How do you target and hire the cream of financial planning talent? One advice business owner reveals his method
Dhan Sharma, managing director of Kent-based Maze Wealth, says his biggest problem at the moment is finding financial planners that meet his strict hiring criteria.
Here, he shares his ‘scorecard’ approach to recruitment, and explains how he targets only the top 10% of advisers to bring on board.
Scores on the doors
“What do I look for in a financial planner? Good question! I have a financial planning ‘score card’. This covers the broad areas of personal, professional and training, consulting skills, business planning, systems experience, development and professional memberships. This tells me an awful lot about a planner. Not just business production.
Financial planners: how to hire the best of the best
“I use this scorecard when interviewing new candidates as well as for review meetings with existing planners. I score them on a scale of 1 to 4.” (See scorecard, left).
Sharma said he does use a few recruitment firms, but finds the best way to find potential recruits is via networking or through peer introduction, where peers refer over a candidate that they cannot accommodate or may not suit their business.
“Both the financial planners currently in my team I approached direct. The support staff are all via an agency. I am currently working with some good headhunters as well as a business consultant, Steve Billingham.”
Sharma added often candidates are sure they’ve got the job but haven’t met the firm’s criteria.
“When we do turn down candidates they seem surprised. The main reason is that we can see from the scorecard how committed they are about their careers and profession by the type of business they write, professional memberships and their peripheral consulting skills. Alternatively, they may not have the synergies we are looking for.”
For those who make the grade, Sharma said the firm still expected them to undergo in-house training to develop into the role.
“We do provide a lot of practical training, not exam based, but ‘consultancy-based’. This allows a new planner to develop their soft skills with clients as well as their commercial awareness for developing business opportunities. Unfortunately, this is not part of an exam syllabus, but as important as the exams themselves, not mutually exclusive.”
“Most firms I speak to, big or small, are having the same recruitment problems,” said Sharma (see box, above).
“For these reasons, my recruitment efforts are targeted at the top 10% of individuals within the financial planning sector. Hence, it’s a slow burn as many of these individuals in this ‘pond’ are generally running very successful businesses!”
“Something’s got to give. Soon.”
Nine obstacles to finding the top 10%
1 Distinct lack of business production
2 Unable to migrate clients
3 Inability to generate own enquiries
4 Over reliance on commission (still)
5 Too sales/product driven focused instead of consultancy focused
6 Cannot bring any peripheral skills to the table (i.e. management, operational, etc)
7 Employees tend to be ‘plodders’ and never quite justify their existence
8 Self-employed planners tend to retain ownership over clients
9 Owners looking to forge an alliance/strategic partnership with larger firms think their business is worth much more then the buyer.
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