Guardian adviser training centre to focus on technology

Technology will be at the heart of Guardian Wealth Management’s new UK financial planning and training centre, with the firm’s chief executive saying that online solutions will be key to advising mass market who will not be willing pay an adviser up to £300 per hour for advice.

In an interview with FTAdviser, David Howell said the company’s new £1.5m head office in Llantrisant, Mid Glamorgan, which will house its training centre, could create up to 150 jobs and will be used to incubate not only IFAs and paraplanners, but also technology solutions.

He said: “It’s not just a talent pool for students but also for technology - how we develop technology and how we can engage clients online for that gap in the adviser market.

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“Post-RDR a lot of people will be disenfranchised, i.e. they won’t have that connection with financial planning as they can’t afford it and how its delivered.

“We will fill the gap through technology and we will be able to do attitude to risk, asset allocation, financial planning by producing cash flow planning.”

Mr Howell said it will be using social media including Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin to spread this message.

He said: “When we are the first to do it, we will get the share of the market and I think that others will follow.

“We will drive technology to the end client because they won’t be able to get to a financial planner that costs £200-£300 an hour. They can’t afford that high end of financial planning, so if we can deliver mass market financial planning technology we are on to a winner.”

Mr Howell intends for the training academy to be a multi-national talent pool where advisers can have the option to either stay in the UK or go work in the middle-east or far east.

He said: “We want to build the model in the UK, put into North America, Australia, Tokyo, Japan and Singapore.

“There is a huge demand for financial advisers there and it may create a tsunami of RDR change. Regulators are creating an RDR in Holland now. MAS [Monetary Authority of Singapore] in Singapore is looking to creating a RDR framework; so is the UAE.

“They will look at the UK, see what happens, adapt bits of it and see what is working and what isn’t and adapt it to their model.”