What I learnt from a room of younger planners

Some of you may be aware that Nextgen planners is now up and running. The point of nextgen was to bring younger planners and those looking to enter the profession together on a more formal basis to share best practice and collaborate with ideas.

We had our first roundtable in Manchester a couple of weeks ago. In the room, we had a variety of planners who were business owners, financial planners in firms and also paraplanners all under 40 (I think).

I thought I would share some thoughts based on that event:

  1. Only one younger female attended

This was my biggest takeaway from the evening. Out of a room of around 18, only one female attended which is a massive shame. I am committed to nextgen not being another “old boys network” and we are very much trying to promote the profession to all future stars of the financial planning profession, both male and female!

We do have a number of females in our facebook group, but the number is too small when you look at other professions. I don’t have an answer for this yet, but we need to spread the word that this is not just profession for men.

  1. The biggest issue is still building a client bank

Most of the planners in the room believed that their main focus was on how to build their client bank over the next few years. Rightly or wrongly, an environment has been created where the younger planners, myself included believe that we need to build our clients banks to secure our future in this profession.

For myself, this has been a pretty adhoc learning curve and there isn’t really much guidance or training on how to do it. I presented on my own way of doing this, but I am only starting my journey. I was lucky enough to find a firm that gave me the time to find my confidence and gave me the freedom to build my niche, but the feeling in the room was that my opportunity was pretty rare.

  1. I don’t think one planner in the room felt there was a professional standard

This was a really interesting discussion. In simple terms, the room didn’t feel that we had many agreed practices within the profession. For example, there was no set training plans for many of the planners, particularly in the softer skills required to become a good financial planner.

In the law and accountancy profession, it is accepted that you do a certain amount of time passing exams and learning different disciplines within the firms along with other vocational training. In their professions, they also accept certain salary requirements and routes within firm to partner level. All these are pretty much standard practice within most decent law and accountancy firms. If you are looking at a career in accountancy or law, you pretty much know what you are letting yourself in for and what is expected.

Can we actually say that the financial planning profession is anywhere near this? The room certainly didn’t think so and this will surely put new entrants off from joining our profession, if it hasn’t already. Nearly every person in the room had a different route to the career and none of them really had set training plans.

So there you go. Maybe a little food for thought from a room of younger planners. I am delighted that every attendee contributed to the discussion and enjoyed a chat over a budweiser and a sandwich. Nearly every attendee has provided feedback to say that they enjoyed meeting people in similar situations which is rare in our fragmented profession and also got lots of value from the discussion.

We are holding quarterly roundtables around the country and they are all hosted by local younger financial planners and we would love to see you there if you have a stake in the future of this profession.