Financial Planning

Support for adviser mental health crucial

financial advisers mental health

A rise in mental health issues among financial advisers is the result of the many changes within the advice industry and more support is needed.

Changes within the advice industry have led to a rise in mental health issues and suicide among financial advisers, and struggling advisers require more support, a senior finance expert has said.

In a recent episode of MetLife Australia’s MetLife Insights podcast, company national retail distribution manager Rachel Towell highlighted mental health and suicide among financial advisers as one of the major challenges currently facing the industry.

Pointing out suicide among advisers was 3.25 times higher than the national average in 2019 and likely to have increased during 2020, Towell noted keeping up with recent changes within the industry had placed an increased burden on advisers, with many struggling to cope.

“Mental health and suicide are understandably uncomfortable topics for many people and sometimes it is easier to avoid discussing them altogether,” she said.

“It is no secret that there have been many changes to the financial services industry in recent years, changes which no doubt have had an impact on the financial adviser, their business and their family.

“[Financial advisers] are individuals who are striving to protect families in their time of need. They work tirelessly to protect us so now is the time to help them be heard and to offer them our support.”

The podcast episode included an interview with Michelle, the wife of an adviser who committed suicide, who related the increased pressure her husband had experienced in the lead-up to his death as a result of keeping up with changes to education and compliance requirements.

“I think the changes that came through, in the long term, are a good thing for the industry – most of them, not all of them. I don’t think it’s what [has been] implemented, it’s how they’ve been implemented that is more of an issue,” she said.

In particular, she said more consideration should be given to the impact of the changes on financial advisers themselves, particularly those running their own businesses with little or no help from others.

“I think more thought [must be given to] the consequences, not on the big banks, not on the big guys, but on the little guys, the ones who are there earning the money and actually making a real impact on the clients’ lives,” she said.

MetLife Australia launched a mental health initiative in October 2020 to support financial advisers struggling with the challenges facing the industry.

In 2019, TAL head of mental health Glenn Baird said the state of mental health and wellness of financial advisers was at a crisis point as a result of the fallout from the financial services royal commission and changes to the financial services landscape.

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