“For a long time I was told I couldn’t be an adviser because I was too young and it wouldn’t work.
“That’s obviously not been the case,” says Chanelle Pattinson, an independent financial adviser at P&P Invest. “I’ve got clients and I’m doing well.”
Tom Hegarty, partnership director at M&G Wealth Advice, agrees the industry has, in the past, not been very good at attracting the next generation of advisers.
“Other professions do much better than we do in promoting careers,” says Hegarty. “Take accountancy: the large accounting firms do lots of promotion to school leavers and graduates, to outline what a career in accountancy can provide and encourage large numbers to join.
“They similarly have large and small firms but still manage to recruit well into their sector. Of course there are some differences in the skill sets of these different professions, but we need to take note of other careers and use some ideas they adopt to promote financial advice.”
Debunking myths of the profession
The accountancy industry is apparently so effective in promoting the profession as a career that usually when you speak to young people about working in finance, they instantly think of accounting or banking, says Shannon Fox, education and training coordinator at Lowes Financial Management.
Although she says that Lowes is keen to make links with universities, Fox also highlights how you do not need to have a degree to have a successful career in financial services. But she says the industry could make this clearer, and thereby attract people who do not take the traditional academic route.
Another perception is that financial advice is “only for the middle class”, adds Helen Grieves, education and training coordinator at Lowes Financial Management.
“To tackle this, the industry needs to ensure there is more opportunity for those from all walks of life to not only work in financial services, but also to have an understanding of what it is and how it can help them achieve their financial goals.”
Sally Plant, head of financial planning at the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment, likewise says that planning needs to be "normalised" in the eyes of the public as part of general healthy living, like going to the gym. "If our young society is not familiar with planning as a process, then how can you consider it as a career?”
Work experience is one way the industry could raise awareness of financial advice as a career at an early age. David Magee, head of wealth at Just Wealth, says such initiatives would need to give young people a "real taste" of what a financial adviser does, and how they help clients.