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DearRob&Roderic…

Our resident agony uncles and The Ideas Lab directors Rob Reid and Roderic Rennison answer adviser questions

Q > Advice route
I am struggling as a protectiononly adviser with one of the networks. I want to move into pension or investment advice but have to go
through this protection route into mortgages first. I am wasting a lot of money buying in protection leads that lead nowhere and the network could discontinue my relationship with them unless I can supply five compliant sales before the end of the year. Please advise

A > Rob
We commend you on your initiative to date but suggest you should seek out a firm that wants to train you to become a competent investment or pension adviser although we are not sure why, in your position, it should be a case of “or”. Pensions and investments tend to go together. Also, you don’t say why you have to go through the route of advising on protection and mortgages but this may have been in order to be able to earn an income in the interim.

A > Roderic
Turning to buying in leads, you are answering your own question. If the leads are not yielding the financial results you want and need, don’t buy them. If instead, you were to become a trainee adviser in a firm with an established client base, this would benefit both you and them. A number of firms have segmented their clients, will want to pass clients with smaller sums to invest or amounts under management to newer advisers and once you have the exams, you would be well placed. On the cashflow challenge you have in the interim, you could focus on protection and mortgages or you could consider becoming a paraplanner as an interim step.

Q > Growth areas
Where do you think will be the strongest growth area over the next 10-15 years – would it be in pensions?

A > Rob
We don’t see there being just one single area. Retirement planning will become more important as people live and work longer. Pensions will not just be about arranging and managing traditional pension arrangements but also the client’s overall investment portfolio. As people live longer, post-retirement planning will be a growth area. More people will look to their property(ies) to support their standard of living, they will
also need advice on care home fees.

A > Roderic
A point to bear in mind is that the changes taking place will lead to greater segmentation of clients. As a result, there will be a growth in firms that focus on particular client segments and large numbers of clients with more modest amounts to invest will increasingly be steered to obtaining advice via the phone or online, whether internally or elsewhere. This might appear a threat but there may be increased opportunities o provide advice via the phone and the web and you might want to pursue a role in these areas.

Q > Exam benefits

I am trying to get into the industry after a lifetime in IT. I am thinking of taking level four exams to be RDRcompliant in my own time. I have already passed Cemap and Cefa. If I am unemployed but have all three exams, would I still find it a hurdle to get into the industry?

A > Rob
You would find it less of a hurdle to get into the industry if you have achieved QCF level 4 status but nevertheless being unemployed would bea challenge. You would find it easier to achieve your goals if you were first to secure a position with a firm.

A > Roderic

You should not underestimate what you have to offer. At 55, you know your own mind, have experience of business, and also you have already shown your commitment and determination by passing the CeMAP and CeFA exams. These will all count in your favour. In summary, you
should be clear what your career objectives are, be able to articulate them clearly, both verbally and in writing and then identify firms likely to meet your aspirations.

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