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The pursuit of the elusive financial adviser role and the right candidate

Speaking to John, a new entrant to the profession, at an industry conference there is no doubt about his enthusiasm nor his ultimate aim to become a lead financial adviser in as short a time as possible! He is presentable, educated and almost diploma qualified; but unfortunately, he has little to no client facing experience.

Speaking to Jane, a business owner searching for her next team superstar, at the same event; she explains that she is having a real difficulty finding the diamonds in the rough that she would trust, unaccompanied, to communicate and deliver a great service to her clients.

Unfortunately, these conversations have become more and more frequent. It is the inevitable catch-22 that many exceptionally bright young things and high calibre career changers find themselves in; eager to succeed but lacking some of the key skills required for business owners and employers to be confident enough to either take a chance on them.

Now that’s not to say there aren’t fantastic opportunities available. There are several graduate schemes available offering a route to the elusive lead financial adviser role, but these are few and far between. The more common route, the route that we happened to take, is to work your way up the ladder and transition from a paraplanner to an adviser. For individuals like John, the transition from paraplanner to adviser may be a route he is considering. But all too often we find that many paraplanners are left feeling frustrated and dissatisfied when their development timescales are extended or even halted.

We aren’t discussing these experiences for the good of our own health, we want to bring these issues to the forefront of readers thoughts, as they aren’t being talked about enough within the profession. Part of the dilemma described above is the Adviser Gap.

Lifting the lid on the Adviser Gap!

The Adviser Gap is ‘the gap in communication skills, client facing experience and knowledge between those in non-adviser roles (such as trainees, paraplanners, career changers) and award-winning lead financial advisers respected by their peers’.

What might have been some of the causes of the Adviser Gap:

  1. The decline in graduate schemes, adviser academies and trainee adviser roles as many of the larger institutions in the UK withdrew or drastically reduced their financial advice offerings.

  2. An influx of financial advisers from these institutions into the job market, following redundancy, who are seen as ‘less risky bets’ by firms seeking new advisers.

  3. The Retail Distribution Review (RDR) has raised professional standards but one of the side-effects has been greater attention and focus on examinations. We aren’t for one second saying that standards shouldn’t be raised, quite the contrary, we would be happy for these to be raised further; but passing these exams should be a hygiene factor. The current system seems to be back to front, there needs to be greater attention given to client facing skills.

What this has led to is a ‘lost decade’ of talent within the profession and the Adviser Gap widening.

We wanted to create a platform to discuss these issues and to help as many individuals as we can to bridge and eventually close the Adviser Gap.

Through The Financial Planning Training Academy’s ‘Adviser Gap’ Podcast, with the help of many amazing guests, we aim to:

  1. Uncover the journey that an individual must navigate from a non-advisory role to a lead financial adviser

  2. Articulate the client facing skills that need to be mastered

  3. Understand what the adviser’s role is

  4. Appreciate what it is like to be in the client’s shoes

  5. Consider whether you may be suited for one of the other amazing roles within the profession

  6. Provide guidance, as well as actionable hints and tips to fast track bridging the Adviser Gap.

  7. Build the foundations for individuals to begin honing and mastering their financial planning skills through the Financial Planning Training Academy and our sister podcast the Financial Life Coach Podcast.

A call to action from all in the profession

There are a number of like-minded individuals and organisations, in addition to our own work as the Financial Planning Training Academy, that are doing great work to raise awareness of what a great career the profession offers, as well as trying to solve the Adviser Gap – Think NextGen Planners, Dr Lien Luu and the team at Coventry Business School, Meaningful Money, Maven Money and The Verve Group to name but a few – but without more people like these, the limited supply of pathways to the lead adviser roles (and other lead roles within the profession, so as not to discourage these too) the Adviser Gap will not narrow.

Get onboard with our mission and help as many individuals on their journey towards bridging the Adviser Gap!

Feel free to follow and message us on Twitter @advisergap or @fptrainingacad

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