Financial advisers are struggling mentally with the amount of change they are being forced to go through and need more than just business and licensing support, one dealer group says.

Newpark chief executive Melanie Purdey said she regularly dealt with advisers who were becoming stressed or depressed.

“We need to give our people a lot more support than just licensing or business development … they are going through a change that is unprecedented for them.”

Many were studying for the first time, sometimes in a language that was not their first, she said. They were also under the regulatory, media and public spotlight and feeling unfairly maligned and overwhelmed.

group is launching Headspace, an initiative to support advisers’ mental health and wellbeing.

“People are really struggling to keep up and cope with it.”

The group had approached insurers about offering their support, she said, but would go ahead regardless.

Advisers who were members of Newpark would be given access to counselling through EAP, money management tools, access to other mental health resources and the opportunity to network with other advisers to reduce any sense of isolation.
Many were working from home offices and becoming increasingly insular, she said.

Newpark also wanted to fund advisers to complete a mental health first aid course to help them tackle issues that arose with their colleagues and clients. “They’re often on the frontline when people are going through loss.”

Purdey said the group wanted its advisers to know that they were supported.

“We have understood that we have to wrap our arms around our people – not just in their role as adviser but their whole person – in order to build success.

“We want to give them the support they need in a real way. We will be partnering with a professional services provider to offer confidential funded counselling services to support those who are struggling with stress-related issues in their work, family and health lives.”