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CII backs apprenticeship levy to attract fresh blood

CII backs apprenticeship levy to attract fresh blood

Professional bodies are hopeful the lack of new blood coming into the industry could be solved by a forthcoming government levy to boost the use of apprenticeships.

From 6 April 2017, the apprenticeship levy will apply to all employers operating in the UK with a salary bill of more than £3m a year. The levy will be invested in apprenticeships.

It will be charged at a rate of 0.5 per cent of the annual salary bill, with a levy allowance of £15,000 a year to offset against what firms must pay.

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Steve Jenkins, director for financial services and insurance markets at the Chartered Insurance Institute, said that while this will only hit larger firms, the government drive to double the numbers of apprentices by the end of this parliament is an opportunity for smaller businesses to recruit new staff.

“Much of the current crop of advisers came across from banks and insurers’ direct sales forces, but those routes have dried up in recent years, which begs the question of where the next cohort is coming from.”

The Personal Finance Society (PFS) surveyed 417 financial adviser firms at the end of April and start of May, and found that three quarters would be interested in taking on an apprentice.

More than two thirds (68 per cent) said they were more likely to use a new apprenticeship to develop a new member of staff, while just under a third (32 per cent) said they were more likely to use it to develop an existing member of staff.

Keith Richards, chief executive of the PFS, promised that it will be publishing a practical guide to help advisers access government funding and take on an apprentice.

He said: “The PFS is sponsoring the development of this new financial adviser apprenticeship, complementing the recently launched, government-supported financial services administrator and paraplanner apprenticeship schemes.”

peter.walker@ft.com