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From Banking to Financial Advice

Zohul’s education and career journey wasn’t always a straightforward one. Being born and raised in Afghanistan, then moving to the UK in her early teens – Zohul’s hard working spirt and mentality has helped her overcome many challenges that have shaped her business and made her the adviser she is today.

Read Zohul’s inspiring story and watch her video account of how she transformed her career from Banking to becoming a successful Financial Adviser with one of our Featured Companies – St. James’s Place Financial Adviser Academy. 

Zohul's story

“I’m an Afghan woman. Where I come from, women are always faced with challenges. There is a level of expectation for us… but I’ve always loved to fight back.” Having defied the doubts of her teachers and lecturers by graduating from university with a degree in law, Zohul started her career in banking, and yet still faced the same obstacles that had shaped her path thus far.

“I was told that because I was young and Asian, I’d need to portray myself in a certain way if I was to be taken seriously. But I proved them wrong – I was one of the strongest on the team.”

From Banking to Financial Advice – Zohul Malikzada

Managing a successful career and a fulfilling family life

After building a fast-paced and competitive career in the banking world, Zohul, the entrepreneurially-minded woman who had already achieved so much made the decision (an initially difficult decision) that now was the right time to take a career break and start a family.  Zohul soon realised her previous role didn’t allow her the flexibility to raise a family in the way that she wanted.

“When I first started in financial services, I worked in a big branch helping customers. I found that I got a real sense of achievement from guiding individuals to make better decisions… but I also hated the sales aspect of the job.”

Zohul soon realised she didn't have to choose between having either a successful career or having a fulfilling family life.

After embarking on her career break, Zohul soon realised that she didn’t have to choose between having either a successful career or having a fulfilling family life:

“When I went to the St. James’s Place Financial Adviser Academy open evening and was told that I could build my own business and client-base, I felt like I’d won the lottery.”

After embarking on the Academy programme, Zohul discovered a new perspective, allowing her to balance both her home and professional life! 

She realised that she CAN create a successful business while nurturing her family and with her hard work and determination she developed over her earlier years – Zohul naturally took the step to establish her own financial advice business, Malikzada Financial Planning.  

Becoming a Partner at SJP

Starting a business is never plain sailing, but Zohul’s early experience in the banking profession provided her with a strong root system to thrive and develop.

“The Academy training was challenging at times, but I reminded myself that it’s all temporary, and helped me get where I want to be. When you look back and see what you’ve achieved, it’s a great feeling.”

From banking to Financial Advice
From banking to Financial Advice

“Joining the Academy and becoming a Partner at St. James’s Place has given me the flexibility to choose my own hours and arrange client meetings around my children. It’s important for my boys to see me, but at the same time I want them to see me working and being independent. Even my networking is done in school hours. I’ve made it work!”

Zohul’s dedication and entrepreneurial spirit, allowed her to navigate any challenges that came her way.

Looking back on her time on the Academy programme, Zohul explains that her support network made a real difference – whether it’s her family, SJP’s resources or other women in the profession supporting her, Zohul has been able to overcome challenges and build a successful business while maintaining a fulfilling personal and family life.

“SJP are really invested in my success – and your progression is dependent on your own hard work. I work really hard, and the fact that it’s up to me to decide how far I want to go is amazing.”

A final note

Zohul’s journey serves as a reminder that barriers are meant to be broken, and with perseverance, anything is attainable.

Zohul’s story is part of a 6-part series coming soon to the BTS Careers Zone showcasing success stories from those who changed careers with using the St. James’s Place Financial Adviser Academy. 


Find out more about the opportunities with St. James’s Place Financial Adviser Academy, check out their Featured Company Profile page. 

You can also connect with them by editing your profile and updating your connect with featured companies preferences to start a conversation.

Need more inspiration? Read Joanna’s story in the article “From Investment Banking to Financial Advice” below.

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