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Soft skills overlooked in education push

Improved adviser education needs to go beyond academics and include training on people skills and business savvy, an M&A consultant has warned.

Connect Financial Service Brokers CEO Paul Tynan said the current move to increase education standards was welcome but needed to include non-technical skills.

“For all you learn in the classroom about best practice, leadership and entrepreneurship – many of the vital attributes the next generation of advisers need to succeed as business owners are simply not found in textbooks,” Mr Tynan said.

He pointed to skills needed to run a small business – including networking, marketing, the sales process, asking for referrals and business development – as key components of an adviser’s role that were left out of coursework.

He suggested small businesses were likely to be the future of the advice industry and that younger generations need to be taught to “think and breathe small business”.

In that regard, he encouraged educators in the financial services sector to draw on the wisdom of experienced advisers.

“Australian educators that are going to be engaged by the financial services industry will need to embrace the knowledge and experience that was normally taught to the baby boomer generation and engage them to educate the sector’s new SMEs of the future.”