There’s no doubt that financial advisers are currently under immense pressure. This is owing to the numerous changes occurring in the advice industry including pressure from new FASEA obligations, reputational damage flowing from the Royal Commission and increased regulatory and compliance demands.
As an advice-led organisation, at IOOF, we have a responsibility to provide our advisers with more than just practice and product solutions. We need to holistically support them, and this includes initiatives to identify and mitigate any mental wellbeing issues they may be dealing with.
How is IOOF helping advisers?
Our goal is to support advisers and their businesses to grow and improve so that more Australians can receive quality financial advice.
As an example of the support we offer, financial advisers who are licensed by IOOF can access a confidential Employee Assistance Program. This program is run by Benestar and is available 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. The program can help directly by offering advice over the phone or can point advisers towards the services and support they need.
We have also been running wellbeing workshops at licensee professional development days. Feedback from financial advisers is very positive. Many advisers have found the workshops useful in providing them with a framework to recognise the symptoms and understand the potential support options available to them in order to help with their, or their clients, mental health issues.
Addressing the mental health issues of financial advisers and clients is vitally important to us so we will continue to monitor and enhance the ways we support advisers and their clients. It is core to our purpose; understand me, look after me, secure my future. Next year we are introducing a more comprehensive program of mental wellbeing support, which will include practical tools and resources – this program will be accessible to all advisers who are part of our licensed advice groups.
Monitoring your clients’ mental wellbeing and potential risk factors
Owing to their trusted position, financial advisers will often be among the first people to know of any financial or psychological issues their clients are encountering. Of course, in many cases clients will bounce back from these issues, but occasionally they can trigger mental illness, which can be extremely debilitating and, in some cases, can lead to suicide.
For older people, particularly men, the second most common factor cited as associated with suicide, after relationship breakdown and bereavement, are problems relating to economic circumstances.1 Financial advisers are not always made aware of a client’s financial problems but if they are, they should understand they’re a risk factor for self-harm. Advisers should be willing and able to point affected clients in the direction of suitable support services to help manage mental health.
Available mental health support services
If you are concerned about a client, a colleague or yourself, the organisations listed below can be contacted for assistance with mental health problems.
Suicide Call Back Service