Old Mutual Wealth has appointed Darren Smith as head of the Financial Adviser School.
He joined Intrinsic, which is owned by Old Mutual Wealth, in 2013 and developed the restricted investment proposition before working on projects including the acquisition and transition of Sesame’s advisers last year.
Sesame closed down its wealth network last July after a strategic review which also led to the sale of the Financial Advice School.
Intrinsic bought the Financial Advice School from Sesame Bankhall Group in February and operates it on a not-for-profit basis.
The school can support more than 100 students a year, with cohorts joining each month, in addition to a small group that began in April this year.
Mr Smith stated it is a great time to become a financial adviser, when customer demand has never been higher.
He said: “Trust between advisers and their clients is crucial.
“The Financial Adviser School therefore has a duty to ensure that future financial advisers are not just fully qualified, but truly focussed on delivering good customer outcomes throughout the advice and ongoing service process.”
The school will actively seek trainees from outside the industry, including graduates and those seeking a career-change.
Fees for the nine-month course are typically £8,500 and students will study toward the Institute of Financial Services Diploma in Financial Advice, with zero interest loans are available to help spread the cost.
Old Mutual Wealth’s chief distribution officer Richard Freeman, said the school is a big investment and a demonstration of the provider’s commitment to supporting high quality, professional face-to-face advice.
“We are delighted that Darren has accepted the role as head of the Financial Adviser School, having managed the acquisition and transition of the school over the last nine months.
“His experience and enthusiasm will ensure the school achieves its aim of developing the next generation of financial advisers.”
Robert Forbes, a chartered financial planner with London-based Stadden Forbes Wealth Management, said: “The school is definitely a worthwhile idea, there can be no excuses for advisers not knowing their stuff.
“We need to expand the talent pool. Every other industry in the world brings in the right talent and we should be not different.”