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How to build a financial adviser – not a salesperson

One UK advice firm outlines how it is developing its own ‘talent pipeline’

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It is no secret that the number of UK financial advisers is shrinking.

In August, service provider Octopus Investments surveyed 205 IFAs and found 58% will exit the sector within the next decade.

This is equivalent to more than 15,000 financial advisers leaving the profession, out of the roughly 26,677 who currently work in the intermediary space.

And to top it all off, there is a negative correlation between the number exiting and entering the sector.

The same Octopus survey reached out to 2,061 adults and 1,002 UK students aged 18-21 and found just 9% would consider a career as a financial adviser.

How does the industry solve this problem?

Improve the sector’s image

Jennifer Hawkins, senior development manager in Chase de Vere’s professional development and training team, told International Adviser: “The industry needs to be considered as a profession akin to lawyers and accountants.

“This means that qualification benchmarks must be high, perhaps higher than they are today, and the focus must be on good quality advice rather than product sales.

“This will help attract more people; and importantly it will help to attract more women as financial advisers, as they are severely underrepresented amongst the adviser community.”

Bringing more women into the sector is one way of improving this adviser gap, but there is a long way to go. Recently, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) released a report which said gender diversity is “remarkably unchanged” since 2005.

Helping the cause

To attract fresh talent, Chase de Vere has its own adviser development programme.

“For the past 20 years we have developed our own advisers. This ensures they fully understand the culture and processes of our business,” Hawkins said.

Jennifer Hawkins

“We believe passionately in growing our own talent. We have created a structured adviser development programme, which is available to recruits and existing staff who demonstrate the aspiration and acumen to move into adviser roles.

“We believe that a strong foundation in paraplanning makes for thorough holistic financial planners and great client outcomes, so we are keen to support the journey from paraplanner to adviser.

“In recognition of this, we have been driving the paraplanner-to-adviser journey in recent years and will continue to do so.”

Hawkins has been with the IFA firm for 14 years and has herself benefitted from the scheme.

She started her career at the business as a receptionist in its Cambridge office, and has since worked as a paraplanner, adviser and development manager, before being promoted to her current position.

Three-pronged approach

The scheme starts off with a paraplanning training course, after which there is an adviser development programme.

Once qualified, the firm’s professional development and training team provides support until trainees have enough hands-on experience in dealing with clients.

Hawkins added: “The focus for us is giving bright and aspirational people the opportunity to learn and to develop their careers at Chase de Vere.

“This is a win for them, but also for us as we have a pipeline of highly qualified advisers and potential advisers.”

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