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Hire purpose: Sandringham’s Tim Sargisson on recruitment

Sandringham’s CEO Tim Sargisson (pictured) talks to Professional Adviser as part of their occasional focus on employment and recruitment practices among financial adviser firms

How Does Sandringham Go About Recruiting Advisers?
We are not in the business of recruiting hundreds and hundreds of partners. We are looking at recruiting about 250 in total, which allows us to be much more focused on who we bring in and the support service we offer them.

With new partners, we spend three months to get them to understand what we do, to help them move their clients across, move their valuations across, move the policies across and so on. We do receive a lot of praise from new partners on how we bring them into the business.

We are also trying to establish closer links with Huddersfield University and are looking to get people on the marketing side – people who want to forge a career in financial services. Our priority as a relatively new business – we are only four years old – is to build a partner base to make sure we are capturing a good standard of partners and a good revenue space for them. That will allow us to develop more innovative ideas in terms of recruitment.

How Could The Financial Advice Sector Improve Its Employment And Recruitment Practices?

The industry needs a clear focus as opposed to trying to live a sort of hand-to-mouth existence. Too often firms are looking at their client base and just making sure there is enough revenue because there is no real development work going on.

In terms of attracting new employees from the financial services world – and in turn new clients – there is no real focus in the industry to go out and find that new blood and actually commit to training people. There are people out there who do this, of course – for example, Old Mutual has a very good graduate recruitment programme for training advisers. The challenge is that it is a huge commitment and huge cost.

We have 150 partners and we do see some of those looking to leave the industry. What we want is to be able to put young, fully trained people in to deal with their clients, develop their client bank and so on.

At the moment, we are doing one part of the process, which is bringing the partners in. The second part of that is to dovetail fresh people in. It can work – it does work – and I am determined we will adopt something in the near future in Sandringham.

What Do You Believes Constitutes Good Hiring And Staff Retention Policy?
You have to create a nice place to work – a friendly place where people get on well. It should, for example, offer extra-curricular activities – just stuff like taking them bowling for the night or let them go for a curry and the company picks up the tab. These are not huge gestures but they do make people feel valued and a part of the company. People are more likely to hang around this way than if they are just coming into their desk, doing work and going home every night – particularly in our industry.

People also need to feel they are working for a company they feel proud of. So I set the policy at our company that everything we do in the business is focused on good customer outcomes. That is not a throwaway line. You can look through and see it is designed to deliver on good customer outcomes.

Ultimately people need to feel we are not going to be doing anything that would be underhand or questionable or reason to conflict with the regulator. A good culture and good outcomes are absolutely core to our business and what we are looking to achieve.

Published on 8th September 2016

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