Lessons from the UK: Training and building home-grown talent

BT 2023 UK Study Tour

BT’s annual study tour this year took advisers to the United Kingdom.

The five-day trip included meetings with advisers, investors and industry bodies. This short article is part of a series of key lessons learnt from the trip.

While some firms expand via acquisition, others do it more organically, through networking, connecting with professional introducers and centres of influences. Edinburgh-based Carbon Financial is one such organisation.

Carbon said that the best cultural fit, when building staff numbers, is to grow your own talent. Of its 15 planners, only four gained competency elsewhere. 

Training commences on day one, normally in client support, and typically a candidate will gain a diploma in 18 to 24 months. The next step is often into paraplanning or as a trainee planner. Not all graduates are destined for planning roles - some will end up in paraplanning or operations.  

Carbon’s training emphasises compliance, personal organisation, involvement in the whole business and customer service. That’s in addition to gaining qualifications. The time taken to become a ‘fledgling’ planner is five years, though the Carbon program is flexible on timing.  

While there are specific roles for trainee planners, they gain exposure to the whole team, and each is assigned a coach to be mentored.

Pinnacle Adviser Academy

Another example is Pinnacle Wealth in London. PW runs the Pinnacle Adviser Academy which takes on current and potential advisers ‘from all walks of life’ who want a career in wealth management. 

The average age at entry is 35 years old and participants include already qualified advisers, people who are new to working in wealth, and experienced financial advisers who bring their clients with them. 

The Academy provides support and training to not only become a successful financial adviser, but also to build a business, network and develop a client bank. When a participant goes through the Academy, they are essentially learning a multitude of skills.

A graduate of the Academy has the opportunity to access finance through one of the UK’s largest advice and wealth management groups, St. James’s Place, to help them set up their own business. For someone that is wanting to build a career, change a career or build a business, the Pinnacle Adviser Academy provides a pathway.

The lesson for Australian firms: there are many ways to grow your adviser numbers, and organic growth is at the top of the list. Also, future financial advisers can come from many different walks of life, and career changers don’t always need to start at the bottom of the business. 

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