The RDR has caused a couple of interesting quirks for financial services recruitment. We are seeing some individuals leave the industry or take earlier than anticipated retirement and paraplanners that are as qualified or more so than the advisers that they work for.
But overall, the RDR has had a positive impact for a financial services recruiter. When the changes were first announced, I had a fear in my mind that the industry would shrink dramatically and that my profession would become obsolete. However as firms have prepared for the changes, recruitment has been a major factor.
Companies can no longer be as selective or even choose their preferred candidate as it is the qualifications that are of utmost importance and time is running out.
My only worry is that outside of the sector, people do not seem to be aware of what the RDR is. When I discuss it with my friends, they just look at me a little dazed and confused. Will all of this hard work and panic be of benefit?
My answer is yes, of course it will. The industry will be recognised as a quality profession. I understand too that there will be high levels of media advertising, including TV and radio which, of course, will be great for the industry.
We are seeing an influx of young people that want to pursue a career within financial services. In addition, I am speaking to people every day that are looking to change jobs and enter financial services from other sectors such as law and accountancy. People from all walks of life are working towards the diploma in financial planning.
The majority of the candidates we speak to will only consider working for an independent firm. However, there are some who choose a tied environment. We recruit less support people in the tied market, mostly because the firm’s own networks tend to provide that service, advisers outsource that work, share an employee with other advisers or recruit part-time people as their workload is generally less heavy. Some advisers have chosen to work tied to reduce liability if complaints are made or simply because they are happy not have to choose products from the whole of the market.
During the downturn in the market, many financial services recruiters left the industry, choosing market sectors deemed as safe.
Financial services is still top-heavy with job vacancies as skilled candidates are in demand. Good recruiters are hard to find in such a brutally competitive market. When we are employing due to continued growth, we cannot just provide a desk and a phone and say “get on with it”. It is vital that a prospective recruitment consultant knows the market, has contacts, understands FSA legislation and can build excellent relationships. This is a parallel line to what our clients need when recruiting.
Within financial services, salaries are extremely attractive and with lots of acquisitions being made, there is no shortage of supply of client banks for advisers to be given.
So, with lots of good vacancies out there, how does a paraplanner or consultant make their decision if they are presented with more than one job offer?
Benefits are once again on the checklist for candidates. The most common benefits excluding commission and bonus arrangements are PHI, pension, flexible working arrangements, childcare vouchers. This is followed by cycle-to-work schemes, subsidised gym membership, life insurance, fine dining experiences for top performers. A smaller number of employers are also offering season ticket loans, dental insurance and duvet days. All expenses paid holidays can also be a deciding factor. It is certainly worth any employer re-visiting what benefits they have on offer.
Karen Halliday is executive consultant at Coast Specialist Recruitment Ltd