Diversity will boost public trust in advisers

By Michael Klimes

Oct 31, 2018

Representative advisory firms are essential to increasing public trust of the profession and encouraging clients to save more, says Standard Life Wealth’s chief executive.

At the annual Pimfa conference in London today Richard Charnock said the profession is failing to connect with the broader public as too many firms do not reflect wider society.

During a panel discussion he argued too many advisers are male, old and not doing enough to encourage younger people from wider backgrounds into the profession.

While the average age of people taking exams has come down from 48 to 32, the the age of practicing financial advisers is still very high.

He said: “The FCA is obsessed with culture and how a business faces out to their consumer base. In discussion papers and seminars, the watchdog says it believes a representative advisory firm helps build trust with clients and that will in turn get more people to save into a pension.

“But policies are starting to change and I would not have said that five years ago. I am in a FTSE 100 company so maybe we have deeper pockets but we have HR programmes to deal with the gender pay gap and other issues.”

Fellow panelist Intrinsic chief executive Andy Thompson said advisers need to get out of the office and champion the relationships they develop with clients that makes the job so interesting.

Another panelist Coutts & Co head of wealth and investment management Camilla Stowell added: “Think about what motivates your workforce. One of our best bankers runs two restaurants in the evening alongside his day job. Although he has a lot of work it motivates and makes him a more engaging employee. We need a blend of experience and youngsters in our firms.”

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