AN INITIATIVE has been launched to get young people interested in the financial advice sector, where the average age of an adviser is 54.

The sector faces a “mass exodus” of retiring independent financial advisers in the next decade.

Bournemouth University and the Personal Finance Society have created the Future of Advice scheme, along with Simplify Consulting and FP Wealth Management.

The project is building a framework for a student placement scheme in financial services.

Wimborne-based FP Wealth Management welcomed its first undergraduate placement in 2014.

Its director Ian Bentley, who graduated in financial services from Bournemouth University, said: “When we welcomed our first undergraduate placement, we had been looking to grow our business and access the pool of young talent that is on our doorstep at Bournemouth University and actively engage with these students.

“The average age of an independent financial adviser is currently 54 which means that in the next 10 years or so there will be a mass exodus of retiring advisors. This creates a huge opportunity for new entrants into our industry.

“We recognised that there is no defined entry pathway to become an IFA, unlike the well-trodden graduate pathways to become solicitors or accountants. We found that graduates didn’t view financial services as a viable career path that gave them career training and proper career progression. We wanted to change this.

“We welcomed our first undergraduate back in 2014 and have welcomed a student every year since.”

He said the process had enabled the business to “look in” on itself and evaluate what it did.

“It’s no coincidence that since 2014 FP Wealth Management has gone from strength to strength. The experience has transformed our business and our growth rate has doubled,” he added.

Professor Stephen Tee, executive dean at the university’s business school, said: “Bournemouth University is ranked as one of the top five British universities for the number of undergraduate students undertaking a work placement, making it a great place to launch the Future of Advice initiative.”

Kevin Forbes, chairman of Hampshire and Dorset Personal Finance Society, asked Simplify Consulting to lead on the project.

He said: “Bringing Simplify on board meant that we could use their expertise to provide the group with the essential structure, processes and organisation to give the project the momentum and impetus that it needed and encourage and welcome other companies to take part.”

Kate Monseratte and Carl Woodward, directors at Simplify Consulting, said: “We have used our expertise to create the placement framework, including sample contracts and training plans. We’ve also brought in service providers to allow consistent background training for the undergraduates and we’ve simplified the administration. It’s fantastic to see that the collaboration between us all is gaining great traction as awareness grows locally.”