The profession is starting to pay more attention to young financial advisers. But what is life really like on the ground for those who fall well below the average age of a planner?
In the first part of our new series, Money Marketing speaks to young advisers about their personal experience of coming up through the ranks.
Highlighting many positives such as the support groups emerging across the industry to foster new talent, they have also encountered daily struggles in dealing with sceptical clients and older advisers, and they discuss the trials and tribulations they have faced in their careers to date.
Part two will follow next week as Money Marketing’s young adviser group discusses what puts people off entering the profession and how we can overcome the obstacles to young advisers’ career development.
James Greenly, Consultant, Capital Asset Management
When I joined Capital nearly three years ago I was handed a book of clients, which I think is quite unusual.
Young advisers help with succession planning at a firm. With a young adviser you’ve got consistency of relationship – that’s my number one selling point when I’m speaking to both existing clients and new clients.
In terms of the clients themselves, I’ve not really encountered any issues with being young. I’ve even got a couple of clients in their 80s and once you know them you forget about the age difference.
When I was in my early 20s I had a couple of colleagues at previous companies who thought I was too young and too immature. But then I found a company that was willing to take a chance on me.
Finding a firm that believes in you is essential. All these young advisers who think they’re not progressing just need to find a firm which is willing to take a chance on them.
Regarding the industry’s actions to encourage young people to get involved, the situation is improving, but in my social circle I’m the only person who does this for a job.
I don’t think that we’re doing enough to educate people about the benefits of the job.
Amyr Rocha-Lima, financial planner, Holland Hahn & Wills
Being a young adviser is great. I feel that young advisers can really help bring momentum into a firm. Also, collaborative planning between different generations of advisers can deliver a great experience for clients, who see the firm building on the experience of the established advisers while being mindful of the future by bringing in new talent.
I believe that by standing on the shoulders of giants young financial planners will lead the profession’s second rebellion against the status quo, just like the founders of these same financial planning firms did when they set them up, and the profession will continue to evolve in ways that dramatically benefit both financial planners and clients.
As a young financial planner dealing exclusively with clients who are planning their retirement, initially I felt a challenge to get credibility with prospective clients and overcome the age bias.
The age bias, however, is just one side of the story. Being young gives me a substantial advantage over my older colleagues, who are perhaps the same age as my clients. After all, clients want a financial planner who’s going to be with them throughout their retirement journey, and not an adviser who’s going to retire at the same time as them.
I think the profession offers plenty of opportunities to help young financial planners develop, ranging from training initiatives available through the Personal Finance Society and Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment, and through groups like NextGen Planners.
Rohan Sivajoti, director, Postcard Planning
At times I’ve felt like they’ve looked me up and down and thought: “What does this guy know about retirement?”
Firms pick young advisers because we’re going to be there for retirement. It’s actually come full circle and being young is a huge advantage for us now.
When young people come into more established firms, they’ve brought with them skills from a tech perspective – just simple things such as Google Forms that perhaps the firm wouldn’t have looked at before.
Younger, fresher eyes bring far more skills. When firms get a bit stale they need freshening up, and that’s what youth tends to do.
With clients, if you show you know what you’re talking about, then age doesn’t matter.
In terms of helping young people get into the industry, there is some stuff starting to pop up, but there’s still a massive shortage.
NextGen Planners is all about bringing young people into the industry and into financial planning, and through this we feel we’ve filled the gap a bit.
Sam Sloma, managing director, Engage Financial Services
I don’t consider myself a young adviser now I am 35 and owning my own business.
However, I do remember when I first started – it can be daunting. You can feel a sense of inequality and inferiority when you’re in the same meeting room as some extremely successful people.
My view is that young advisers bring energy, optimism and a fresh view of the world to firms. There are plenty who have a better understanding of technology and so bring new skills into firms which maybe haven’t had that skillset in a while.
When dealing with older clients some young advisers can suffer from an inferiority complex. They haven’t had the world of experience and so sometimes can feel they can’t empathise with clients or that clients won’t think they’re old enough to understand the issues they may have.
If there are issues between young and old advisers, it’s more of an issue for the older adviser. I have generally felt nothing other than help and support from older advisers. They can be sceptical of the ideas younger adviser might bring, but my experience has been positive.
The profession does have a lot of resources now, lots of social media and lots of people who make themselves available to speak to younger planners.