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We need to be more business-like, efficient and consistent as an industry

ABR asked Neil Bailey, director, Fortitude Financial Planning, what challenges and opportunities financial planning/adviser firms need to address in 2015

The greatest challenge we face as an industry is recruiting the right people for the job. It can be a struggle finding people who have the potential and passion to become great financial planners. I firmly believe it makes a very attractive career path for graduates but the problem we face is that as a profession it is not yet mature enough to have the same appeal as law and accountancy.

Structurally, we face the challenge of creating the same trainee programmes that other professions offer. They have a system whereby it is the norm to take on trainees and by doing so, they create a pool of talent we lack within the financial planning field.

Looking to the rest of this year and beyond, we also face the challenge of ensuring our firms become more efficient. There has been talk about platform’s disclosure policies and that judgment call lies with the individual adviser – I think the much bigger issue is due diligence in general.

Advisers must be able to demonstrate that they have robust processes in place and we need to be more business-like, efficient and consistent as an industry. Financial advice is a constantly changing market and 2015 will be no different. While some might grumble, one thing the advice market has proved time and time again is that it is a very adaptable industry. The changes to pensions will open up a world of opportunity for both clients and advisers, but it is an opportunity that must be dealt with very carefully.

An area we are particularly excited about, and one we believe will offer a wealth of opportunity, is social impact investing. Sat between traditional investment and philanthropy, social impact investing marked the first new tax relief in donkey’s years and offers investors the chance to explore something new. I think it is an area we will see gain popularity over the coming 12 months.

First published in Adviser Business Review magazine

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