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ASHL Academy | Catch up with Tom Davey, TOM&CO

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Hello everyone and welcome to this episode of the ASHL Media Podcast. In this episode, I sat down with Tom Davey, Director of the Norfolk based financial advice practice Tom&Co. Tom is currently taking  the ASHL Academy Chartered Level Six Programme.

When we last caught up with him, he was awaiting the results of his AF4 examination. As you'll soon hear, it's been a very busy year for Tom, but with the flexible learning styles and available support through the Academy, Tom has been able to balance the necessary learning time with everything else he has been working on.

If you'd like to find out more about how the ASHL Academy can help futureproof your business and provide a platform of growth for your employees, get in touch with us today at

Now though, on with the podcast.

Tom it's been a long time coming this catch up. I know you're very busy man and I'm delighted that you're able to join us today. So with that, a couple of questions I have.

First things first, tell me about yourself and tell me about your business.

Well, we'll start with myself first. There's been a lot happening in the pipeline for some time, and importantly in there is the birth of my second child Delilah four months ago. So yeah, it has been a busy period to say the least. My eldest is two, he's a handful as well. So things have definitely been busy both in work and outside, which is is good because you can step away from the business and it's not all being worried about the markets and exams (which I'm sure we'll get on to shortly).

I'm also very sporty, I like cricket, rugby, all sorts of things. I try and keep myself as active as possible. Business wise, I'm the Director of TOM&CO, I joined the business two years ago, and have been in financial planning for the last five years, after I made the change from sales and marketing. I wanted something different and here we are. I started to do my exams and I'm DIP qualified at the moment, but as we're going to roll on to in a minute, I'm trying to study towards being Chartered status. That's the plan anyway!

That's amazing. Congratulations as well of course. So a little bit about the course and about the structure. Firstly, what made you choose the ASHL Academy?

For me, I found that with the DIP qualification exams in terms of study, I managed to do all of it by myself, which was fine. I had a few other friends that were working on the same thing at the same time. But I knew that this (Level 6) is a big level up and that the exams take so much more studying, that there's so much more technique involved and I just knew that I wanted some more support along the way. So for me, the ASHL Academy was a great opportunity to join a group of like minded people that are working towards the same goal and it's been really, really good to start the ball rolling, especially when I know time is tough. And there's not, you know, loads of hours to study. Every hour for me is really important. So having people to work alongside has been a really big help. I did AF1 before joining the ASHL Academy on my own, but ever since joining I found it's been such a such a big help to me and my study for sure.

For those of you listening who perhaps aren't necessarily aware of what the makeup of the financial services qualifications are, you mentioned the DIP qualification there, could you go into a bit of detail about what stage that is in terms of being a Financial Adviser, at what level and what the course and the structure looks like?

So DIP is generally multiple choice questions and there's six exams to get to that stage. You need all 6 of them to become a qualified Financial Adviser.

Obviously you still need to do some some work after that to actually go and see clients but that is the qualification required to give advice. It's not quite degree standard, whereas Chartered Level 6 is.

I did previously do a degree myself. So this was a lot like getting back on the saddle, getting into exam mode. But the DIP qualification was, as I say the sort of starting point for all Financial Advisers and the minimum standard that is required in the industry. So that's where everyone starts.

What about feedback? How are you finding the course? The good, the bad, no holds barred, we're happy to hear it!

Yeah, I mean, of course, it's tough. I can't remember what the number of hours of study are required for this course in particular, but I mean, your looking at 200 hours of varied work and, for me, the good part is that there's constant support, like we said, there are past exams, there's literature, there are videos and with my work and owning a business, it has meant that I haven't been able to sit in on all the tutorial meetings, where we'd be going through bits, past papers, bits of theory, all that sort of stuff. It's great to be in those meetings because then you can add your two pence for what it's worth. Ultimately, you can then catch up at any time, which I was finding was perfect way of manoeuvring my time. I'd always try and lock it out, but school pickups happen, illness happens, or you're in discussions with a client because markets are down, all that sort of stuff. 

So it has been amazing from that point of view and I don't honestly think, because I am happy to say that I have passed the the AF4, which is obviously a great, great feeling, although it was closer than I would have liked, I don't honestly believe that I would have passed without that support.

So how it works is that we structured it, over a two to three month period, where we're having weekly catch ups with our tutors and at the end we had a two day intensive course, basically to go over everything.

Those two final days really for me were the last push and I knew then that it was the time to get my head down and crack on. It's absolutely not a given you know, as whilst that DIP stage is obviously a different beast. You know you can't hide behind anything you know, there's no there's no multiple choice in these these exams, they are written three hour exams, it requires dedication, but once it's over it's a really good feeling.

So yeah, the good definitely outweighs the bad. In this scenario.

Well congratulations on your successes both within financial services and outside in your personal life. It seems like it's been a very busy year. I just want to say thanks for catching up with us, when are we likely to hear from you again for another update?

So as part of the tutorial package of the ASHL Academy, I've signed up to do the full Chartered experience shall we say, which is at your own speed as well which is great for me. So I could have done it much quicker if I wanted to, but I'm quite happy to see an exam once every six months. So the next sitting for me will be the middle of September.

So that's the next exam plan, the support is there to to do some coursework or something in between because the idea is to get enough credits to become Chartered as soon as possible. But for me and like many other people in the groups that you sit in on, everyone's the same, everyone's at different points and it's great to hear from other people, other business owners or other advisers that have children. All these sorts of things are great to see that other people are doing, how they're doing it and how they're finding it.

This is the plan, but as well all know. Plans can go up in smoke.

Life gets in the way.

Yeah, exactly. Although I do see the industry going towards the Chartered status requirements. It's a personal thing for me. I've never felt strongly towards exams, I've not been a huge academic. I've always been a numbers person. But since sitting these exams I've really felt a connection, it's opened up my desire to learn again. Whilst we're not in a classroom because all of the the support is virtual. It's great to be with like minded people that want to work towards the same goal. So here's hoping that September is the next challenge and maybe something before then

Thank you so much for your time talk Speak to you soon. 

For more information on the ASHL Group of Companies, go to



Jack Melville

As the Head of Marketing at the ASHL Group Of Companies, I oversee the development and management of our inbound marketing campaigns, website infrastructure, and proposition materials. In addition to these responsibilities, I am also committed to empowering our community of Financial Planners through the provision of marketing support services. From compelling content, to beautiful websites, our goal is to be a platform for growth.