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Five minutes with…NextGen Planners’ Rohan Sivajoti

Rohan SivajotiCo-founder of NextGen Planners Rohan Sivajoti overcoming the scandals that have scourged the profession, and getting proud youngsters into advice.

Catch him speaking at the Money Marketing Interactive conference on 12 September in Harrogate.

What makes a “next generation” advice firm?

Tough question! Firstly, we’re firmly of the belief not to be too prescriptive or “preachy” about any areas of financial planning. After all – who are we to tell people what do to? Internally, we define this as a firm that is committed to attracting and developing new talent and that is built with plentiful opportunities for all to progress and flourish. These types of firm, generally participate in holistic financial planning and the use of cashflow modelling.

What soft skills are needed for a modern adviser and why?

As more and more talent comes through, many nowadays have A-Levels and/or a University degree. As such, they tend to be incredibly academically capable and fly through various exams. As we all know though that’s not even half the battle of becoming a financial planner of real quality. Planners require empathy, coaching skills and listening skills for example – all of which aren’t taught within the realms of a textbook, but by interactive workshops and practice. These allow planners to uncover more about their clients and really focus on the things that matter to them.

How do we communicate what a great career financial planning is to youngsters?

As a profession, we are woeful at this. We are. What’s not to love about changing people’s lives for the better, flexible hours and good remuneration? I’m yet to see a many good campaigns which highlight the specificities of our roles and promotes them with vigour and gusto. The mood among the public is that financial planners are ‘on the take’.  This is due to years of various scandals that have scourged, and continue to scourge, our profession. There’s a lot of public trust to rebuild before youngsters note this profession akin to being as proud as being a solicitor for example.

The tide is turning though.  We’re getting there. We ran a bootcamp at Manchester Metropolitan University recently with 16 of their finest financial planning graduates (whittled down from 80). We put employers in the room with them and ran them through their paces. All 16 were offered interviews.  All 16. An amazing result and the kind of thing that needs to keep happening across the UK to really push forward the profession.

How can advisers show they are value for money?

I’m not sure it’s so much about ‘showing’ value for money, but more about the client ‘feeling’ it. For example, financial security, confidence in a financial plan and having someone to hold you accountable to that, is something that is incredibly difficult to show. The clients needs to feel those things. These feelings are created through good consistent processes, doing what you say you’ll do, and being there when you need them most.

What will the advice profession look like in 10 years’ time?

Haha – I’ve no idea! Let me think, ermmm, robots, we’ll all be replaced by robots. Nah, I’m kidding. I think it will see firms more specific and niche and focusing on real complex areas and coaching. Technology and automation may take away some of the simpler stuff and leave us mere humans tackling the larger issues and doubling down on actually being human. Oh, and there still won’t be a decent back office system knocking around that planners love rather than suffer.

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