Norwich Union has launched The Future Adviser Programme, designed to attract graduates to pursue a career in financial advice at a time of great change in the industry.
The programme aims to draw new talent to the advisory profession as RDR challenges threaten the advisory capacity of the market. Norwich Union's RDR Barometer adviser survey found nearly a quarter of advisers plan to retire or leave the profession as a result of the RDR.
The Future Adviser Programme launched as a pilot with Manchester Metropolitan University Business School on 23 February.
Working with the Institute of Financial Planning, the programme will give students insight into the workings of the financial advice sector. It will also encourage them into financial services, accountancy and finance degree courses, among others.
Undergraduates can also compete for six prizes of a six-week internship to be taken in the summer break of 2009, plus cash prizes of £1,000 each.
Two weeks of the pilot internship will be spent at an advisory firm, hosted by Bankhall, The Tenet Group and The Money Portal where interns will learn about the 'soft skills' required in financial advice as well as the end-to-end financial planning process. Winners and runners up will also receive a profile on Norwich Union's website www.futureadviserprogramme.com.
"There is a demand/supply paradox within this sector, where the advisory firms find it difficult to recruit high calibre people, yet undergraduates are often unaware that the financial advice profession is crying out for new entrants," says Steve Gay, distribution development director at Norwich Union.
According to Norwich Union's RDR barometer adviser survey, 84% of financial advisers who have looked to recruit in the past three years have experienced difficulties finding advisers at an appropriate qualified or skill level, he says.
"However, there are positive signs of interest and consideration in the financial advice profession, particularly amongst accounting and finance students," says Gay.
"When the benefits of the career were explained in full, the number of students who said that they are likely or very likely to consider it as a future career path rose from 37% to 51%."
"This demonstrates that with awareness of the benefits of the job, more students could be enticed into considering this career," he adds.IFAonline
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