A recent survey highlighted adviser concerns over the next generation of advisers. Is enough being done to find them?
The Personal Finance Society's (PFS) seventh annual survey revealed an alarming consensus that a dwindling supply of new talent stands to undermine the future of the profession.
The survey offered up an 'amber warning' on the future for financial advice, the PFS said, warning the situation will only worsen as advisory firms increasingly find themselves competing to secure new hires from a diminishing talent pool.
Most respondents to a PFS poll (63%) were unconvinced that the UK's education system is adequately preparing school leavers for a career in the advice profession.
Is there enough new talent entering the advice industry?
PFS president David Ingram said the results were a "timely reminder that the financial advice profession needs to work to ensure its future strength".
While IFA numbers have proved to be more stable than many believed they would, concerns around replenishing the talent pool have remained.
Many cite the regulatory burden associated with training new recruits as limiting the ability of the industry to ensure a reliable stream of new talent.
Fidelity head of advisory services Jon Everill said: "I don't think the problem of finding new hires is a new problem but it is continuing to get worse. We have an ageing population of advisers and new blood coming in is few and far between.
"The biggest issue is not necessarily that people have not been interested – it is that the process of getting people regulated is a very onerous one and puts a lot of responsibility on an owner/manager type business to shadow and sponsor them through an 18-month/two-year period to get regulated. There is a lot of risk and cost."
Others have suggested the industry requires more training academies if future numbers are to be ensured.
Redmill Resourcing managing director David Tait said: "It has definitely been getting worse. What happens when these individuals retire? Where is the new blood? Something needs to be done to address this. There should be more academies training youngsters effectively."
The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) has operated the Discover Fortunes event for almost two years in a bid to inspire students to consider a career in financial planning and give greater understanding of the opportunities that exist.
CII relationship manager for education, Caspar Bartington, said there is evidence that, in a post-Retail Distribution Review (RDR) environment, the decline in new numbers is showing signs of slowing, aided by events such as these.
He said: "What we are seeing this year are more opportunities for people to get into the sector. The number of companies offering apprenticeships has increased, the number of companies offering graduate schemes has increased. Post-RDR, companies can now turn their attention to succession planning and bringing new people into the business. It will gain traction going forwards."
There are encouraging signs that the industry is both recognising the problem of attracting new talent and taking steps to address it. There is no easy solution, however, and obstacles remain if the industry's future strength is to be guaranteed.
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