New Model Adviser®’s youngest Rising Star of last year explains how firms can benefit from visiting schools and universities and developing new business propositions.

All financial advisers can do something to help the younger generation, both by offering services to young people and by championing financial education.

Three years ago, when I was 21, I felt completely lost in the field of finance. I had studied finance and investment banking at the University of Reading. But, despite all the levels of education I had been through, I felt I had never been properly taught the basics of dealing with finances in the real world.

Lay down the foundations

Getting a basic understanding before leaving school is key. And things such as budgeting, saving, shopping around for the best bank accounts and understanding ISAs should be taught in schools and universities.

From this, advisers can build on the basic foundations that have been set out from school to help enhance the knowledge of today’s generation. If schools could start with these basics of personal finance it would at least give children today a heads up on what finance is all about. This will get people interested in finance and those who are interested tend to go and do further research and reading in the area.

Offer personal insight

It is from this point I feel advisers can step in and help. Giving up a small portion of your time to go into a school or university to give a short talk on a specific area of finance will give young people valuable knowledge. It also brings the subject to life and gives them an insight into the world we work in. Of course, it also gets your business name out in the public domain as young people go and tell their parents, who are likely to be your target market.

At Ascot Wealth Management we have gone into our local school to run a young entrepreneurs event. This gets young people thinking about creative business ideas and how to turn them into a reality. We also run a course at the University of Reading to teach students one of the six modules offered by the Chartered Insurance Institute in the diploma in regulated financial planning. This helps to bring the theory they learn into practice in the real world.

Reach out to the young

Another way advisers could help educate people is by developing a proposition to attract younger clients. The profession should not just be about those who already have wealth, but also those who are looking to start building it too. Thinking long term about the children of clients may produce new clients in the end.

I am very grateful for the knowledge I have gained after only three years of experience in this profession. For example, thinking about buying my own house was a scary prospect because I previously had no understanding of how mortgages worked. This lack of knowledge was a failing of the education system, which currently does not do enough to champion financial know-how.

Now I have completed professional exams and gained advice experience, I realise the mortgage process can be quite simple. But most people do not have this opportunity to find out. They are looking for advice and guidance and we should be there ready to help them in any way we can.

Jonty Rider is a financial adviser at Ascot Wealth Management