What sets a great financial adviser apart may not be what they learned at university, but what they learned from life.
Technical skills and knowledge are obviously important – the financial affairs of Australians are becoming ever more complex and understanding the rules and regulations around investments and tax and superannuation is essential.
But what is sometimes harder to teach is getting close to your client: the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and really understand what is important to them.
This requires what are usually called, for want of a better term, soft skills: the ability to listen, to be empathetic, to effectively communicate.
"... understanding their goals, being able to diagnose their situation and personalising the advice you give..."
Not everyone has those skills naturally, which is why we focus on developing them through our adviser training program at AMP, Adviser Pathways.
It’s also what we try to instil in the students who take part in the AMP University Challenge, another way in which AMP is identifying and promoting a talented new generation of financial advisers.
The first semester competition opened earlier this month and tertiary students from around the country are now delving into the provided client case study, trying to come up with a financial plan for our clients that is in their best interests and meets their financial goals.
The students with the best plans will be chosen to compete in Finals Day in October.
The finalists will also have to present their plan to our “couple” in front of the judges and answer the clients’ questions, just like a real adviser.
We made the video above to give student tips on how to approach the case study.
A number of these tips emphasise the importance of “knowing the client”: understanding their goals, being able to diagnose their situation and personalising the advice you give so they will stick to the financial plan you build for them, through good times and bad.
These are the skills the 2019 winner will need to take the $5,000 first prize.