As adviser roles diminish and banks and insurance companies aren’t employing financial advisers, there’s much less opportunity for graduates to enter the IFA sector. There are lots of costs associated with training graduates, but I believe there is a place for them and I think the best method of getting graduates into the profession is through entry level jobs, starting off in administration and so on and then giving them an all-round education within the firm.
This is something that we do at Bradbury Hamilton. We bring graduates up through admin then paraplanning and then potentially moving on to become an adviser. This process will quite often depend on the individual, but I would say the process of bringing in a graduate from scratch to being qualified and trained as an adviser is generally around a 5 year job.
The benefits of being a graduate and coming into the process will mean your degree will get you some exemptions from the financial qualifications required, particularly if it’s a relevant degree. So that will certainly give you exemptions in terms of getting you to Chartered status. If you’ve got a financial services degree then you’ll get a lot of exemptions, it depends on what it is you do as a degree at University.
Is there a benefit to being a Graduate?
Some people might question if it’s a 5 year process after University, is there a benefit to going to university? Well I believe, in this sector, the answer isusually yes. . It gives people a little bit of outside experience, all be it a little bit closeted. But I feel it does give people a little bit extra rather than simply coming straight from home. Even then, they’re going to have to get used to a working environment.
As a graduate, you will come in at a higher starting point salary wise, but within this market, not necessarily a lot more. There are an awful lot of graduates out there. 30 odd years ago there were not as many, so what happened is there’s been a lack of vocational jobs, apprentices, that sort of thing. I think it’s led to a bit of an imbalance where you can potentially make more money as a plumber than someone with a sociology degree, or one in ancient Greek.
How Bradbury Hamilton progresses Graduates
Bradbury Hamilton doesn’t have a specific graduate programme, we look at individuals, and it obviously helps them if they’re graduates. Particularly if they’re in related sectors, so for example if someone’s got an accountancy and finance degree, business studies degree, or an economics degree it’s helpful, as it’s a relevant degree.
Over the years we have recruited a number of graduates, right now we have a couple of individuals straight from university. To give you an idea one recent recruit in our investment team has got a first in economics and by all accounts he’s very smart, and is doing really well. In a total of the 32 people currently employed at Bradbury Hamilton we’ve got 5 or 6 graduates in their first jobs.
It’s important to note though, they’re not all trainee advisers, we have a couple of people in the investment team for example and we’ve got 3 or 4 people in administration and what we’ve done from time to time is pluck people out of admin or paraplanning and moved them into the advisory role.
Training financial advisers is the most expensive jump
That’s probably the most expensive jump as far as the company is concerned, in taking them from administration or paraplanning and training them to be advisers. Because this transition involves the most training, it’s not only technical training, they need sales training as well.
So that’s probably where most of the time cost goes in, effectively in this firm I act as the sales manager. So that’s quite heavy on my time. I received a very thorough sales training with the firms I started working with early in my career, which isn’t really available in the same way today. I got a very sink or swim type of sales training, very heavy duty, which isn’t really there anymore. The market has changed significantly since I started and the training we give reflects this.
Our sales training is a combination of trainees shadowing me, accompanying me on client meetings and our compliance manager who will sit in on things, take them through the basics, see where they’re going wrong. I’ll have regular meetings with them, I ‘ll give them pointers on how things are going, I’ll be sitting in on meetings with them. I’ve always done hands on training and practical learning, and I like to deliver training to our employees in the same way.
When it comes to getting involved on a larger scale with attracting new blood into the sector, I think that’s more for larger firms, those with 50 advisers plus, and we’re happy in the small way we are able to attract new blood into this interesting and rewarding profession.