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Product sales pervade graduate programs

A boutique advice practice principal has announced his intention to launch a para-planning academy to rival the sales-focused graduate programs offered by financial institutions.

Speaking to ifa, Roskow Independent Advisory co-founder Matthew Ross said he is concerned graduates are going to be turned off careers in financial planning because universities will direct them to firms that encourage a sales culture.

“We are going out there to put together a course and say, 'Look, these are the skills employers are looking for; you haven’t learnt those at university' – namely, how to complete paperwork, how to do financial modelling, how to write advice and how to use insurance software,” Mr Ross said.


“My concern is [graduates] are going to end up in an AMP Horizons [style of] program where they are going to be taught sales techniques, be given an orphan client list and be told to go cold call them,” Mr Ross said.

“If they are going to go into a firm that is aligned to a product provider, chances are they are going to get in there and go, ‘I thought I was going to be providing real advice’,” he said.

Mr Ross said the financial planning profession is at risk of turning away potential future leaders due to the pervasive culture of product distribution. 

“One of my biggest concerns of financial planning is us losing good people, because they finish a degree and then go, ‘Oh, it is all product sales, I hoped it wasn’t',” Mr Ross said.

He added that a para-planner academy will give him and other business owners the opportunity to find future advisers who show great potential and to find firms that will be best suited to them.

“When we need a new para-planner, we want them to have some more skills, but also to be able to recognise and go, 'Right, well there is a gun',” Mr Ross said.

“We also want to link them with other financial planning firms that we think [will mean] they are not going to waste their time here.”