Article date: 18 March 2009
Norwich Union, soon to be Aviva, has launched The Future Adviser Programme, a unique initiative to inspire graduates to pursue a career in financial advice.
The programme is designed to encourage new talent to enter the advisory profession at a time when a "perfect storm" of Retail Distribution Review (RDR) challenges threatens the advisory capacity of the market. The RDR proposals are setting higher professional standards, changing remuneration structures, and requiring higher capital adequacy.
Against this backdrop, Norwich Union's own research in its regular RDR Barometer adviser survey shows that 24% of advisers were thinking of retiring or leaving the profession*. In order to ensure that the advisory population doesn't reduce to this level, Norwich Union believes that it is now time for the industry to step in and build awareness and enthusiasm amongst graduates to pursue a career in this sector.
Steve Gay, distribution development director, said: "There is a demand / supply paradox within this sector, where the advisory firms find it difficult to recruit high calibre people, yet undergraduates are often unaware that the financial advice profession is crying out for new entrants. Through the Norwich Union Future Adviser Programme we're taking a leading role in bringing these parties together, thereby ensuring that in the future the public have access to quality financial advice.
"We know from our research that advisory firms struggle to recruit new advisers at an appropriate qualified or skilled level: the results of Norwich Union's own regular RDR barometer adviser survey indicate that 84% of financial advisers who have looked to recruit in the past three years have experienced difficulties in doing so successfully*.
"In our recent survey of students studying at Manchester Metropolitan University we found that 69% are very or extremely concerned about gaining professional employment when they graduate**. Furthermore, 83% think the economic climate/outlook will have a ‘negative impact' on them gaining professional employment. However, there are positive signs of interest and consideration in the financial advice profession, particularly amongst accounting and finance students - when the benefits of the career were explained in full, the number of students who said that they are likely or very likely to consider it as a future career path rose from 37% to 51%. This demonstrates that with awareness of the benefits of the job, more students could be enticed into considering this career."
The Norwich Union Future Adviser Programme launched as a pilot with Manchester Metropolitan University Business School on Monday 23 February. Working in partnership with The Institute of Financial Planning, Norwich Union's unique programme will provide students with invaluable insight into the workings of the financial advice sector and will prepare and encourage them to secure employment with advisory businesses. Manchester Metropolitan University Business School will be the first university to take part in The Future Adviser Programme and will work alongside Norwich Union to engage students across its financial services, accountancy and finance degrees - as well as other degree courses.
Through a high-profile competition, the most promising undergraduates will be awarded:
- Six prizes of a six-week internship to be taken in the summer break of 2009 (15 June to 24 July)
- Cash prize of £1,000 each
- Norwich Union believes that practical experience is vitally important, so as part of the pilot two weeks of the internship will be spent at a high-quality advisory firm, hosted by Bankhall, The Tenet Group and The Money Portal. Interns will learn about:
- The "soft skills" required in financial advice
- The end-to-end financial planning process
- Both winners and runners up will be rewarded with a profile on Norwich Union's website www.futureadviserprogramme.com to help them build contacts - with a view to finding employment following the completion of their degree
Press office contacts:
Telephone: 01904 452617
Notes to editors:
*Norwich Union RDR Barometer Adviser Survey January 2008: 5,000 advisers invited to complete survey with 2.5% response rate
**Norwich Union research 26 January 2009 - 5 February 2009; 95 respondents from Manchester Metropolitan University
Norwich Union will be working with Bankhall, The Money Portal and Tenet to deliver practical and valuable experience of working with a high quality advisory firm. Their participation is as part of a pilot and therefore Norwich Union may seek to extend The Future Adviser Programme to more firms in the future.
About Norwich Union
Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer. It is a leading provider of life, pensions and investment products and one of the largest financial adviser (FA) providers. FAs provide over 70% of the company's long-term savings business in the UK.
Norwich Union is the UK's largest general insurer with a market share of around 14%, with a focus on insurance for individuals and small businesses.
Norwich Union's news releases and a selection of images are available from Aviva's internet press centre at www.aviva.com/media