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Beaufort in bid to save SBG’s Financial Adviser School

The Beaufort Group is hoping to hold talks with other large firms to save Sesame Bankhall Group’s Financial Adviser School.

Following the announcement by Stephen Gazard, managing director of Sesame Bankhall Group, that the school will no longer accept new recruits, Simon Goldthorpe, executive chairman of national firm The Beaufort Group said he wished to “lead an initiative to save the school”.

He said: “This is sad news for the financial planning world. We desperately need to attract young talent into the industry and graduate training programmes like this are essential. We should do everything we can to save the school.”

The closure of the Financial Adviser School set up by Sesame Bankhall Group in 2011, has come about as part of the group’s strategic review, which has already seen a decision not to offer an appointed representative network option for wealth firms. In a letter sent to SBG member firms on Monday 20 April, Mr Gazard wrote: “We will continue to support existing FAS students, but we will no longer recruit new people into the school as we will not be able to offer them a prospective home in wealth firms within our AR network.”

It is not known whether the people working at FAS would remain with the business, but Mr Gazard said he was hopeful the group could redeploy resources to other areas of the business.

He also confirmed that the educational link-up that the group was attempting to forge with India in 2013 was no longer on the cards. The school would have built on the UK establishment and offered different types of training.

To date, there are more than 100 former students now delivering professional advice in firms across the country. There are currently 40 students enrolled at FAS.

The group will also be in contact with members on Friday 24 April to offer more information on the options available to firms, including details of the AR wealth specialist partner and transition arrangements.

Meanwhile, national chartered financial planning and investment management firm Attivo Group has launched a training academy for its staff. A spokesman said the academy, based at the Attivo headquarters in Cheltenham, would initially be used for the firm’s own training, but that Attivo could consider the possibility of offering training to others in the future.

Last year, Sanlam UK closed its North Wales-based graduate training programme.

Adviser View

Sarah Stone, financial adviser at Essex-based Harbour Financial, is a graduate of FAS who went on to win the Scottish Widows IFA newcomer of the year in 2013. She said the school’s closure was a great loss to the industry.

“Without it it would have taken me and the other graduates a lot longer to get our qualifications. It is sad news they are closing it down, as many will not get the same opportunities we have had.”