Nicole Ott

The importance of mentoring amid the ongoing talent shortage might be widely understood, but finding qualified finance professionals to step up isn’t always easy.

But those setting aside the time to mentor aspirants say it’s a worthwhile pursuit in more ways than one.

Take Brisbane’s Nicole Ott for example. She is the national adviser services manager for Trilogy Funds in Brisbane, where she has been for more than five years. Trilogy Funds specialises in structuring and managing property investments.

She’s also part of the Association of Financial Advisers National Mentoring Program, which matches aspirants with mentors based on skillsets and desired learning outcomes.

The mentoring program launched five years ago and branched out into a national program last year. Ott has been involved in the coordination of the program for two years, working with a number of aspirants and mentors during that time.

The program aims to provide aspirants, who are typically new financial advisers, with the opportunity to connect with an experienced AFA adviser as their professional mentor.

It provides significant advantage to new advisers, imparting access to insights, practical knowledge and another perspective that can broaden their experience base and contribute to their development.

Aspirants and mentors are matched based on their skillsets and desired learning outcomes.

How it works

The mentoring program runs for six months, with mentors and aspirants encouraged to meet for an hour a month, face-to-face where possible. The mentoring program is considered a good introduction into the professional year.

Ott says she can not only see the need for mentoring, but how it benefits the broader industry.

“It takes a little bit of time, but at the end of the day, the rewards far outweigh any of the time it takes to do it,” Ott tells Professional Planner.

It’s the small details that matter, like explaining to younger gradates that it’s not best practice to text clients, and to instead pick up the phone. “We take these soft skills for granted, but young people need to learn how the industry operates and what clients expect,” she says.

“You can only learn so much through books. At the end of the day, it’s really about the experience along the way, and aspirants always have a lot of questions as they learn.”