It will help train the next generation of managers and leaders that growing businesses like Paradigm need.
I’ve got a lot of time for Paradigm CEO Barry Horner. He’s a formidable businessman and is turning Paradigm into a thriving concern, recently converting the company to an Employee Ownership Trust (another trend in Financial Planning). He’s also been a leading participant in Financial Planning professional bodies, including globally with the FPSB. He knows his stuff.
He vote of confidence in the future in setting up his own academy is one to watch.
To be fair he’s not the first to launch an academy and we’ve seen a plethora of academies launched or expanded in the Financial Planning sector over the past few years.
Whatever you think of them, one of the biggest is the St James’s Place Academy. That recently saw over 100 new graduates join the firm, boosting the total trained by the academy so far to more than 1,000.
Many other larger wealth management and Financial Planning firms now have their own academies including Unividual, Ascot Lloyd and some of the larger networks including Openwork, Sesame and others.
It’s clear from the biographies many planners provide for articles in Financial Planning Today magazine that’s it’s quite common for younger advisers to get their training at a more sales-oriented firm and them move to more ‘purist’ Financial Planning roles.
To me these academies are the engine driver of growth in the profession and are giving younger recruits what they want and need. Nearly all younger people seeking apprenticeships or post-graduate roles want training, mentoring and career progression.
It’s what all good professions do - train the next generation. That’s been the missing link in Financial Planning for many years.
I remember some years ago reading a detailed piece of research on why the sector at the time was struggling to attract new blood. One problem was the ‘mis-selling’ of roles to bright-eyed graduates.
Many were attracted to the profession but found career advancement difficult and heavy pressure on them to sell rather than advise. The sales culture in financial services was still very evident at the time whatever the regulations said. Many started with lots of hope but quit within a year and tried something else due to disillusionment.
The new generation of graduates will be hungry for advancement and training and meaningful long-careers. If the profession gets this right the future looks positive.
Kevin O’Donnell is editor of Financial Planning Today and a financial journalist with 30 years experience. This topical comment on the Financial Planning news appears most weeks.