The platform supporting young industry new entrants

entrant financial planning financial adviser striver students

13 February 2023
| By Rhea Nath |
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Fuelled by a passion to nurture the next generation in financial services, an HR tech platform has been supporting students to break into financial planning and wealth management for a decade. 

Founded by Alisdair Barr in 2013, Striver offered networking opportunities, mentorships, and entry-level career pathways to encourage young people to join the industry. 

The inspiration behind the venture came from Barr’s own struggles to secure a graduate role upon completing his degree. He eventually joined a boutique financial advice business, then moved into roles at Commonwealth Bank and Colonial First State (CFS). 

“I’m very passionate about the impact financial planning has on Australians. I think it’s a great career for young people to get into, to become a pillar of society,” he told Money Management. “As an adviser, you can really change lives. It’s a really fulfilling and rewarding career.”

For the past 10 years, he had connected business students with firms across Australia’s capital cities and regional areas to provide a win-win situation for both parties: students would gain relevant paid experience while businesses were connected with promising young talent.

Some of Striver’s opportunities so far had included roles as a trainee financial planner, paraplanner, and client services as well as assistance for students undecided on their pathway or keen to explore options. Partner firms included Insignia Financial and its licensees, CFS, Zurich, OnePath, HUB24, Moneysoft, and MYOB. 

Given major changes in education qualifications in the last few years to become a financial planner in Australia, such industry opportunities were crucial for new entrants. Presently, none of Australia’s largest universities in the Group of Eight offered financial planning degrees. 

Barr elaborated: “As a profession, we're not doing enough to promote that [being an adviser] is a great opportunity to give back, to make meaningful contributions to people’s lives, and to generate a really good income and living standards for ourselves.

“There’s an opportunity to create demand for young people wanting to study this by, say, speaking at universities about a career in financial planning, talking to first-year commerce students about what a great career path this is.”

 

Bringing new entrants

According to Wealth Data, adviser numbers had fallen below 16,000 and currently stood at 15,867 with fewer advisers joining to offset the losses. 

However, unlike many others in the industry, Barr did not attribute this exodus to increased compliance and regulation requirements and a bad reputation stemming from the Hayne Royal Commission.

“I don't think these are barriers for young people to get their teeth into the profession. The Quality of Advice Review and other reviewing processes work to continuously improve the way the industry can run,” he observed. 

“I don't believe compliance is necessarily a barrier to a 22-year-old thinking about what they want to be when they grow up.”

Now more than ever, he believed platforms like Striver were crucial as working in financial services now had to compete with careers at technology firms such as Atlassian, Canva and Google.

“Financial services isn’t as cool as it used to be because there’s a cooler kid on the block. 

“They’ve done a very good job of encouraging young people through internships, sponsorships, and scholarships through high school into university and flexible opportunities to work from home.

“There are passionate, fantastic advisers in the community who need to sing from the rooftops what a great career financial advice is and what a great impact it has on their local community and personal wellbeing.” 

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