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Editor’s note: Stay nimble to find your perfect adviser

I have lost track of how long
financial planners have lamented
the lack of new blood coming into
the profession.

While reports of the number of advisers who would leave the sector due to the RDR have turned out to be greatly exaggerated, I take the point that the average age of financial planners isn’t trending downwards.

Fortunately, we are starting to see some genuine innovation in adviser recruitment practices. From school leavers to university graduates, from second jobbers to non-financial professionals, and from ex-bank advisers to schemes targeted at specific sectors like the military, the profession is casting its net ever wider in search of fresh adviser talent.

Building the perfect financial adviser

It is refreshing to see businesses breaking out of the traditional but limited box where the default route goes administrator, then paraplanner, then adviser. But is there a formula to grow the perfect adviser that is consistent across all of these initiatives? Having a reliable way to achieve a profitable end product would certainly allay the concerns many smaller advice firms have that training new starters is too financially risky.

Unfortunately, a definitive roadmap remains elusive. That is understandable though; first we would have to agree on what makes the perfect adviser before we drew a consensus on exactly what development was needed to get there.

Training needs to accommodate all types of candidates with the flexibility to take them towards different end states

Given the splits that are currently emerging in the financial planning community over a whole host of issues – from how involved in the investment process a planner should be, to which specialist qualifications they need, how technical they should be or what skills they should have to win new clients – it’s no surprise we have not yet stumbled upon a one-size-fits-all solution.

It is up to firms both big and small to create training programmes that are broad enough to accommodate different types of candidates, and flexible enough to take them towards different end states.

As long as firms have clarity on exactly what role they want a new adviser to fill, then where they look for candidates and the training regime they undertake should follow on quite naturally from that.

Does your business have a need for an adviser that leans more towards the technical side of things? In that case, training up a paraplanner may well be the way to go.

But what if you need someone with great business development skills who knows how to improve your firm’s presence on social media and work with younger accumulators as your own client bank ages?

Maybe you do need to look at school leavers or those with a more artistic background in that case.


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