Evolve director Jason Witcombe believes the retail distribution review will make the financial services sector more attractive to entrants but this will go to waste unless more positions are made available.
At the Money Marketing/Unbiased/Opinium round table, Witcombe said he hears plenty of interest from people wanting to become IFAs but many good firms do not have the resources to take on new entrants.
He said: “So many of the better firms are small businesses, they are owner-managed. Yes, we will grow but it will be five years before we could conceive of the idea of having a graduate training scheme.”
Axa head of pensions development Mike Morrison also expressed concern about how large numbers of future IFAs will get the experience they need.
Morrison said: “In the old days, many adviser firms were people who used to work for life offices that wanted a bit more but with life offices changing their shape and structure there are not so many of those people about.”
He said he is seeing good quality graduates coming through to work at accountancy firms and some adviser firms but questions whether they will go on to set up small businesses of their own.
Aegon head of industry development Peter Williams said there were now 32 universities with accreditation for the CII qualification framework.
He highlighted Bradford University’s four-year degree, constructed with the help of local IFA firms, which included a one-year work placement with Yorkshire IFAs. “This is one area but we need it in every region of the UK,” he said.
FSSC director for skills and development Sarah Thwaites said it was important to remember that it is not only graduates that are needed as new entrants. She suggested that advisers should try and get the new RDR qualifications into a publicly funded apprenticeship programme.