Nicholas Pecino reflects on becoming the first CII Fellow in Gibraltar and will now work to encourage trust and professional standards across the country
Earlier this year, the CII fellowship advisory board wrote to me confirming my election as a Fellow of the CII. Given that the insurance profession has flourished in my small country in recent years, I was proud to learn that I was the first Gibraltarian to achieve this qualification.
The journey to fellowship was a three-year affair and, while it involved hard work and sacrifice, with the right plan I believe it is very achievable alongside a full-time job. As a strong advocate for trust and professional standards in insurance, I would like my fellowship journey to inspire and serve as motivation to other aspiring professionals, both in Gibraltar and further afield.
As part of the fellowship plan, one must complete a major achievement (MA). I always felt that this was an overambitious task and would involve a sabbatical from work. After I spoke to the CII advisory service, I discovered the project-based option as a route towards completing this.
I decided that if I could align the fellowship ambition with my career by way of a work-related project then, with good planning, this was achievable. As it happened, I was looking to start my own business and found that this could serve as my MA, so I simply accelerated the process. I brought a team together and, with my business partners, formed Senate Insurance Brokers -- a general insurance intermediary specialising in the corporate insurance sector
Starting a new business was outside the comfort zone of a monthly salary and a company credit card. I was working a 30-hour week on the setup, while focusing on my CII learning the rest of the time. The project fitted in perfectly with my ambition to start a company, while the ACII exams provided me with the knowledge, confidence and expertise I needed, as well as a sense I was achieving something worthwhile.
I began my project in April 2017 and by the beginning of 2018, I had achieved Chartered status, while Senate had attained the regulatory licence as a general insurance intermediary.
Thankfully, business increased, but with work hours becoming much longer than expected, it was challenging to keep on top of the CII fellowship programme. It would be misleading to say it wasn't a struggle at times, but I got through it. Teamwork was key -- my business partners were understanding and helpful, while my mentor provided me with the support and motivation I needed to manage the workload. Slowly but surely, the hard work began to pay off and the rewards exceeded expectations.
As part of my post-fellowship plan, I outlined that I would like to support insurance starters by way of training and mentorship. I believe that young, aspiring professionals should be aiming to achieve the FIT and Cert CII exams within 12 to 18 months of starting their first role, but it's a real joint effort for both employees and employers, who also need to commit their support.
I will now be developing a scheme locally to help guide aspiring professionals in Gibraltar through their CII exams. And, fingers crossed, I'll soon be one of many CII Fellows in my small country.
Nicholas Pecino, FCII, is a Chartered insurance broker at Senate Insurance Brokers