Four Oaks Financial Services based in Lichfield, Staffordshire is a firm with big ambitions. They have launched their own training academy with the aim of developing the next generation of qualified advisers from their in-house Paraplanning and administration teams.
The ground-breaking Academy initiative not only provides the Practice with a source of first-class qualified Advisers, it also gives the talented individuals at Four Oaks a clear career path. Four Oaks’ Advisers that are already qualified are working towards their Chartered status which will enable Four Oaks to achieve their strategic goal to become a Chartered Practice.
Four Oaks MD, Martin Ward said “We have a fantastic team of exceptional people and we want to give our client support and client liaison teams and Paraplanners the opportunity to become fully qualified Financial Advisers. This is good for them, because this is a financially remunerated development plan. It’s good for the business because we keep hold of this talent and ensure a rich source of new Advisers which is essential for us to continue to grow.”
In Four Oaks’ area there are no accredited college courses to train to become an adviser. Most people in the industry are self-taught, have worked in larger organisations such as banks and obtained some training or have studied on-line. The Four Oaks Academy is a structured development programme that will take their team through all the required qualifications to achieve the Level 4 Diploma.
John Smith, Head of Paraplanning is the Academy Leader. He is a fully qualified Financial Adviser but found his passion was in Paraplanning and mentoring. John said “The purpose of the Four Oaks Academy is to make everyone as qualified as our Financial Advisers. Our back-office teams will be able to give a better service to our clients and to our Advisers because they will have the same level of knowledge and understanding of financial services as the Advisers do.”
The Four Oaks Academy is totally flexible. People can join as personal circumstances allow. If someone already has the RO1 qualification for example, they will join the Academy when the Academy is studying for RO2. There is a study group during office hours every week. The learning is set and when the group meets again learning outcomes are discussed and the next week’s learning is set. Academy members are given study time and undertake private study. The Academy is currently studying for RO5 and will be taking examinations. Everyone will have completed four mock exams and will have achieved the pass mark before being entered for the exam.
Sam Harley is an Economics graduate who joined Four Oaks earlier this year and currently works in the Paraplanning team. Sam said “Like me, some of the people in the Academy are fairly new to financial services. Everything is clear and structured and it is a good way of learning all together at the same time. John has lots of experience and he puts the learning we’ve done into practical examples that we can use in our day-to-day jobs. My ultimate goal is to become a Financial Adviser.”
“Once people are qualified.” Continues MD, Martin Ward. “Part of the structured learning is for people to spend time in administrative departments and Paraplanning. This means they become a fully rounded, experienced person with practical experience of the end-to-end process of providing research, giving financial planning advice through to the processing of financial services products. Academy graduates will become Junior Advisers working along-side an experienced Adviser, and then move up to become one of our Advisers, possibly with a Junior Adviser working along-side them. We are looking to provide a long-term career for people who join Four Oaks and we believe the Four Oaks Academy will do just that.”
Photo attached: Left to Right Four Oaks Academy Members Emily Walker, John Smith, Lily Jackson, Sam Harley, Kevin Holder, Charlotte Holmes, Charlotte Trueman.
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