These comments come after reports that Lloyds Banking Group plans to hire over 700 financial advisers as a part of its joint venture with Schroders, which sparked a debate about whether there are enough advisers to cater for the expansion.
Jason Flood, SJP Academy director, told International Adviser: “There is always more work to do to generate interest in the profession and raise awareness of the sector, and we regularly hold events, open evenings and networking sessions to that end.
“We have also seen a few other organisations developing a ‘training facility’, which will help the sector grow and attract new talent, and ultimately fill the advice gap for clients.”
In 2018, 350 people started a St James’s Place Academy programme, and 142 people also graduated to become financial advisers last year.
Coming into the sector as a second thought or a career change seems to be the main route into the profession.
“We don’t believe there is a particular sector that is stronger than others, but it tends to fall into two groups of people,” Flood added. “Firstly, those that are forced to make a career change, such as professional sports people or the military.
“The second group are those who simply decide to change their career into something they see may offer them better prospects, stability or work/life balance, for example from the retail sector.”
But what are firms in the industry doing to advertise roles in the sector?
Flood said: “We have an active programme to promote the opportunity at the St. James’s Place Academy.
“As well as obtaining strong support from our own existing partnership who supply referrals or sponsor someone to go through the academy, we have been and will continue to increase our relationships with external organisations, who can help us reach out to various audiences – such as The Officers Association and Life After Professional Sport.
“We also have a Next Generation Academy, dedicated to graduates from school and university, as well as children of current SJP staffers, and we recently started a New Entrant Programme in Hong Kong to support attracting new entrants to the profession in this region.”
Some firms have already started looking at, and training, the next generation of advisers; with Brewin Dolphin setting up apprenticeship scheme; Old Mutual Wealth opening up its Financial Adviser School; and Aviva subsidiary Sesame Bankhall Group rolling out an apprenticeship scheme.
But the industry has a long way to go to recruit sufficient numbers of fresh faces to replace to steady stream of departures.
In January, IA covered Libertatem’s The Heath Report Three, which highlighted the steady decline in the number of advisers in the UK.
It found the UK industry is dominated by advisers aged 56+ (45%); with 25% of advisers aged 45 or under and only 6% aged 35 or under.
That could lead to a potential loss of 40-50% of the nearly 33,000 advisers working in the industry (as of January 2018) due to retirement.