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Growing optimism for future of financial advice

Growing optimism for future of financial advice

Financial advisers are increasingly optimistic about the future of their industry but would like to see the career opportunity promoted further in schools and universities, a survey has found.

In its ‘2018 Adviser Barometer’ released today (3 December), Prudential found 41 per cent of advisers expect growth in industry numbers over the next year with 79 per cent happy to recommend financial advice as a career.

According to Prudential the figures suggest a growing buoyancy in the industry when compared with the company’s first survey in 2016, which had seen 11 per cent predict a growing industry and 44 per cent recommend advice as a career.  

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Martin Bamford, chartered financial planner and managing director at Informed Choice, said the latest findings reflected his own experience.

He said: "Financial planning is a fantastic career option, especially for college leavers who don’t value the cost and experience of university, who are instead able to earn a good living and obtain professional qualifications."

Mr Bamford said there was rising demand for financial planning as the population ages and advice needs become more complex.

He said: "One option we’re exploring as a firm is recruiting more school leavers to train as paraplanners, who may or may not become financial planners in the future."

Vince Smith-Hughes, director of specialist business support at Prudential, said: "Demand for advice is growing and that is reflected in the increasing optimism about the future from advisers and the hours they work.

"The numbers happy to recommend advice as a career is a great story to tell for the industry."

The increasing optimism is despite a widely held belief that advisers’ workload and work hours are increasing, with 25 per cent of respondents claiming they now work more than 50 hours a week compared with 14 per cent in 2017.

Business growth and increasing compliance requirements were attributed as the main drivers of an increasing workload, with 48 per cent and 44 per cent of advisers citing the causes.

The impact of tax and regulatory changes were credited by 30 per cent of advisers as lengthening their working week.

Mr Smith-Hughes added: "A key concern remains where new recruits will come from.

"However, the recent demand for advice shows a vibrant profession, with some advisers running dedicated graduate programs while others are naturally transitioning paraplanners across to advising."

Advisers are becoming increasingly concerned about the number of new advisers joining the industry, according to the Prudential survey.

The research found 81 per cent of advisers believe schools and universities must do more to promote financial advice as a career and more than three out of four would like providers to develop their own recruitment programmes.

rachel.addison@ft.com