The size of the licensee should have little impact of the education of a provisional adviser and smaller practices should not be afraid to take them on, according to a panel.

In a panel session at the Financial Planning Association conference in Sydney, Perpetual associate partner Daniel Elias said although he’s only worked in large organisations, he could see that large or small organisations have their own pros and cons.

“The number one most important thing for a young graduate coming into industry is actually working under a good adviser,” Elias said.

Large or small it doesn’t make a difference, it’s about the quality of people you work under.”

Austbrokers Life managing director Ben Donald said he started his career at a small three-person business, but like Elias, he believed that small and large businesses both have their strengths and weaknesses.

“The thing I benefited from was being next to that financial adviser day in/day out and learning everything from how to make a cup of tea for clients and the adviser all the way through to actually figuring out the structure and engagement with the client.”

BFG Financial Services financial adviser Michael Baldry completed his PY in November 2021 and said his journey has been similar to Donald coming through a smaller practice.

“I started in a family practice with about 12 employees and I’m still with that practice today,” Baldry said.

“There are benefits to going with a big licensee – a big business versus a smaller business – certainly in my experience with a small business, there was a personal approach to my training.”

One of the advantages Baldry found with working at a smaller business was he had more facetime and mentoring with senior operators because of the flat structure the organisation had.

“There are benefits with going with large organisations but small businesses are positioned to bring a new candidate in and give them a fantastic professional year with great learning opportunities.”

‘Stick with it’

Donald said the best advisers come from a support background and that he became a better adviser by following a similar route.

“When I first came into the industry it was as a client service manager, I think,” he said.  “That’s the sort of role we’re advertising right now for people who are looking to become an adviser into the future. If you’re second or third year into university, that’s the sort of role I’d be looking for because that will lend itself to becoming an adviser afterwards.”