rowing (dressed as a Minion down the River Dee) and paddle boarding!

After giving up football, I turned my attention to trying to improve my golf game. As most golfers will vouch, it’s an ongoing process! However, I continue to try and enjoy my Saturday morning golf with my dad and brother and other rounds when possible.

When I can be bothered, I do enjoy going for a leisurely run. In recent years this has typically been restricted to a Sunday morning but back in 2010 I managed to put a tick against one of my bucket list things to do and completed the London Marathon.

This was an amazing experience but one which I will probably not repeat! At the time, Johnston Carmichael had selected Macmillan as our charity of the year and along with three colleagues, we were offered spots in the marathon. My training programme commenced in November 2009 with the Marathon on 25 April, five days before I turned 30. At times during the training, I questioned my sanity but the support of family and colleagues along with the fundraising and knowledge I was raising money for charity, drove me on.

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