New qualification requirements in Australia’s financial planning industry have led to an influx of roles within this space, particularly within banks. With educational requirements now harder to meet, an already candidate-short market is under even more pressure.
In the hope of ensuring candidates are qualified prior to conducting interviews, it is now usually mandatory for candidates who are applying for financial planning roles with a bank to provide proof of their qualifications and complete online competency based tests before they are shortlisted.
This has lengthened the recruitment process. In turn many candidates have become frustrated and are instead applying for vacancies with smaller and more nimble boutique firms.
In other trends, there has been a growing demand by the big four banks, second tier lenders and finance groups to source candidates for growth related positions.
We are seeing more permanent activity for front office and sales roles, with temporary and contract activity for back office operations areas including credit, customer service and collections.
Soft skills including communication and stakeholder management are becoming increasingly important to employers, however strong technical skills such as credit or understanding lending is seen as equally important. This has therefore led to a shortage of skilled candidates in certain areas, particularly within small business banking and credit assessment.
Off-shoring continues to be a factor, while several processing centres have been downsized or shut down as banks centralise certain operations.
Skills in demand
In terms of skills in demand for the October to December 2015 quarter, we’re seeing high demand for Financial Planners with their CFP or degree since this market is now highly driven by qualifications. However only a limited number of available candidates meet the set criteria. Further adding to the shortage is the number of candidates who are leaving the banking sector to establish their own business, or who are being recruiting into remediation projects.
Financial planning remediation specialists are a growing area of demand, and so financial planners and paraplanners with relevant experience are highly sought after.
Paraplanners with experience continue to be in demand across the market, particularly in the boutique space.
Small Business Bankers and Business Banking Managers are in demand by the big four banks, second tier lenders and finance groups that are looking to add more growth related positions to their headcount.
There is also a continued demand for Branch Lending Managers and Mobile Lending Managers as companies continue to take advantage of the property market. Commercial Lenders and Business Bankers are also sought, while Business Development Managers in asset and equipment finance are in high demand.
Lending Officers are needed too. This is considered an important customer-facing role and so demand will remain high. Bilingual lending candidates with Mandarin language skills are also sought.
Banks continue to recruit Relationship Managers as they realise the importance of deepening customer relations in a fiercely competitive banking market.
Mortgage Brokers are needed too, however many candidates are not interested in commission-only roles, while others need to improve their business development skills or are simply not looking to drive business. This has created a talent mismatch for this role, with a shortage of candidates with the skills employers are looking for.
Mortgage Assessors and Mortgage Verifications Officers are also sought. Given increasing workloads, additional mortgage support is required.
Credit Assessors are needed in the growth area of business banking.
Part-time Customer Service professionals are sought as the candidate pool has recently reduced in this area.
Outbound Sales Consultants are also in high demand, however the low salaries offered to these professionals deters many candidates.
In the area of financial advice compliance we’re seeing a need for Business Review Associates, Quality Assurance Managers, Advice Review Managers and Remediation Case Managers. These candidates are all in demand in response to the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) reforms, which are leading to companies adding additional resources to ensure compliance of future financial advice, but also investigating past advice given.
Within regulatory compliance, Regulatory Compliance Managers, Risk and Compliance Managers, Risk Advisors and Compliance Managers are sought. Regulatory compliance will remain an area of increasing focus with the Global Account Tax Compliance Act (GATCA), changing prudential APRA standards, increased reporting requirements, and the continued Basel capital requirements all being areas that companies must comply with.
Within operational risk, positions such as Risk Assurance, Operational Risk Managers in both line 1 or 2 functions and Risk and Control are sought. An increasing focus on operational risk will be vital for companies to reduce costs and inefficiencies as far as possible in areas that the business has control over. There are three broad capital methods by which to measure operational risk, including the basic indicator approach, the standardized approach and the Advanced Measurement Approach. The latter is used by an increasing number of financial institutions and is the most advanced of the three.
In a final trend, when looking for their next role candidates place a high degree of value on internal opportunities for career growth and progression.