Networks move to fill adviser gap

Networks move to fill adviser gap

Adviser networks are driving growth in their academies and training schools as they look to fill a looming adviser gap.

According to the latest Heath Report, published in January, one in five advisers could be leaving the industry in the next five years amounting to 7,000 advisers exiting as a result of planned retirement and regulatory pressures.

In preparation, adviser networks have said they remained focused on training the next generation of advisers and promoting a career in financial services as "more than just banking".

Jason Flood, academy director at St James’s Place, said whilst the Retail Distribution Review had caused an initial drop in adviser numbers, in what he said drove out "poor practitioners" in the industry, the sector has continued to witness a significant fall from its pre-2013 levels.  

He said: "Individuals face considerable challenges when planning for and managing their wealth, both before and after retirement, and it’s a reality that there are not enough qualified individuals to meet this growing demand today.

"Improving and enhancing core standards – while a good thing for clients – can have the side-effect of creating a barrier for some individuals, as well as organisations who may not be able to provide sufficient support for new entrants."

Mr Flood said this could create a particular issue in instances where the qualification process takes between six and 12 months.

St. James’s Place Academy is present in Edinburgh, London, Manchester, and Solihull, with more than 400 graduates joining the firm’s partnership since its establishment in 2012.

Mr Flood said he believes the academy plays an "important and growing" role in developing the next generation of financial advisers and plugging the growing advice gap.

He said: "For people looking to change careers, they can get the training and development they need to qualify as a wealth professional through our core academy; while the next generation academy and paraplanner academies focus on upskilling our existing talent pipeline."

Darren Smith, head of Quilter Financial Adviser School, warned the industry must act urgently to fill the advice gap, but said the key lay with changing young people’s perspective of the financial services industry. 

He said: "When we talk about financial services at careers fairs, people immediately think banking - so we aim to educate individuals about the credible career opportunities in financial advice, in an environment where there is real demand.

"Understanding the nature of a relationship between a client and adviser is still sorely needed, and if we can help that be seen as a positive career opportunity for a 14 year old then we won’t be looking back at an advice gap that still exists but rather one that will have been solved."

Just over 50 per cent of Quilter’s students come from within the Intrinsic network and a third from other large networks in the market.