In a financial advice landscape characterised by increased educational requirements, falling adviser numbers, and growing consumer demand for advice, the challenge to bring new advisers into the profession has never been greater.
And with a requirement for new advisers to complete a Professional Year (PY), the process is not a quick one.
Pressure is mounting for advice businesses to make greater inroads in introducing a PY program that provides training and mentoring for newcomers to the industry or for those transitioning to new roles.
Craig Sankey, Head of Technical Services & Advice Enablement at IFS sees the role of partnering with funds to deliver the PY, as an important one.
“Facilitating this career path helps us contribute to a supply of highly qualified advisers coming into the industry fund advice sector.”
“We’ve consulted widely with super funds, the Financial Planning Association (FPA) and Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) to develop a PY that will best work for our clients and support the future of the profession.
We found that some funds want IFS to take a leading role in training and mentoring the PY candidate - especially if they lack the in-house resources - where others choose a DIY model with IFS playing a smaller but important role in supporting them to meet all the PY requirements.
He says the experience of Hostplus highlights a need for flexibility in how we deliver the PY.
Kayleigh Clarke, an adviser in Hostplus’ Superannuation Advice team, has just completed the first PY under the IFS licence, and it’s been a great success.
“It feels absolutely amazing to finish my PY. I’m really grateful to Hostplus in supporting me to complete my PY and I’m feeling optimistic about what lies ahead. The most amazing thing about the PY was having a strong network - a great team and a supervisor who was incredibly supportive.” said Kayleigh.
But for all the benefits of an additional year of practical training, surely there’s a trade-off in the time invested in supervision and coaching?
Mark Hamilton, Financial Planning Manager at Hostplus and Kayleigh’s supervisor says there are two things that ensure the success of the PY.
“The first is having the right candidate. Kayleigh was open, flexible, she always put her hand up to do extra to aid in her development, and she was adaptable - never afraid to get her hands dirty.”
The second thing is having a team of people to help. “The supervisory requirements are too much for one person. Fortunately, we had a team of 6 or 7 other advisers to help.”
As Craig Sankey of IFS points out, not all funds have the resources to support the program and this is where we can help.
He also explains that the needs of the fund will differ depending on who the PY candidate is. “For example, a university graduate, a phone-based employee wanting to become an adviser, and a paraplanner taking a new career direction, will each need a different training pathway to fill gaps and complement existing skills.
“IFS is set up to offer funds this flexibility with a model that works best for them.”