It's been a year unlike no other we've experienced. The financial planning profession has had an unprecedented year of change and as a result, the profession will be transformed forever.
An increased education requirement alongside a new code of ethics and values has taken everyone back to school. Many have left the profession which means, on the face of it, growth has been inherently built-in to the profession because there's reduced competition for those who remain.
And as firms hopefully continue to re-open from Covid-19 closures for face to face appointments, both new and existing clients will return to seek advice. Australians probably more than ever right now need good financial advice given what they've been through and what's coming economically.
Sure, it might seem like there's not much to cheer about right now, but the advice profession's ultimate pay it forward benefits all. At Striver, we believe that ultimate pay it forward is mentoring.
While you or your firm might not be able or ready to hire a graduate right now, there are benefits to be had by finding an hour to invest in imparting some of your professional knowledge and experiences to the new wave of young talent looking to start their financial advice career.
When we think of mentoring, we think graduates, or less experienced professionals, are the ones to benefit the most. That actually is not the case. We underestimate the benefits to advisers, financial planning firms and the profession more widely. So let's take a closer look at those benefits.
The benefits for the adviser include:
- Role variety and leadership development - providing greater diversity and variation to a role often provides more opportunities for engagement and retention. Mentoring provides an adviser with the opportunity to add another string to their bow while developing coaching, leadership, and communication skills.
- Bridging the generation gap - each generation has its own quirks, differences and personality. Mentoring fosters interactivity between professionals at different stages of their careers and builds trust upwards.
- Provides an opportunity to pay it forward - everyone who works in the profession within a more senior role has been helped by someone else along the way during their career. Paying it forward provides mentors with a real sense of satisfaction, as they consult and cheer on their mentee. It's extremely energising to know there are high calibre new entrants coming into the profession.
The benefits for the financial planning firm and the profession more widely include:
- Knowledge sharing and transfer - mentors are a great source of both practical and technical experience for more junior staff that can accelerate their performance when compared to no mentoring being in place.
- Builds personal development and leadership into the culture - mentors hold a position of trust and responsibility. A business with solid leadership across its senior people will be a stronger business.
- Supporting Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goals - CSR is the idea that business should support not only clients, employees and the economic sustainability of the business, but support also the wider community in which the business operates. Mentoring graduates is one way that many CSR goals can be achieved simultaneously.
- Ready-made hires - mentoring supports the recruitment of new employees, especially if the mentoring extends into work experience, part-time or full-time placements. Graduates get to know how things work before they permanently join the business and these experiences speed up their productivity.
- Fosters the sustainability of the profession - more widely mentoring helps sustain the financial planning profession by ensuring new talent thrives and builds connections and relationships amongst participants.
- Provides a framework for New Entrants - the FASEA Professional Year Standard commenced on 1 January 2019. Mentoring can form an effective part of the 1600 hours required, of which at least 100 hours need to be structured training. Four competencies are required to be developed by new entrants to the profession. These include (1) Technical competence, (2) Client care and practice, (3) Regulatory Compliance and Consumer Protection and (4) Professionalism and Ethics.
- Additionally, mentoring more widely contributes to FASEA goals and values - Mentoring can develop shared values such as those prescribed by FASEA. Specifically, Standard 12 speaks to working as individuals and with peers to uphold and promote the standards and values of the profession. Mentoring can also help the values be lived, especially the values of competence and diligence.
Of course, there are benefits to the graduate too and these include:
- Building their confidence - your first real job in your profession is a big milestone. Building confidence early on helps graduates self-worth to become productive and professional members of the advice community. Confidence also helps them interact with others more effectively and helps them feel like valued participants of the profession.
- Building practical knowledge and closing knowledge gaps - mentoring builds the bridge between education and experience to help graduates become more productive team members. It also helps them complete their Professional Year requirement.
- Helping them identify career paths - there has always been a variety of career paths within the profession from advice roles, paraplanning roles, compliance and administration roles or technical roles.
- Connects them to the profession in a personally meaningful way - being in a mentoring relationship is a personal and transformative experience. And if the cycle works as it should, one day they too will pay it forward.
Why mentoring matters to Striver and how you can participate
At Striver we truly believe mentoring is the ultimate pay it forward that benefits all. We provide graduates with a great deal of career development as well as more practical advice on resumes and interview skills. We strive to help them best position themselves to attain their first role in the financial planning profession.
Our speed network events provide us with the opportunity to give back to the profession to connect graduates with employers. The feedback I've personally received from mid to senior-level advisers is that there was nothing like it when they were looking to kick start their careers and they wished there had been. They're keen to be a part of what we do.
We know some firms find graduate recruiting too time-consuming and sometimes complicated. At Striver we are utilising our Speed networking events as an obligation free way for advisers/businesses to come and interact with bright new talent.
While we look forward to returning to face-to-face events once Covid-19 passes, our new normal means we will keep running virtual networking events and we invite you to participate at our next one. To find out more, visit our website and click 'Events'. We encourage all mid and senior financial planners and their firms to think about mentoring in 2020. It has the capacity to do good things for lots of people, our profession and the communities in which we operate.