Old Mutual Wealth appoints new head of Financial Adviser School


Darren Smith has today been appointed as the head of the Financial Adviser School (FAS)

Reporting into Old Mutual Wealth chief distribution officer, Richard Freeman, Darren will help deliver Old Mutual Wealth’s ambition to support the next generation of financial advisers.

The Financial Adviser School was acquired by Old Mutual Wealth in February 2016 and operates on a not-for-profit basis.

The School can support over 100 students a year, with small cohorts joining each month, in addition to a small cohort that began in April this year.

Darren’s new role as Head of the Financial Adviser School follows a 23-year career in financial services. During that time, he has worked as a self-employed Financial Consultant and held Sales, Compliance and Business Development roles for a number of different networks.

Darren joined Old Mutual Wealth-owned network Intrinsic in 2013, initially developing the restricted investment proposition before working on a number of projects including the acquisition and transition of Sesame’s Wealth advisers in 2015.

The School supports students to obtain level 4 financial planning qualifications, and also has a strong focus on helping students develop the soft-skills required to build long-term relationships with clients and the business skills to underpin a successful career in the industry. The programme runs over a 9-10 month period.

Fees for the course are typically £8,500 and students will study toward the Institute of Financial Services Diploma in Financial Advice (DiPFA), which supports a strong focus on the practical skills required for a career in financial planning. Zero interest loans are available to help spread the cost.

The School will actively seek trainees from outside the industry to support firms with the recruitment of new advisers and upskill existing staff, including mortgage advisers. It also hopes to attract those looking for a second career in financial services and will explore opportunities to form strategic relationships with groups such as military charities and sports bodies.

As part of its future development, the School will look to work with organisations across financial services – both as a training partners and to build its expertise.

The School also recognises that the UK government is currently proposing to reform apprenticeships  and Old Mutual Wealth will seek opportunities to act as a training partner to firms offering apprenticeship schemes for financial planners.

Speaking about the new role, Darren says: “I am passionate about financial services and really enjoy developing new propositions that can improve services for advisers and advice firms.

“I believe that this is a great career for good quality people, and that this is a great time to become a financial adviser when customer demand has never been higher.

“Trust between advisers and their clients is crucial. The Financial Adviser School therefore has a duty to ensure that future financial advisers are not just fully qualified, but truly focussed on delivering good customer outcomes throughout the advice and ongoing service process.

“I’m committed to developing a proposition that will bring new advisers into the industry, able to deliver quality financial advice that existing and new customers can really trust.”

Richard FreemanOld Mutual Wealth’s chief distribution officer Richard Freeman adds: “The Financial Adviser School is a big investment from Old Mutual Wealth and a real demonstration of our commitment to supporting high quality, professional face-to-face advice.

“We are delighted that Darren has accepted the role as head of the Financial Adviser School, having managed the acquisition and transition of the School over the last nine months. His experience and enthusiasm will ensure the School achieves its aim of developing the next generation of financial advisers.”



For more information contact

Michael GlenisterOld Mutual Wealth020 7778 963807469

Notes to editors:

Quilter is a leading wealth management business in the UK and internationally, helping to create prosperity for the generations of today and tomorrow.

On a ‘go forward basis’, Quilter oversees £ 111.6 billion in customer investments (as at 31 March 2018).

It has an adviser and customer offering spanning: financial advice; investment platforms; multi-asset and single strategy investment solutions; and discretionary fund management.

The business is comprised of two segments: Wealth Platforms and Advice and Wealth Management.

Wealth Platforms includes the Old Mutual Wealth UK Platform; Old Mutual International, including AAM Advisory in Singapore; and the Old Mutual Wealth Heritage life assurance business.

Advice and Wealth Management encompasses the financial planning network, Intrinsic; Old Mutual Wealth Private Client Advisers; discretionary fund management business, Quilter Cheviot; and Old Mutual Wealth’s multi-asset investment solutions business.

The Quilter businesses will be re-branded to Quilter over a period of approximately two years following separation from Old Mutual:

  • Intrinsic to Quilter Financial Planning
  • Private Client Advisers to Quilter Private Client Advisers
  • The Multi-Asset business to Quilter Investors
  • The UK Platform to Quilter Wealth Solutions
  • The International business to become Quilter International
  • The Heritage life assurance business to Quilter Life Assurance
  • Quilter Cheviot will retain its name.

On 19 December 2017, Old Mutual Wealth announced that it has agreed to sell its Single Strategy asset management business to the Single Strategy Management team and funds managed by TA Associates. The proposed transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. 

Quilter is part of Old Mutual plc, a FTSE 100 group that provides investment, savings, insurance and banking. For the year ended 31 December 2017, Old Mutual reported an adjusted operating profit before tax of £2.0 billion. For further information on Old Mutual plc and the underlying businesses, please visit the corporate website at


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