What role do academies have in the future of advice?

What role do academies have in the future of advice?

The gap between those who need advice and those who can access it - the so-called 'advice gap' - is one of the long-standing conundrums the financial advice profession has faced.

For some advice firms, the solution is to encourage more people into the profession to level out the supply and demand imbalance which has led to a surge in the number of advice academies being launched.

On this week's FTAdviser Podcast, senior reporter Sonia Rach discusses what role these academies - many of which are associated with large, vertically integrated advice firms - have in the future of the advice profession and what individual advisers can do to help expand the profession.

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Speaking on the podcast, Matt Jordan, academy development manager at Openwork, explained there are a couple of factors involved when it comes to how the academies can serve the next generation of clients.

He said: “You've got one [factor], the volume impact, so you've got a lot of assets that of course need advisers to be able to service that population of clients and assets as well. 

“There's a secondary factor in there though, and that is that if you're talking about transfer of assets, you're typically talking about a client who has been with an adviser for a period of time. So I think academies can do two things there.

"One is they can provide the volume, number of advisers that we need to actually service that population of advice, and the second factor, which is probably overlooked a lot of the time when we're talking about academies, is the consistency of advice as well.”

Jordan explained this consistency of advice meant there is a seamless transfer of an individual taking on the next generation client. 

“It is the reassurance that they are going into something that is not going to be completely different", he said. “Personalities will come into it but the key or founding principles should hopefully be quite similar if they're coming from the same firms, I think that's an extra benefit there.”

Sarah Lord, president of the Personal Finance Society, agreed, saying academies had a significant role to play in the sustainability of the profession.

“Ultimately, creating opportunity and roles for the next gen advisers coming into the profession, to be servicing those clients with the intergenerational wealth transfer - we've got to be doing that to be sustainable for the future,” she said.

“I think it's really important that there is that focus around recognising the need to acknowledge the intergenerational wealth transfer and the needs of the clients or say the baby boomers, that we have typically serviced over the last 20 years, where the money's going to transfer to the next generation of client; that next generation client is possibly looking for something slightly different from their adviser, but they will get a consistent approach by using the same firm.

“I think it's really important that we are focused on how academies have a role to play in the sustainability of our profession.”