A finance guide

Bianca Schmidt is the head of financial planning consulting at Alexander Forbes.

07 May 2021 | Local News

Wetumwene Shikage

Schmidt was born and raised in Windhoek and matriculated from Jan Möhr Secondary School. She then studied marketing and business management and completed several short courses in financial planning and related fields throughout her working career.

Her career in the financial services industry began in 2003 when she joined the consulting department of Alexander Forbes Financial Services. In 2007, she transferred to Alexander Forbes Financial Planning Consulting where she shifted to providing financial advice and education on financial principles to individual clients.

“My passion and drive for education was the main contributor to take ownership of the Alexander Forbes Member Educational Programmes during 2010,” she said.

As head of financial planning consulting, her primary responsibility is to equip her team of financial planning consultants with up-to-date tools and knowledge to provide holistic financial planning advice to corporate fund members and the public.

“As financial planning consultants, our most important role is to advise clients on their personal financial affairs and to help clients achieve financial well-being and peace of mind throughout their life journey. Ultimately to fulfil on our customer value proposition, we follow an ‘educate and advise’ approach to help clients achieve their goals.”

Challenges and Accomplishments

Without a doubt, the Covid-19 pandemic has been a continuous challenge to overcome. Due to stringent health and safety protocols imposed throughout the latter part of 2020, this has changed the way of work and also how to interact with and serve clients.

“Having to embrace working from home occasionally presented daily challenges such as internet connectivity and clients did not have complete access to any form of digital communication,” she says.

Being in the “people business”, where relationship building is key to achieving their objectives, they have had to find ways to stay in contact with clients to communicate while continuing to provide financial advice and solutions.

Client consultations and member education sessions were successfully carried out virtually, with limited face-to-face contact, throughout 2020.

Her biggest accomplishment goes hand in hand with the biggest challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic: she managed to balance business, family life and her mental well-being whilst working from home.

Planning is key to achieving objectives in her work environment. “My diary and activity list are my two most important companions throughout the day. I schedule client consultations and meetings daily from 07:30 to 13:00 and afternoons are set aside for administrative tasks and preparation of reports.”

Schmidt explains that things do not always work out as planned, but she always allows for some flexibility should an urgent meeting or need for team collaboration come up during the day.

She further says it is vital to plan ahead, cultivate a savings culture, and apply basic financial discipline throughout life.

She wishes to continue her journey with Alexander Forbes, taking advantage of the learning and developing opportunities and continue creating platforms to share knowledge, skills and learning experiences.

Schmidt says if she could change anything in the world, it would be to educate children on basic money matters, financial discipline and the pitfalls of debt. “I am confident that would contribute in making better financial decisions during adulthood,” she says.

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