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Gabriela Strug: Casting a wide net is key to recruiting fresh advisers

As the FCA looks at the impacts of the RDR and Financial Advice Market Review, the industry has been quick to remark that the regulations have played a strong part in widening the advice gap. However, the increased focus on professional standards has seen financial planning as a career become more appealing to a wider group of people.

Many university graduates or those starting afresh want to go into a profession where they can measure their progression.

A clear path to chartered status provides something to aim for and boosts the appeal.

Hopefully, as this trend continues, financial planning will be considered alongside the likes of law, accountancy and medicine as a lifelong career path.

Indeed, this kind of vocation is becoming more popular for both the younger generations and those looking for a career change.

Both groups will be crucial to closing the advice gap so, as an industry, we need to look at what we can do to boost their numbers.

To do that, we need to understand both the benefits and challenges the next cohort of advisers will bring, and adapt to them.

Young people who have just left education, whether it be university or school, come to the industry enthusiastic and ready to learn, but have relatively few preconceptions about the world of finance. This is the route I took.

I found it was crucial to have a mentor to teach me best practice from the very beginning and, from experience, I quickly identified how my own peer group could benefit from the guidance of a good adviser.

Shadowing client meetings with experienced advisers helps you learn presentational tips, which aid in explaining complex planning scenarios.

Boosting the number of young people flowing into the industry is always going to be an important way to continue to close the advice gap.

However, these are not the only people who can help to increase the number of advisers.

As mentioned, the industry can be an attractive option for those looking for a career change too, offering a high earning potential, flexibility and the opportunity to work for yourself.

Some careers, such as the military or those in the world of sport, are so physically taxing that the idea of doing them for life is just not feasible. However, the skills and life experiences people in these fields have can help them transition into fantastic financial advisers.

Career-changers often already have qualities, such as attention to detail, leadership and people skills, which they can port over to a career in advice.

Looking to the future, we must make sure the profession is well signposted, so those looking to switch career can see how rewarding financial planning can be from a professional point of view.

However, it would also be lovely to think in years to come, when you ask young members of the family what they want to do when they grow up, that they proclaim they want to be a financial planner, thanks to the increased focus on professionalism and associated appeal.

Gabriela Strug is financial planner at Quilter Private Client Advisers

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