Recent surveys have shown that the majority of financial advisers or IFA's in the UK financial services industry are 50 plus. The recruitment of new financial advisers or IFA's is central to the financial industry yet it seem as though the industry in general is loathe to do anything along the lines of the public sector recruitment drives of young graduates or high quality professionals from other industries.
So, what can be done to attract the amount of new blood the financial advisory industry needs post or even pre RDR (retail distribution review) in 2012?
The initial stumbling block, we at XL-Recruitment, the Premier UK financial services recruitment agency, believe is that the financial industry in itself is not made an attractive proposition to pupils at school or college. How many of you can remember your careers adviser pushing you towards financial services as a worthy career? I would be willing to bet that almost none of you would remember it if they did. Financial services and the industry as a whole is seen as a grey industry, a required service but not made to look as glamorous as say, a lawyer, a pilot or a fireman. Financial advisers or IFA's, although many work for some of the largest blue chip employers out there, are just not highly recognized. There are not any big industry awards for financial advisers or IFA's and its not highly publicized unless there is a criminal offence committed of some sort, an investment or mortgage fraud, say.
The best way of recruiting the new blood that the Financial services industry needs is for there to be a nationally recognized qualification ladder of escalating quality, starting with some sort of financial A level or college course maybe and ending with a degree or post graduate qualification, a recognized way of making an entrance into financial services via qualification, if you will. Of course this would have to be backed up by a graduate intake of some sort such as those undertaken by other industries for it to be successful and for the students to see a tangible reward to be strived for. Becoming a financial adviser or IFA in particular is not a poorly paid position, some make considerable incomes, so banks, IFA organizations and the assurance societies should be making an effort to attract the best of the young talent out there and making financial advisory roles seem an attractive career choice. Until they do, financial services and the industry in general will always be seen as the older generation's career choice or something that people fall into rather than make a conscious decision to undertake. Financial services recruitment will always be a poor cousin to the investment banks or the public sector until we are seen to be doing something to make the industry more attractive right from an early age.