Over 40% of financial advisers are considering leaving the profession due to stress, and another 17% are unsure if they will stay, according to a report.
The ‘Australian Financial Advisers Wellbeing Report 2021’ by The e-lab's Dr Adam Fraser and Deakin University's Dr John Molineux found that in terms of wellbeing, financial advisers scored far worse on the majority of the survey’s measures than other stressful and demanding occupations.
The report said advisers scored the worst in:
- Worst mental health (this also included comparison to the average Australian);
- Worst wellbeing;
- Lowest levels of flow (a high-performance state where you are absorbed in your work);
- Highest stress levels;
- Highest feeling of overload;
- Highest impact of stress on them (in terms of considering leaving the profession, impact on their medical health, negative impact on sleep quality, chance of being overweight, risk of heart disease);
- Lowest rates of incorporating innovation into their work;
- Lowest in psychological capital (a psychological construct made up of resilience, hope, optimism, confidence);
- Lowest in adaptive performance (the ability to respond and adapt to change); and
- Second lowest levels of work-life balance (school principals were the only group with lower scores).
Out of a survey of 700 advisers, the report found adviser work tasks were dominated by client meetings (16.37%), administration (14.88%), compliance (14.35%), advising (12.27%), and emails (11.51%).
“Of note is that administration and compliance is nearly 30% of all work tasks. Very little time is spent in new business and strategy,” the report said.
“The extent of administration, compliance and FASEA [Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority] requirements looks to be a barrier to the achievement of business growth and productivity within the industry.”
However, the report also found that financial advisers who were “thriving” spent less time in administration (43% less) and compliance activities (97% less) and were able to devote more time to client meetings (34% more), new business (83% more), and developing themselves and others.
The report also found that the status of FASEA qualifications was a significant factor in results as:
- Fully qualified advisers had higher work-family balance, had less stress and less stressful issues, higher wellbeing, less impact of stress and did much more self-development; and
- Work overload was higher for advisers not yet qualified.
“These results show that there are benefits to being proactive and taking early action to meet the education standards imposed on advisers,” it said.
The report recommended that advisers:
- Invest in psychological flexibility, adaptive performance, and psychological capital;
- Seek help and engage in industry support services;
- Be an active member of an industry association;
- Find a good mentor and/or coach;
- Engage in regular recovery activities such as exercise and mindfulness;
- Where possible, employ staff to undertake administration activities; and
- Be clear with what was about work and what was not.