The sheer volume of Financial Planners due to retire in the near future is something I have been aware of for some time, though the exact figures really did hammer the point home. This is a huge opportunity for those remaining in the industry, but also a significant challenge.
The report outlined a number of statistics, with 44% of planners citing that attracting new talent to their firm was a concern. They claim the problem lies with finding good quality candidates, with 46% stating this as the main issue. Would the answer be to employ a young enthusiastic school leaver or graduate, and train them up yourselves? However, when advisers were asked if their firm had a training scheme in place to help develop new advisers, only 18% advisers said they did.
However, there are some businesses working hard to tackle the issue of training. St James’s Place Wealth Management have their own academy, providing a two-year training programme. NextGen Planners is a community for best practice for younger planners which has now been formalised into a business.
They offer a range of courses, including their “training contracts” aimed at getting individuals “from zero to level 4 qualified with all the skills and training you’ll need in just 20 months”, and “from level 4 to 6 in 12 months.” They also have an annual conference, as well as a regular blog and podcast.
The Verve Group offer training through their brand, The Art of Finance, for “those looking to get into, or further develop their career in, financial services.” In addition, they offer a structured two-year training programme which combines on the job training with exam qualifications.
All these businesses are predominantly focused on taking someone with no experience and training them up with both the technical knowledge and the soft skills needed to become a Financial Planner. However, there is less training available for professionals who already have the technical knowledge and need to brush up on their soft skills and gaining the ability to run their own client bank and generate leads.
I may have fell into the Financial Planning Industry by accident, but I always knew being a Financial Planner was the end goal, despite the fact I have spent the last 6 years in a Paraplanning role. I know there are many more in the profession who are keen to make this jump and are finding it somewhat of a challenge.
Equally, I have spoken to individuals who are keen to step from administrator into the Paraplanner role, but first they need to complete their Diploma. Personally, I found the exams a lot easier to get through once I was in the Paraplanner role, because you are picking up knowledge a lot faster than if you were in a purely administrative role.
If we are going to introduce more training schemes and opportunities within the profession, should we also be doing more to raise the profile of financial planning as a career? The Personal Finance Society has introduced apprenticeships and has committed to encouraging the next generation into the industry. It might also help if we all took a more active approach in promoting Financial Planning as a career path to the next generation.
Chloe Moran APFS Chartered is a Senior Paraplanner at 1825 and a Chartered Financial Planner