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Skills shortage in financial advice sector forecast

The financial planning and advice sector is likely to see a continued absence of skilled workers in the New Year, said Jane McNeill, head of banking at recruitment company, Hays.

Ms McNeill indicated there was considerable market demand for senior financial planners with strong business development skills and former banking experience, as well as paraplanners.
The need for greater compliance and regulatory competence ahead of the federal government's Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) reforms has also fuelled greater demand in the market for a range of financial advice roles.

According to data accumulated by Hays, this increasingly tight market has led to growing salaries for paraplanners employed at boutique firms, and a proliferation of competitive benefits such as flexible working hours.

The regulatory environment has also led to greater demand for financial advice support staff, the data indicates.

"We are seeing demand for client services officers in response to the change to the 'fee for advice' model," says Ms McNeill.

"Technical candidates with a financial planning qualification are needed to support paraplanners and financial planners, yet qualified and experienced client services officers are in short supply, and many experienced candidates prefer to remain in their current role while the market undergoes these changes," she adds.

The lack of skilled financial advice professionals on the market means employers in the sector should increase their focus on staff retention in 2013, Ms McNeill says.


In particular, Hays advised a five-pronged approach to retaining skilled staff, which included regular performance reviews, ensuring inspirational and motivational managerial staff, fostering relationships in the workplace, providing staff with career pathways, and offering training and development options.

"Businesses can help reduce the rate of turnover by employing some of these simple retention strategies," Ms McNeill says. "And they don't have to involve money."