Recruitment priorities are one of the biggest issues in the financial advice industry

To keep on the pulse of what is happening in the financial services industry, I subscribe to to receive updates about roles that come up. I'm not looking for an employment role (being gainfully self-employed), but I find it useful. And revealing. 

When I see roles come up, the way they are worded often (a) makes me feel more confident about what I offer to clients, while also (b) breaking my heart.

The following excerpt is typical for roles in this industry (emphasis added):

"To be successful in this role, you will have a combination of these skills:

  • Relevant selling experience in the Banking/Financial Services industry
  • Demonstration of proven sales results/performance or coaching
  • Standard Sets for Insurance and Investments will need to be completed
  • Strong client relationship and/or coaching experience
  • Great Networking skills".

What is missing here? 

For one thing, anything beyond the minimum level of competence. "Standard Sets" are the minimum required to be able to provide advice.

I'll acknowledge that there is a focus on client relationship experience. This an essential competency. Although even here, there the focus is on strong experience rather than skills.

And in the context of the other requirements, it seems that the client relationship experience is more oriented towards sales than client outcomes.

Note, for example, the focus being not on relevant experience in the industry, but on relevant selling experience. Note the focus on proven sales results/performance

Granted, these are skills that are important to succeeding in almost any professional services career in this day and age. Although I would argue that it depends on the type of "sales" you're focusing on. Are you selling the value of your services, or are you selling products?

It's unclear from this advertisement. Given its general tenor, and the fact that the advertiser is also an issuer of financial products, I can probably make a stab in the dark. 

Sales skills don't, shouldn't, and can't, be the end of it of the story. Not if you want a sustainable business and profession. Competence is important, and a focus on achieving client outcomes, and ensuring clients are rightfully satisfied.

This is why I'm confident I'll continue to have a competitive advantage. If my competition is recruiting on this basis, my competition will continue to be providing advice that doesn't fully satisfy clients needs. Unfortunately, however, I think the financial advice industry and the clients it serves deserve better.

If you want to talk to an adviser who focuses on client outcomes and providing high quality, tailored advice, check out my business, Fairhaven Wealth.

Sonnie Bailey

Sonnie is the founder and principal of Fairhaven Wealth.

Before founding Fairhaven Wealth, Sonnie worked in the legal and financial services industries for over a decade.

Sonnie first became involved with financial advice as a specialist financial services lawyer. For many years, he was an “adviser of advisers”, reviewing thousands of advice files prepared by hundreds of financial advisers, and providing feedback in relation to the quality and appropriateness of advice; industry best practice; risk management; and regulatory compliance. He has published work in industry publications and spoken at various financial advice conferences.

Sonnie has also worked with banks, investment management firms, insurers, and derivatives providers.

Sonnie has worked as a private client lawyer, focusing on succession, estate planning and trusts. He ran his own legal firm in Australia before relocating to New Zealand. He has also acted in independent trustee and company director positions.

Sonnie is passionate about helping people achieve their goals and manage the risks to which they are exposed.

He has written extensively on his blog, New Zealand Wealth and Risk, which can be found at

Sonnie is married to his wonderful wife Chrissy, and has two young children, Ben and Anna.