In Focus: Profitable advice business  

Paper qualifications do not define a successful adviser

Andy Payne

Andy Payne

The SJP Academy is all about helping to grow businesses, not just for those training through the academy but for those they go on to help.

Its basis is business building. The training is designed to reconfirm they have made the right choice of career, to instil confidence and increase professionalism – and confidence in the advice profession is essential.

We all have to be invested in creating the advisers of the future, identifying a young reservoir of talent with skills beyond the basics, such as empathy and resilience.

Paper qualifications can tell us much about those looking to join the profession, but they don’t define what will make a successful St James's Place partner or adviser.

That said, applicants will at the very least have taken some R0 (level 4 diploma) exams before they join the academy.

The reason for this is that it's important to know that those training through the academy show a degree of commitment to their future career.

It’s not just about learning through the academy, but continuous learning and development that is vital to help the best to thrive.

We know it’s attractive to be offering steps to chartered and fellowship status, ensuring that financial planning is a profession where continuous learning is prized. 

In the past decade, the changing nature of the SJP Academy reflected both the shifting nature of those attracted to the academy and the way in which that talent was recognised and developed.

To become an ‘academy for all’, it now has a more flexible structure with a more varied way of working, reducing the barriers to achieving and better supporting candidates’ individual situations.

There was also a fresh eye cast on the future direction of training, which now includes such innovations as Netflix-style box sets of anytime training material and industry-leading immersive technology, including virtual reality headsets that allow trainees to role play client meetings, practising elements such as fact finding and rapport building with a greater degree of realism. 

Much of this work towards a greater degree of professionalism and business skills has been honed through the experiences of those who have already been through the SJP Academy.

They want – and expect – a positive business experience. Their feedback has enabled us to back our partners and advisers, both in terms of developing business confidence and in more practical ways through the underpinning support of their academy development managers.

This could include anything from building knowledge of SJP as a business, to creating a tailored but branded website or helping to steer their way through the marketing hub.

Our experience shows that support to grow a business with an organisation like SJP, where every business is different, needs to be bespoke.