Hiring a financial planner? Now there's a plan

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Financial planners have never been in more demand in Australia, and recruiters say the trend is showing no signs of abating.

So why are planners so strongly sought after? There are two main reasons. First, huge growth in the Australian superannuation sector is increasing demand for financial planners to provide advice to the ageing population; and second, the absence of training programmes means financial professionals have not been brought up through the ranks.

A joint study released recently by recruitment firm Jonathan Wren Australia and PS 146 Training Australia found that demand for financial planners is set to increase markedly.

Matt Mullins, national manager of Jonathan Wren, says, "It is the toughest recruitment market in history."

"We see a minimum demand in 2007 for 3,000 advisers and we don't see the supply side as being anywhere near that number. What that means is we do a lot of headhunting and tapping on the shoulder."

The wealth management divisions of the major Australian banks have been recruiting steadily to build their financial planner teams, while boutique firms and aligned dealer groups are also in the market for experienced professionals.

But rather than hiring qualified financial planners, some firms are choosing to hire para-planners and train them up in-house.

Theo Marinis, principal of Marinis Financial Group, says he has decided to take this route to build his team, because the cost of hiring an experienced planner can be close to the AU$100k mark plus bonuses.

"We have been looking at commerce or finance graduates that we can train up cost-effectively as part of our team for the longer term."