Sam Oakes, Director at Recruit UK, Reviews the Situation
What was the watchword for the beginning of the year? To put it bluntly, Asset Gathering. In those early months, it almost seemed as though there was little interest in the quality of the adviser – just more interest in what they could bring to the table, and how quickly.
And of course, as you’d expect, this generated a lot of unease in the candidate market and pushed the question back out to individual IFAs. So, they might have asked themselves, what is my worth?
What was it all about? Let’s go for another catchy watchword: Feeding Frenzy. The increase in newly redundant bancassurance advisers saturating the market, and experiencing the desperation of finding their next employed role, did create something of a frenzy among some of the larger IFA networks and national IFA firms. And without a doubt, some of it ended badly. Candidates from bancassurance tended to over-egged what they could bring to the table in relation to transfer AUM, and it doesn’t surprise us much that we are now starting to see these candidates returning to the market. Which no doubt means that a lot of firms have felt the bite from those mistakes.
You can see why AUM was such a big draw. With firms changing their models over to pure fee based, they were less prepared to take a risk on good ‘sales people’, preferring to stick with those who brought their own. However, I think this was a valuable learning curve for the advisers already in the market, who were encouraged to re-evaluate their personal models and those of the businesses they sat under.
Asset Gathering has not gone away, but the game has changed. Toward the end of 2013, our recruiting clients were becoming much more interested in discussing the potential future relationships and business that our candidates can bring them. Not to mention their work ethic, and how qualified they are. As well as their network of contacts, of course.
So What of 2014?
This year the big recruitment focus is on Chartered status, with more firms believing that this is the way to separate themselves from the competition. And I’m inclined to agree with them, because I see this as the next industry standard for a profession on the change.
For us, as recruiters, getting potential clients or candidates on board hasn’t been a problem. The challenge has been more about finding genuine transferable assets. There was talent on both sides, all right – but ultimately cash was king!