Having been in this business for 30+ years, it is fair to say that I am not in the first flush of youth. And that length of time in business has set me thinking about two very important points. First, is financial services a career for young people? And second, if so, are young people taking it up?
My view is of course that it is an excellent career choice for a young person but are they taking it up? I attend numerous seminars arranged by professional bodies and by insurance companies advocating their products. What I see when I go to these events is a distinct lack of young people in the room.
Traditional arguments against young people typically centre around the argument that clients of an older generation, who are usually the ones with the money, want advice from people of their own age group. Would a person in their 50s or 60s, it is said, be prepared to really take advice from a veritable youngster? Would they not prefer to receive advice from a man or woman who has seen a bit of life, found out about the problems that can suddenly overtake them and understand all the complex events that can happen?
Of course, there are practicalities to be considered. If the client is in, say, his mid-fifties, does he I really want an adviser who is the same age or older than him? What if that adviser retires at the same age, or dies? Will that older adviser be able to advise the clients in their declining years, or will that client have to find a adviser in later life and start the planning process all over again?
This is, of course, particularly relevant to clients with large pension pots which require attention for maybe 30 years or more.
You also have to ask whether an adviser has to have the same sort of experiences as the client to be able to advise them. For example, unmarried advisers regularly give advice to married clients and similarly advisers who might never have claimed on a Critical Illness Policy, advise clients who have.
Its all about listening to the client, being aware of their aims and objectives and understanding their fears and ambitions. You don’t have to be the same age as the client to empathise and advise.
Many youngsters want to learn, pass on that knowledge and will give good responsible advice.
No matter someone’s age, he or she may be able to teach us and our clients a thing or two. So why not give youth a chance?