Talent of the future: from adviser to technical analyst and everything in between

Financial Advisory

Emily Landless

AdviceBack OfficeCultureDigitalFinancial AdvisoryRecruitmentRetentionSocial MediaTrainingWinning Advisers

While the advantages of training advisers and TAs from scratch are obvious – particularly when it comes to integrating them into the company culture and moulding their skills, do firms have the time and resources to do so? Or should we just focus on recruitment and head-hunting? With a wave of applications from strong candidates pouring into all types of job openings across various industries, the recruitment criteria and process has inevitably had to change. Increasingly, it is becoming apparent that although skills are absolutely essential to progress, what differentiates the successful from the non-successful candidates is their alignment to the company’s values. To succeed, employees need to translate their skills into motivation driven by purpose and vision. Once firms do hire the right talent, appropriate remuneration and reward policies are in place, the attraction, development and retention of key talent requires on-going focus on the human dynamics.


  1. Importance of recruiting talent who are a good cultural fit, not just have technical ability
  2. Challenges small businesses have in providing the resources necessary to train and coach new staff
  3. Retention issues encountered specifically in relation to graduates
  4. Essential to have an effective interview process involving more than one decision maker and multiple stages of interview before ultimate decision made

Key issues and challenges:

  • Being able to take a step back to look at our own businesses and consider what it looks like and feels like from an external perspective. What culture exists in the business now – how can this be articulated and documented, not just for new potential staff but for existing staff. Some work may be needed on these matters before even thinking about recruitment
  • Among smaller firms, there is not the resource available to train/coach/mentor new staff particularly where it can distract from an experienced member of staff from their day-to-day tasks. This in particular can lead to a reluctance to take on apprentices, inexperienced staff or graduates.  Recruitment consultants also can have a vested interest in filling vacancies and then only a few months later telling the candidate they have found another exciting opportunity.
  • Suffering a loss of key staff is an ‘occupational hazard’, demographics have changed and the younger generation can be more inclined to job hop more frequently. This is frustrating given the amount of time and effort which may have been invested in a training programme to develop an individual.  There is the obvious danger this can have a knock on effect to clients if the relationship is with an individual rather than the firm.
  • How do you really know at an interview if the candidate is right for the role? It is human nature to make a judgement within a few seconds of meeting someone, yet this can lead to an inaccurate or unfair assessment. Not all Managers have the necessary skills and experience to be able to conduct an effective candidate interview

Conclusions and solutions:

  • Understanding that a building may look beautiful from the outside, but it has to be based on a solid foundation. The groundwork is in creating and supporting a great culture with values all staff can embrace.  What are the 3 or 4 unique attributes our business has which would attract a potential employee and enable us to see if there is a cultural match.  Our website and job adverts can make reference to what our culture and values are.  Our office buildings and décor should reflect these too.  A candidate may be a ‘top performer’ but if they are not a cultural fit can be very damaging to the business as a whole.
  • Some firms have decided to outsource some of their paraplanning and have found it a good experience. This removes the need to worry about recruiting for these roles. Consider new ways to attract new staff:- 1) Why not let your clients know what you are looking for as they may know of someone suitable 2) Consider existing investment bankers who may becoming disillusioned and, once they have gained their qualifications, could attract great levels of business using their existing contacts 3) CISI do run accredited paraplanning apprenticeships
  • Managing expectations (as a generalisation – particularly for graduates) can be difficult. They need to understand what is realistic in terms of career and salary progression. Regular staff reviews are vital, not just annual appraisals but sometimes an informal ‘how are you’ chat can be equally as effective in retention.  Communication and openness is key so as to avoid the shock resignation.  Staff do not usually leave purely due to salary, more often than not there are other triggers which an effective Manager should be able to ascertain.  Involving clients with a team rather than an individual adviser can resolve the concerns around the conflict of relationship with the adviser or the firm.  Detailing names and contact numbers of the team on the back of business cards or on electronic communications having a link to photographs of the team would help.  Analysts might become increasingly involved with clients if they have the necessary people skills
  • More than one person needs to be involved in the different stages of the interview so as to avoid some of the pitfalls highlighted. If in doubt, keep re-assessing and if still not sure usually the answer should be ‘no’.  Think about getting the right people on the bus, then what seat they should take.  Look for those who can create a positive energy that will spread through the office.  Since RDR, emphasis with advisers has been on qualifications, yet for those roles in particular communication and interpersonal skills are just as important.  When candidates are providing their evidence at interviews, check they are using the past tense (i.e. this is what I did….), not using the future tense (i.e. this is what I would do….).  Look for a trainable fit – that is someone who has the capacity to be developed and moulded.  Knowledge problem can be trained, a skill problem can be coached, but all that can be done with an attitude problem is counselling!

Expert: Surbhi Gosain - LEBC Group

Facilitator: Richard Burrows - Independent Consultant