For many decades, if not centuries, the top five professions have been classified as: the clergy, engineering, architecture, law and medicine (there is a good Irish tale about The Devil and The Three Sons which encompasses the clergy, medicine and the law).
With specialised education, statutory qualifications, a formal apprenticeship, a code of ethics, regulatory oversight and membership of a professional body, there have always been high barriers to entry.
Nowadays, there is a wider classification which includes accountancy, actuaries, chartered surveyors and the like; so the net is widening.
Capital and their team operate in a sector that is generically called Financial Services. It wasn’t that long ago that this was an unregulated sales and commission free for all. It took the Financial Services Act 1986 to introduce self-regulation, and give the Securities and Investments Board (SIB) statutory powers. In the early 1990s, there was the Maxwell pensions scandal, followed in 1995 by the failing of Barings Bank, all of which led to the creation of the Financial Services Authority (FSA). In 2013, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) replaced the FSA.
During this 30-year period, the sales environment has evolved into a profession, with the Chartered Insurance Institute and the Personal Finance Society leading the way. Several UK universities now offer degree courses in financial services. Today, to be able to give advice to the public, members need to achieve at least Diploma level, if not Chartered, Certified or Fellowship status.
One of the issues currently engaging the industry is that the vast majority of practitioners are men in their 50s (average age 58) and, according to a survey from the FT, 30% of them are looking to exit within five years. So where is the young, fresh talent coming from?
One of our directors, Don Fraser, has long held an interest in the development of the financial planning profession, and was recently introduced to the Coventry Business School wealth management mentoring scheme, run from Coventry University.
Don met Dr Lien Luu (Associate Head of School) several years ago at the Institute of Financial Planning, and was pleased to be invited to attend the inaugural event in January alongside a dozen other financial planners willing to devote and volunteer their time and energy to the next generation.
Don will now mentor a third-year student on a one-to-one basis for the next six months, preparing her for entry into the workplace. This involves getting to know the student in person at the mentoring event, followed by fortnightly FaceTime sessions to set targets and goals and monitor performance and progress.
Don’s student mentee wants to work in a small financial planning firm and start her career as a trainee paraplanner, and then evolve into a fully qualified and highly skilled financial planner. Don sees his role as mentor as a guide and coach, through sharing almost four decades of experience and expertise.
The acid test will be in the summer of 2018; after graduating with a (hopefully) strong 2.1 degree, can a role can be found in the type of firm where the mentee can thrive and prosper? Watch this space, we will keep you posted.
At Capital we believe in nurturing talent, wherever it is.