The futurologists of the financial advice community offer polar opposite opinions on what life is going to be like.
We are all doomed, crushed under the weight of regulatory costs and compliance burdens, fated to never find another client who will ever pay us for the advice we give.
Or maybe the future is bright, full of many more affluent clients than advisers could hope to service in their wildest dreams, and more in the mass affluent space willing and able to pay for advice from firms that deliver good-quality advice in the mass marketplace.
Anyone who knows me will recognise a glass half-full attitude towards life in general, and I carry this across to my hopes and expectations for the future of financial planning and its development into a respected profession, one that people will aspire to enter, and one with which we will be proud to be associated.
So I am inclined to be positive when bombarded with emails from various organisations exhorting me to consider apprenticeships and offer opportunities for school leavers and graduate entrants. After all, what would be the point of apprenticeships into a sector which is, if the naysayers are proved right, heading for extinction?
But in my experience, clients – especially those we aspire to have filling our real or digital filing cabinets – are wary of being advised by 18-year-olds. They seem to prefer advice from people who have seen a bit more of life, who understand complex decision-making, who have battled with priorities in their own lives, faced financial and other challenges and whose advice may be able to extend to more than which pension, platform or fund to select.
Over the last year I have supported Soldier On!, a charity providing unique career transition support to men and women medically discharged from the armed forces. The resettlement and retraining of a group of people used to working in a world of process and order into the world of compliance and record-keeping seems to offer superb opportunities to bring new entrants into financial services.
Whether these service leavers become advisers or paraplanners, many of them have the right mix of people and coaching skills, and the life experience that makes for a good adviser. New entrants to financial services do not have to be new entrants to the world of work, and the opportunity for a successful second career in financial planning is massive.
Gill Cardy is network development director of ValidPath