National IFA Positive Solutions plans to boost adviser numbers by 500 before 2010 to help plug what it calls a growing "adviser gap".
The Aegon-owned firm says it will attract the next generation of IFAs via its new Apprenticeship Scheme, which is currently at the pilot stage but is set to be rolled out nationwide in 2009.
The scheme was announced as Positive Solutions today unveiled its Learning Academy, developed in partnership with the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), which aims to help its 1,700 IFA partners improve and expand their businesses, and add to their qualifications.
One of the main facets of the Learning Academy is guidance and support for passing the CII Diploma in Financial Planning, which the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) earmarks as the future advice industry benchmark. Positive Solutions has pledged to pay each of its partners’ exam and training fees, which could amount to £1,500 each.
Positive Solutions chief executive Jim Reeve says attracting “new blood” is vital for the continuing health of the advice industry.
“This [Apprenticeship Scheme] underlines our determination to address the shortage of fresh talent entering the industry,” he says.
“From talking to our partners we know there is huge interest in bringing through the next generation of advisers.
“They are eager to take advantage of opportunities to expand and build long-term value in their own businesses but this growth depends on a flow of new, highly qualified and skilled recruits which the industry is failing to deliver.”
Positive Solutions says it hopes the Learning Academy, set for launch on 29 July, will become the “most influential and advanced learning initiative in the financial services industry”.
It will be delivered via an online training platform and will be split into four categories: personal, professional, progressive and profitable.
Advisers bidding to improve their sales and negotiation skills can seek help in the personal category, while those looking to expand into new areas such as retirement or tax planning can do so via the progressive section. Exam training is in the professional category.
On Positive Solutions’ pledge to pay its partners exam training and entry fees, CEO Jim Reeve says: “This underpins our commitment to take the lead by setting out a clear route and providing the practical and financial support to allow our IFA partners to set new standards in the advice sector.”
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