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Degrees of change

For years, we have relied on anecdotal evidence that certain things are driving change and delivering positive outcomes. Some needed proof or would not believe what they were being told.

At the recent Meeting of Minds event, myself and other delegates were provided with another piece of significant evidence as a result of the second benchmarking survey of leading IFA businesses by KPMG.

While it demonstrated a number of very exciting things, it also started to dispel some myths. One of the biggest myths has always been that the average age of the IFA is in the mid to late 50s. In reality, it seems that this number is probably nearer to 40.

The research also focused on the issue of qualifications and how that was impacting on productivity and performance. The conclusion was that higher qualifications correlated with improvement in these areas.

Another significant development over the last two years to be highlighted is the growth and importance of the role of paraplanner. We have specifically included a track with four sessions at this year’s IFP annual conference which is focused on the paraplanner.

As more and more universities review their financial services degrees, there will be a growing number of well qualified individuals joining financial planning firms to build up their experience before perhaps taking on client-facing roles.

The work that the IFP is doing will support this activity. Firms such as Buckles, Mazars and Grant Thornton already have graduate training schemes in place. These developments will help others follow their lead as the supply of young people entering the financial planning profession increases.

Many firms have got to a situation where they have well qualified staff, good teams, have invested in software and other related technology such as Truth Financial Planning software but need some help to grow and take advantage of the investment in their businesses.

There are now some outstanding examples of great practice to consider and a number of the bigger firms are attempting to capture aspects of this to help take their businesses to a new level. It is important for the financial planning sector that these bigger businesses are successful in building processes that are scalable and profitable. Once we have learned from their successes, others will then be able to benefit .

The IFP will be starting this huge project with financial planning week which will run from September 8-14. Any practitioners can be involved so get in touch with your ideas via FPweek@ financialplanning.org.uk or visit the IFP website for further details.

Nick Cann is CEO at the IFP

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