Young adviser says schools should do more to promote the profession

Elliot Guthrie of Scotland's Create and Prosper

clock • 2 min read

One of the UK's youngest financial advisers Elliott Guthrie thinks more should be done to publicise financial advice as a career option in schools.

The Create and Prosper Adviser, 21, became one of the youngest ever UK financial advice diploma holders in 2018 aged 20.

He took the leap into the profession while he was partway through a marketing degree at the University of Strathclyde.

At that time he had been simultaneously studying his university degree and financial planning, after working for a Linlithgow advice firm from age 16.

"It was a Saturday job at the financial advisers back where I live - I didn't really know what it was but thought it was worth a shot.

"It was just an administrative job, then I put myself through the diploma course and got to a point where I thought, I'll just leave university and do financial planning - that's why I really want to do."

Guthrie, who started with Kirkcaldy's Create and Prosper as a trainee paraplanner in December 2018, said not enough young people knew about the profession.  

"I think is a lack of awareness of this job exists. A lot of people who think they want to work in finance think it's right into investment banking or accounting," he said.

"There's not a lot of talks about financial planning at universities or as a career option or in schools, which is where it really should be being discussed."

Guthrie said it could also be difficult for young advisers to enter the profession because firms were often looking for experienced people and needed to take a gamble to invest in trainees.

He was drawn to advice for its ability to improve people's quality of life.

For example, Guthrie worked as a paraplanner to help a woman support herself financially in preparation for her husband's death.

"We've done our retirement strategy involving pensions... and [helped] a man who had a terminal illness provide for his wife who has no pension. She was about to do an annuity herself, which was going to give about £2,000 a year, out of the £12,000 she needed," he said.

"We've now structured it in such a way that she can get that £12,000 a year and doesn't have to worry about going to work once he's gone. That's given her a lot of comfort and I've got a good sense of satisfaction out of that."

Despite speculation that retirees preferred to work with advisers closer to their own age, Guthrie said he had received positive responses to being the youngest Create and Propser adviser.

"I think that's partly true (that clients like older advisers), but I think also they appreciate that a younger advisor will be with them through their retirement, and that can give some certainty," he said.

Create and Prosper has eight advisers and £100m assets under management.

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