View more on these topics

Lisa Winnard: Making a success of succession planning


For the majority of financial advice firms, talent is their most important asset. With this in mind, a planning strategy can be a real motivator for those being actively developed for a successor role in the foreseeable future. But how do we make a success out of succession planning for the wider personnel population?

My experience with succession planning and talent rating has been with a holistic perspective whereby, although key roles are given focus, intelligence on core, as well as supporting, roles is gathered in order to maximise potential from across the whole business.

At a practical level, the use of a structured way of assessing talent combined with the necessary requirements of a given role sees a group-wide landscape of management risk and development needs emerge.

When the intelligence plotted in these grids is compared with the role and person profile, prioritisation of those within a workforce becomes evident. At one end of the scale Green (or “low”) roles are easy to recruit for, either internally or externally. These roles are not critical and the individual that carries it out is not key to the business. They do not have any fundamental knowledge or skills that cannot be easily replaced.

Meanwhile, Amber (or “medium”) roles can, on occasion, be difficult to fill. The time taken to get employees here to a level of competence may be longer. The role carried out by the employee is important to the function. Individuals in this role hold key knowledge and skills that would be detrimental if lost by the business. They are not easily replaced.

Finally, Red (or “high”) roles are the most difficult to fill. Individuals fulfilling these roles are critical to the operation of the business and employees here will have vital skills and knowledge.

The best match of the “high talent” people with the critical roles then requires exploration of the development plan required to sustain that early pairing. Consideration must always be given to the future of the business, its needs and the impact these requirements will have on its people, whether that be in terms of skill, flexibility or vision. The information produced has helped with decisions to buy or build skills and with the evolution of development programmes.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, remember to involve your people. A succession plan will not generate success if your talent is unwillingly manoeuvred or for whom the timing of the opportunity just is not right. In her 2007 article charting five strategies for effective succession planning, US consultant Angela Hills goes so far as to recommend candidates should be interviewed periodically about what they would choose as their next job. This gives an opportunity for both parties to revisit those plans or keep them on track.

Lisa Winnard is HR director at Sesame Bankhall Group


FCA logo new 620x430.jpg

FCA bans and fines ex-Keydata director £350k

The FCA has banned and fined former Keydata finance director Craig McNeil £350,000. Keydata designed and sold investment products to retail investors via IFAs. The products were underpinned by Keydata’s investment in bonds issued by Luxembourg special purpose vehicles, including one called SLS Capital. Following Keydata’s administration in June 2009, its administrators discovered that SLS […]

Bank of England raises prospect of rate cut

The Bank of England may need to cut interest rates in order to prop up UK growth, chief economist Andy Haldane has warned. In a speech to the Portadown Chamber of Commerce in Northern Ireland today, Haldane said the case for raising rates is “some way from being made”, before raising the prospect of a […]


PFS elects new president

The Personal Finance Society has appointed Phoenix Wealth Management managing director Brendan O’Ciobhain as its new president. O’Ciobhain, who previously held roles at City Financial Planners and Inter-Alliance, was elected at the Society’s annual general meeting. He replaces Chadney Bulgin managing director David Thomas whose 12-month term ends this month. Thornton Associates managing director Sharon […]


Base rate hike will mean tough decisions for borrowers

Brokers believe borrowers remain well-placed to handle an increase in interest rates in the short-term although a succession of small rate hikes remains a danger. Bank of England governor Mark Carney has long sought to prepare the ground for an eventual rate rise, which the Bank has repeatedly forecast will be gradual and at a […]


Case study: administration — managing group life schemes

Our client leads the global market in high-tech electronics manufacturing and digital media. The trustees of the company’s final salary pension scheme insure death-in-service lump sum and dependants’ pension death benefits for active employees, as well as dependants’ pension benefits for deferred members (those who have left service).


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment