Financial advice network Openwork has set its sights on training more advisers after a record intake into its academy in October.
A total of 80 trainees joined the Openwork Academy in October alone, surpassing the total intake for the whole of 2018 and brining the 2019 total to 193 so far.
Launched in 2014 the academy has been a fundamental part of the network’s expansion plans, training more than 130 advisers to date.
According to the network the academy is being expanded both because of the interest from trainees and as part of the company’s growth plans.
The network runs training centres in London, Newcastle, Swindon and Manchester.
Of the 80 trainees to sign up to the academy in October, 20 advisers were studying for mortgage and protection qualifications under MCOB while the remaining 60 took their first steps to becoming wealth managers under COB.
According to Openwork the majority of trainees were entering financial advice as a second career and the cohort included an airline pilot, teacher, City trader and a number of mortgage advisers moving into wealth.
In January Openwork set its sights on 250 new advisers over the next three years as part of its growth ambitions — from 750 to in excess of 1,000 by the end of 2021 — and said a large part of such growth would be via the academy.
Claire Limon, director of learning and acquisition, said: “We’re delighted to see such a fantastic number of people beginning their financial advice careers this month through our academy programme.
“The rapid expansion of the programme is a testament to our commitment to increase access to advice across the UK, enabling people to receive the help they need to create and protect their wealth.”
Ms Limon said the increased demand for advice was set to continue in 2020 and that the firm was “looking forward” to maintaining the “fantastic momentum” of the academy’s growth.
She added: “Expanding the number of advisers in the UK is vital and at Openwork we believe that all ages and backgrounds have the potential to make career changes and there is support available for anyone considering a new job in a different sector.”
Fears have been raised over the past few years that the much discussed advice gap was set to widen as a large proportion of advisers look to retire in the next five years.
Octopus Investments’ research in August showed a third of advisers were planning to retire in the next five years, rising to 58 per cent over the next 10 years.
Earlier this year Openwork's wealth and platform director Mike Morrow called for greater diversity in the financial advice community.
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