So you’ve made your career choice and you’re going to be a financial adviser. A noble idea, taking peoples finances, hopes and dreams for the future and making them a reality shouldn’t be derided as a career choice. It’s a difficult role to do successfully and one that more people, given the transparency engendered by the FSA, should be looking at as a viable career option.
To be a successful financial adviser you need various skills, including face to face people skills, sales technique, administrative capacity and mathematical ability. It’s a very difficult role to master and some financial advisers still claim to be learning the role twenty years into the job. In the UK particularly, heavy regulation and a leaning towards high levels of certification mean that it’s impossible to just jump into a financial advisory role. It has to be a considered choice as it takes a huge amount of time just to secure the qualifications required, let alone get a role as a financial adviser with very little experience. And therein lies the rub – how can potentially new financial advisers, newly qualified, degree educated and very intelligent guys and gals mostly, find a job when most of the companies in the UK financial services industry require financial advisory ‘experience’ as a prerequisite.
It’s the chicken and egg scenario. You can’t get a job as a financial adviser without the experience but you won’t get the experience without working in a job as a financial adviser. This is where the UK financial services industry fails dismally in attracting new blood. Whereas other career choices such as Nursing, Teaching, etc all have smooth career paths from college, University, placement in temporary work experience roles and onto secure positions – Financial advisers have a difficult transition from qualification to secure employment. Consequently Financial Adviser is not perhaps seen as a viable option when considering which direction you want your career to follow, which is a shame, successful financial advisers will have a very good standard of living, many earning six figure salaries and earning huge benefits, particularly in the banking environment.
Of the many ways of attracting new blood to the UK financial services industry I would suggest fast track graduate placement such as that used by other industries. When the graduate intake starts many companies will fight tooth and nail, using various incentives, to secure the best talent. Financial advisory organizations should be doing the same. The financial services industry has a lack of new blood and unless something is done to secure new talent on a regular basis – it is an industry that will slowly become more specialized and more insular than it already is, with an aging work force, well qualified and well experienced but with a lack of youth and dynamism to take the financial services industry into the future.