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The need for speed

Last year saw tremendous change in the FS market, with depolarisation leading to significant growth in the HNW/wealth sector and increasing penetration into the market of some of the wrap providers.

IFAs have been looking very closely at their range of services and how they interact with their clients, often having to re-invent themselves, not only as to where they are positioned in the market but how they will attract and service their clients.

Numerous smaller IFAs and one-man bands have decided to join up with bigger multi-tie/whole-of-market firms or, in some cases, throw in the towel completely.

The HNW/wealth sector has been increasingly competitive, being populated by IFAs, high-street banks, private banks and other consultancies, the main differentiator being the level of individual service provided together with the range of additional services that companies can offer such as discretionary portfolio management, access to a broad range of fund managers and wrap.

The Pensions Act is also driving the need for significant recruitment as many expect activity to rise after April.

One of the consequences of this change has been a significant rise in the basic salaries being commanded by consultants, with some senior consultants being paid the level of salary that managers used to earn.

This situation is being further driven by simple supply and demand issues in the market, with several firms often competing for the same high-quality candidates. This is by no means a recent factor but what we may ask can be done about this? In many ways, the industry can only blame itself for the lack of investment in training its own.

It wants to be regarded as professional and rightly so as the technical knowledge necessary in today’s complex market is significant as is the qualification regime.

But does the industry see lack of good-quality candidates and the subsequent delay in filling their vacancies as a problem or is it just one of the myriad issues that companies need to grapple with on a daily basis?

For companies looking to recruit, speed is of the essence. We often see the process stall or fail as a result of delays in getting candidates through the interview process. This can be a frustrating experience all round, particularly when there is such a shortage of top-quality candidates on the market.

We know that for a number of reasons relevant individuals are not always available but a little more planning could see more recruitment situations resolved quickly and this is one way that employers can demonstrate their commitment to candidates in a very competitive market.

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