Inflation Remains at a Record High Amid Candidate Shortages

Key Points from the February Survey:

  • Softer rise in permanent placements
  • High levels of candidate shortages amid high starting salaries
  • Softer rise in staff vacancies

Softer rise in permanent placements…

The number of people placed in permanent jobs increased in February although at a slower rate than January’s recent high. The continued increase has  been attributed to a strong demand for staff and a greater willingness among candidates to take up new roles

Decreased demand for staff…

The demand for staff for permanent positions has risen at its slowest pace in fourteen months.

Availability of staff…

The availability of staff for permanent roles continued to decline in February.

Pay Pressure…

Salaries for permanent starters have increased further in February and the rate of inflation remains at a record high. The higher salaries have been attributed to higher candidate and skill shortages amid rising vacancies.

 

 

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IFAs remain resilient despite rise in robo-advice

Despite the rise in the use of robots as employees in the workplace, IFAs remain adamant that such technology will not replace their human face-to-face investment advice.

Although robots and automation are increasingly infiltrating the financial services industry, experts argue that there are certain matters which robot advice cannot be used for; robo-advice generally focuses on investments which relate more to saving money rather than providing advice. For the sale of financial final products, clients require face-to-face advice…

Additionally, robo-advisers lack the learning and experience which is picked up on the job while working in the marketplace. Robo-advisers also lack the ability to adapt to a client’s response and body-language during meetings…

However, there remains the argument that robo-advisers will save people money and may be appropriate for the absolute bare basic investor. The robo-advisers have proved that they are able to look at volatility in the market and allocate accordingly…

The conclusion appears to be that if people want to pay a low price they’ll choose the robots. Conversely, those wanting  a more detailed report will be willing to pay for a higher price and choose face-to-face advisers…

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FCA Announces that IFAs are to Disclose Esoteric Investment Recommendations

 

The FCA has recently announced that IFAs are to disclose more risky investment strategies which they have recommended to their clients

The FCA’s reforms follows its review of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS); from 2013-2016 around a third of FSCS claims were linked to the sale of esoteric investment plans by Advisers.

During the consultation The FCA did not address the proposal that Advisers selling higher-risk products were to pay more towards the money pooled in the Scheme.

However, The FCA has agreed to such reforms as adding a new section to their online reporting system, GABRIEL, for calculating risky future levies. This will come into force on 1 April 2018. Other confirmed reforms include ordering Llyod’s of London to contribute to the funding that comes from retail firms.

A full list of the reforms will be accessible when The FCA publishes its papers….

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What Do Staff Want From You?

What better way to let people know they are expendable commodities than calling them ”resources” (human or otherwise)?

Staff

We all know what we want from our people; the question is how to get it consistently.  The answer, more often than not, lies in understanding what your people want from you.

Remuneration, incentives, reward and opportunity are important tools in achieving a “happy advisory family”.  However, if we accept getting the most from your staff is really about delivering a knock-your-socks-off service for your clients, it has to go further than a general sense of wellbeing.

Most advisers, according to the MD of So Here’s the Plan, agree team dynamics have changed dramatically in recent years.  In the past, the most important person in the business was the salesperson.

Today, service staff are arguably the fulcrum because service is precisely what advisers are selling.  The quality of your business will be reflected in the quality of the clients you can keep, not the volume you can attract.

A truly successful advisory business ensures its purpose permeates every corner of the firm and there is both the leadership to inspire it and the infrastructure to deliver it.

But it starts before the beginning.  Advisers agree not enough work is done to ensure the right people are brought in for the right roles:  that those in client-facing roles care deeply about people, that staff in support roles love administrating and leaders are just that.

Incentivisation and reward structures, however wonderfully conceived, will fail unless the people fit.  Four, interlocking, themes dominate:

Leadership:  The desired culture must be purposefully led from the top and not be expected to come through advisers.  Someone needs to invest time in creating the infrastructure for that to happen.

Infrastructure:  Designing your processes to reflect the kind of service you intend to offer clients is key.  How much should advisers be involved in administration?  Should support staff be liaising directly with clients?

Clarity:  Responsibility can only effectively be taken when clarity is provided as to what is expected from individuals and teams.

The client experience:  All the above must be designed and delivered with the client as the start, the middle and the end.  Every part of the business must know how it fits into the client’s world – not the other way round.

 

Article from Money Marketing – 3 March 2016

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The Week in Numbers – 4th February 2016

News

15% – Proportion of Ucits funds that could be “closet trackers”, according to the European Securities and Markets Authority

20% – Rise in revenue reported by Mattioli Woods following a spate of acquisitions

30 – Number of sales roles being cut by Aegon as part of a shift towards its platform business

£600m – Value of build-to-rent deal entered into by Legal & General with Dutch asset manager PGGM.  The rental income from the properties will be used to pay annuities

124,803 – Total Mortgage approvals in December, representing a 21 per cent year-on-year increase, according to figures from the Bank of England

£700m – Bid reportedly made by Tilney Bestinvest for wealth management firm Towry

3,205 – Total number of Pension Wise appointments in December, down from a high of 6,755 in October, according to official Government statistics

£516 – Average cost per Pension Wise guidance session in December, up 4.2 per cent compared with the previous month

 

Quote of the week: “Unless we get a warts-and-all announcement at the Budget, free of headline-grabbing spin, the Government will not achieve the incentive to save” – Dentons Pensions’ Martin Tilley on Treasury plans to overhaul the pension tax system

