I started my pensions career at Mercer in 2014, straight out of sixth form. I joined as an apprentice which gave me a great opportunity to gain experience and qualifications concurrently. I always felt that work experience would be more valuable for me than a degree and I can say now that I definitely made the right choice. Almost seven years later and I am still at Mercer, now as a senior analyst, working with a varied range of Defined Benefit (DB) trustee clients. I have my sights set on progressing as a consultant and acting as a mentor to junior colleagues, supporting their career development and hopefully their ADRP study.
Although a degree was not the right path for me, I have always valued education especially where this is relevant and applicable. I enjoyed pensions from the start and was keen to learn more, especially as I took on more responsibility at work. I also liked the idea of getting some letters after my name! After completing my apprenticeship, it was a natural progression to take on the ADRP exams. As soon as I started studying I saw how relevant and useful the qualification would be to my role. As I’d worked in pensions for a few years before starting the ADRP, many of the concepts were familiar to me, however, the depth of material covered meant I was always learning something new and deepening my understanding.
The ADRP gave me an excellent technical grounding and the confidence to tackle complex situations. I call on my exam knowledge every day at work; quite often I question how on earth I remember obscure facts or dates and the answer is always from PMI study manuals! The ADRP is an important qualification as it is a recognised validation of your knowledge and is transferrable to so many roles in pensions.
I liked that there was flexibility to choose topics in the specialist units. After completing the DB and Defined Contribution (DC) units, I chose Reward and Retirement provision to learn about how pensions fit into wider employee benefits strategy. This provided respite from the earlier pensions focused units and broadened my knowledge even further. The compulsory ethics unit is also a useful reminder of the standards to which PMI members hold themselves; another reason I am proud to be a member. You can also obtain diploma qualifications along the way, which are impressive on their own, and motivated me to keep going and achieve the full Advanced Diploma.
For anyone embarking on the ADRP, my advice is that you can never read the study manual too many times. You need to put in a lot of work to do well in the exams but the hours of study are worth it when you can finally use APMI after your name.
This article was featured in Pensions Aspects magazine April 2021 edition.
Last update: 7 April 2021