Fresh faces for PY will be uncommon

It is possible for somebody to come out of university and move straight into a professional year (PY) role, but it will be uncommon, according to a planning group.

Speaking on the FPA Podcast, Eureka Whittaker Macnaught co-founder and chief executive, Greg Cook, said he expected the traditional career path to continue as maturity was an important element to the role.

“Somebody let’s say, completed three or four years of study in their early 20s, to leap straight into the PY and becoming an adviser out on their own at age 22 or 23, would probably be possible but not common,” Cook said.

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“There’s, as we know, there’s lots of moving parts and in providing financial advice is highly regulated in Australia.

“Getting the maturity and learning the skills of dealing with clients, and the implementation of changes, and the creation of advice documents is a very important part of the role.

“The traditional role of client services, paraplanning, professional year and then individual adviser, is probably the career path that’s going to continue.”

The firm recently a candidate complete their PY and Cook said most clients had been accepting of having a young adviser.

“They respect when you spend the first couple of minutes at the meeting introducing the professional year candidate and their qualifications, and why the professional year has been part of taking us from an industry to a profession,” Cook said.

“It actually can be really explained in a positive manner; most people know they were young once and new in a role.

“They have a lot of empathy and they respect our business for bringing people through a trade-type retiree, they’ve had apprentices, or they’ve been an apprentice.”

According to the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA), over 200 licensees had one or more PY entrants training under the supervision of an experienced adviser, with 590 new entrants into the industry doing their PY.

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Spot on Greg. Any undergraduate financial planning student with no prior experience in the industry who thinks they will get a PY placement straight out of uni is dreaming. They would be much better off switching to a related field like accounting or finance where it's easier to get a job without work or life experience, and the strict PY rules don't apply. By all means come back to financial planning later on if you're still interested. You'll need to do a Financial Planning Grad Dip, but will probably get some exemptions from your undergrad degree.

Frankly, universities shouldn't even be offering undergraduate financial planning degrees. It is a cynical cash grab that creates graduates with inappropriate training for their stage of life, and unrealistic hopes and expectations. Financial planning degrees should be post graduate only.

Sorry Anon, but I beg to differ and I think Greg's article does too. We've had many financial planning graduates do a year or two as a customer service manager, then several years in paraplaning before they move on to being licensed and we will put them through the professional year now at that point in their development. No need to go into accounting or finance. Customer service management at quality firms and paraplanning roles are great roles for a young developing professional. Then after their professional year and associate adviser role with a mentor for a while longer is also a great outcome for senior advisers who are time poor and the new adviser as well. This allows entrants to develop the real life skills they will need as an adviser.

Greg and I were talking about the unlikelihood of fresh graduates going straight from uni to PY. You are talking about graduates working for 5 years in junior roles in the practice, then doing PY. Completely different situation. Sure it is a feasible career path, but I reckon if most financial planning undergrads knew they would have to do 5 years of work that didn't require or reward their university training, they'd choose another degree where they could get better rewards and responsibilities from day 1. Recent graduates who made the mistake of studying financial planning probably have no option but to slog it out in junior roles. But those who are only part way through would do well to change tack now while they have better options.

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