It’s that time of year again; however, this year “back-to-school” and Campus Recruitment looks a lot different. Our Campus Recruitment Team is hard at work preparing amazing candidate experiences and virtual events, and Ashley, our Program Manager for the Ascend, Investment Specialist Career Kick Start Program is excited to officially launch intake for one of our newest new graduate development programs at Scotiabank. We sat down with Ashley to learn more about her career journey and Ascend!   

Jordan: Thanks for taking some time to chat with us today! Why don’t you share a bit about yourself for our readers?

Ashley: Hi! My name is Ashley Routliffe and I am the Program Manager for the Ascend, Investment Specialist Career Kick Starter Program. Personally, I am passionate about the 3 C’s: CrossFit, Cats, and (lots of) coffee. My favourite month is October (come on, who doesn’t love Halloween and all things pumpkin). I went to an Olympic Training camp for wrestling, won a Queen’s Jubilee medal for outstanding contribution to Canada and the community, and have completed my MBA. Professionally, I work for the most amazing company, Scotiabank, where there are endless opportunities, incredible challenges, and amazing leaders.

Jordan: An Olympic Training camp? Impressive! Speaking of impressive, tell me about the new Ascend Program that you’re launching intake for.

Ashley: Ascend is a 12-month program that helps set individuals up for success in the Investment Specialist role. There are 4 distinct phases of learning that are highly intensive. Now, I know some of you may be thinking, “Wait, what is an Investment Specialist and what do they do?” As an Investment Specialist, you are a member of Global Wealth Management AND are the white glove financial planning service for affluent clients. This is a financial planning role where you are responsible for preparing financial plans and delivering customized investment solutions to help our clients. We don’t just teach you how to create the plans, we give you the secret sauce of how to leverage behavioural finance (basically all those great soft skills you need to be successful in this role).

The goal of the program is to create confident, professional client-facing individuals. To do this we have taken the equivalent of 3 to 5 years of training and job experience and condensed it into this 12-month program. To set individuals up for success we have created a support network where you will have a dedicated Program Manager, a Regional Director, access to the Inside Sales Team, will be assigned a mentor, will be paired with an Investment Specialist, and more.

This program was developed to support growth through a new talent pool of graduates – with a focus on diversity – essentially this is a new strategy, or lever, to create (and retain) a pipeline of highly talented Investment Specialists that reflect the diversity of the population we serve.

Jordan: Career growth, on-the-job experience, all in 12-months. I feel silly asking this question, but why would a student want to join this program?

Ashley: Don’t feel silly! Students will receive a variety of learning and practical experiences, at a pace that marries the training you need with your desire to get started. We will teach you the behavioural side of finance in conjunction with learning critical selling and advice skills. You will learn how to identify and contact target clients, understand client needs, create financial plans, recommend investment solutions, and manage and maintain relationships. You will also learn the tools and techniques that would generally take years to perfect outside of this program (a.k.a. the secret sauce). We will teach you the foundations and give you the opportunity to put it all together and into action.

On top of that, you will be part of a cohort of recent graduates where you will train together, come together for socials and other learning and development sessions. Plus, you have an (amazing) dedicated Program Manager just for you and your cohort!

Jordan: So, say all of this is resonating with a student and they’re interested in the program. How would someone know if this program is right for them?

Ashley: Great question! This program is right for you if you are:  

  • Not discouraged by the word “no”
  • An entrepreneurial spirit and are a self-starter
  • Competitive and driven
  • A natural influencer and can be persuasive
  •  Independent, love being on the move and likes to work at a fast pace
  • Flexible with work hours
  •  Like to build long-lasting relationships
  • Driven by the need to achieve excellence
  • Ability to make decisions

There are also a few requirements you’ll need, such as completing your license to sell mutual funds before you start the program via the Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC) or the Canadian Securities Course (CSC). You must have a valid Canadian driver’s license and access to a vehicle to get to customer meetings. This is important, as you’ll be a fully mobile advisor and will be assigned to a specific territory.

Jordan: After a student completes the Ascend Program what kind of a career can this program lead to?

Ashley: After completing this program the students will be a fully qualified Scotiabank Investment Specialist.

Jordan: And last, but not least, if you had one piece of advice for students what would it be?

Ashley: Be yourself, everyone else is taken!

Interested in learning more about the Ascend, Investment Specialist Career Kick Starter Program? Click here.