Big firms compete for CFPs


By Sarah Kendell

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Large financial institutions are aggressively recruiting financial planners, particularly those with good educational qualifications, as the industry responds to upcoming professional standards reforms.

The latest quarterly report from global recruitment firm Hays showed high demand for financial planners in the Australian banking industry as more institutions stepped up recruitment activity to increase their share of the independent financial adviser market.

“The financial planning recruitment market remains highly competitive due to a very limited pool of candidates,” the report stated.

“Despite this, employers insist candidates have the appropriate qualifications.”

Increasing compliance pressures as a result of the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) reforms and further ASIC crackdowns were leading banks to favour those with the certified financial planner (CFP) designation in their recruitment searches.

“Planners are needed due to increased pressure from FOFA and ASIC for highly compliant advisers,” the firm said.

The report also indicated demand was growing for candidates with strong investment experience as the major institutions expanded their superannuation and investment arms.

Banks were putting equal emphasis on technical and non-technical aspects of investment in profiling candidates, the firm said.

“Employers are being increasingly specific about the need for candidates to possess both well-developed soft skills and strong technical skills,” the report stated.

Moreover, Hays reported an extremely limited pool of candidates for risk advice and paraplanning roles, with many paraplanners graduating to other more senior roles.

“Most people in this role view it as a stepping stone to becoming a financial planner, creating considerable churn,” the report said.

Across the industry, the firm said a lot more candidates considered career progression over permanency when moving jobs.

“Candidates are a lot more willing to move for the right opportunity and will even forgo a permanent role for a long-term temporary role that offers greater career progression,” it said.

The report also indicated a greater demand for bilingual candidates, particularly those with Mandarin, Cantonese or Vietnamese language skills as well as English, as this could help financial institutions tap into new markets.

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