Mentorship - fostering the future of the industry

01 August 2016 Francis Aldrich, PPS

There are numerous regulations and pieces of legislation guarding the financial services industry with some rigid systems in place.

In order for our young people in insurance to get to know exactly how these processes work and what the best practice industry standards are, they need the advantage of having a mentor whom they can look up to for guidance and inspiration.

By having a mentor with the relevant experience and knowledge in the field, it will be easier for new industry entrants to get to grips with the industry.

Instilling confidence in millennials

Young financial advisers need to understand exactly how processes are put in place and how to identify and fulfil a client’s needs. Everybody in the industry has a role to play in increasing efforts to mentor young advisers in order to instil confidence in our millennials and create skilled future financial advisers and industry experts.

At face value we have a wonderful financial services industry in South Arica. It is one that aims to solve financial problems to ensure that families are taken care of in the event of disability, illness, death, retirement etc. The complexity of these financial solutions can be immensely alleviated for clients through the assistance of a skilled financial adviser who has received the right mentorship from early in their career.

We need to ask ourselves whether there are enough people in our industry who are really mentoring the youth, as opposed to simply training them to work in our businesses and conform to standards.

Mentorship is about more than just the day-to-day actions and we have to teach the youth about taking the future into consideration in order to achieve their career aspirations and also foster the future of the industry.

Passing on wisdom and knowledge

There is a wealth of knowledge in the minds of our seasoned financial advisers and insurance experts that has to be passed on to the new generation of advisers. Those who are willing to be a mentor to a younger adviser need to make a conscious decision to be dedicated to a mentee, to leave their own legacy with the mentee and inspire them for their future.

It is important to include the mentee in everything you do, not just the elements that will bring immediate benefit, but also aspects related to running a successful financial planning practice. Guide the mentee through the difficulties of the industry and give them confidence to solve problems.

I believe that a mentor should treat a young adviser as the person you would like to give your business to one day. When mentorship is done right, the possibilities are endless and you can grow a young and inexperienced person to be a skilled adviser to take over your practice once you decide to retire. This way, the mentee will rather choose to work with you in a partnership and not in competition to take over all your clients, due to the trusting relationship you have built up over the years.

Building strong relationships

On a more personal note, I had a mentor during my first years in the industry and it was immensely valuable to me as I entered this new area of work. My mentor not only assisted me in achieving short-term goals, but also to obtain my Certified Financial Planner® Professional designation through the Financial Planning Institute.

Mentorship greatly helped me to get a better understanding of how the industry works, how a company is operating and what is important to stakeholders. All these elements are extremely valuable to a young, inexperienced person who is willing to learn the tricks of the trade. To this day I still work with my mentor and we have a healthy, strong and trusting relationship.

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