The former business manager of 15 years’ standing said he had always been interested in personal finance, but had never realised that he could pursue a career in the industry and be his own boss at the same time.
Mr Walsh said: “When I learned about the Chartered Insurance Institute’s Diploma in regulated financial planning, offered by the Financial Adviser School, I became interested in the possibility of becoming a qualified financial adviser.
“I was worried about my sales and management background, and my philosophy degree being considered irrelevant, but advisers are working with such a diverse client base day to day and, therefore, the school is interested in the diversity of its students.”
He said that he was aware there was “so much to learn”, adding: “I had approached the FAS with interest, but convinced that my lack of experience and qualifications would go against me. In fact it was quite the opposite.
“The team was helpful, welcoming and happy to answer all the questions I had. Six months in and two exams down, I would have to admit that studying again can be challenging sometimes, but in a very positive way.”
Mr Walsh added that, as the industry requires continuous professional development, he will “always be learning”, and that is one of the things he said he looks forward to in his new career.
Lisa Winnard, director of human resources and development at Sesame Bankhall Group, said that the government’s recent decision to abolish National Insurance employer contributions for young workers up to the age of 21 could boost smaller advisory firms.
She said that the abolition of payments, announced by the chancellor of the Exchequer in last week’s autumn statement could make it more attractive for firms to recruit new blood, a perennial problem for the financial advisory community.
Earlier this autumn, Leicestershire-based advisory firm Inspire Financial Solutions announced it had embarked on the next stage of its growth plans by taking on graduates.
Stephen Highton, co-founder and joint principal with Brian Harrison of the firm, said RDR had put the firm’s growth plans on hold, but earlier this year, the firm took on two trainee advisers and sent them on the Financial Adviser School’s training programme.
Mr Highton said: “We were keen to start identifying how to attract our own new generation of financial adviser.”