Keith Furniss, Director of Sales, Wealthtime

It’s a rare week if there’s not a headline in the trade press declaring consolidator X has agreed a deal to acquire firm Y.

But why? Over the course of each month, we speak to hundreds of advice professionals – from practice owners and consolidators, to advisers with more than thirty years under their belts, as well as those just starting out and a persistent theme keeps coming up: How do we make sure advice as a business is attractive enough to get the next generation of advisers wanting to step up and take over the running of it when the time comes to hand over the reins?

As an independent and fully intermediated platform, it’s an existential question. And it is one that we’ve found can take the conversation down a great many divergent routes in the search for viable answers. Rabbit holes which themselves ultimately lead to many more questions – most of which still need an answer.

However, there are two which we keep coming back to:

If at the route of this sits a genuine cultural divide between the generations, then which needs or requirements of the next generation of advisers are currently not being met by the traditional adviser business model and offering?

And, how much might that also apply to the next generation of clients?

If that is indeed the case – and we intend to find out if it is – then what practical steps can be taken to bridge that divide to fire up the next generation to be the business owners of the future?

Removing the hurdles for a viable alternative

Those are three questions we would very much like to find answers to. So, we are going directly to the source. With the help of Octo Members – the UK’s fastest-growing community run for and by financial services professionals – we’re conducting focus groups with financial advisers who, if this were ten or twenty years ago, we would expect to see getting ready to take over the helm.

At the same time, we’re speaking to current business owners to get a better understanding of what they feel their options are and which, if any, of their own needs are also not currently being met by the next generation of advisers.

That research is ongoing and we will share what we learn with you in the new year. It is in everyone’s interests to have a robust and vibrant advice profession equipped to meet the needs of generations to come. We hope our sessions can go some way to getting to the bottom of what we can all do to stoke the fires of the entrepreneurs of the future and ensure there are range of options when it comes exit planning.