A year in review – financial services in 2015
It has been another positive year for the financial services recruitment market, with the industry seeing a gradual but steady increase in the number of positions being registered. More importantly, the quality of many of those opportunities and the packages they provide have also seen an upturn which combined with an ever improving economic climate bodes well for 2016.
The most buoyant sector for candidates but equally the most troublesome for clients and recruiters is paraplanning. Demand for Diploma qualified paraplanners has grown hugely but the supply of such available individuals has remained low, resulting in a big difference between the number of opportunities and the number of candidates to fill them. From a candidates perspective this is great news; it gives each individual a great choice and has the added benefit of pushing up the packages on offer, with most roles outside of London now paying £35,000 as a starting point with some firms (particularly Chartered ones) pushing salaries as high as £40,000. In London it is not uncommon for salaries of £50,000 to be paid for the right person.
This has though caused difficulties for those firms looking to hire. It is difficult to secure people in the first place and the number of counter-offers has steadily increased, meaning that some roles stay vacant for months on end. Furthermore, with companies having to pay more to find new paraplanners they have had to increase salaries for existing staff to maintain fairness and prevent such individuals becoming targets themselves.
The situation with the supply of paraplanners is now at the stage where the Government are putting in place an apprenticeship scheme to help financial planning companies recruit the next generation. Many firms may well have to give such schemes great attention in future years.
Prospects for financial planners has improved significantly since 2013 but this is relative; there were very few firms with clients paying salaries hiring back then and whilst there are many more now it is still not easy to secure a good quality role. That said it would be trite to be anything other than positive about future prospects, with a number of national firms seeking to grow in 2016 and regional firms getting more and more confident about growth. Acquisition and consolidation have continued apace and it is likely that such moves will provide additional positions in the future.
The advent of robo-advice and the growth in firms providing telephone based advice will also be good news for more junior members of the adviser community and indeed those ambitious individuals looking to move into sales from a paraplanning role. Whilst being telephone based is often equated by more senior individuals with contact/call centre work this is far from the reality and such positions will grow in terms of their reputation as they become more common. Given the reduction in financial planning roles at the banks, a traditional starting point for many advisers, such developments are to be welcomed.
Equally welcomed is the growth of job within the mortgage and equity release sectors. The latter has recently seen the largest quarter for lending since 2004 and it has been projected that up to 800 additional advisers will be needed in this arena alone by 2020 to account for the rise in demand as the population ages. Whilst not a Level 4 position it provides excellent earnings potential and the chance to change peoples’ lives.
The employee benefits arena has been quiet however, with acquisition leading to a handful of Employee Benefit Consultancies cornering the market. A number of national IFA/financial planning firms have sold or reduced their corporate offering and this is expected to continue into 2016 until such a time that such businesses are confident about making money from such advice. Until then expect job opportunities to be at a premium and centred on the big five consultancies. The intermediary market has also been reasonably quiet, with most good quality business development managers choosing to stay put rather than risk moving on. However with the financial planning arena becoming more buoyant it would follow that providers can only be confident about an increased demand in the future.
For more insight into the job market and what this means for you, please contact Exchange Street Financial Services on 0161 9736900 and speak to Andy Taylor or Robert Perry for sales roles and Leanne Fairhurst for administration, paraplanning and compliance vacancies.