Openwork eyes bank staff for adviser growth

Openwork eyes bank staff for adviser growth

Adviser network Openwork has called on employees affected by the wave of bank branch closures in the UK to consider a career in financial advice.

Mike Morrow, wealth and platform director at Openwork, said he would be "very interested" to hear from bank and building society staff who are finding themselves out of employment.

Branch closures have become increasingly commonplace on the UK’s high streets with Santander most recently announcing plans to close 140 branches, putting 1,270 jobs at risk.

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The bank pointed to a "dramatic" change in the way customers had chosen to bank in recent years as the reason for the closures. 

Openwork suggested the employees made redundant as a result would be "very attractive" to financial advice groups as they would already have some of the skills required.

The network currently has 3,907 advisers, but a spokesperson said it was committed to expanding and was eyeing former bank and building society employees in particular.

Mr Morrow said: "The continued expansion and development of our financial advice provision is a crucial strategic objective and we are looking to grow across all sectors to meet the massive unmet demand for face-to-face financial advice.

"New entrants starting their own firms or joining existing firms can choose to join as wealth advisers but also choose the mortgage or protection sector.

"Many will have transferable skills from their previous jobs."

Ian Lowes, managing director at Lowes Financial Management, said on the surface Openwork's approach made good sense.

He said: "Obviously few of the individuals concerned will understand the broad facets of holistic independent financial advice but having a basic starting point of understand what an Isa, open-ended investment company or bond are is a good place to be. 

"Qualifications are key, and so any such individual who has taken steps to start doing the relevant exams and has the initiative to approach me directly would certainly be taken seriously."