It used to be said that there were three key stages to becoming a successful financial planner. The first was starry-eyed enthusiasm, the second, sophisticated confusion and third, for those who were fortunate enough to achieve it, mature simplicity.
In respect of the starry-eyed enthusiasts, I am delighted to say that I was invited to say a few words last week to the first group of 16 apprentices, beginning their two-year journey to becoming fully-fledged financial advisers through the New Model Business Academy’s Apprenticeship Programme.
Some attendees were in their very early days in financial services, whereas others had worked for several years in the administration side of a practice and were now determined to qualify as financial advisers.
What stood out for me was their enthusiasm and determination to succeed, coupled with a real keenness to learn and benefit from their apprenticeships.
One could say they all had that wonderful starry-eyed enthusiasm, however what also came across was a real desire to improve the financial lives of their future clients, through a combination of professionalism and empathy with their clients’ wants and needs.
You may recall the 2017 survey which demonstrated that, over an average 10-year period, clients who received financial advice were some £40,000 better off than those without advice. We also know that there is a desperate shortage of advisers, with numbers having slumped by 90 per cent in the past 30 years.
It seems to me that the government’s decision to extend the apprenticeship scheme to financial advice may just turn out to be the shot in the arm that the profession needs.
It has the potential to get us back onto the front foot, developing the next generation of professionals who will become experts at employing a mature simplicity to provide solutions to the many complex problems which face our clients today, and will continue to in the years to come.
Ken Davy is chairman of SimplyBiz Group