How do we prevent the decline of the financial adviser? The high street banks, having heaved themselves from the advice market, together with the closure of networks who have been riddled with the cancer of poor advice, is conceivably resulting in the decline of financial advisers.
Robo-advisers – the innovative, cloud-based investment solutions which is appealing to early adopters, is gaining momentum. Perhaps arrogance, or even ignorance, helps financial advisers discount the real threats in their macro-environment. “People will always need financial advice” is a common retort to any talk of demise.
The Kodak story makes an admirable allegory. Senior managers evaluated the new digital age convincingly, narrating to themselves, “People love film, and they’ll always want it. It provides the best quality.”
The passing of traditional financial advice may not imminently materialise. Nonetheless, like Kodak, perish it will unless financial advisers start to innovate and recruit the best people. I’m asked frequently: what do graduates look for in an employer? How can we entice financial services graduates to join our financial services and paraplanning firms? To be unswerving, generally.
They are not concerned about becoming a financial adviser or indeed a paraplanner (most don’t know what paraplanning is) in a small firm. I’m sure arrogance will prevent my assumptions having any merit in the profession, so perhaps intensifying my argument may assist.
If you’re looking to entice the best graduates, here is not (I acknowledge), a complete list of graduate desires.
• An ethical employer who focuses on the wider social and moral micro-environment
• Employers with a long-term focused strategy who can easily communicate their vision and show real innovation
• Great salary, benefits, professional training and a clear career progression
• A friendly, happy organisation with modern offices and good travel links
• Bespoke, ongoing training and development
• Professional environment, none arrogant managerial style who value everyone.
If, Reader, you are a small adviser firm, can you offer any of the above? Perhaps I may be conceited and suggest you cannot. I’ll submit to you our graduates will head straight towards the global banks, fund managers and insurance providers who arguably would!
I’ve written often on the demise of the financial adviser – without the ability to attract top graduates regardless of the most positive mind-set, the sector will emerge into a cottage industry. I must accept some people will always need a financial adviser like some people will always need a piano tuner.
Conversations about growing the sector, encouraging new entrants, and transforming into a new age profession are erroneous. Financial advisers are in decline – providing advice to elderly laggards, while the new age early adopters are looking for online solutions. And the top financial services graduates head towards the city and the lure of employment with global banks.
Richard Bishop is a lecturer in financial services at Coventry University College and a practising regulated financial adviser.