Not enough is being done to curtail rising stress and depression levels as financial advisers battle with high pressure decisions under stringent deadlines with little morale support, David Price has warned.
The managing director of Health Assured, the provider of health and wellbeing solutions, drew upon research revealing that 32 per cent of IFA managers had suffered depression due to workplace stress, and that over half were afraid to talk about it.
According to the three-question survey, 56 per cent of the 623 IFA managers consulted said they would be “reluctant” to tell their employer if they suffered from depression, because it could “jeopardise their job”, while a further 73 per cent admitted to being unaware of how to identify and deal with workplace depression.
In response to these findings, Mr Price said: “Financial advisers face stress and deadlines on a daily basis and employers must do more to help identify those who are unable to cope with these pressures.
“Employers and management must be given extra training to help identify the signs of workplace stress before the issue escalates into something more serious, such as depression.”
Mr Price described financial advice as a “high pressure profession” that naturally caused stress due to making “big money decisions” and worrying about the consequences of complaints.
Such concerns, he added, can have a “detrimental effect” on the wellbeing of advisers and easily lead to depression, particularly as a lot of them even take their work with them on holiday.
To counteract rising stress and depression in the workplace, Mr Price urged employers to interact more with employees and create an environment where advisers feel comfortable about openly discussing their issues.
If this is not achieved, he said that the bottling-up of problems will cause the adviser’s condition to deteriorate, which could in turn see that individuals make more costly mistakes.
He added: “Sit down with your employees. Discuss on a regular basis their workload and ask them generally how they are feeling. Ensure they are not intimidated and encourage them to talk without the risk of losing their job.
“Asking employees on a regular basis how they are and generally taking an interest in their wellbeing will help build a rapport and may also help to increase employee morale.”
Adviser view: Adam Bell, a partner at Hertfordshire-based BPH Wealth Management, said: “Being a small IFA firm with only four advisers – three of whom are partners – it is not really an issue, as being a close-knit team we are aware of ongoing issues, and as a matter of principle, we do not overload staff with targets and requirements. I could see in a large IFA firm, though, it would be totally different and stress could be an issue. I suppose it is down to the ethos within a firm. If it is run on a friendly basis then stress should not arise. If there are overbearing, authoritarian egos running a firm, then you are working in a culture of fear to some extent, which is not healthy.”