Helen Blackford (top left), Pina Sciarrone and Matt Brown.

The institutional exodus from advice has taken away a key supplier and trainer of new talent, creating a void that hasn’t been replaced according to a panel.

Appearing at AIA’s online Adviser Summit webinar Wednesday afternoon, Matt Brown, Australian Unity executive general manager for advice, noted the financial services minister’s acknowledgement of the underwhelming adviser pipeline.

“I know the minister and shadow minister have started to talk about this more recently with the proposed amendments to education standards and getting the balance right,” Brown said.

“But I can’t help but think of some of the benefits of yesteryear and one of the unintended consequences is one of the very engine rooms that created career changers or new starters to our industry have gone.”

Brown said there is a “void” with the departure of those institutions.

“The banks – for all their actual [or] perceived woes – invested heavily for many years to help bring through that next generation,” Brown added.

“Alisdair Barr [founder of advice and accounting networking and recruitment firm Striver] and others in the industry are doing great pockets of work but I don’t see that next generation coming through.”

Barr told Professional Planner in January the industry needed 2,500 to 3,000 people joining in support roles that met the education baseline to sustain the industry.

“Last year there were 300 people graduating with an approved degree out of an Australian university, of which about half of them made their way into the financial planning profession,” Barr said.

Also speaking on the panel, chief executive for Insignia licensee Millennium3, Helen Blackford, said the industry lacked a grand plan for how to replace the advisers that left the profession over the last 12 to 18 months.

“That next generation of advisers coming through and our ability to find advisers to increase numbers and provide that accessibility is certainly something we need to focus on,” Blackford said.

Brown said the industry also needed to improve mental health in the industry.

He quoted figures from a report AIA did last year with Dr Adam Fraser that found 73 per cent of advisers were feeling run down.

“That recurring nightmare of the 5, 10, 15 year plus of reforms, reviews, review of a review, reform of a reform… the scrutiny has had its toll,” Brown said.