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The personality traits of a successful adviser

The personality traits of a successful adviser

Conscientious advisers are most likely to succeed in their industry, particularly if they have a high level of intellect to allow them to navigate the increasing regulatory changes, a study by a behavioural economist has found.

In a survey of more than 130 investment and pension advisers the academic work measured respondents on five personality traits: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, intellect and emotional stability. 

Conscientiousness came out on top, which behavioural economist Mark Pittaccio said was a contrast to the public perception of advisers being "high pressure and hard salesman". 

In fact the author identified a shift away from the "extroverted sales orientated" adviser associated with the pre-Retail Distribution Review era, and a growing prominence of advisers of "high levels of intellect". 

They suggested this frame of mind, coupled with a willingness to tackle new experiences, has supported advisers through the "substantial" regulatory changes seen in the market since RDR. 

Mr Pittaccio said: "The public perception of the financial advice sector is often tainted by past practices, unfairly characterising advisers as extraverted, high pressure and hard salesmen whose central goal is to sell a product.

"In reality the research shows that today’s successful advisers correlate positively with high levels of conscientious and an ability to embrace new challenges.

"Shifting perceptions away from outdated stereotypes towards the traits of professional advisers is crucial so people who need financial advice feel they can get trusted advice."

Quilter, which had commissioned the study, used the research to design adviser recruitment toolkits, available to member firms in its advice arm Quilter Financial Planning. 

The wealth manager hopes the toolkits will allow members to "attract, interview and select the best financial advisers for their business".

Personality profiling will also be introduced into the Quilter Financial Adviser School, where students will take a questionnaire to identify strengths and areas for improvement. 

Scott Stevens, head of adviser recruitment and development at Quilter, said introducing new blood into the industry was "crucial" with 7,000 advisers set to retire in the next few years. 

But he warned bringing in the numbers was not enough, with entrants also needing to be the right fit for the advice industry. 

He said: "This research provides us and our member firms with the tools to not only showcase why being an adviser is a brilliant career, but also ensure that when candidates come to us they are a good fit.

"Ensuring the resilience of the advice industry is crucial for the wellbeing of the nation as face to face advice provides not only better financial outcomes for their clients but also peace of mind."

rachel.mortimer@ft.com 

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