View more on these topics

Tom Hegarty: How to be a general practitioner adviser

Hegarty, Tom_700x450

When I joined the New Model Business Academy in January, one of the first things I did was ask all members to complete our training needs analysis survey so I could ascertain what the most important areas of focus were for them. Gaining a better understanding of the priorities of more than 16,000 financial services professionals meant I would then be able to take an informed view on where our focus should lie.

It has long been my belief advisers boast a wider skill set than virtually any other profession. They need to adhere to a complex and ever-changing regulatory regime while maintaining a strong ethical conduct and keeping up to date with technical and product information. They also need good communication and interpersonal skills in order to build client relationships and be able to explain how much their services cost and exactly what the customer will get for their money.

For business owners, further challenges come from trying to manage the firm profitably and efficiently, with all the HR, salary and administrative requirements involved.

With this in mind, I was not surprised to see the results of the training needs analysis demonstrate financial services professionals have a wide range of interest across five key categories: technical knowledge, conduct and ethics, business development, practice management and personal development. The top five areas of interest in each of these sections were as follows:

Technical knowledge                                                      

  • Retirement planning
  • Taxation
  • Savings and investments
  • Estate planning
  • Trusts

Conduct and ethics

  • Suitability
  • Professional conduct
  • Treating customers fairly
  • Regulation
  • Professional practice

Business development

  • Marketing your business
  • Referrals
  • Developing professional connections
  • Developing corporate clients
  • Using social media

Practice management

  • Defining your proposition
  • Business strategy
  • Report writing
  • Financial planning and tool and software
  • Cashflow modelling

Personal development

  • Communication skills
  • Questioning techniques
  • Presentation skills
  • Influencing skills
  • Negotiating skills

As with every walk of life, all advisers will hold skill sets that are naturally stronger in some areas than others. Some are attracted to and excel in the human interaction elements of the advice process, while others lean automatically towards technical, research and product details. Truly successful advisers recognise they need to have skills in place across the spectrum and the training needs analysis results show they are willing to work on finessing or refreshing what may not come naturally to them.

In order to be a “general practitioner” adviser, it is necessary to keep your knowledge up to date in everything from soft skills and sales techniques to very technical and product centric information. Fortunately, the market has evolved to recognise the breadth of these needs and, in the vast majority of areas, training and support is fairly widely available.

Tom Hegarty is managing director of the New Model Business Academy



Bank of Mum and Dad rivals major lenders

The Bank of Mum and Dad is now equivalent to one of the UK’s top 10 mortgage lenders and is set lend over £5bn in 2016, according to Legal & General. In research with the Centre for Economics and Business Research, L&G estimates parents will be involved in 25 per cent of mortgage transactions taking place in […]


Lighthouse signs advice deal with fostering agency

Network Lighthouse has signed a two year deal to provide financial advice services to FosterTalk, a firm that provides support services for 30,000 foster carers. The tie-up sees the network give advice across retirement planning, mortgages and investments. It is the latest in a series of affinity partnerships that means Lighthouse provides advice to staff […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment


    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm