A thriving and successful advice business is a truly inspirational place to work but sometimes the reality doesn’t quite live up to expectation. In her latest article for IFA Magazine, Michelle Hoskin does a deep dive into helping those who are feeling that, for whatever reason, they are not quite enjoying the full team experience they’d hoped for from a career in financial advice. She provides practical tips for those seeking the perfect role and also delivering food for thought for those advice businesses which are keen to retain talented individuals as part of their team.
Some time ago, I had the privilege of hosting a Saturday session via webinar for the Financial Adviser Mentorship (FAM) group on LinkedIn which was established by Benjamin Beck (https://uk.linkedin.com/in/ benjaminbeck89). This group had grown to more than 400 aspiring financial advisers and planners – many of whom were looking to find their perfect role.
In a Q&A-style session, Ben and I were able to really get to the nitty gritty of what I felt were the key non-negotiables that every potential ‘adviser’ should be looking for in a firm.
The session was epic and while (as you would expect) I had lots to say, the type of audience was new to me. I loved every second of it! It was as enlightening for me as I hear it was for those that attended. Why? Because it was raw, real and extremely relevant at the time; in fact, I would say the topic was actually timeless.
As a result of Covid, there has been a huge shake-up in our sector. The drastic turn of events due to the pandemic sadly exposed a large number of firms for their uncaring and quite frankly diabolical behaviour towards their teams and their clients. However, it also showed the true character of those who, for way too long, had been simply existing quite happily in firms, contributing very little, getting away with poor performance, lying low and doing as little as possible… until of course Covid and the challenges facing the sector exposed their true colours.
With the abundance of opportunities available to both firms and those professionals seeking the role of their dreams, the stakes are high, and for many trainees – with so many apparently excellent firms to choose from – the task seems overwhelming. So, what does the needle actually look like in the haystack?
Fur coat and no knickers!
‘Fur coat and no knickers’ is a saying that we love to use at Standards International HQ. And I bet if I gave you a minute to think about it – you know exactly what I mean!
So many firms with high profiles talk such a good game, but with sadly very little action to back it up. And for the record – these are not my words; these are the words of some of the attendees at the webinar.
Now, I don’t want this to be an article bashing firms that are not operating as well as they should. In fact, I hope that it gives many the encouragement and at least a starter for ten on what they can do to put the ‘desired’ into ‘desirable’.
The competition is tough. You know it and I know it. You could say that we are all unique and that, from the clients’ perspective, there is very little conflict, and very little competition between firms – and I would agree with you 100%. But I am not talking about competition from your clients’ perspective but rather the perspective of your future team members, the next generation of your business, the team that may well be the ones continuing your great work long after you have hung up your ‘boots’.
So, what’s the message?
After my session, I was literally inundated with CVs and requests to be introduced to our client firms that were hiring. Why? Because they were sure it would be a great choice of employer. That they’d be working to meet and maintain certification to international and national standards and therefore ticking all of the right boxes in all of the right places to be an excellent choice for any new recruit.
Now, if any of you reading this are not 100% happy with where you are at right now, I don’t want to you abandon ship just yet.
We know the story: you love the profession and the impact that you have on your clients. You trained hard and chose to work with a firm that you felt shared your values and ethics and were on the same path as the one that you wanted to take.
But then things didn’t seem to go to plan. Some of the promises that were made are not quite coming to fruition and then you start to realise you’ve probably reached the limit where you are, so you really do need to pluck up the courage and broach the ‘what next?’ conversation with your line manager or boss.
So, you psych yourself up and request the meeting. Awesome work – stage one complete!
At this point, your options are likely to be as follows:
1) Enhance your training and development plan to upskill even further
2) Get agreement on an instant or promised pay rise
3) They see your worth and agree to you taking on more responsibility and or client work
4) … Or you leave
The problem that you will face, however – a problem that many don’t even realise they have until it’s too late – is that it is not the willingness of the boss to develop you or to support your growth and development. No? No, it’s the structure of the business and how it has been built that is often the real problem.
The team and operating structure that are in place will most likely have been designed by accident, put together to serve the needs of the business as it used to exist rather than the business of the future, the business and of course the regulator of today, without any foresight to support growth and development.
Whilst many firms retain a strong focus on the regulatory needs of the business, they fail to see that the sustainability and scalability of the business should be a firm focus too.
So, what can you do to reset and get cracking on a journey that supports your personal and professional growth?
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