A lot of lip service is paid to getting new blood into the industry although there is very little evidence of anything happening in a structured way.
There are tremendous examples like Buckles in North Wales and Nigel Speirs vision for the future as he builds a well-qualified team drawn from universities to support and replace an ageing adviser team.
Having visited his team meetings and offices it is infectious to see the enthusiasm of this team and the loyalty that they already have for an employer which is supporting their career development but at the same time seeing business production and profitability increase as specific focus is given to a client list that is benefiting from a robust service culture.
The IFP has recently announced a specific initiative with Manchester Metropolitan University and the Business School to link the financial services degree to the Certified Financial Planner programme and there are further initiatives to extend these courses to other areas and levels over time.
There is also a great opportunity to get closer to the students and share with them some of the world that they might be entering. In addition to Buckles, some of the Accountancy firms like Grant Thornton, BDO Stoy Hayward and Mazars are organised to start taking graduates into a structure that will provide a proper training and career path for financial planners with the support of the professional body for financial planning.
One of the interesting parallels that we will start to draw with other professions is that graduates from MMU will have a vocational degree which sits within a pre-defined career structure.
They will not have to start over again with a load of exams but instead start building up experience by working in the role. I was privileged and excited to be invited to MMU last Friday to speak to the 40 or so third-year students who had gathered to find out more about the programme that they are embarking on.
It was a little daunting to be invited to speak to a group of students on a Friday afternoon as I am sure that there are more appealing things for a student to do on a Friday afternoon than listen to a couple of suits talk about financial planning and the CFP qualification around the world. We were heartened to find out that following us there was to be a session on corporate tax; thank god we weren’t due to follow that!
There was a real buzz from the students and I am sure that was driven by the excitement that we created following on from the tremendous response that we have received from the broad financial services community about the initiative and no other reason. The class of 2007 have some great opportunities ahead of them and our next interesting challenge is having a suitable stream of programmes for them at our conference next October with a full fridge of Vodka Ice and other appropriate accompaniments!
Nick Cann is ceo at the Institute of Financial Planning.
The views expressed are those of the author and not those of the organisation he represents.IFAonline
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