 

Originally published in Money Marketing Magazine 4th February 2016

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The Week in Numbers – 13th May

The Week in Numbers

12m – Number of actions taken by MAS users in 2014/15 – far higher than the organisation’s 4.5 million target

1% – cashback offer for first-time buyers launched by Halifax this week

8 – Number of advice firms issued with Section 166 reports (also known as a skilled persons report) by the FCA in relation to insistent transfers

£11bn – Outflows seen by Aberdeen Asset Management in the six months to the end of March

11% – fall in profits reported by Lloyds for the first quarter after it took a £660m hit following the sale of TSB

£4.1m – Price paid by advice consolidation firm AFH financial to acquire national firm Independent Financial Services (UK)

65% – Proportion of 55 to 64-year-olds who are not aware of changes to pension death tax rules, a survey commissioned by Old Mutual says

£1.4bn – Annual slump in retail fund sales in March, according to the IA

lit up city

Originally published in Money Marketing magazine, 7th May 2015

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Telephone Interviews – A Serious Business

Recruiters reveal an alarming level of complacency by job applicants during important telephone interviews

Tel pic 2

Distractions detract from telephone performance

Going to the toilet, having a bath, eating a meal, walking a dog, breastfeeding a baby, arguing with a family member. These are all perfectly normal human activities; and they are all things that recruitment candidates have done during telephone interviews.

A recent survey of nearly 800 recruitment and HR professionals by Changeboard in association with the Post Office found that many candidates fail to take telephone interviews as seriously as face-to-face interviews, and risk losing out as a result.

Some 60% of organisations (74% of private sector firms) use telephone interviews as part of their recruitment process. They are most commonly used to save time and money by screening applicants before inviting them for face-to-face interviews.

This means that a telephone interview is an important opportunity for the candidate to make a good impression and secure a meeting with the recruiting organisation. But many candidates fluff that opportunity.

 Common candidate mistakes

According to the survey respondents, the biggest mistakes telephone interviewees make are:Father Holding Baby on Shoulder

  • Doing something else during the telephone interview
  • Not preparing properly for the telephone interview
  • Not listening to the interviewer’s questions
  • Having a poor telephone manner.

These errors can all ‘seriously harm the candidate’s chance of progression’ to the next stage of the interview process.

Respondents cited many real-life examples of telephone interview faux-pas. One recruiter revealed: “During the interview it became clear that the candidate was on the loo.”

Another said: “The candidate was pulled over by the police for taking a call in the car without hands-free.”

And a third recalled: “The candidate suddenly said: ‘Sorry, I’ve got to go – the snake has escaped,’ and hung up.”

 Telephone interview hints and tips

Telephone interviews can be especially tricky for candidates, as it is difficult to express yourself clearly on the phone. Nearly all survey respondents (95%) said that candidates can come across differently on the phone compared with face to face. And nearly half (49%) admitted that their mental image of candidates they have interviewed by telephone is often proved wrong when they meet them.

The top tips from recruiters for candidates facing a telephone interview are:
• Prepare yourself for the call as you would a face-to-face interview
• Choose a quiet place to take the call with a landline phone and no risk of interruption or background noise
• Pay as much attention to listening as to speaking

One recruiter advised: “Do not underestimate the seriousness of a telephone interview. It is often harder as you don’t have the ability to demonstrate body language.”

Another offered: “To get in the right mindset I always advise telephone interview candidates to sit at a desk and dress formally to help them think more professionally.”

And a third added: “Stand up when on the phone as your voice will project better. Change the tone of your voice and use it to show enthusiasm when appropriate.”

 Expert advice on telephone interview performance

Rob Willock, chief operating officer of Changeboard, said: “Faced with a huge pile of CVs from equally qualified candidates, recruiters need a way of weeding out the weaker applicants, and many use telephone screening interviews. Don’t give them a reason to reject you them by performing poorly on the telephone.

“Prepare yourself properly, research the organisation, rehearse answers to standard questions, have relevant examples of your achievements to hand and ask some smart questions of your own.

“It may also be worth practicing your telephone manner,” added Willock. “Recruiters reported being annoyed by candidates using colloquial or ‘street’ language during telephone interviews. Calling your interviewer ‘mate’ or ‘love’ or using phrases like ‘innit’ are not recommended, even if you do so with your friends and family.

“There’s even something to be said for cultivating a more business-like ‘telephone voice’ for occasions when you want to impress people on the phone.”

The Apprentice winner and recruitment expert Lee McQueen said: “It’s difficult to give anything your full attention if you’re doing something else at the same time yet it’s apparent that candidates aren’t taking their interviews seriously enough.  They wouldn’t turn up to an interview dressed in a bobble hat and trainers and the same kind of consideration needs to be given when speaking to potential employers over the phone.

“It’s all about selling yourself and making an impression in the first two minutes. One key tip is to take the phone call in a quiet room on a landline so you can be confident that it won’t cut out; the lack of distractions and quality line will ensure a more professional interview too.”

And Hugh Stacey, Head of Post Office HomePhone added: “Telephone interviews are often the first real opportunity that candidates get to shine in front of a prospective employer.  From our research it’s clear that if you fail to impress at this stage, then it is likely that your application is over before it’s even started.  It’s therefore vital to stay focused and get it right first time around.”

The survey of 790 senior recruitment and HR professionals was carried out from 14-24 September by Changeboard, in association with the Post Office.

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