2 August 2022

Carbon Internship Programme - Lewis Ritchie

As I conclude my internship at Carbon, I was asked to reflect on my time spent in the Edinburgh office. During my time I have gained a great insight into the world of financial planning and the process behind Carbon’s award-winning service.

I first approached Carbon & Shireen Fernie, the Operations Director, about the possibility of having an internship in July. I have previously been aware of Carbon Financial Partners from their corporate partnership at my golf club, Blairgowrie Golf Club, and their past work with the Bill McLaren Foundation. Initially, I had envisioned that I would be pouring a lot of teas and coffees, but in line with their ‘Free to be different’ core value Carbon actually gave me a great deal of responsibility with multiple projects and tasks.

A large proportion of my time has been spent working on a project for the Investment Team. I was tasked with providing updated information on expenditure patterns in retirement and including these new findings in Carbon’s research paper. I was able to apply my knowledge from studying Economics and Finance at University to examine and gather findings from a regression model that found the effect on expenditure after losing a spouse. I was then shown how my research will feed into the financial planning software that Carbon uses to depict a clear image of a client’s financial future. This software allowed me to run multiple stress tests and calculate the impact of poor market returns on client’s portfolios, seeing how this in turn may impact the clients age of retirement or their yearly expenditure.

Outside of my research I also spent time with all the various teams within the company. Each walked me through their role and displayed how all the teams unite to create the award-winning service that Carbon provides. Overview meetings with Investment Director Barry O’Neil and Technical Director John Bell also allowed me to understand Carbon’s investment approach and the different asset mixes. I learnt how to diversify each asset mix, determine the spread of potential returns from each and the significance that all these factors contribute into determining Carbon’s investment proposition.

A highlight for me was attending Carbon’s Planner Day. The day involved talks on how planners interact with their clients and highlighting examples of best approaches for relaying information to clients. The best part of the day however has got to be the free lunch! That alone was enough to convince me about becoming a financial planner at Carbon.

I have really enjoyed my time at Carbon and would like to thank all the team members for being so welcoming and helpful with my questions. This internship has reinforced my interest in becoming a financial planner and I aim to become a Certified Financial Planner or a Chartered Financial Planner. I would thoroughly recommend the Carbon Internship Program and advise future interns to ask as many questions as you can, this really improves your understanding. I would also note to go from the vanilla cheesecake if you are lucky enough to attend the Planner’s day!

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