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Adviser to Supervisor, a well-trodden path

For anyone who has been appointed a role of supervisor within any management structure, you would have been chosen for your leadership and management skills. The role is a complex one – not only do you supervise the work of others, you are often the link between the team and the senior management.

For a regulated supervisor, the FCA throws a few extra requirements and additional levels of responsibilities including having relevant technical knowledge, demonstrate skills in coaching and assessing and working within a set T&C framework.

The appointment of a supervisor within a firm is often a progression from an existing adviser role. If this is your first step into management you will be expected to take on several new responsibilities and will also require you to sharpen existing skills and learn various new skills.

For smaller firms, the role of a supervisor may also be in addition to managing and maintaining your own client portfolio. Many firms adopt a ‘Span of Control’ to limit the number of advisers, and workload, that a supervisor has responsibility for. In an Ideal world this would work well, but who lives in an ideal world!?!

New to the role?

It can be a bit daunting if you are new to the role, and even experienced supervisors need support in the ever-changing environment that we work in. To become a successful supervisor, it is important to not only know the “Technical stuff” but also the softer skills and how to communicate well.

We have all worked with a good manager in our careers, the manager you remember would have one outstanding trait – people skills. You may have worked in a client facing environment for many years but the skill of motivating a team of financial advisers is a different kettle of fish! Learning this skill can help the team to work together.

This is also key to the role of a good supervisor and to know how to understand each person’s learning style will really assist when you deliver coaching and counselling sessions on a one to one basis.

Documenting is a skill

One of the more time-consuming roles of the supervisor is the requirement to document everything. Once the training and observations have been completed and feedback information exchanged between the adviser and supervisor, the T&C requirement to document all of this takes over. With good compliance support, the processes of record keeping should not become so burdensome to make the scheme a millstone to the supervisor.

The ability to conduct effective observation meetings is a key skill to learn. It is not a skill to write at speed and then try to understand what you have written but knowing what you need to document and the key areas that you should concentrate on. Giving effective feedback, like all skills, needs learning, practice and patience. It is a great tool when you know how to use it well.

As with any skill, it takes practice but this is something that many in our profession seem to shy away from. We see top performers in their field constantly practice. Lewis Hamilton spends hours in a simulator meticulously learning the layout of race circuits. I understand that that is probably a lot cooler than sitting in a training room conducting a supervisor role play but if you want to develop a skill, practice is vital.

The dark art of regulatory compliance and T&C guidance can feel overwhelming and sometimes it is! As with most rules and regulations it is just knowing where to look and how to decipher the meaning of the information. Once you know how to guide yourself through the scheme, the T&C scheme is a great framework to protect and assist the supervisor in their role.

For details of the upcoming Supervisor training courses in Manchester and London from Apricity Compliance click here:

About the author: Paul Taylor is Compliance Support Manager at Apricity Compliance. After spending almost 20 years in advisory roles he has made the transition to training and compliance and is keen to share his experience with others who might be walking the same path.

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