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Will adviser academies weather the Covid storm?

Unsurprisingly Openwork warned the coronavirus crisis is serving as a significant obstacle to a career change, with more than half of the 1,032 people surveyed stating they were not in the market to switch careers and just one in 10 admitting the outbreak would not deter them from moving.

Claire Limon, director of learning and acquisition at Openwork, said: “The current economic uncertainty is definitely a deterrent to switching careers and people are understandably nervous about moving.

“But people remain open to the idea of a career change and the old approach of staying in one sector for your entire working life simply doesn’t apply any longer, with more of us willing to expand our skills.”

Yet again it was the funding cost of training and a potential loss of income that featured as a notable deterrent to switching careers, a worry that Ms Limon said required companies looking to hire career-changers to demonstrate their support.

She added: “At Openwork we believe all ages and backgrounds have the potential to make career changes and there is support available for anyone considering a new job in the expanding sector of financial advice as demand continues to increase.”

The need to replenish the UK’s adviser population has long been acknowledged in the face of an impending advice gap compounded by a generation approaching retirement within the industry.

Ian Lowes, managing director at Lowes Financial Management, recently launched his own adviser academy.  The launch had been a long-term ambition for the company, Mr Lowes said, but until last year it had been “just something on a hopeful horizon”.

The academy is set to welcome students of “any age and background” with hopes to attract “high-calibre students with a passion for the financial services profession”.

Mr Lowes said: “The initial applicants for the academy are a mix of university leavers and individuals with experience in the industry already.

“For individuals wanting to move into the profession, having just one of the R0 exams can set them apart from others as it demonstrates a willingness to work hard and strive for self-improvement.

“Perhaps most importantly, having at least one relevant professional qualification on your CV demonstrates a genuine desire to achieve a position in the profession, rather than simply any job. The academy offers that.”

rachel.mortimer@ft.com 

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