Case study: Why an academy was the right career entry for me

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Case study: Why an academy was the right career entry for me
Ben Mitson is a trainee at Lumin Wealth (Carmen Reichman)
ByBen Mitson

There is a great opportunity to carve out a successful and rewarding career in the financial advice sector. 

I think the pandemic and the economic challenges of the past couple of years have played a part in focusing people's minds, exacerbating a trend that has seen people engage more closely with their finances and financial wellbeing.

There’s never been a greater need for financial advice, and yet there is a low rate of young people entering the industry. And what will happen when the older advisers retire?

I think that academy initiatives have a key role to play in ensuring that the taps remain open and the talent pool in the industry doesn’t get depleted as older advisers look to retire or sell their businesses.

Benefits of training in an academy

Lumin’s Adviser Academy for graduates and career-changers represented an excellent opportunity to fast-track my career development. 

Typically the route to becoming an adviser is protracted. This involves taking time to learn the ropes as a financial administrator, and later a paraplanner, before eventually making the step up to financial adviser.

Academies often look to merge all three roles together during the initial training period so that you can develop more quickly, while still learning the skills that are necessary to become a competent adviser.

If you have a genuine interest in people then this job is perfect.

I was part of the first intake into Lumin’s newly launched adviser academy back in September 2021. Fortunately, aided by the support network and career development framework that was in place, I settled in very quickly.

The course is a two-year course alongside a paid job as a trainee and paid study days.

I was able to pass the six exams that make up the CII Level 4 Diploma in regulated financial planning within my first year.

What I valued most was the support I got along the way. Not only from the senior advisers, paraplanning staff and Lumin’s learning and development manager, but from my peers within the academy as well.

Balancing a new job with exams was intense, but the load was lightened as a group.

In addition to structured communication training sessions and workshops – which included case studies and examples of potential client interactions, with a focus on problem-solving – it was particularly rewarding to learn on the job by attending client meetings alongside senior advisers from a very early stage.

I don’t think there’s any substitute for the practical knowledge that you gain by getting out there and meeting clients.

'Financial advisers can come from anywhere'

I’ve had previous roles in sales, teaching, and even gardening. What I learned from them was that I loved working with people.