Alan Cox, APFS, Cert CII (MP&ER), Aff SWW, shares with us his experience of bringing an apprentice into his business and what spurred him on to do so.
I have been growing my business for longer than I care to remember, with my wife and I as the sole people working within the business, frankly burying my head in the sand hoping compliance would reduce and advising would become easier; succession planning could always be deferred for another day!
Obviously, the reality is somewhat different. As I’m sure most of us do, I looked at what I wanted the business to look like ideally. For me, finding a way to reduce my own workload without reducing profits.
The answer was to have another financial adviser within the business. It was clear that I needed a younger adviser. But where to look?
Then I heard about apprenticeships; I did my research and began to warm to the idea. Talking with NMBA helped me make a confident decision to employ an Apprentice Financial Adviser. NMBA told me that they provide an 18-month apprenticeship including courses, funding for exams and study material as well as CII membership.
A bright young lady came to us fresh from completing her A-levels. It goes without saying that Heather brings that youthful energy to the business. Professionally, Heather is now a key member of the team; assisting me in preparation for meetings, research and due diligence, analysis and creating financial planning solutions, suitability report writing, as well as the more general day-to-day administration and dealing with client queries.
Something I never anticipated is the pride I have in Heather’s growth. The turnover of the business has grown, helped by Heather taking on a lot of my office based work, allowing me to see more clients and I’m now working fewer hours per week.
Although Heather is some way off qualifying, she is already attending “young professional” networking events (sadly, I’m too old). In terms of my commitment to the apprenticeship; I genuinely can’t believe that the whole apprenticeship is managed and administered by NMBA, I simply go about my business and train Heather how to use our systems and processes.
It’s comforting that I now have a succession plan. When Heather is a qualified financial adviser, there is a high probability that she will appeal to a younger client base than I do, possibly providing advice in areas that I exited years ago (such as mortgages).
As my clients grow older (with me) their children will require advice. These are ready-made opportunities for Heather, therefore, helping to retain funds under management.
I noticed that when I attend a course or seminar, the age demographics of financial advisers is shocking, not many IFA’s are below the age of 40. Taking on an apprentice, for me, is likely to create a huge business opportunity, as well as a sustainable business.
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