Ahead of his appearance at Money Marketing’s flagship conference, Money Marketing Interactive, this April, Helm Godfrey chairman Danby Bloch looks at getting graduates into advice and making adviser the ‘go-to gurus’ of finance
What should we be doing to get more new advisers into the profession?
There’s no quick fix, but there are lots of things we should all be doing and I’m pleased to say that most of them are already being done to some extent somewhere.
Some amazing work is being done in adviser academies – St. James’s Place, Quilter and a number of others have committed to this initiative. Firms big and small need to develop ambitious recruitment strategies based on growing new advisers rather than just nicking them from competitors.
But most of all we need to get out to graduates, school leavers, anyone with gumption and a brain, to explain just what a fantastic profession financial planning is: fun, flexible and pretty well-rewarded.
What is the one key skill all aspiring advisers should learn?
Financial planners will need to learn how to increase their productivity much, much more using information technology and artificial intelligence. And then they will have to learn to compete with the technology.
Of course that will require great soft communications skills – if they haven’t got those, they won’t have a hope – which is just as it has always been.
What do we need to do to improve financial literacy in the UK?
Nobody is going to be financially literate unless they can do practical maths – percentages and so on – and read and understand basic English, as well as be able to sit still long enough to grasp some basic ideas about money. That’s for the schools to do.
I’m not sure that the hard facts of spending, saving, investing, paying tax and making big career choices really penetrate into people’s thinking until they are faced with actual decisions affecting them and with real money at stake.
It is only then that they will get their information from the web, employers, friends and above all advisers, so we must make sure that advisers become the go-to gurus for money issues.
What do you think marks out a truly innovative planning practice today?
Truly innovative planning practices will be making the most of open banking. It is potentially a real game changer that will put people in control of their financial lives.
Innovative financial planning businesses should be getting their clients to use portals like Moneyhub. Everyone who uses these portals will be able to keep an eye on all their accounts, income, outgoings, assets and liabilities in a rational and ordered way.
Financial advisers’ factfinding processes will speed up and improve. What’s more, this initiative will help clients and advisers plan for retirement, budget effectively and effortlessly, control their expenditure and mesh saving and investment with spending on a month by month and year by year basis. Personally, I’m certainly up for it in my own life.