With more women joining the industry as financial planners, part-time licences might be the key to retaining talent in the industry as people balance work/family commitments.
Centrepoint announced a new fee structure in April, which would allow firms with more than one authorised representative (AR) to pay a pro-rata fee based on the days worked by the adviser.
Further, for advisers working part-time, variable costs including governance and research queries, along with technical and compliance support may be pro-rated according to the number of days worked.
Jon Silcock, Connect Financial practice principle, said he approached Centrepoint about this as he was about to lose a talented adviser who couldn’t commit to full-time work and raising a family.
“Originally they didn’t have it and I simply asked; they were going to charge a full AR fee, we asked and it didn’t take long for them to think about it,” Silcock said.
“She works three of five days, so they said we’ll do three-fifths of the full fee.
“It’s just all part of being flexible and giving people opportunities – I’m not sure she’d even be working unless she could work part-time.”
That adviser was Amy Hoskins who said having the cheaper licence was the difference of her staying in the industry.
“I’ve been in the industry for 17 years now – and I enjoy my job – but as a woman and a mother flexibility is important between home and work life,” Hoskins said.
“This is the only role I’ve been in; if there wasn’t any flexibility and I had to do full-time work with a young family, I don’t know if I would’ve been able to manage that.
“I definitely need an employer that can accommodate return to work after maternity leave.”
Women were largely underrepresented in the industry and data from Wealth Data showed last year that women only made up approximately 20% of adviser roles.
“It’s important because more and more female financial planners are coming into the industry,” Hoskins said.
“And some might be putting off children because they don’t think they can get that return to work/life balance.
“If a licensee can accommodate that, I think more people might join the industry.”
Paul Cullen, Centrepoint Alliance group executive advice, said it was never intended to attract advisers to switch licences but to keep them in the industry by offering them flexibility.
“We had a couple of firms talk to us and they had people who were looking for flexibility and reduce their hours for legitimate purposes,” Cullen said.
“Both cases were [about] looking after kids and they felt strongly about it, so we put our heads together and thought we should solve this.”
Over the years, Cullen said licensees had resisted the temptation to provide this as there were fears the system could be abused for cheaper AR fees.
“We’re watching all the advisers leave the profession, so we had to come up with some solutions around keeping good people in,” Cullen said.
“The answer was to see if we can accommodate those couple of firms and come up with something they thought was reasonable.
“I’m sure over time we’ll get more traction with it, but the intention was to keep people in advice.”
The planning group also offered advisers taking maternity or paternity leave the ability to suspend fees for up to 12 months or pay a reduced fee if they wish to retain access to masterclasses and webinars and complete continuing professional development (CPD).
“I’ve had a conversation with another adviser whose partner is expecting in November and didn’t really know about it,” Cullen said.
“One issue we have is just around communications and making sure we’re out and about with our own network of advisers telling them its available.
“His wife works in the business with him so they might be able to do a tandem thing where on goes off for a period of time and flip it.”