‘Financial service providers are struggling’

‘Financial service providers are struggling’

High-demand situations experienced by financial service providers have had a high toll on their mental health, says one mental health expert.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Institute of Public Accountants Deakin Small Business: Big Vision conference in Melbourne last week, Deakin's Professor Andrew Noblet, who heads the research into workplace mental health, said that while he can’t point to any research, there is an apparent increase in the levels of stress in financial services. 

Professor Noblet explained that anyone facing a high demand situation, like the one that has got financial advisers calling time on their careers, is going to struggle. 

“You put anyone in a high demand situation, where there is limited resources to be able to deal with those demands, and people are going to struggle,” he said.

“There might be individuals who because of their personalities, because of their makeup, are able to get by, but for a lot of people if you’re exposed to those sorts of situations week after week, month after month, year after year, it is going to be difficult.”

Professor Noblet noted that research into this problem needs to be prioritised.

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“We haven’t done research ourselves but we certainly need to,” he said.

Last month, ifa editor James Mitchell broke the news that 16 financial advisers have taken their own lives so far this year, following the seismic reforms that have disrupting the financial advice sector.

Professor Noblet underlined that accountants too are struggling, particularly due to the changing nature of accounting services, which is seeing them transition into an advisory role.

“It’s not just about the number of hours we do, it’s also the complexity of the work that we perform during those hours,” he said.

“What we’re seeing, just by the changing nature of accounting services, is that the complexity is increasing. And whilst that is in many ways good, certainly good for small businesses who are looking for a greater breadth in services, from a cognitive perspective it makes it more challenging.”

Professor Noblet cautioned that directors of financial service firms need to be aware and on top of the sorts of demands and pressures that their staff are experiencing.

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