In Focus: Future Talent  

Ex sports pros: Client meeting skills should be part of advice curriculum

Ex sports pros: Client meeting skills should be part of advice curriculum

Former sports stars turned advisers have said their biggest hurdle when training as an adviser was to learn some of the client meeting skills involved in the job, and they wished this had been included in the syllabus.

Professional sports people have many transferable skills for a career in advice, including social skills, tenacity, ambition and the experience of failing, which helps them to overcome negative experiences more quickly.

And while academic studying is not necessarily something they have had to do in their careers, this was still easier to master than some of the soft skills involved in discussing financial plans, according to the guests on the latest FTAdviser In Focus podcast. 

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"You do six exams, R01 to R06 and once you've passed [these] exams there's, I think, a missing piece of then how to transfer that into actual client meetings and client meeting skills as well – there's no training on how to structure a meeting," says former pro footballer Tommie Hoban.

"How to go in there, to ask the right questions, to get the information you then need to create a good financial plan. There are some people out there who have created their own kind of courses that advisers can go on to develop their skills in that area but personally I think it should be a part of the exam process."

Dave Lewis, who used to play professional rugby, agrees. He has done one of the independent courses on life coaching but says this would have been a helpful addition to his mandatory training.

Both Will Harries, also a former rugby player, and Lewis were introduced to financial advice during their rugby careers but for footballer Hoban this was not the case – though Hoban grew up alongside advice with both his father, and now his sister, being financial advisers. 

"When you're playing football I always felt you were almost discouraged from pursuing other interests outside of football because they wanted you to be fully focused on football," Hoban says.

"And I think a lot of players start to realise that yeah it's a short career and you are going to need to do something after football. My dad is an IFA so I was introduced to the industry from quite a young age and became a client once I started earning a decent sort of contract in football.

"From quite a young age I could see the impact it was having on myself, not just from a financial perspective but more the peace of mind that I would feel after every meeting."

Harries had the opportunity to shadow a financial adviser during his rugby career, which opened his eyes to the profession, and the fact that there were certain similarities, such as the sociable environment.

"Skills wise, as a professional athlete you are pretty resilient, you can challenge yourself, you're competitive. Within the finance sector there are different challenges that come along with it so... I suppose [sports] just makes you more resilient and be able to turn your hand at something... you've got that sort of energy for it."