AMP tackles work/life balance problem

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Quality candidates who want to join the financial advice profession but can’t find the time to engage in full-time training now have another option.

The AMP Horizons Academy Flex Program is a part-time paid financial planning training program aimed at offering what it calls “a flexible pathway to the profession for those wanting greater work/life balance”.

Aimed at bringing in qualified and partially-qualified candidates who can’t commit to the 10-week full-time Horizons program, the new course offers an alternative means of becoming an official AMP representative.

AMP Horizons Director Tim Steele told Wealth Professional that the new course, while not aimed exclusively at women, was designed in part to encourage more women into the industry.

He explained that, whereas the full-time 10-week course requires all students to travel to Sydney to study, the latest addition to the Horizons program allows for more flexibility – a trait that he says can be carried on into a future career in financial planning within the organisation.

Currently, he said that around 50% of Horizons applicants come from the wider financial services sector, primarily thanks to their awareness of financial planning as a profession and what it involves.

The remaining 50% come from a “wonderfully” diverse background, he explained, with candidates having worked as anything from chefs to military personnel.

Piloting in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, the program comprises of formal and workplace learning, involving:

  1. Weeks 1-2: Two weeks full-time residential study at AMP Horizons in Sydney (must have completed two modules of Diploma of Financial Services/RG146 compliance at this point).
  2. Weeks 3 – 7: Five weeks part-time practice placement at Horizons Financial Group in candidate’s home region, including structured learning and practice manager observations and mentoring.
  3. Week 8: One week full-time skills assessment lab at AMP Horizons in Sydney to attain Representative status (must have completed Diploma of Financial Services/RG146 compliance at this point).
  4. Weeks 9 – 20: 12 weeks part-time Associate Planner placement in Horizons Financial Group in home region, with first client contact established under the guidance of practice managers.
  5. Further 7 months : Full-time or part-time professional year as Representative. The first intake of the new program will start on 29 October 2012.

The Horizons programme is primarily aimed at career changers, said Steele, hence the diversity of candidates, but AMP did have initiatives in place to encourage university graduates to enter the profession.

He also welcomed FPA initiatives that are aimed at improving the professionalism and calibre of financial advisers.

In terms of recruitment, Steele explained that Seek remains a huge source of applicants, while social media – the careful selection of candidates though LinkedIn for example – is increasingly becoming part of the AMP Horizons recruitment strategy.

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