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Where are the financial advisers?

One of the country’s biggest banks is having trouble recruiting financial advisers.

Thursday, February 26th 2015, 6:00AM 8 Comments

by Susan Edmunds

ASB’s head of wealth, Jonathan Beale, said his division had been in a growth phase for some time. He would like to add another seven or eight financial advisers to the staff.

“We have adverts out all the time and we’re inundated with people but we struggle to find the right people.”

Five new advisers have been hired. "If I could get 10 more, I would take them," Beale said.

Beale said when he started in the financial services sector he was working with a lot of people in their late-20s and early-30s.

“Go-getting, people people and I liked that. That’s the type of person we’re looking for. We get people applying who’ve been in the industry a long time and that’s not to say they’re not any good but that’s not what we’re looking for. We’ve had success with younger, go-getting smart people with a degree who see it as a career. They’ve done well.”

Beale said product and technical knowledge could be taught but what was hard to find was enough advisers who had the skills to build relationships with their clients. “Asking the right questions, having a good conversation. That’s what people want from their advisers, not ‘have I got a product for you’.”

ASB had put pathways in place to help transition people into AFA roles from other parts of the business, he said. Experienced advisers were being used to tutor those new to the role and Beale had been speaking to groups such as young lawyers, hoping to entice some who had decided the legal profession was not for them.

But he said the industry as a whole had work to do to get younger people in. “How many people in their mid-20s think of financial advice or financial planning as a profession or career they want to follow? It’s not at the level of lawyers or accountants, those things that are thrown out there.”

Beale said people needed to realise that financial advice could be a rewarding career.

As KiwiSaver balances grew and people became more aware of them, there would be a growing need for people to get advice from, he said. “Maybe the regulation needs to change to make it easier for people to give advice.”

Tags: AFA ASB financial advisers

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Comments from our readers

On 26 February 2015 at 10:08 am Broker said:
Any decent financial adviser would have to sell their client base, restrict what they offer their clients by working for the bank and also have to meet high sales targets. The positives? a salary and a car...I think that's your answer. It's about time employers thought outside the square a bit. Plenty of good financial advisers out there but the job is hard enough as it is without the above restrictions. Shock horror, maybe the banks could contract our professional services like other industries do all the time?
On 26 February 2015 at 3:47 pm Curious said:
This wouldn't be age discrimination and a breach of the Human Rights Act would it?
On 26 February 2015 at 7:35 pm traveller said:
In my experience, potential clients are mainly mature people who have accumulated a "nest egg" and want sound, solid advice from someone who has life experience and to whom they can relate, not a young swinger. To dismiss out of hand advisers who are mature, qualified and have a sound business background is short sighted.
On 27 February 2015 at 2:05 pm Craig Simpson said:
Not sure a 20-30 something year old adviser would generally have the necessary experience or skills to service a bank's investment clientele who are generally more mature, want a long term relationship with their adviser and consistency in advice. From my experience of working in a bank, the clientele prefer dealing with someone who has been around the block a bit and seen at least one decent correction that pre-dates 2007.
On 27 February 2015 at 10:18 pm w k said:
my criteria of an adviser either as a client or recruiter will be:
1. someone in mid-30s upwards.
2. financially stable - no need to have loads of money, but manages his personal finances well.
3. preferably married, and of course a good family man/woman.

then, talk about qualifications, experience, and service. just my preference cos i think this person can offer more than a 20+ or early 30s with 1st class honors degree, loads of student debt, in an unstable relationship and not have much life experience.

On 4 March 2015 at 8:05 am Broker said:
Mid 30's? Financially stable? Surely it doesn't really matter what age they are or how much money they have if they are following a structured needs analysis/recommendation process as per requirements of being an AFA?
On 4 March 2015 at 12:11 pm macca said:
"Broker", are you suggesting that your value as an adviser could be replaced with some interactive software?
On 5 March 2015 at 10:16 am Broker said:
Hi Macca, no I am actually suggesting the opposite. I believe giving good advice is more of an art (based on good listening and discussion) not an exact science. The regulators however are trying to put it all in a nice structured process so it's easy to monitor and assess the adviser..which was the reason for the smart ass comment above regarding the age and income of an adviser...I'm sure I'm not the only adviser who has picked up a few clients who have previously purchased online with no advice and ended up with the wrong products/solutions...

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