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Richard Libberton calls for diversity shake-up

12th September 2019

 

Richard Libberton is a Chartered Financial Planner and part of our Financial Services team. He is also the Scottish Chairman of the Personal Finance Society. Here Richard speaks to New Model Adviser about his thoughts on attracting new talent to the profession -  

As part of our Great Advice Great Profession initiative, we are showcasing the fantastic work being carried out by professional bodies across the country. We begin in Central Scotland, interviewing the Personal Finance Society (PFS)’s new chairman for that region, Richard Libberton

Libberton who holds fellowship status, says there is ample opportunity to shake up financial advice for the better. 

Diversity and youth are the key issues,’ he says. ‘People tend to come into the profession from similar backgrounds, like insurance or banks. We need to make advice a career choice for people coming out of university.’ 

It is important to assess why people might not be considering careers in advice. ‘You have to engage with people face-to-face at regional events, and make sure people know it’s not a stuffy profession for middle-class white men.’ 

Libberton is plotting a young advisers’ group for the region. Judging by the success of the recent NextGen Planners session in Glasgow, hosted by New Model Adviser® cover star firm Wellington Wealth, there seems to be plenty of appetite for this. ‘I’m following it up actively,’ he says, and encourages interested young advisers to contact him at rlibberton@thomsoncooper.com. 

Promoting quality advice

Libberton has been buoyed by the organisation of several other valuable projects locally. In Glasgow the PFS has recently organised workshops on financial suitability, as well as product governance and client segmentation. In Edinburgh, the local branch also ran a defined benefit transfer session led by consultant and PFS non-executive director Rory Percival. 

These sessions reflect Libberton’s motive for taking on his chair role. He had been drawn towards the PFS’s push for a higher quality of advice. ‘The drive to improve standards really resonated with me and I felt like I could be an ambassador,’ he says. 

But while all that points towards a focus on technical knowledge, Libberton has also been promoting other initiatives. ‘Lately, I’m more interested in things that are not planning or product oriented, such as wellbeing and mental health in the workplace,’ he says. 

It’s not all him though. Back when Libberton was the PFS’s ‘chartered champion,’ then-chair Linda Gilbert backed his arranging of regular chartered breakfasts and other local events. ‘I’d like to big up Linda Gilbert,’ he says. ‘She did a great deal for the central region, and so did Tracy Bisset, former PFS education officer for Central Scotland. I’m trying to emulate what Tracy’s doing and build on Linda’s success.’ 

‘We have a great depth of fantastic financial advisers in Central Scotland, and I’d like to bring more of them into our initiatives,’ he adds. ‘The Insurance and Actuarial Society of Glasgow works really well with the local PFS, and I’d like to emulate that in Edinburgh.’ 

The next step for Libberton is to find more committee members for Central Scotland. If anyone is interested, he again welcomes emails. Other than that, he will continue his endeavour to spread the ethos of the PFS. ‘It’s all about helping people through empathy, care, social skills, literacy skills and numeracy skills. The job is about helping people become financially empowered, and I absolutely love that.’