Talent can take many forms, which is why national IFA Ascot Lloyd is opening the door of its new adviser academy more widely than some training schemes.
Echoing the words of ex-Manchester United boss Sir Matt Busby – “If you’re good enough, you’re old enough” – the firm is targeting school leavers in addition to the second careerists, women returning to work after having a family and graduates that form the more familiar hunting grounds for new talent.
Ascot Lloyd will pay successful candidates a salary for the duration of their training, which is expected to take two-and-a-half years. Upon completion of the training period, trainees will join the firm as fully qualified advisers. There are three stages to the training: the first stage focuses on administration alongside RO1 and RO2 exams, the second on RO3 to RO6 exams, and the final stage comprises a year as a trainee adviser.
Ascot Lloyd HR manager Lorna Evans says the academy was launched to bring diversity into the industry through a new generation of advisers.
She says: “We’re not asking for any previous experience in financial services; it’s about the individual and seeing how they’re driven. A CV only tells you part of the story. We follow it up with a telephone interview to get to know people, to find out how much research they’ve done about Ascot Lloyd and what they’ve done themselves.”
For Evans, the only real difference for school leavers compared with other candidates could be the time it takes to progress through the academy. She says: “The duration is very much down to the individual, how quickly they can develop new skills and move forward. They have to take responsibility for their own development to a degree. Many of those people have got passion, energy and drive. It’s about encouraging and fuelling that.”
The training needs of a school leaver are likely to be different to those of a more mature, experienced second careerist who has transferrable skills from other industries such as the military.
Evans says: “We need to look at the individual skills and background to decide at what stage we pitch it. But to ensure consistency and demonstrate competency we do expect RO1, RO2 and the internal assessments to be completed in the first stage of training.”
Candidates will be assigned a coach for the duration of their training, alongside a manager and a personal development manager. They will spend their first week in compliance learning about FCA regulations in addition to the forms and processes that will feed into other areas of their training. They will spend the rest of their training period learning about different areas of the business – shadowing advisers, going to client meetings, learning about report writing and paraplanning.
Ascot Lloyd says the scheme has already been successful, with the number of applications standing at 116 two weeks before the 21 February closing date. A shortlist of six candidates will be invited to attend an assessment day on 1 March. Ascot Lloyd will make its final selection after meeting and interviewing those candidates at the assessment day.
Scott Gallacher, director, Rowley Turton
A lot of people go straight from school to university, so jobs that would have been school leaver jobs 30 years ago are now graduate jobs. But I do think we could do more for school leavers and encourage them to think about a career as a financial adviser.
My eldest came home from school and they had been talking about careers, so I might go in to explain what a financial adviser does, what skills you need and potential earnings. It is not a job that most school leavers would think of and that’s partly an image problem – it does not have the kudos of accountants and solicitors.
There is a recruitment issue because it is difficult to get good paraplanners and administrators. We’re not averse to taking on people with limited experience, such as school leavers, in those roles. We had an apprentice who interviewed well but did not have the skills we needed – for example, she was reluctant to use the phone. With someone older who has already learned those skills in the workplace so you can shortcut a lot of that.