Investire | July August 2022

The OCF annual report is clear: for the very first time in years the trend has changed and the number of professionals registered to the OFC on 31 December 2021 is 0,5% higher than in 2020.

This confirms the appeal of a job that has proven with facts its key role in critical times like the present, strained by the pandemic first and then by the war in Ukraine.

However, the good news is not merely quantitative.

The number of women registered to the OCF has increased: in fact, we owe most of the overall increase in the number of financial professionals to female financial advisors (+2,4%). The number of male advisors has remained mostly unchanged, with a slight reduction of its incidence on the overall percentage. At the end of 2021, the number of women (11.493) represented 22,1% of the overall number of financial professionals (they used to be 21,7% in 2020). 

Moreover, for the very first time the gradual aging process of the target population (which had begun during the first years of 2000) has been slowing down. In fact, the average age of financial advisors licensed to operate offsite has remained 52 years old.

Evaluation tests also reveal an increase in the number of young candidates who, in 2021, represented the largest segment, i.e., 35,4% of the overall number of candidates.

Figures look encouraging also for young people who wish to pursue the career of financial advisor: 12,7% of financial advisors are under 40 and 3,2% of them are under 30.

What are the reasons underlying such figures? What elements can encourage young people and women to pursue the career of financial advisor licensed to operate offsite and persuade senior professionals to stay?

There are three main reasons: autonomy, the tendency to strengthen self-esteem and the possibility to listen to clients.

Autonomy is equivalent to a higher level of flexibility, which often means working more with the possibility of following one’s pace. This generates a sense of freedom which, in turn, produces motivation.

In the morning, a young mother or father does not need to hurry to punch out leaving their crying babies at daycare. Instead, they are free to reach their objectives in their own time.

This element is so crucial that almost all banks are currently trying, with different levels of success, to apply the same mechanism to their employees’ schedules, with flexible timetables and advanced business welfare.

Being the master of one’s time, albeit with shared objectives to be achieved, has direct consequences on self-esteem. In turn, self-esteem increases motivation.

The third element is the possibility of listening to clients: working as a financial advisor requires the reduction to a minimum of unproductive activities. Operating offsite means reducing the number of meetings and unproductive relationships. It also means being always in the front line.

The chances to listen to clients increase when financial professionals are not under the attack of budget persecutors and internal collection agents who ruin the quality of one’s professional life.

The good thing is that clients have become aware of the situation. As a consequence, they have been rewarding their advisors unequivocally for years.

The real news is that – thanks also to the work of banks and financial networks – the job of financial advisor has become appealing to young people and women, who are crucial for the evolution of any species.

Of course, the finish line is still far away, but the race has begun and the desire to win is unrestrainable.

Nicola Ronchetti